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I'm looking for info to automate the patching/updating process for several hundred Suse machines. Apart from Zenworks and SMT is there other patch management/automation tools you know with good support on Novell SLES OS?

I found several tools but mainly for Windows...
Do you have any experience with the following tools and Novell SLES servers?
- Patchlink from lumension
- Tivoli Provision Manager from IBM
- Bigfix
- HP Server Automation
- BMC Bladelogic
- CA Spectrum Automation Manager

The datacenter to keep updated is composed around 600 servers both real and virtual running SLES version 10 mainly (but SLES 9 also present).

I think SMT could do most part of the job but it seems to come short regarding reporting and inventory. Do you know of complementary tools for these aspects ?

Thanks for any advice.

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Quick question: What hardware? Sometimes the vendor solutions for hardware/inventory/configuration management are better than 3rd party solutions. – Karl Katzke Aug 7 '09 at 4:30
It's mainly HP servers... – Julien Aug 26 '09 at 9:36

As you have HP server and you mention HP datacenter.

The tool who do that for HP is Server Automation, it's support Suse 9 and 10 for :

  • OS provisioning
  • patching
  • application deployment
  • audit and compliance
  • inventory

It's also able to integrate with iLo to automate OS provisioning.

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Do you know how does it retrieve the RPM from Novell servers ? I have seen in the manuals there is a tool for RHN (rhn_import) but nothing for Suse. So I wonder if it is a manual process to import the RPM in the SA repository... – Julien Sep 7 '09 at 10:16
rhn_import will ork only with red hat network. You can build your own tool, by using one of the SA interface (python/java/cli). – Fleole Sep 12 '09 at 17:08
importing SuSE patches is a manual process, though automating it is not horribly difficult – warren Jul 22 '10 at 0:43

From an official Novell perspective, the available tools are SMT (Subscription Management Tool) and ZLM (Zenworks Linux Management).

SMT is a free tool that simply accesses your entitled Suse subscriptions on Novell's servers, and lets you cache the patches and updates locally. This lets you update a large number of servers without sending your bandwidth usage through the roof. This is strictly a pull arrangement, though. Your systems can connect to the SMT server for their packages, but this is not a system for automatically distributing the packages.

ZLM is a web-based tool for administering your Suse (and Red Hat) systems in your datacenter. It is licensed on a per physical machine basis. It enables you to push packages to the systems using policies and schedules (as well as manually).

Beyond those official Novell tools, it starts to get a little bit murky. You can cobble something together with various open-source tools, such as Puppet.

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