Red Hat Network Satellite 5.3 Available Today

September 2, 2009

by Systems Management Team

The Red Hat Network (RHN) Satellite team is pleased to announce the general availability of RHN Satellite and Proxy version 5.3 today. RHN Satellite is Red Hat’s on-premises systems management solution that provides software updates, configuration management, provisioning and monitoring for Red Hat Enterprise Linux deployments. RHN Satellite 5.3 includes some of the newest features that were born directly from issue tracker tickets submitted by customers, as well as contributions from the Spacewalk community. Thanks to all, today we’re able to provide the next version of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems management platform.

RHN Satellite 5.3 contains many exciting new features that are grouped around three key themes:

  • Leveraging and including cutting-edge open source systems management projects such as Cobbler.
  • Easier management of larger, complex environments.
  • Expanded automation and virtualization capabilities.

Cutting-edge open source systems management projects: Satellite now includes Cobbler provisioning

With the incorporation of more mature open source Cobbler technology in the product’s underlying provisioning architecture, Red Hat provides increased flexibility and faster provisioning setups for Red Hat Network Satellite customers. Leveraging great functionally specific technologies like Cobbler offers customers powerful, feature-rich tools that now plug into a comprehensive common systems management framework, a framework that enhances the value of the subscription of any deployment of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and is backed with the commercial support and commitment of Red Hat.

Improving the underlying provisioning architecture of Satellite is a major goal of the Satellite 5.3 release. Cobbler is a Linux installation server that seeks to provide rapid setup of network installation environments. Administrators can use Cobbler to store, manage and automate several aspects of system installation and provisioning, from package installation and channel subscription to DHCP and DNS configuration. We believe that it is fundamentally a better way to provision Linux systems that offers faster and easier setup and maintenance for provisioning infrastructure.

The major advantage of basing Satellite on Project Spacewalk is that the community can now fully participate in its development. Satellite is now more agile when addressing changing market needs and better able to flexibly incorporate new technologies, for example, Cobbler. Red Hat customers now have a direct ability to influence the direction and extension of the Satellite product.

Easier management of larger, complex environments

RHN Satellite includes a significant update to the Multiple Organizations feature, which allows administrators to view, create and manage multiple organizations across the Satellite.

Trust relationships between organizations are now supported, allowing Satellite Administrators to establish mutual connections between two or more organizations. Organizations within a trust can share their custom content channels with each other, provided that the Organization Administrator or Channel Administrator gives access to the custom channel in the channel sharing configuration. Organization Administrators can now migrate systems from one trusted organization to another. The system configuration history (such as entitlements, software and configuration channels and virtual guest associations) are preserved. The destination organization can then configure the system for their purposes.

The benefits from these improvements to the Multiple Organizations feature include:

  • More efficient use of disk space due to less duplication, and
  • Greater consistency because all shared content is the same (less risk of one organization having a different package set than the other which is particularly helpful with compliance initiative such as PCI and FISMA).

RHN Satellite now features Inter-Satellite Sync support, which allows Satellite Administrators to synchronize channel content from one master Satellite server to one or more slave Satellites, regardless of location. Some of the benefits of this include faster sharing of content between Satellite servers and fewer errors than if content is manually copied.

Expanded virtualization and automation capabilities

Satellite’s Application Programming Interface (API) has been expanded so that practically any command that can be accomplished via the web interface can now be done via the API. RHN Satellite includes virtual platform management capabilities that allow customers to create and entitle Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems on Xen and KVM Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems.

A major emphasis of this release was to complete the number of APIs so that customers can interact with Satellite outside of the web interface. While using the web interface meets the needs of the majority of customers, we do have customers that want to interact with Satellite via API. Generally these type of customers have large and complex environments, and Satellite is just one part of their systems management infrastructure. They want to call and execute certain actions within Satellite from other tools and scripts, without having to go into the web interface to manually execute these commands. With the 5.3 release of Satellite, many commands in Satellite that can be accomplished via the web interface can now be done via the API, including new calls for the multiple organizations feature, Cobbler installation server and system and errata search. Only the Monitoring module cannot be fully addressable via APIs.

Additionally, Satellite 5.3 enables customers to manage large deployments more easily and with comparable performance to smaller deployments.

With virtualization as a key requirement in many of today’s IT environments, Satellite offers one console that can update, provision and monitor both physical and virtual Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems. With virtual platform management capabilities that allow customers to create and entitle Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems with the ability to install the same systems profiles physically and virtually in a repeatable, centrally managed way, it frees up administrator’s time to focus on higher value-add projects.

So, there you have the key features available today in RHN Satellite 5.3. There are many other new capabilities that are too numerous to list in this short space. To see a complete list of everything new in Satellite 5.3, be sure to read the release notes.

For more information about systems management, take a look at the Red Hat-sponsored IDC whitepaper that examines the key functions and benefits of system management software in today’s business and enterprise environments.

For additional Satellite 5.3 product information, visit our product pages.

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