The Setup

In another of my many “people are always asking me ______” moments, I thought I’d jot down the top reasons why we find customers wanting to switch from Red Hat Enterprise Linux to a SUSE Linux Enterprise environment. These points are gathered from countless discussions, presentations, questions and even osmosis. I hope that these points are useful for our customers who are SLES-curious, our partners who are representing SLE to customers and I welcome any feedback or suggestions you might have.

The List

Top 5 Reasons to Move from RHEL to SLE

  • Cost – We subscribe on a machine level, one cost for unlimited virtualized machines, support for 32 hardware CPU sockets with any number of cores in them, Red Hat makes you pay 3x the price for unlimited virtual machines, artificially restricting customers to 4 VM’s in the base product.
  • Management – Red Hat has about 40 individual tools (system-config-blahblah) that all have differing looks and feels, it’s a confusing environmenet, we have YaST, a single interface that’s well-organized, easy to use and very consistent. We also have Zenworks Linux Management (ZLM) where they have the Red Hat Network (RHN). ZLM is very easy to use and deploy, including the ability to provision, image, deploy software singly and in bundles, remote control and many other features. ZLM offers a single consistent console, manages both RHEL and SUSE Linux Enterprise and costs less than RHN.
  • Deployment – Red Hat has the Kickstart service, which is good for limited deployments, but they don’t support nearly as many options as AutoYaST (SLE’s equivalent) does. For example, it’s difficult to script the presence of multiple NIC’s with Kickstart, AutoYaST does it easily.
  • Interoperability – Novell started life in the pre-Open Source days, it’s got a huge patent portfolio, years of closed-source product development and many customers who use those products. Red Hat was begun to be and is aggressively Open Source, even when it doesn’t make sense, they have to adhere to that ideal. Novell enters into and works hard on agreements that increase it’s interoperability with other environments and makes it easy to just get things working. Novell’s agreement with Microsoft is a good example of two organizations that aggressively compete also setting aside differences to make the customers life easier.
  • Customer Satisfaction – We have many interactions with customers who are running either mostly RHEL or mixed RHEL and SLE environments who have experienced significant challenges with getting RHEL support for issues that have already been resolved satisfactorily on the SLE side, or haven’t occurred due to pro-active patching etc. by Novell.

Feedback on this is much appreciated, please let me know your changes, suggestions or corrections to these.