SUSE and openATTIC—An Open Source SUSE Technology

By: Larry Morris

Larry Morris is a Senior Product Manager focused on SUSE’s enterprise software-defined storage product line. He joined SUSE in 2014 and brings over 30 years’ experience in enterprise storage product development.

Larry began his career with Hewlett-Packard’s Disk Memory Division as a software development engineer. During his career he has held various engineering, management and executive responsibilities in product development, product and solution test, business strategy, program management, product management, technical marketing, product support, and total customer experience.

Larry holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and a Master’s degree in Business Administration. He currently resides in Midway, Utah.

By: Jason Phippen

Jason Phippen is the product marketing lead for SUSE Enterprise Storage, the new software-defined storage offering from SUSE. Jason has more than 15 years of product and solution marketing experience previously working with companies such as VERITAS, Computer Associates and Emulex prior to joining SUSE in 2014.

openATTIC is a free alternative to established storage technologies in the data center. Its development started five years ago. The focus is on the most popular storage protocols, namely CIFS and NFS for file based storage, as well as iSCSI and fibre channel for block storage. As storage data growth is increasing, more customers are exceeding the boundaries of individual storage systems and looking for alternatives.

In 2015, support for the Ceph distributed storage clusters was added to openATTIC. This move allows for a seamless transition from traditional storage to this new storage paradigm with openATTIC providing a unified interface for storage systems and bridges the gap for legacy applications.

While there are many other storage management systems in the market today, there are a few aspects that are unique to openATTIC. For example, the focus is exclusively on storage management. Development efforts have tried to avoid feature creep ensuring openATTIC does not become too bloated with features that do not really have a place in a management application suited for the data center.

The open source nature of openATTIC also means that there are no arbitrary restrictions on the functionality. The goal is for it to be easy for new users to test and evaluate openATTIC without facing any limitations. openATTIC supports the most popular Linux distributions used in production environments so customers can freely pick their operating system of choice.

With openATTIC, storage can be managed and provisioned in a number of ways. It supports technologies like the Linux Logical Volume Manager and the usual file systems, but also includes support for more advanced file systems like ZFS and BTRFS. openATTIC can also be used to manage multiple storage nodes with the same web interface. Individual volumes can be mirrored to another node synchronously using the distributed replicated block device “DRBD.” Any new storage resources are monitored automatically by openATTIC. The entire functionality can be managed via the web interface or from external application or scripts via the REST API.

openATTIC consists of two major components. Python is a back-end application based on the Django application server. Web UI is developed using well-known web technologies. There are dedicated and automated test suites for each component, which have to be passed before any new features will be incorporated into a new release.

In addition to the traditional SAN and NAS management capabilities, Ceph management support was started in 2015. While there are a few Ceph management tools in the market at that time, there was a need to create a tool that could combine both management and monitoring functionality in one application in a way that makes sense to an administrator and does not get in the way or become too confusing or overwhelming to use.

As of today, Ceph management support is in the late stages of feature development, and will be included with SUSE Enterprise Storage 4. At a high-level, openATTIC currently provides a dashboard to monitor and visualize the Ceph cluster’s overall health status and performance as well as management and monitoring capabilities for various objects or entities such as Ceph Pools, RADOS block devices (RBDs) or Object Storage Daemons (OSDs). openATTIC uses a bottom up approach here in which it is started by providing basic functionality that has been further refined and extended incrementally with each release based on user feedback. In addition to managing Ceph objects, it is also possible to map block devices and share them via the existing storage protocols. openATTIC also allows the review and modification of a cluster’s CRUSH map. Managing and monitoring multiple Ceph clusters with the same openATTIC instance is also supported.

In the future, remote-node monitoring as well as remote management and deployment of cluster nodes and services will be added.

What is SUSE’s role with OpenATTIC?

SUSE has acquired the openATTIC storage management technology and assets from it-novum. In the transaction, SUSE acquired specific software-defined storage management assets and resources from it-novum.

As part of the transaction, a team of highly talented engineers will join SUSE and become part of our engineering organization.

SUSE has been partnering with it-novum around openATTIC and SUSE Enterprise Storage for more than a year. The technology aligns perfectly with our strategy to provide open source, software-defined infrastructure solutions for the enterprise where robust management capabilities are critical.

