Can Novell's SLED 11 Power Enterprise Netbooks?

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Print this article Print

Novell's SLED 11 brings enterprise desktop features to the market and offers enhanced security and management features in a Linux desktop operating system. The SLED 11 Linux OS could work well for netbook computers in the enterprise.

Novell's Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop has never been a run-of-the-mill Linux distribution; from the outset, Novell's interpretation of Suse Linux has been squarely aimed at business PCs in a networked environment. With SLED 11, Novell shows its commitment to the enterprise by incorporating new features and strengthening networking features. What makes SLED 11 different from the multitude of Linux distributions out there is the operating system offers out-of-the-box support for Windows business networks, data files and application servers.

SLED 11 also incorporates several security features, including Novell's AppArmor and features found in SELinux (Security-Enhanced Linux). AppArmor offers firewall-like protection and helps to prevent malware from infecting attached Windows networks.

Is SLED 11 the most Microsoft-friendly Linux distribution ever? Click here to see eWEEK Labs' take.

SLED 11 has a great deal in common with the recent OpenSUSE 11.1 release, but differs from other Linux distributions in yet another area; there is a relatively limited selection of software packages available for SLED 11. Novell is looking to address that limited software ecosystem by incorporating "single-click install," which, as the name implies, makes installing application programs a breeze. As in previous versions, SLED 11 uses Novell's update service to provide automated security and program updates. That service requires an activation code from Novell.

While it's hard to imagine Windows users in the enterprise switching over to SLED 11, there is another avenue that Novell can take to speed adoption—that would be to aim SLED 11 at the growing netbook market. Netbooks normally come with Windows XP Home Edition installed, and that operating system is far from perfect for a networked desktop in the enterprise. What's more, most netbooks are unable to run Windows Vista, making it difficult to incorporate those systems into the enterprise. SLED 11 could very well be the answer needed by network administrators looking to bring inexpensive netbooks into the corporate environment. SLED 11 is lightweight enough to run on a netbook system, yet it incorporates networking and security features that make it suitable for Windows networks.

Network administrators looking to introduce low-cost computing, mobility and Linux into the enterprise can get a head start by combining SLED 11 with netbooks and not giving up networking, management and support features—while reducing costs.

Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at frank.ohlhorst@ziffdavisenterprise.com