PDA

View Full Version : SLES hardware inquiries



gary_uk
15-Jul-2014, 13:06
Since this is my first post to this forum, with which I'm unfamiliar, I would like to start with three apologies:

- sorry if this is the wrong forum to post.
- sorry if the information I request is readily available elsewhere.
- sorry if the questions are very naive.

I'm looking to purchase a Xeon-based workstation for my laboratory for intensive data analysis. The analysis consists of both parallel and serial floating point operations on very large high-dimension arrays. My present budget will extend to 4-10-core uni-/dual- E5 Family processor system with 64-128 GB of ECC memory, and I'm looking to run SLES 11 SP3. I'm hoping to take advantage of the imminent introduction of LGA2011-3 socketed motherboards with DDR4 in combination with an E5-1xxx v3 or E5-2xxx v3 Xeon processor (Haswell-EP). However I have three questions in relation to SLES:

1. Does SLES provide a list approved workstation vendors within the U.K.?
2. Will SLES 12 be available by the end of Q3, when I intend to complete the purchase order?
3. It seems the standard kernel of SLES is old (3.0.x). Are kernel updates (to handle new machine instructions) permitted within the subscription model?

smflood
15-Jul-2014, 15:09
On 15/07/2014 13:14, gary uk wrote:

> Since this is my first post to this forum, with which I'm unfamiliar, I
> would like to start with three apologies:
>
> - sorry if this is the wrong forum to post.
> - sorry if the information I request is readily available elsewhere.
> - sorry if the questions are very naive.
>
> I'm looking to purchase a Xeon-based workstation for my laboratory for
> intensive data analysis. The analysis consists of both parallel and
> serial floating point operations on very large high-dimension arrays. My
> present budget will extend to 4-10-core uni-/dual- E5 Family processor
> system with 64-128 GB of ECC memory, and I'm looking to run SLES 11 SP3.
> I'm hoping to take advantage of the imminent introduction of LGA2011-3
> socketed motherboards with DDR4 in combination with an E5-1xxx v3 or
> E5-2xxx v3 Xeon processor (Haswell-EP). However I have three questions
> in relation to SLES:
>
> 1. Does SLES provide a list approved workstation vendors within the
> U.K.?

You reference both SLES and workstation throughout your message - do you
really mean workstation or perhaps you mean server?

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) is for servers with SUSE Linux
Enterprise Desktop (SLED) for workstations.

Search https://www.suse.com/yessearch/ for approved hardware.

> 2. Will SLES 12 be available by the end of Q3, when I intend to complete
> the purchase order?

Please define your Q3 as SUSE may define it differently.

> 3. It seems the standard kernel of SLES is old (3.0.x). Are kernel
> updates (to handle new machine instructions) permitted within the
> subscription model?

SUSE release each version of SLES with a particular kernel version then
update that same version throughout the lifecycle of that version of
SLES. What they don't tend to do is bump the kernel version during the
lifecycle.

Whilst you're free to install your own version of the kernel you
wouldn't then be supported by SUSE which for a kernel is not a good
thing IMHO.

HTH.
--
Simon
SUSE Knowledge Partner

------------------------------------------------------------------------
If you find this post helpful and are logged into the web interface,
please show your appreciation and click on the star below. Thanks.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

gary_uk
15-Jul-2014, 15:47
Thanks Simon for your response.



You reference both SLES and workstation throughout your message - do you
really mean workstation or perhaps you mean server?

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) is for servers with SUSE Linux
Enterprise Desktop (SLED) for workstations.


Ahh. I do mean workstation (e.g. see http://www.armari.co.uk/overview.asp?selCat=Magnetar+X+Series ). My understanding from the SUSE website is that SLES it the best choice for HPC (High Performance Computing) e.g. see https://www.suse.com/products/server/hpc.html . If, as you say, SLED is the preferred option for workstations, I must be misinterpreting the information - I apologise.



Search https://www.suse.com/yessearch/ for approved hardware.


Thank you. I have bookmarked that link!



Please define your Q3 as SUSE may define it differently.


Sorry I should have been more explicit. My Q3 is from Beginning of July->End of September.



SUSE release each version of SLES with a particular kernel version then
update that same version throughout the lifecycle of that version of
SLES. What they don't tend to do is bump the kernel version during the
lifecycle.

Whilst you're free to install your own version of the kernel you
wouldn't then be supported by SUSE which for a kernel is not a good
thing IMHO.


I agree with you 100%! This however makes me a little concerned about my choice of SLES/SLED. IIRC kernel 3.0.x dates back to 2011, and therefore I'm not sure it even supports AVX machine instructions, and therefore my choice may not be suitable for the intended use of the workstation.

smflood
15-Jul-2014, 17:03
On 15/07/2014 15:54, gary uk wrote:

> Ahh. I do mean workstation (e.g. see
> http://www.armari.co.uk/overview.asp?selCat=Magnetar+X+Series ). My
> understanding from the SUSE website is that SLES it the best choice for
> HPC (High Performance Computing) e.g. see
> https://www.suse.com/products/server/hpc.html . If, as you say, SLED is
> the preferred option for workstations, I must be misinterpreting the
> information - I apologise.