The storage revolution is underway and enterprise-grade storage management is critical to making that a reality for our customers who are ready to utilize our SUSE Enterprise Storage solution. With this transaction, SUSE will be able to deliver more rapidly on our storage management plans and also provide our customers even better support at all levels—directly from SUSE.

OpenATTIC support will be available in SUSE Enterprise Storage 4, which will be generally available on December 2, 2016.

Adapt and Win in a Big, Fast, Software-defined World

By: Raj Meel

Raj is a Global Product & Solution Marketing Manager at SUSE. Raj is responsible for product marketing for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, SUSE Live Patching and Virtualization/Container technologies. Raj is a passionate technologist having marketed IT security products, managed complex projects and developed several cutting edge IT products at startups. Raj lives with his family in the Boston suburbs, Massachusetts.

Software-defined computing is the way of the future for many reasons, two of the most important of which are these: it enables agility and it reduces costs. By combining hardware-bound resources running on individual servers into a pool from which applications can draw compute, storage, and networking resources as required, software-defined computing provides the agility that organizations need to win in a rapidly changing business environment. And because it allows organizations to make the most of unused or underused servers, it also reduces hardware costs.

Given these advantages, it is no surprise that SUSECON 2016 hosted a multitude of sessions on the software-defined technologies that are available with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12. After all, Linux in general is the most popular OS for cloud, which relies on software-defined computing and is practically synonymous with agility. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 is well recognized as the Smart OS for OpenStack, a foundation for software-defined computing, and Service Pack 2—which SUSE launched at SUSECON 2016—builds upon this foundation.

Of course, software-defined computing isn’t the only thing organizations need to win. They need updated security and reliability technologies, and they need timely support to help them adapt to technology changes. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 Service Pack 2 delivers security and reliability and comes with global support that businesses need now. Forward looking, it also provides a powerful platform for the Internet of things (IoT) and data-driven intelligence.

Following is a brief introduction to the capabilities that are available in Service Pack 2.

Capabilities that enable agility

Agility is about having the infrastructure technologies that enable your organization to respond instantly to changing demands for network resources and about winning the competition in the race to deliver tomorrow’s must-have apps. Service Pack 2 builds on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12’s software-defined networking support by adding support for an Open vSwitch implementation that combines with Data Plane Development Kit (OvS-DPDK). This implementation enables organizations to create fastpath packet processing in the user space for performance intensive workloads (such as telecommunications workloads) by allowing packets to skip the kernel leg of the packet path, thus transforming the user path from the slowpath into an alternate fastpath. OvS-DPDK implementations can process packets up to 10 times faster than OvS implementations alone and will be particularly appealing to Telecom providers that want to implement virtual network functions. Beyond this use case, Service Pack 2’s network function virtualization capabilities and the SUSE platform’s support for a broad number of hypervisors provides a complete virtualization solution for cloud deployments.

Additional agility for SAP applications

Service Pack 2 updates SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP applications, including capabilities that give your organization an extra measure of agility for its SAP deployments. The updates will help your organization to accelerate its SAP deployments in general and to ease and speed its migration to SAP Business Suite 4 SAP HANA (S/4HANA) in particular. The updates will also help you tune SAP HANA for increased performance. Finally, enhanced support for SAP HANA clusters will help you create a more resilient SAP HANA environment.

NVDIMM support for increased performance

While Service Pack 2’s support for Non-Volatile Dual in-line Memory Module (NVDIMM) might arguably fit into the stability and reliability categories, NVDIMM’s ability to increase I/O performance makes it an important agility enhancer as well. By enabling addressable, persistent memory for applications using NVDIMM, Service Pack 2 accelerates application performance—particularly for database, storage or analytics applications.

On the reliability side, NVDIMM’s ability to retain data even in the face of power loss, and the related ability to dramatically reduce rebuild time post-power outage (data is immediately available upon reboot) make Service Pack 2’s support for NVDIMM capabilities appealing to organizations that have applications with an exceedingly low tolerance for downtime, including online transaction processing (OLTP) applications.

