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Julia Gugel

SLES15 SP1 – New features

With SLES15 SUSE introduced the Multimodal OS and the unified installer. Means, you only get what you really need. Your OS is flexible and you can easily add features you need and remove them as well. But this article shouldn’t be an explanation of the multimodal OS, it will show you some of the new features of SLES15 SP1.

SUSE supports the migration from SLES15 to SLES15 SP1 in online mode.
You can upgrade using two possibilities, YaST migration (GUI) and Zypper migration (command line).
Be sure that your system is registered at the SUSE Customer Center or has a local RMT server. Afterwards, just use “zypper migration”, type the number of the product you want to migrate and accept the terms of the license. That’s it.
The best way to check, if the installation was successful.

sles15:~ # cat /etc/os-release | grep PRETTY_NAME
PRETTY_NAME="SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15 SP1"

So let’s have a look at the new features and improvements of SLES15 SP1 .

Unified Installer

SUSE Manager Server and Proxy are now available as base products. Both can be installed using the unified installer.
Point of Service and SLE Real Time are also included in the unified installer now.

Transactional Update

In OpenSUSE Leap and SUSE CaaS transactional update was already implemented, now it is also possible to run transactional updates with SLE. To install transactional update, the Transactional Server Module needs to get activated first (no additional key is needed). Afterwards the transactional-update package and its dependencies can be installed.

sle15:~ #  SUSEConnect --product sle-module-transactional-server/15.1/x86_64
Registering system to SUSE Customer Center

Updating system details on https://scc.suse.com ...

Activating sle-module-transactional-server 15.1 x86_64 ...
-> Adding service to system ...
-> Installing release package ...

Successfully registered system
sle15:~ # zypper install transactional-update
Refreshing service 'Basesystem_Module_15_SP1_x86_64'.
Refreshing service 'SUSE_Linux_Enterprise_Server_15_SP1_x86_64'.
Refreshing service 'Server_Applications_Module_15_SP1_x86_64'.
Refreshing service 'Transactional_Server_Module_15_SP1_x86_64'.
Loading repository data...
Reading installed packages...
Resolving package dependencies...

The following 6 NEW packages are going to be installed:
  attr bc openslp psmisc rsync transactional-update

6 new packages to install.
Overall download size: 686.6 KiB. Already cached: 0 B. After the operation, additional 1.3 MiB will be used.
Continue? [y/n/v/...? shows all options] (y): y

As you maybe know, SUSE uses btrfs with snapper as default for the file systems. This builds the basis for the transactional updates. Transactional updates are applied into a new snapshot, so the running system is not touched. Using this technology, the updated snapshot will be activated after the next reboot. So this is an update, that is
– Atomic: either fully applied or not.
– Easily revertabled: after a failed update the return to the previous (running) system is easy.

Simplified btrfs layout

There is only one single subvolume under /var not 10 for simplified and consistens snapshots. This takes only effect for fresh installations. Upgraded systems still use the old layout.
Startings with SLES15 SP1 there is also the possibility to have each home-directory as single subvolume. But this is not the default.

Secure encrypted virtualization (SEV)

Data encryption is a important topic in todays IT environments. Data stored on disk is widley encrypted, but how about the data in RAM? AMD’s SEV gives the opportunity to protect Linux KVM virtual machines by encrypting the memory of each VM with a unique key. It can also generate a signature, that attests the correct encryption.
This increases system security a lot and protects VM for memory scrape attachs from hypervisor.
With SLES15 SP1, Suse provides full support for this technology. For further information about SEV, click here .

Quarterly Updates

Starting with 15 SP1 SUSE offers quarterly updates of the installation and package media. They will be refreshed every quarter with all maintenance and security updates. SO for the setup of new systems there is always a recent and up-to-date state.

Conclusion

This is not the full list of new features, only an abstract. But nevertheless, especially the transactional update makes it effortable to upgrade to SLES15 SP1. And always think about the security improvements which come with every new release.

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Julia Gugel
Julia Gugel

Consultant