Red Hat Satellite orbits the Amazon cloud

Red Hat Satellite 6 now uses Puppet as a configuration manager

Red Hat Satellite, the software for managing fleets of servers running Red Hat Enterprise Linux, can now also manage copies of RHEL that run in the cloud as well.

"We've had a lot of emphasis in this release of expanding beyond the typical data center management to the cloud," said Chris Wells, Red Hat senior product manager for Red Hat Satellite.

As a result of the update, "If someone is running RHEL on Amazon Web Services, they can use the same process to manage the lifecycle of that Red Hat system as one sitting in a physical or virtual system inside their data center," Wells said.

Red Hat Satellite 6, released Wednesday, also comes with an entirely new interface for writing server configurations. The company replaced its own software with the popular open source configuration management software Puppet.

Comprising a number of open source IT configuration and management tools, Red Hat Satellite was designed to help administrators maintain large numbers of servers running RHEL, which is Red Hat's flagship enterprise Linux distribution.

The software package can be used to deploy RHEL servers, update them with new software and bug fixes, as well as audit their activity. Administrators can carve out groups of severs, and apply policies to those groups. The software also keeps track of RHEL subscriptions that the organization has procured from Red Hat.

One user of the Red Hat Satellite has been Allegiant Airlines, which manages about 1,400 servers across multiple data centers with the software.

In addition to managing RHEL, Red Hat Satellite 6 also can also manage copies of Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, Red Hat Storage, Red Hat Directory Server, Red Hat Certificate System, and OpenShift Enterprise, which is the company's software for running platform services.

The new version of Red Hat Satellite offers, for the first time, the ability to manage copies of RHEL that run in the cloud

Satellite can manage RHEL on the Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute, as well as copies of the distribution that are run on other hosted services based on Red Hat Open Stack, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization or VMware platforms.

Another new feature of the software streamlines the process of managing RHEL servers across the globe. The package includes Red Hat Satellite Capsule, a copy of Red Hat Satellite that can be run in branch offices or geographically dispersed data centers.

The Capsule software acts as a local distribution center for updates and configuration changes. It stays in synchronization with the master copy of Red Hat Satellite, and supplies local machines with the updates, reducing the number of networks hops it would take for these remote machines to be updated directly from Satellite itself.

The company's configuration management interface has changed as well. It now uses Puppet, rather than the company's in-house tool. The company will provide tools and documentation to help existing users adopt the new Puppet configuration language, which is based on Ruby, Wells said.

Compared to Red Hat Satellite's legacy configuration tool, Puppet offers more granular controls, and has more sophisticated options for managing configuration, Wells said.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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