OpenPOWER and IBM Power Systems LC server support for high performance workloads

Service Pack 2 increases agility by allowing organizations to choose an alternative to x86 computing via support for the full range of IBM Power Systems, including the new IBM Power Systems LC servers and OpenPOWER Abstraction Layer (OPAL) systems. If the growth of solutions designed for the Coherence Accelerator Processor Interface (CAPI) expansion bus for POWER8 processors and the recent (October 2016) emergence of the OpenCAPI Consortium are any indications, the IT community anticipates increasing interest in this x86 alternative. The growing number of industry giants that are members of the OpenPOWER Foundation include Google, NVIDIA, Samsung, SUSE and many others.

Service Pack 2 also supports SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension for POWER processor-based servers in all operational modes, and reduces large-memory system reboot times with faster memory initialization. With Service Pack 2, your organization will be in an excellent position to leverage this platform to meet business demands for high-performance, highly available workloads.

Easier access and more flexible updates

Service Pack 2 brings two update-related features. First: You can now access the latest packages and technologies available at SUSE Package Hub through SUSE Customer Care (SCC), which is SUSE’s web portal for managing product subscriptions and entitlements, and for accessing support. (You can learn more about SCC’s role in the update process by reading “SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 Service Pack Migration” in the June 2016 issue of SUSE Insider.) And second: To help you save time and resources, Service Pack 2 gives you the opportunity to skip upgrades and service packages. For example, you may now skip SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 Service Pack 1 and jump straight to Service Pack 2.

As a final note on the subject of updates, the Service Pack 2 installer can now contact your update server to find out if driver updates are available. If they are, the installer automatically applies them and restarts YaST (Yet another Startup Tool), thus further increasing the speed with which you can apply updates.

Opportunities for exploration

If, as Stephen Hawking proposed, “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change,” intelligent organizations will want to explore the new technologies that are available with Service Pack 2, including SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for ARM, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for Raspberry Pi, and Intel Omni-Path architecture. After all, exploration is a solid first step on the path to adaptation.

Introducing SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for ARM

With SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 Service Pack 2, support for 64-bit ARM processors became part of the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 code base. Known for energy efficiency, the ARMv8-A architecture is an emerging technology trend for server systems. This architecture has a large ecosystem behind it, which makes it that much more responsive to rapidly changing business needs. (ARM has licensed its technology to more than 1,000 companies, which have collectively put more than 50 billion ARM processors in devices that range from cell phones to servers.)

Some of the ARM use cases upon which the technology industry is focusing include storage, networking, and high-performance computing. To learn more about SUSE for ARM, see the recent “Introducing SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for ARM” SUSE Blog post.

Raspberry Pi, anyone?
While you are exploring ARMv8-A use cases, check out SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 on Raspberry Pi devices. Both as a SUSE for ARM test case and as a way to introduce the SUSE Linux operating system to Raspberry Pi’s extremely large user population (potentially numbering over 10 million), SUSE developers and engineers put SUSE Linux Enterprise Server on a small, inexpensive Raspberry Pi device. You can learn more about SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for Raspberry Pi by reading the “SUSE Linux Enterprise Server – on the Raspberry Pi” SUSE Blog post.

Intel Omni-Path Architecture support for high performance computing

Service Pack 2 further increases your organization’s potential for agility with support for Intel’s high performance (perhaps up to exascale level) Omni-Path communications architecture.

Extended Docker support on more architectures

With Service Pack 2 comes support for Docker container deployments on additional platforms, namely the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for ARM platform and on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for z System. The ability to use containers for application delivery helps organizations keep pace with customer expectations for ever faster app delivery and development.

Features that enhance security

In addition to enabling agility and giving organizations the tools they need to adapt more easily to accelerating IT lifecycles, Service Pack 2 can help organizations survive an ever-intensifying onslaught of cyber-attacks by providing certified Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) Publication 140-2 capabilities. Certification ensures that the cryptography algorithms SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 supports are free of obvious weaknesses, thus giving you confidence that the FIPS 140-2 implementation your organization has deployed can protect its data. SUSE earned not only National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) certification in the U.S., but also CSEC certification in Sweden.

The never ending need to adapt

If you think about it, naming a time in history when new technologies did not force businesses to adapt to win would present an almost impossible challenge.

