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Next SUSE Rancher and SLES Previewed at SUSECON

SUSECON Digital opened its event with previews of upcoming versions of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and SUSE Rancher.

A tech conference isn't a tech conference without a few product announcements, and the first day of SUSECON didn't disappoint.

SUSE officially unveiled SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15 Service Pack 3 and SUSE Rancher 2.6, although neither is slated for release until the back half of this year. The new version of SLES had its beta release in early March.

Perhaps the biggest new "feature" in the new SLES is its binary compatibility with openSUSE Leap, one of two free community editions of SUSE. This makes the two Linux distributions essentially the same, which will be good for developers who will be able to test their software on Leap before putting it in production on a SLES server.

SUSE also thinks this might make Leap attractive to current production users of CentOS 8, the free downstream clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux which will lose support at the end of the year, as Red Hat has moved the project upstream of RHEL.

"SUSE plans to introduce programs and services to help users of CentOS, which no longer has binary compatibility with any commercial Linux distribution, migrate to Leap," the company said in a statement.

SLES 15 SP3 will also introduce SUSE Linux Enterprise Base Container Images, flexible and secure container images and application development tools for developers and integrators. The company said it has plans for additional hardened and certified container images for users in regulated markets but offered no timeline on availability.

In addition to SLE, SUSE previewed an upcoming version of Rancher, an enterprise command center for Kubernetes known for it's ease of use. Rancher is also "Kubernetes agnostic," meaning it's designed to be used with any Kubernetes distribution, which both does away with vendor lock in and makes the platform more agile in a multi-cloud environment.

With SUSE Rancher 2.6, the number of Kubernetes distributions it can support has been raised by two, with the addition of Microsoft Azure's AKS and Google Cloud Platform's GKE. Rancher 2.6 also will add support for SLE's Base Container Images.

And a tech show isn’t a tech show without a keynote from a company executive. This show was no exception: Sheng Liang also gave his first keynote as a SUSE's newly minted president of engineering and innovation.

Liang was previously the co-founder and CEO of the Kubernetes-based startup Rancher, which SUSE bought in a deal that closed in December 2020.

"Because of our common culture and common beliefs, the integration of Rancher and SUSE has gone exceedingly well," Liang said near the beginning of his keynote. "We have pulled together the deep technical talent from both companies, and we're accelerating our pace of innovation. You trust us with your mission critical workloads; we will not let you down."

SUSE Edge and Hybrid IT

SUSE also announced a couple of full stack solutions for specific use cases.

SUSE Edge is for connecting edge locations "to public and private clouds and data centers with automation, security and a common management framework." It includes SUSE Linux Enterprise Micro, a lightweight version of SLE designed for edge deployments; K3s, Rancher's minified version of Kubernetes; SUSE Rancher; and SUSE Manager, for managing non-containerized cloud-ready application workloads.

SUSE Hybrid IT combines SUSE Rancher, RKE, Longhorn, SUSE Manager, and SLES to create a complete software stack for running both traditional applications and cloud native applications in data centers and in cloud environments.

"Today’s announcements demonstrate our commitment to innovation with game-changing enhancements to our SUSE Linux Enterprise and SUSE Rancher Kubernetes management technologies, new cloud-ready and cloud-native solutions for Edge and Hybrid IT environments, and a host of cutting-edge open source projects," SUSE's CEO Melissa Di Donato said in a statement.

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