In this 3 part blog series we take a deeper look into SUSE Manager 3.2, looking at what the product does, how it does and how it is set up.
Blog Part 1 – Discover SUSE Manager
Blog Part 2 – How SUSE Manager Works
Blog Part 3 – SUSE Manager Configuration Management
Part 2 – How SUSE Manager Works
As shown in the figure, SUSE Manager 3.2 has a modular architecture based on mature, powerful open source servers and communication protocols. The front-end web interface and APIs for third-party applications run on top of the Apache web server. Software repositories and system data are handled by Tomcat, and low-level SUSE Manager services by Python applications. The foundation of the whole platform is the Salt Configuration Management system. Salt clients can communicate with SUSE Manager via the OSAD/Jabberd protocols.
In addition to the APIs, several utilities enable the integration of SUSE Manager with existing tools and processes.
The SUSE Manager server is an appliance that includes the web-based user interface, an embedded PostgreSQL database, and connectivity with the SUSE Customer Center. This package must be installed, using a valid SUSE Manager 3.2 Server registration code on a physical or virtual server behind a company firewall. Updates from versions older than 3.1 are not supported.
For those who prefer to work without the web interface, the server command-line tool “spacecmd” can be scripted to use all of the functions of SUSE Manager without any interaction, either at the console, or in the Web interface.
The companion of the actual SUSE Manager server is a Proxy Server, which lowers bandwidth needs and provides faster local updates for environments with many servers or environments spanning different geographical locations. SUSE recommends a minimum of one proxy server per 500-1000 clients for optimal performance.
SUSE Manager’s web-based user interface is efficient and well organized, allowing a single user to move easily among the functions and services to keep a clear view of network resources. As shown in the figure, a sidebar menu gives constant access to all the high-level functions and component of your network.
The Home Overview page contains shortcuts to all the essential operations you must perform to get started.
In easy reach are a context-sensitive legend for the symbols used by SUSE Manager, a breadcrumb navigation menu, buttons to quickly go back to the top of each window, and a dedicated search box.
After you finish the initial configuration, the System Set Manager (SSM) provides an efficient way to administer many systems simultaneously. Select the systems you wish to manage, and the main SSM window gives you quick access to all the controls you need to apply configuration states, schedule patch updates, group or migrate systems, and much more.
SUSE Manager automates the installation and update of software packages to client systems on the network. Software packages are stored on the network and made available only through software channels. A software channel groups packages by product or application to simplify software distribution. One common use of software channels is to keep software for testing and development separate from packages reserved for production systems.
A client system can have subscriptions to multiple software channels. Channels come in two different types:
* Base Channels consist of packages built for a specific architecture and release. For example, all of the packages in SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 for the x86_64 architecture make up a base channel. A system must subscribe to only one base channel, and that happens automatically during its registration.
* Child Channels are always associated with a base channel and provide extra packages for it. Each system can subscribe to multiple child channels. One child channel that is available for every base channel is the one for SUSE Manager Tools, which contains the utilities needed to connect clients with the SUSE Manager server.
SUSE Manager administrators can create, clone, and delete custom channels. These channels may contain standard or custom packages, which could be customized versions of standard packages or in-house creations packaged in RPM format.
Look out for Part 3 – SUSE Manager Configuration Management coming soon