SUSE is committed to helping organizations like yours adapt to evolving technologies so that you can win in the rapidly changing world of business, and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 Service Pack 2 is an excellent example of this commitment. The technologies to which businesses must adapt today include virtualization and cloud technologies, which are enhanced and enabled by software-defined computing. SUSE supports these technologies now and will support adaptations to them, and newer technologies that arise, in the future.

SUSE OpenStack Cloud 7—What’s New and How Can It Help Your Business

By: Mark Smith

Mark Smith is the global product marketing and strategy lead for SUSE OpenStack Cloud. With 25 years of experience in enterprise computing, he is keenly interested in anything technology related, but especially what’s coming next, what’s on the horizon and what will make a difference to your business. Mark joined SUSE from Dell, where he led the Enterprise Product and Business Management team for EMEA.

OpenStack Newton Release

The 14th version of OpenStack Cloud software, code named Newton, was officially released on October 6, 2016.

Although not named after Sir Isaac Newton*, the famous physicist and mathematician, I’m reminded of Newton’s famous quote: “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” That sounds a lot like an endorsement of collaboration to me. Newton clearly appreciated the knowledge, wisdom, contribution and hard work of others in the scientific community. And that’s something all of us in the open source world truly value, too.

OpenStack Newton focused on delivering improved scalability, enhanced resiliency and expanded versatility. It relied on contributions from an international community of 2,581 developers, operators and users from 309 different organizations. Quite an achievement!

It’s no wonder that OpenStack has become “the cloud platform of choice for enterprises and service providers, as an integration engine to manage bare metal, virtual machines, and container orchestration frameworks with a single set of APIs.”

SUSE OpenStack Cloud 7, SUSE’s latest enterprise-grade private cloud platform, is based on this newly released OpenStack Newton code.

So what’s new and how can it help you and your business?

SUSE OpenStack Cloud 7—Delivering the Full Value of OpenStack

An OpenStack private cloud is widely recognized as the ideal platform for developing new agile and innovative cloud-native workloads. It’s also seen as the perfect environment for DevOps. While this is undoubtedly true, more and more enterprise users are also seeing its huge potential for transforming their existing traditional IT infrastructures.

According to Jonathan Bryce, Executive Director of the OpenStack Foundation, “The benefits of cloud are too great to only allow new workloads onto the platform.” Most businesses seem to agree. Many of them have a huge investment in existing IT that simply can’t be ignored. They don’t have the option of starting from scratch with a green-field IT infrastructure. They are looking to drive efficiency improvements, increase productivity and lower costs with the IT they already have in place.

To quote Sir Isaac Newton again, “We build too many walls and not enough bridges.”

SUSE OpenStack Cloud 7 helps bridge the gap between the two worlds of IT, helping evolve traditional IT infrastructures while also providing a platform for agility and innovation. It can act as your integration engine, helping you conjure up revolutionary new apps and initiatives, while at the same time supporting the transformation of existing IT and workloads.

What does this mean in practice?

Enhanced High Availability and Non-Disruptive Upgrades

Traditional and business-critical workloads need a rock-solid platform underneath them. Migrating these workloads to the cloud requires the same built-in reliability expected from more traditional platforms. In truth, even cloud-native workloads need a highly available cloud foundation. The cloud services still need to be there when you need them.

We’ve designed SUSE OpenStack Cloud with automatically deployed high availability (HA) protection for the cloud control plane and for the compute nodes. With SUSE OpenStack Cloud 7, we’ve now extended it to include the Virtual Machines (VMs). This effectively gives you HA protection all the way from the cloud infrastructure up to the workloads running on your private cloud.

We’ve also included non-disruptive upgrade capabilities to maximize uptime and avoid service interruptions. We’ve combined this with a more business-oriented release cycle and longer support offerings to ensure that the focus remains on maximizing uptime and productivity.

Of course, this is just what you would expect from an enterprise solution veteran like SUSE.

New Container-as-a-Service Capabilities

With SUSE OpenStack Cloud 7, we’ve included full support for Docker containers, using Kubernetes as the container orchestration framework, delivered via the integration of OpenStack Magnum. This provides Containers-as-a-Service (CaaS) capabilities, helping you to design and build new, innovative cloud-native workloads and applications.

