SUSE Manager Technical Overview Part 3 – Configuration Management
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 3 – Configuration Management
Early versions of SUSE Manager managed the configuration using centrally located files delivered through configuration channels. All systems subscribed to channels and received configuration files stored in those channels.
In addition to this file-based configuration option, SUSE Manager 3.2 also supports state-based configuration management using Salt.
In a trusted network, thanks to a new auto-discovery feature, SUSE Manager Salt clients (called Salt minions) will find their Salt master without the need for additional configuration. If a client is not capable of acting as a Salt minion, Salt can still manage the configuration in “agentless” mode if you set the enable_ssh_minions option in SUSE Manager. This option tells Salt to create an SSH connection to the client and send Salt-equivalent commands.
SUSE Manager 3.2 greatly extends the automatic configuration capabilities of Salt through its support for Action Chains. Action chains are sequences of actions that are executed as if they were a single command. An action chain lets you use a single command to specify a complex task that consists of several steps. Examples of chainable actions include rebooting the system (even in between other configuration steps of the same system!), installing or updating software packages, and building system images.
In SUSE Manager, the initial registration for a system can happen in different ways, even through a plain SSH connection. Complete provisioning takes place by defining the product type and nature (virtual, bare metal, etc…), defining the configuration system (Salt or file-based management), setting the location, and configuring the necessary software channels. When the system is up and running, all those parameters, together with the system’s status and its planned maintenance schedule, are visible in one single window.
Task Management and Scheduling
SUSE Manager lets you execute many kinds of tasks automatically and keep track of all of them. You can quickly schedule, browse, or archive everything that happens to:
- software packages and channels (installation, removal, rollbacks or upgrades)
- single systems or groups of them (automated installations, reboots, patching, configuration changes, hardware updates)
The SUSE Manager Package Search functions help administrators quickly find all the packages of a certain type, in all the software channels that they are authorized to access – or on all the systems for which they have responsibility. You can easily check the dependencies of each package or see if a newer version is available. The same search interface also returns a list of all the systems on which a certain package is installed, along with important information about the package (applied patches, subscribed software channels, and more).
Salt and Formulas with Forms
Salt is a state-based configuration management system that lets you define the configuration for an application or computer system in a declarative format. A state file contains a declaration for the configuration of a system, application, or component. The Salt client (called a Salt minion) receives the declaration, and Salt configures the component by executing the functions defined in the state file. A complex system like a Linux server or client might receive configurations from several state files.
A formula is a collection of state files that form a complete description of the configuration. Salt formulas may be about anything from installation and configuration of single software packages (or whole Linux Distributions), to system-wide settings like users, groups, or disk partitions.
Salt is a powerful tool for organizing and automating system configuration across the network. SUSE Manager 3.2 comes with many preconfigured Salt formulas, which you can tailor to your own needs. SUSE Manager also lets you create custom Salt formulas through ordinary web forms (the figure shows some of the preconfigured formulas, in addition to a form used to configure the Dhcpd). SUSE Manager’s new Formulas with Forms user interface makes it easy to create your own formulas, as well as to apply them to single systems or whole groups.
SUSE Manager 3.2 is much more than the best platform for managing SUSE Linux. You get a powerful, fully open source, future-proof platform that reduces complexity and lets you administer all your IT assets in a simple and consistent way. Strong support for Red Hat and other Linux variants lets you manage your entire Linux infrastructure using a single tool. SUSE Manager 3.2 provides full support your Software Designed Infrastructure, and it is especially well suited for enterprise DevOps environments. Services included within SUSE Manager also help you ensure compliance with internal security policies and external regulations.
To learn more about SUSE Manager
- For detailed product specifications and system requirements, visit: suse.com/products/suse-manager
- For Uyuni details and development, visit uyuni-project.org
SUPPORTED PROCESSOR PLATFORMS: Multi-core 64-bit CPU (x86-64; IBM z Systems and LinuxONE; IBM POWER8 or POWER9 processor–based server in Little Endian mode)
RAM: Minimum 4GB for test, 16GB for base installation, 32GB for a production server
Disk Space: Minimum 100GB for root partition; Minimum 50GB for /var/lib/pgsql; Minimum 50GB per SUSE product and 200GB per Red Hat product for /var/spacewalk