Novell Updates SUSE Linux Enterprise 11

Novell is out today with its first major update to its SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 operating system. SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 Service Pack 1 (SP1) does at least one thing differently than Novell has done in the past with updates for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 9 and 10: It introduces a new Linux kernel.

When it comes to enterprise Linux distributions, maintaining compatibility throughout a version release is critical for software and hardware vendor support. That’s why enterprise Linux vendors including Novell and Red Hat typically retain the same Linux kernel version number throughout the entirety of an enterprise release like SLES 10 and backport features from newer kernels. Novell is now breaking that mold with SLES 11 SP1, in an effort it says will provide more functionality while maintaining compatibility.

“There were some things that led us to update the kernel itself, which is something that we normally don’t do: Neither SLES 9 or SLES 10 got a kernel update,” Markus Rex, director of open platform solutions at Novell, told InternetNews.com. “But in this particular case, after deep discussion with our ISV and hardware vendors that gave us certifications, we felt in this case a kernel update was the appropriate step to take.”

When SLES 11 first shipped, it included the Linux 2.6.27 kernel. With SLES 11 SP1, Novell is rebasing the kernel on the Linux 2.6.32 version.

“The biggest thing is that, as a server operating system, we have to make sure that we run on the appropriate server chips,” Rex said. “So the key decision factor for us was that we wanted to make sure we supported the newest hardware to the maximum capabilities.”

With the newer kernel, SLES 11 SP1 is getting hardware enablement for the latest Intel Westmere chips as well as additional Linux scheduler improvements.

Read full story at Server Watch: Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 Updates Kernel, Virtualization

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