System YES Certification and your network adapter(s)
How important are those network adapters in your SUSE® Linux Enterprise servers and desktops?
Should you care if your server or desktop network adapters and drivers have been SUSE YES Certified in your system with the current version of the OS?
The correct answers are it’s critical (what’s the point without the network right!) and definitely YES!
Unrecognized Network Adapters
Here’s why…well, actually you first get a story from ancient history (in our industry that means more than five but definitely less than ten years ago!). In the early days of YES Certification with SUSE Linux Enterprise, new systems would arrive, and often the network adapter would not be recognized during OS installation. The installation would report that “no network adapter was found” or some terminology like that. Then the OS installation could continue. While installation continued, with no networking, I would often think, “What’s the purpose of this install?” What good does this server or desktop do with no network? Well, that’s one reason why we were certifying the system. Usually the networking adapter hardware was newer than the drivers in the OS and/or the PCI ID did not match the integrated drivers. Through YES Certification we would solve this problem with an updated or add-on driver, then validate the complete configuration, with networking, for compatibility with SUSE Linux Enterprise. BTW, this still happens today, not as often, but it does still happen.
Validating Network Adapters
Certification validates the network adapter/driver connection to SUSE Linux Enterprise as well as the physical interface to the network. The last thing you want is for your network to have connectivity issues with your system. Whether you are using one network adapter or 16 high-end server adapters, the adapter/driver needs to be validated to function in your system configuration with SUSE Linux Enterprise. Sometimes the second or third adapter in a system has interrupt conflicts or resource collisions with another adapter; you don’t want to be the one finding these issues.
YES Certifying Network Functionality
YES Certification tests for basic network functionality during installation, configuration and stress tests. This testing validates that the network operates correctly while the system and memory are being fully utilized; the disks and storage channel are being pounded with requests; and USB ports are being exercised. With servers it also validates that multiple network adapters will function concurrently. Whether you are using industry standard 1 Gigabit Ethernet adapters, 10 Gigabit adapters or new immerging 40 or 100 Gigabit technologies, certification provides confidence in the network interface. Whether you connect using cables that are copper-based or fiber-based or even a wireless connection, you need to certify the network adapter/driver in your system with the OS.
SUSE YES Certification is indispensable when making hardware decisions. You can find more information about SUSE YES Certification at https://www.suse.com/partners/ihv/yes/ or search for certified hardware at https://www.suse.com/yessearch/. How you can use certification to help you make more informed hardware decisions, justify your proposals to your management and, hopefully, enjoy your summer vacation without interruptions from the office. Stay tuned for more blog entries.