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Why You Should Be Using SLES 11 SP3
Written by:  David Byte   |   Category: Products
When it comes to change, most IT shops and OEMs would prefer not to make a jump to a recent OS update until they absolutely must.

I understand, I’ve been there and done that. Understanding the aversion, I am still encouraging every partner (end user, IHV or OEM) to make the jump to SLES 11 SP3.


Simply stated, it is the best quality enterprise Linux available on the market today. Being a consolidation oriented release, there are no earth shaking changes or introductions of new, dramatic technologies, yet the update brings the latest stable packages such as the enterprise hypervisors in KVM 1.4 and Xen 4.2 (yes, that’s right, we support both), improved reliability and scalability through enabling features brought to market by hardware partners and improved security by enabling technology such as UEFI Secure Boot.

A few specific callouts:

  • Support for the latest Intel and AMD Processors
  • Included is the tech preview of virtio-blk-data-plane for KVM.  This technology is responsible for an incredible 50%+ boost in disk I/O performance for KVM guests.  What does this mean to you?  Virtualized databases are now quite realistic as are a great many other applications that suffered from being disk I/O bound in a virtualized environment.  You can find more about it  in this article from Michal Svec.
  • LIO scsi target –  This codebase is far more powerful and scalable than previous scsi targets.  LIO is integrated with  technologies beyond iSCSI such as FcOE, Infiniband technologies (iSER and SRP), USB, etc.  It is even possible to use LIO in conjunction with SUSE’s HA Extensions to build a scale out storage environment.
  • For markets where IPv6 is being implemented en mass, we have extended our support to ensure proper functioning of NFSv3 environments.  For  HPC and similar environments, there is also pNFS client support, a rather “big deal” for scale out infrastructure.

I would encourage our partners and customers to continue evaluating and testing btrfs as the codebase continues to receive a tremendous amount of community attention and development.  While I am not recommending it for your production data volumes today (on the other hand, your system volumes stand to benefit from the snapshot functionality), it is rapidly maturing and presents a number of unique value propositions that I would expect to be leveraged as we move forward in the future.  Expect to hear more from others and myself about the exciting future of btrfs and the value it represents.

Other fixes and improvements are present in almost every corner of the OS, whether it is a filesystem, virtualization management tools, HA stack, etc. and benefit our partners and customers in a wide variety of ways.  If you haven’t started looking at SLES 11 SP3, consider whether you can really afford to not have the best enterprise Linux available and download it today.


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