Best practices for maintaining a fully supported SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLES) system

This document (000019588) is provided subject to the disclaimer at the end of this document.

Environment

SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15

Situation

When contacting SUSE Customer Support for assistance it may be requested to update a system to the latest Service Pack, patches and / or Kernel.

Resolution

Ideally SUSE recommends to regularly patch / update systems to make sure these are running with the latest security and bug fixes. In general the following needs to be noted:
  • SUSE recommends to always endeavour to run systems with the latest available patch level for a system to be fully supported (See NOTE below).
  • If any issues are encountered with a package or kernel version for which a newer version is available, it may be requested to update to the new package version in order to be fully supported for these issues.

SUSE also provides Long Term Service Pack Support (LTSS) for customers where it is not possible to update to the latest Service Pack within the standard supported time period. For more information on the supported life times of the various SUSE products see the lifecycle page. With LTSS however a common misconception is that it is then also not needed to keep a system fully patched.

Add-on products, for example SUSE Manager always need to be on the latest supported version and are not part of LTSS at any time.

In general to be fully supported even with an existing LTSS contract, it is needed to at least keep such a system fully patched with the latest available patches and kernel for the Service Pack version for which LTSS is in place.

Finally the following important section from the terms and conditions for our products apply:
 
8. Product Support Lifecycle and Application of Current Software. SUSE’s product support lifecycle provides support availability guidelines for SUSE Products and is described at: https://www.suse.com/support/policy.html. Subscription Offering benefits may be conditioned on You having applied the most current maintenance software available; for example, once a new Service Pack becomes available, support may be conditioned on You having applied that Service Pack. Similarly, support for Modules may be conditioned on You having updated to the most recent Module version made available by SUSE.
 
NOTE: In general however SUSE will still provide best effort support in certain scenarios, for example in a system down scenario it will still be attempted to at least get a system in a running state again. Even then however depending on the root cause of the problem, it may be expected / required that a system has to be patched / updated.

Additional Information

The following links can also be useful in finding updates and to determine the latest available package and kernel versions:
 
Additionally see the following TIDs for information on how to properly register SLES systems:
 
TID 000015973 - How to register SLE 10/11 using the command line
TID 000018564 - How to register SLES 12 using the SUSEConnect command line tool

Also of importance when it comes to support is the taint status of the kernel, for more information see:
 
TID 000016321 - Tainted kernel

Disclaimer

This Support Knowledgebase provides a valuable tool for SUSE customers and parties interested in our products and solutions to acquire information, ideas and learn from one another. Materials are provided for informational, personal or non-commercial use within your organization and are presented "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND.

  • Document ID:000019588
  • Creation Date: 11-Mar-2020
  • Modified Date:11-Mar-2020
    • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

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