Novell Starts Talking SLES 11

Among the company's lofty goals is to make SLES 11 available as an appliance that will be supported by a new tool set.

SALT LAKE CITY-Novell used its BrainShare 2008 conference here to start talking publicly about its development plans for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11, the next version of its server operating system.

Among the company's lofty goals is to make SLES 11 available as an appliance that will be supported by a new tool set designed to quickly build specialized images.

Novell is also planning to deliver optimized versions of SUSE Linux Enterprise for specific ISV stacks as well as a new embedded version of to allow independent hardware vendors to embed virtualization and operating systems directly into the hardware.

"It is really important that we start marshalling all the players in the industry around the next milestone in Linux development, which is what SLES 11 will be," CTO Jeff Jaffe said March 17.

The technical areas of primary focus will be the mission-critical data center, the tools to allow Unix-to-Linux migration, green IT, and continued work on the Linux desktop, Jaffe said.

On the mission-critical data center front, SLES 11 will include automated and assisted self-healing capabilities, including single-node clusters and automated hardware failure detection, he said.

The server OS will also focus on an upgrade to the latest Linux kernel, which is currently expected to be version 2.6.27, as well as storage management technologies, including the OpenAIS cluster communication infrastructure and the fully POSIX-conforming Oracle Cluster File System 2

With regard to virtualization innovations, SLES 11 will increase support for the next version of the Xen hypervisor, which is expected to be version 3.3, and support for cross-platform virtualization, allowing customers to easily consolidate Linux, Windows and NetWare servers, Jaffe said.

New virtual appliance building functionality will be included, taking advantage of the Novell ZENworks and PlateSpin automated management.

SLES 11 will also include the Mono 2.0 development framework, which includes support for Microsoft's .Net 3.5 and a .Net 2.0 profile, as well as better Mac support and a Mono migration analysis tool that will help users look at how ready their .Net applications are to migrate to Linux, he said.

The server software will also have new power management features, which are expected to include Linux kernel support for tickles idle, support for processor c-states, NUMA support, and enhanced support for hardware virtualization technologies like Intel's VMDq (virtual machine device queues).

Asked if Novell was concerned about the recent release of Windows Server 2008, Justin Steinman, Novell's director of product marketing for Linux and open platform solutions, told eWEEK it was not, saying both were gaining ground at the expense of Unix.

"We are still seeing most migrations off Unix to Linux coming from Solaris, largely because of its tie-in to [Sun Microsystems'] SPARC hardware and the fact that it does not come close to achieving the benchmarks SLES 10 does on x86 hardware. The release of OpenSolaris has also not done anything to slow down the migrations to Linux," he said.

Novell partners expressed early support for SLES 11, with Jeff Smith, vice president of software for open source and Linux at IBM, saying in a statement that SLES 11 will run across the full range of IBM software and systems.

For her part, Susan Hauser, a general manager at Microsoft, said in a statement that Microsoft recognized the growing importance of interoperability across products from different vendors and is "excited about the impact [SLES 11] will have on interoperability efforts throughout the ecosystem.