Red Hat Renews Server Management Portfolio With Satellite 6

The Linux vendor breaks with its past and builds a new server management platform from open-source projects.

Red Hat

Linux vendor Red Hat today announced the general availability of its Satellite 6 server management product, representing a new breed of technology that is different from its predecessors.

The Satellite 5 and earlier series of server management technologies from Red Hat were largely based on the Spacewalk open-source project that Red Hat started in 2008. The new Satellite 6 release breaks from that path; it is not based on Spacewalk, but rather has its roots in multiple other open-source efforts, including Foreman, Pulp and Puppet.

David Caplan, senior product manager at Red Hat, said in a Webcast event launching Satellite 6 that the open-source Spacewalk community has been very vibrant over the last several years and has had a positive impact on the Satellite 5 product. He added that the fact that Satellite 6 is not based on Spacewalk doesn't mean that the Spacewalk project should shut down.

"We'll continue to cherry-pick features that are showing up in the community and bring them into Satellite 5 for the remainder of its roadmap," Caplan said. "There are no plans to curtail the Spacewalk community, and we hope our customers will continue to benefit from its presence."

Red Hat has a transition toolkit for Satellite 5 users who decide to migrate to Satellite 6, according to Caplan. Migrating to the new release is not urgent, however, and customers can move at their own pace, he stressed.

The Satellite 6 release has a focus on cloud systems management, including provisioning and tracking systems, according to Joe Fitzgerald, general manager of cloud management at Red Hat. Those systems can be bare metal servers or virtual, public, hybrid or private cloud deployments. Fitzgerald explained that Satellite 6 has the goal of reducing complexity for system administrators and can help standardize the way that servers are managed and configured.

Dealing with the issue of scale is another key goal and enhancement in Satellite 6. With Satellite 6, Red Hat is introducing new capsule servers that can be deployed in branch offices for system management. The capsule servers are connected back into a central Satellite 6 server that mirrors the content and configuration information for the capsule servers across a distributed environment.

Satellite 6 joins other technologies in Red Hat's IT management portfolio, including the CloudForms cloud management product. CloudForms was updated in August to release 3.1, providing hybrid cloud management capabilities. Together, Satellite and CloudForms can help organizations manage and scale their cloud deployments, Fitzgerald said.

Satellite and CloudForms operate at two different levels of the management stack, according to Fitzgerald.

"CloudForms is a higher level of abstraction for auditing, capacity planning and orchestration, whereas Satellite works as an elemental tool focused on software package management configuration at a different level," he said.

So what's next for Satellite beyond the 6.0 release? Caplan said the new release provides a solid foundation for future innovations, and Satellite will provide more choices for configuration management in future versions. Another area of Satellite investment is in managing virtualization container life cycles. Red Hat is among the major technology backers of the open-source Docker container virtualization effort and supports Docker in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.