Okay so both SLES and SLED are SUSE Linux Enterprise but targeted for
servers and workstations (desktops) respectively. Each has the same
version of packages that are common to both but each has a different subset.

You can check the packages included (and thus available for install)
with 64-bit SLES11 SP3 and SLED11 SP3 at
https://www.suse.com/LinuxPackages/packageRouter.jsp?product=server&version=11&service_pack=sp3&architecture=x86_64&package_name=index_all
and
https://www.suse.com/LinuxPackages/packageRouter.jsp?product=desktop&version=11&service_pack=sp3&architecture=x86_64&package_name=index_all
respectively.

With SLES12 things might be better.

> Sorry I should have been more explicit. My Q3 is from Beginning of
> July->End of September.

In which case SLES12 is unlikely to be released by the end of your Q3.

> I agree with you 100%! This however makes me a little concerned about my
> choice of SLES/SLED. IIRC kernel 3.0.x dates back to 2011, and therefore
> I'm not sure it even supports AVX machine instructions, and therefore my
> choice may not be suitable for the intended use of the workstation.

According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Vector_Extensions AVX
has been supported with Linux "since kernel version 2.6.30, released on
June 9, 2009." Latest kernel for SLES11 SP3 is version 3.0.101 with
additional fixes backported from later versions.

Whilst SLE12 is still in development (currently in closed beta) you may
find the release notes @
https://www.suse.com/releasenotes/x86_64/SUSE-SLES/12/ useful though
they're still being updated.

HTH.
--
Simon
SUSE Knowledge Partner

------------------------------------------------------------------------
If you find this post helpful and are logged into the web interface,
please show your appreciation and click on the star below. Thanks.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

gary_uk
15-Jul-2014, 17:20
Thanks for the information and the helpful links Simon. Lots more to read, but it looks like I have plenty of time before SLES12 is released. I slightly misrepresented what I intended the say concerning the AVX instructions - I was just trying to say that the old kernel may be short on supporting modern CPUs to their full: e.g. I'm sure kernel 3.0.x doesn't support AVX2 machine instructions! But if, as you say, there are postfixes to old kernels backported by the SUSE team from newer versions, then that would certainly be something for me to investigate because IIRC native kernel 3.0.x is long past EOL.

mikewillis
15-Jul-2014, 20:45
Bear in mind that SLE 12 will not ship with kernel 3.0.x. The release notes Simon linked say 'Linux kernel 3.0 ' but above that it says 'CHECKIT:SLE11.3' and as Simon said, the release notes are still being updated. (I think the only way to find them is if you fiddle with the url for the SLES 11 release notes.)

Also bear in mind that there are periodic Service Pack releases for each major SLE version. One of the features of SP releases is hardware support, e.g. see section 7.6.2 at
https://www.suse.com/releasenotes/x86_64/SUSE-SLES/11-SP3/#Drivers.Other

smflood
16-Jul-2014, 10:32
On 15/07/2014 20:54, mikewillis wrote:

> Bear in mind that SLE 12 will not ship with kernel 3.0.x. The release
> notes Simon linked say 'Linux kernel 3.0 ' but above that it says
> 'CHECKIT:SLE11.3' and as Simon said, the release notes are still being
> updated. (I think the only way to find them is if you fiddle with the
> url for the SLES 11 release notes.)

Whilst SLES12 is currently in beta there are already articles that
reveal some of the changes. For example, a search for "sles12 kernel"
might indicate the kernel version on which SLES12 will be based.

HTH.
--
Simon
SUSE Knowledge Partner

------------------------------------------------------------------------
If you find this post helpful and are logged into the web interface,
please show your appreciation and click on the star below. Thanks.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

gary_uk
16-Jul-2014, 13:54
Thank you for the information. Towards the end of the article at http://www.enterprisetech.com/2014/03/04/long-awaited-suse-linux-12-enters-beta/ , there are a few paragraphs that illustrate the extent to which the SUSE updates are keeping pace with newer chips:



SUSE Linux is being somewhat tight-lipped about what it plans to do with SLES 12, but some details have emerged.

The SP3 update to SLES 11 last fall included updates for Intel’s future “Haswell” Xeon server chips as well as the “Centerton” Atom S1260 and the “Ivy Bridge” Xeon E5 chips aimed at two-socket and four-socket systems. The Ivy Bridge Xeon E5-2600 v2 chips came out last fall, while the Xeon E5-4600 v2 processors were quietly launched this week. SLES 11 SP3 also had updates for impending AMD Opteron 4000 and 6000 processors, which were launched earlier this year. The kernel supports up to 4,096 logical processors for Itanium and X86 processors and up to 1,024 for Power-based systems and up to 64 for System z machines. The Power and Itanium processors were enabled to support 1 PB of main memory, but in practice, the operating system is limited to 8 TB on Itanium servers and 512 GB on Power machines. X86 machine can address up to 64 TB (the only machine that does so is SGI’s “UltraViolet” UV 2000 system) and SUSE says it tops out at 16 TB practically speaking.

Our point in bringing this up is that SUSE Linux has plenty of scalability already. So don’t expect a lot of change here except what comes by virtue of the Linux 3.12 kernel that SLES 12 will be based on.