The next “tick” of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for IBM Z and LinuxONE

The working philosophy at Fort Vale is “continuous improvement” according to the UK-based engineering company deploying its new ERP system on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and IBM LinuxONE.

Continuous improvement is also a good theme for the next “tick” of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server – following the “tick-tock” approach that SUSE uses for releases. SLES 15 SP1 is now available for IBM Z and LinuxONE, and builds on the previous major release of SLES 15. With enhancements for security, integration and performance, it is designed to help customers take full advantage of the new features of the underlying IBM Z and LinuxONE hardware.

20 years of partnership between IBM and SUSE

IBM and SUSE have been partners for over 20 years– with a special focus on enterprise class systems. The closeness in Germany of SUSE’s development team in Nuremberg with IBM’s Linux on Z project in Boeblingen led to early customer deployments and an ongoing relationship which continues to thrive.

Earlier this year, I joined SUSE in Nashville for their annual conference, SUSECON. Amongst all the country music and live bands, I had the opportunity to talk with many of our joint customers, and understand how mission-critical qualities such as security, scalability and reliability have never been more important than in today’s 24×7 “always-on” world.

SUSE and IBM are also founding members of the Open Mainframe Project: an open source initiative hosted by the Linux Foundation to build the community and adoption of Linux and open source on enterprise systems such as IBM Z and LinuxONE. This summer, nine global student interns are mentored by SUSE, IBM and other OMP members to work on projects to tackle research and development challenges.

New capabilities of SLES 15 SP1 on IBM Z and LinuxONE

The new “tick” of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server on IBM Z and LinuxONE adds many capabilities, but if I had to choose three I’d select the following:

  • Hardware encryption support now includes the IBM Crypto Express6S card, accelerating encryption for both data at rest and data in flight, and providing a Hardware Security Module for storing keys.
  • Shared memory communications enables faster memory-speed communications between existing z/OS data and next-generation Linux workloads on IBM Z.
  • Faster networking through support for high-speed Ethernet connections with the new IBM OSA-Express7S.

You can read the full details in section 8 of the SLES 15 SP1 Release Notes.

Customer case studies

Fort Vale Engineering is the market leader for manufacturing stainless-steel provision valves used around the world to ensure the safe transit of bulk liquids, powders and gases.

They deployed IBM LinuxONE running SUSE Linux Enterprise Server to support their new ERP application, and deployed IBM DS8882 all-flash storage alongside. In the words of their managing director, Ian Wilson, “Given our global operations, we need our systems to be available round-the-clock, so reliability is a priority for us.”

You can read more details here.

North Carolina Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company (NCFB) is a leading insurer which faced increasing demand for highly individualized insurance policies.

An IBM Z system is at the core of their infrastructure, running IBM z/OS and Linux on IBM Z. Leveraging IBM z/VM virtualization technology, NCFB runs applications using the SUSE Linux distribution, including policy management systems and its own in-house Policy Center application.

“The ability to run our legacy applications and our modern, specialist ones using both z/OS and Linux on Z is super convenient, and gives us a high degree of IT management flexibility,” says Justin Randall, Technical Services Supervisor at NCFB. You can read more details here.

Containers and Kubernetes

I sat down at SUSECON with Mike Friesenegger, SUSE’s Technology Strategist for IBM Z and LinuxONE, to hear about the projects he is working on which are also available to try out through the openSUSE Build Service.

Containers and Kubernetes are a major area of interest in the marketplace, offering a faster and more effective way to develop, package and deploy applications. SUSE Linux Enterprise service includes the Docker container engine and validated container images in the containers module. For container orchestration, Kubernetes packages for Z are available to try out from the openSUSE Build Service.

Summary

This “tick” of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server show both the continuous improvement in SLES and the ongoing partnership between IBM and SUSE, and shows why many Linux customers are choosing to run the combination of SLES and IBM Z or LinuxONE.

Find out more at www.ibm.com/linuxone, www.ibm.com/it-infrastructure/z/os/linux and www.suse.com.