Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Thursday, July 16, 2020
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Red Hat Upgrades Satellite Management, Hints at Container Tools 

Red Hat continues to expand its cloud management toolkit with the release of its Satellite 6 suite as the open-source specialist sharpens its focus on areas like subscription management and underlying content distribution features for the datacenter and cloud.

Based on a batch of open-source tools, including the first implementation of Puppet in the Red Hat management suite, the latest Satellite incorporates a "capsule" feature that automates provisioning of federated cloud services and localizing content. The capsule feature handles bare-metal provisioning along with provisioning for VMware ESXi and the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization hypervisors, the RHEL OpenStack Platform, and the Amazon Web Services public cloud.

Along with the upgrading and provisioning of bare-metal infrastructure and "holistic" configuration management, Red Hat also is emphasizing new management features such as subscription tracking. The standardized subscription management package includes a built-in reporting engine, Red Hat said.

Those features, along with the integration of Puppet, Foreman, Pulp, Katello and Candlepin, are added in response to the evolving cloud management requirements of customers, Joe Fitzgerald, Red Hat's general manager for cloud management, said in an interview.

Last upgraded in 2012, Satellite 6 reflects the growing shift toward open-source tools and innovation, Fitzgerald added. The goal was to reduce the number of tools needed for cloud management while integrating management into a single console to manage systems regardless of where they deployed.

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Red Hat predicted this summer that Satellite could play a larger role in content management as software and applications container technologies like Docker enter the cloud mainstream. Fitzgerald and Chris Wells of Red Hat's cloud management business unit each cited its open-source container effort, called Project Atomic, and hinted at a future container management feature. "That's coming," Fitzgerald said.

Red Hat and Cisco Systems disclosed in early September that they are collaborating under the Project Atomic umbrella on development of a lightweight RHEL host to deliver applications as Docker containers. The goal, the partners added, is leveraging container technology to manage and speed the delivery of applications.

Some cloud service providers are already scaling use of Linux containers, including Platform-as-a-Service offerings like Red Hat’s OpenShift that will use Docker containers. Red Hat and Cisco said they would work together to plug some existing holes in the infrastructure, including security issues.

A beta version of Satellite 6 management system for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 was unveiled in July. Red Hat said at the time that Satellite 6 reflects the growing complexity of IT systems management by spanning the boundaries between Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service environments as well as management systems on bare metal.

Along with configuration, life cycle, and software management, Red Hat's expanding management platform includes enterprise virtualization and cloud system management tools. As the company sharpens its focus on speeding the delivery of cloud applications, a container management tool is an obvious necessity and hence is probably coming soon.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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