Thanks for your thoughts ab. Yes, this issue only affects our AWS-based SuSE instances, which used to work just fine, until a couple weeks ago when SuSE upgraded their infrastructure. That upgrade replaced a lot of the startup scripts and seem to have broken the part that allowed us to preserve hostnames across reboots. (hostname is import to us as the software running on them expects the "hostname" command to return the configured hostname and not ip-a.b.c.d). I'm hoping someone from SuSE reads these forums. In the meantime I'm looking for the part of the script that is overwriting /etc/HOSTNAME so that I can fix it myself.