To ARM! To ARM!
This history of innovation and leadership is extended today as we announce the expansion of our partner program to include SUSE Linux Enterprise for 64-bit ARM (AArch64).
So, what is so special about 64-bit ARM(ARMv8) technology? There are several interesting facets to it. The first being that there are multiple vendors using the same core technology licensed from ARM. This provides a common base for the OS vendors, like SUSE, to build support in their kernel. The important part is the special sauce they add to the die. By putting accelerators for network, encryption, or any other function that makes sense close to the CPU cores, they enable lower latency and higher performance characteristics to be achieved. If you think about this in terms of specialization for specific use cases, the value proposition offered comes into focus fairly quickly. Couple that with low power consumption per core and you’re definitely grabbing the attention of folks building solutions for large environments.
To be clear, we aren’t just telling our partners that it is okay to come play in our sandbox with some neat toys; rather we are inviting our partners to join us in the workshop to produce real products that leverage the latest silicon from any one of the several major players in the space in conjunction with our enterprise Linux product. This is a major step in the evolution of this emerging ecosystem.
This isn’t just about us providing Linux either. We firmly believe that our partners need tools, support and flexibility to be successful.
In the tools side of the equation, we support our standard tool for image building, KIWI. If you’re not familiar with it, take a look at a video of the hands-on tutorial our own Robert Schweikert gave at the openSUSE conference last year. We have also added the binaries needed to build applications for SUSE Linux Enterprise for AArch64 to the openSUSE build service, thus enabling software vendors to add the new platform as a build target. Both of these are critical to reducing time to market across the ecosystem.
From the support perspective, SUSE is here to work with our partners to ensure a supportable product is released. Our support programs for our partners are always flexible, and when dealing with a new market, our engineering department will be engaged in the discussion about supportability as well, ensuring only the best engineered solutions make it to the end user.
It is also important to note that SUSE isn’t here to tell you how you MUST do it, but rather we support these ways that you can do it, and if you need something else, let us know and we’ll take a look. Remember: our tagline is “We Adapt, You Succeed” and we truly believe that. Just ask any of our numerous partners like HP, SoftIron, etc.
Enough of the wordy stuff, let’s get down to nuts and bolts. SUSE will provide approved partners (signup at partnernetprogram.com) with access to the SLE12 for 64-bit ARM code and images.
Here are just a few technical details about the offering.
- The images have been tested to boot on hardware from multiple vendors.
- SUSE supports Device Tree
- U-Boot in specific use cases
- UEFI is supported
- SDK is available for developer use
- Technical preview of KVM on AArch64
- Standard SUSE Linux Enterprise Server Userspace
- Support for 64-bit ARM in openSUSE Build Service