Kubernetes enables the creation of machine clusters and provides the building blocks to deploy, maintain and scale workloads in a cloud environment. Magnum makes it easy to integrate Kubernetes in an OpenStack cloud by automating the setup of the container infrastructure. Magnum builds on the OpenStack orchestration service (Heat) to create a set of virtual machines that Kubernetes can use to create the container infrastructure. Users can then use Kubernetes to build and manage containerized workloads.

A single OpenStack cloud can provide support for containers and VMs simultaneously. This means that customers can run traditional VM-based enterprise workloads alongside new cloud-native applications on the same infrastructure.

Unified Software-defined Storage for Production Workloads

SUSE OpenStack Cloud 7 includes support for both OpenStack Manila and CephFS, giving our customers a unified storage system to run production workloads with block, object and file access within a single cluster in their private cloud, helping to reduce capital and operation costs.

The newest release of SUSE Enterprise Storage provides support for CephFS, which is a Posix-compatible file system that runs on top of the Ceph cluster. SUSE OpenStack Cloud 7 takes advantage of this new storage capability by integrating a CephFS driver as part of Manila.

Manila is a file sharing service that gives end users the ability to define files that can be shared across multiple virtual machines. Because many enterprise applications have been using shared file servers as backend storage devices for years, this is an important factor in making it easier to move traditional workloads onto OpenStack.

What Else Do You Need?

These new features and enhanced capabilities are important factors in helping to bridge the two worlds of IT and in delivering the full value of OpenStack for your business.

But what else do you need?

Well, if you want to move existing virtualized workloads to your cloud, you might want support for the specific hypervisor that those workloads were designed to run on. It’s reassuring to know that SUSE OpenStack Cloud still boasts the widest hypervisor support on the market. This includes KVM, XEN, Hyper-V, VMware and even z/VM for IBM mainframes. Why? Because that’s what our customers have asked for. They want to move workloads to their private cloud more easily and when it makes the most business sense for them.

Here’s another thing to think about. Evolving an existing IT infrastructure into a private cloud requires support for all your existing hardware. For OpenStack cloud, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is proving to be the ideal foundation, delivering the broadest support and the best interoperability available. This all adds up to great investment protection.

There’s one other important factor. You’ll want world-class support for your entire OpenStack cloud platform, top to bottom. You’re probably already aware that SUSE is a pioneer of open source enterprise-grade software solutions. We’ve been providing world-class Linux support for over 20 years. And for SUSE OpenStack Cloud, we provide support for the whole solutions stack.

It’s no secret. SUSE has always been focused on making SUSE OpenStack Cloud the open source private cloud of choice for enterprise business.

We’ve designed it to help deliver the full value of OpenStack for YOUR business.

*The Newton release of OpenStack is actually named after a house of historical interest on East 9th Street in Austin. The OpenStack Summit in spring 2016 was held in Austin.

SUSE Partner Software Certifications

By: Kay Tate

Kay Tate is the ISV Programs Manager at SUSE, driving the support of SUSE platforms by ISVs and across key verticals and categories. She has worked with and designed programs for UNIX and Linux ISVs for fifteen years at IBM and, since 2009, at SUSE. Her responsibilities include managing the SUSE Partner Software Catalog, Sales-requested application recruitment, shaping partner initiatives and streamlining SUSE and Partner Portal processes for ISVs.

It's a very exciting time in the product certifications area. At SUSECON, we announced the expansion of the SUSE Ready program to include SUSE OpenStack Cloud and SUSE Enterprise Storage in addition to our longstanding SUSE Linux Enterprise portfolio. You can begin finding these partner certifications in the catalog. For SUSE OpenStack Cloud, you can already see solutions from our partners:

Storage support is brand new in the catalog, and we are helping partners get the first certified application entries in now.

Meanwhile, we have been reminding and assisting our SUSE Linux Enterprise partners in keeping their solutions up-to-date, while adding about thirty new partners and more than 200 solutions in the last quarter. The list is too broad to mention here, so check for your favorite solution for an update at If you know about a new or updated solution we need to help our partner get into the catalog, please email us at