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SUSECON 2022 highlights include container management, edge

SUSECON featured several key product launches and trends, including business-critical Linux, containers and the edge. But how will SUSE impact the market?

SUSE's annual global conference, SUSECON, held virtually in June, was jam-packed with initiatives and information essential for the future of SUSE and for the open source market.

A lot has occurred in the last year for SUSE. For one, SUSE is now listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and was the largest enterprise software IPO in Europe in 2021, according to the vendor. I find this interesting, considering how long SUSE has been in the market. Based on SUSECON, it's clear that the direction of the business is focused on maturity and growth.

Highlights of SUSECON

The commitment to the open source community shaped the talk track at SUSECON 2022. SUSE CEO Melissa Di Donato kicked off the event, highlighting the company's main focus areas with these products and initiatives:

  • business-critical Linux
  • enterprise container management
  • cloud-native edge innovation

As I do a deeper dive into each of these areas, it is important to understand that the self-proclaimed global leader in innovation for enterprise open source products has history and depth. This event provided more than 180 sessions, and even though I was not able to attend every one, it was clear that SUSE delivered responses to complement three decades of open innovation, from the tech stack form of Linux to Kubernetes to the edge.

Prior to the event, I had the opportunity to meet with SUSE representatives Greg Muscarella, general manager of enterprise container management; Markus Noga, general manager of Linux; and Keith Basil, general manager of edge. All three were passionate and excited about the future direction.

Business-critical Linux: What's new?

The new release of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15 Service Pack 4 features new compatibility between openSUSE Leap -- a long-term-support-style distribution that shares its codebase with SUSE Linux Enterprise -- and SUSE Linux Enterprise. This announcement also introduced SUSE Linux Enterprise Base Container Images (SLE BCI), which provides open container images and application development tools for developers and integrators.

SUSE Harvester launched in December 2021, which features cloud-native hyper-converged infrastructure enhancements, and SUSE Liberty Linux launched earlier this year, which provides unified support for managing heterogeneous IT environments -- including Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CentOS and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

These two major updates are in response to SUSE's customer base. SUSE is looking to be the infrastructure stack that organizations can rely upon to safeguard innovation, technology and business.

Enterprise container management: More than an 'us too' approach

Another key takeaway is the focus on security. Since the two months post-acquisition of NeuVector, SUSE has made it available as open source. This includes a recent submission of Open Zero Trust to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation as a sandbox container security project, with the goal of increasing adoption and establishing an industry standard for container security.

It is clear that SUSE has continued to respond to shifts in the market with new innovations.

SUSE Rancher 2.6.5 expands on the ease-of-use messaging. This release features a new user interface design that focuses on the cluster management experience, as well as full lifecycle management of Microsoft Azure Kubernetes Service and Google Kubernetes Engine. This enhances the existing support for Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service and enables customers to take advantage of each public cloud's Kubernetes service while using the consistent management, advanced features and automation in Rancher. In addition, SUSE Rancher 2.6.5 will introduce support for SLE BCI.

Cloud-native offerings for edge

SUSE introduced two initiatives focused on the edge. First, SUSE Edge connects edges to public and private clouds and data centers using automation, security and a common management framework. Next, to support the edge, SUSE believes there is a need for customers and developers to have a platform that combines SUSE Rancher, Rancher Kubernetes Engine, Longhorn, SUSE Manager and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. To meet this need, the vendor introduced a hybrid IT software stack, which has the ability to run traditional and cloud-native applications in data center and cloud environments.

What does this all mean to DevOps and the market?

With SUSECON 2022 coming to a close, it is clear that SUSE has continued to respond to shifts in the market with new innovations. Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) data shows edge location growth is on the rise. Core data centers are not growing, and the infrastructure is moving to alternative, smaller locations. In fact, our 2021 ESG Research Report on hyper-converged infrastructure trends revealed that there is significant growth of edge locations anticipated during the next two years. And 30% of survey respondents indicated their organizations expect to have 500 to 1,000 edge locations over the next two years.

Chart on edge location research

With this growth of edge locations, we see latency, compliance and cost as key factors where organizations face challenges. These factors, combined with limited to no IT staff and physical constraints related to connectivity and outages, all lead to unpredictable demands on the location. These demands can consist of burst capacity, analytics for data processing and other workloads, to name a few.

An additional, often overlooked challenge is storage growth at the edge, which is an essential consideration for enterprise IT infrastructure. That said, data most likely will need to be processed in place locally at the source of data creation. Advanced uses such as AI/ML at the edge could help industries like retail, healthcare, finance, pharmacy and transportation deliver faster data and analytical results. We will see growth of over 3 petabytes of storage at the edge in the next three years, according to ESG research.

SUSE is looking to address these challenges by delivering an easy-to-use, open source offering that is lightweight and customizable. It makes sense to see this messaging and the focus on the adaptability to a dynamic market.

Another key area of focus is the hybrid cloud model. SUSE is tackling this head-on with business-critical Linux as the underlying foundation. Our 2021 ESG Research Report on cloud-native applications indicated that 88% of organizations are running production workloads in the cloud. We also see from the same report that 89% of respondents indicated they are running on two or more cloud service providers. So, SUSE seems to be on point with what's happening in the marketplace.

Final point of view

Container adoption and management, cloud-native and application modernization, and delivering faster release cycles are areas that organizations are looking to drive forward. Many organizations are often paralyzed by process and not sure how to move forward.

With the announcements at SUSECON, I am interested to see whether SUSE can break through these industry obstacles to help deliver on its promise of business success. It remains to be seen if the technologies, tools and approaches communicated at this event will provide the capabilities to address these concerns. Will SUSE be able to execute and continue the momentum? Time will tell. Stay tuned for SUSECON 2023.

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