In this and the next several blog entries I will explain SUSE YES Certification testing under the covers: what is tested in SUSE YES Certification but not fully documented on the certification bulletin. This discussion covers the operating system installation (OS install) and how hardware is validated using one of several different install options. This may seem obvious, but the first certification test performed on a system is to validate the install of SUSE Linux Enterprise on the server or workstation.
OS Install Methods
The most common install methods used on certified systems include internal DVD, USB DVD, PXE (Preboot eXecution Environment) boot or a preload image. In each method (except preload) there are possible incompatibilities that can occur between the hardware and the OS install. With a preload image most “install” incompatibilities “should be” worked out while the image was being created. With SUSE YES Certification one of these install methods is always validated for compatibility on the specific hardware configuration. Because hardware continues to get better (overall) and operating system installation code becomes more refined, most incompatibilities are rare. But they still happen on given hardware platforms, and you don’t want to be the one who finds the problem with an install method.
DVD OS Install
The OS install method that has been supported and around historically for the longest time is installing from an internal optical device or integrated DVD drive. This is still the basic install method that PC operating system deployments are designed for. If the system has an internal DVD (which is becoming less and less common), then the operating system can be booted and installed from DVD media. On a YES Certification bulletin (https://www.suse.com/yessearch/) you can check whether the system was tested with an optical drive by looking in the Tested Configuration section for the optical device model and interface (SATA, IDE, etc.) on the “CD/DVD” line. This does not guarantee that the operating system was installed from DVD, but it is a very good indication that it was unless another install method is listed in the Config Notes section in the bulletin. A few of the problems that can occur with an internal DVD install include a DVD drive model with firmware or timing issues, a DVD device driver that is incompatible with an optical drive or even media read corruption due to a faulty DVD hardware.
USB OS Install
Many systems do not have or are not even designed to have an integrated DVD device but instead can be installed from a USB attached DVD drive. On these system bulletins the USB DVD is usually attached only during the OS install; then it is removed―which is one of the conveniences of a USB device. The USB drive is usually not listed in the Tested Configuration section of the certification bulletin. But a note should be included in the Config Notes section of the bulletin indicating that the OS install was through a USB attached DVD drive. A few of the problems that can occur with a USB DVD install include system firmware incompatibility booting from a USB device, media boot loader incompatibility or timing problems with the USB optical drive or USB driver problems with a specific DVD drive model.
PXE OS Install
One of the most convenient methods of installing SUSE Linux Enterprise is using PXE boot and installing from an install source over the network. PXE booting a system bypasses the normal system boot sequence and loads some of the functionality of the network adapter, then boots an image stored on a server on the network. On a system bulletin if PXE was used to install the OS, it should be listed in the Config Note section of the YES Certification bulletin. A few of the problems that can occur with a PXE install include network adapter problems with PXE protocols, network adapter driver incompatibilities or even boot problems over the network with a specific network adapter or driver.
I hope this helps you better understand the vast amounts of knowledge available when you use YES Certification to help you buy SUSE compatible hardware. You can find more information about SUSE YES Certification at https://www.suse.com/partners/ihv/yes/. Stay tuned for future blog topics about SUSE YES Certification testing under the covers. For other YES Certification topics, check out my other blogs.