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Reimaging, innovating, securing cloud-native at SUSECON 2023 | TechTarget

In the development world, flexibility and agility are key. This is part of the reason why open source — building open apps without any limits — is also key.

This is the claim that SUSE makes at SUSECON 2023, their annual conference, with their messaging about how to address organizational challenges. SUSE is a global provider of secure open-source technologies, specializing in business-critical Linux, Kubernetes orchestration enterprise container management and edge solutions. At SUSECON 2023, SUSE promises to innovate and expand its current footprint.

What are customers saying?

According to the new CEO of SUSE, Dirk-Peter van Leeuwen, customers say they like SUSE solutions because they find them to be “highly configurable, and do not lock in any way even in an open source world…” But does this introduce complexity for organizations already dealing with IT skill gap and resources issues?

As part of SUSE’s mission to secure IT infrastructure and accelerate digital trust, they announced advancements to SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE) and security-focused updates to Rancher allowing customers to adapt the advantages of a cloud-native world. Dealing with complexity was also addressed. The advancements in the tech stack provides new approaches for the past, present and future application modernization. Cloud-native developer experience was introduced to assist in elevating developers, provide desktop container management and simplify app development.

Another way SUSE enhances organizations is with business-critical Linux that promises to protect data, run anywhere and provide easy scalability across locations. This also provides easier adoption of SUSE for public clouds. With this announcement, SUSE promises to provide maximum cloud security, deployable cloud images and a pay-as-you-go or bring-your-own-subscription model.

Another challenge organizations face is visibility into operations. SUSE announced cloud-native AI-based observability providing smarter insights with Opni, full visibility across workloads and comprehensive metrics. Containerizing workloads was also introduced to move organizational workloads securely with flexibility using SLE base container images.

Modernization is a priority

SUSE’s focus to help organizations modernize is clear. Cloud-native Infrastructure allows organizations to design modern approaches and manages virtual machines as well as containers across on-premises and bare-metal deployments. And SUSE also announced cloud-native retail offerings for the enablement of low-maintenance systems that are resilient and scalable and achieve zero-trust security.

Cloud-native cluster management was also demonstrated, providing organizations the ability to run Kubernetes everywhere, understand the full lifecycle of the cluster, and to optimize and scale very rapidly. By combining this with cloud-native security and policy management, it provides organizations with the fortification of container workloads, simplify policy management and understand the full lifecycle of container security.

The next-generation Linux announcement focused on a workload centric approach that is secure and aims to provide zero friction. This combined with Immutable Operating System delivers reliability that is integral to edge and developer ready.

Other developer-centric announcements

Some of the other interesting focus areas include SUSE and automotive. This promises to provide the future of vehicles for a cloud-to-car lifecycle and to connect autonomously. This is not surprising as the future of the automotive industry is heavily relying on cloud-native techniques, methodologies and approaches.

AI/ML with HPC solutions was also introduced to help reduce complexity. SUSE offers HPC pre-packaged products that use high-speed containers for workloads. But management was also a key area of focus. SUSE Smart Linux Manager provides management of every Linux (SUSE and non-SUSE Linux) from one console. This is a scalable management offering that allows for automated patch management.

I would be missing something if I did not mention SUSE’s SAP announcements. SAP is a large part of SUSE’s go-to-market strategies. Optimized SAP solutions from SUSE demonstrated the monitoring of SAP configurations, applies automated deployments and protects against critical services.

What’s next?

SUSE’s keynotes alluded to several announcements to products that will be released in fall timeframe. One of these announcements is mission-critical Edge, looking to providing resiliency, continuously validating designs, zero trust security, accelerated compliance and long-term support.

Another promise SUSE plans to deliver is enhancement to Edge. SUSE defined the edge as near edge (tens to hundreds of devices close to the data center), far edge (hundreds to thousands of devices on site, farthest from the data center and closest to the users) and tiny edge (over 1,000 devices mainly focused on industrial IoT). Industrial IoT is a focus for SUSE in the next release. And when it comes to adoption, K3s is leading the pack with GitHub stars compared to Microk8s, K0s and MicroShift.

Rancher Prime with AI Assistant is also a focus. Available in limited release today, the additional functionality provides enhanced UX, observability, automated troubleshooting, streamlined workflows, efficient resource management, security hardening and predictive analysis.

Available now (but somewhat limited to silicone availability), SUSE is providing in the business-critical Linux offering for on-premises as well as with the majority of the hyper-scalers the ability to provide confidential computing. This allows for the reduction of cloud migration risks, safeguarding sensitive data in use, encrypting workload data, ensuring compliance control and allows for zero effort to the end-user.

What does this all mean to cloud-native modernization?

Organizations are tasked with modernizing their heritage or legacy applications and environments and often with a specific timeline in mind — typically 12-18 months. CIOs are looking for ways to optimize their IT and OT parts of the business to meet these goals. The bench strength is sometime limited or non-existent in many organizations. And the resources that are in the business are fully consumed to keep the organization running with little to no room for new innovation or projects limiting modernization efforts.

What I experienced at SUSECON 2023 is SUSE understands the IT skill gap challenges and does have a partner ecosystem to assist organizations with modernization efforts. Service delivery partners provide staff augmentation as well as the technical bench strength to support organizations with new initiatives. The solutions SUSE demonstrated at this event did seem to reduce complexity, however there is a lot of highly customizable and configurable deployments (to echo what DP stated) that SUSE customers enjoy. For SUSE to grow and scale, they will need to not only address the highly technical user but also provide frictionless and simple solutions to solve today’s organizational modernization challenges.

Editor’s note: Enterprise Strategy Group is a division of TechTarget. Its analysts have business relationships with technology vendors.