What’s New With Open Enterprise Server 2018

In this article, we’ll do a quick review of the latest and greatest release of Micro Focus Open Enterprise server, Open Enterprise Server 2018, which will have been released by the time this article is published.  The key highlights of this release, which has been in the making for the last 15 months include:

  • Protocol Stack Updates – SMB and NCP
  • Apple Mac Enhancements. (Salvage / Purge extension, Improved SMB performance)
  • Domain Services for Windows Enhancements
  • NSS Improvements. (Reduce fragmentation, Scale improvements)
  • Install Changes & Integrated and controlled update channel(s)
  • UI Refresh for components such as Remote Manager
  • Numerous bug fixes, enhancements, and performance improvements.
  • Also included as Technical Preview is the brand new, Cloud Integrated Storage (CIS) feature
  • All the above run on top of the latest SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 SP2 and eDirectory 9.0
  • Availability of Self Service Password Reset (SSPR) to OES customers
  • Availability of iPrint for OES 2018

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Platform and eco-system updates

Typically any major release of OES on a new SLES platform (SLES12 SP2 in this case)  is a major effort and it was no different this time around with more than half the effort going into porting things to SLES12 and ensuring they are as stable as the previous releases.  Now, you get the all the latest benefits of SLES12 tuned for OES.  For example, the default file system on SLES12 SP2 is Btrfs, but when you install OES 2018, we switch the default file system to ext4, as eDirectory is yet to be certified with Btrfs.  Small but subtle changes, but optimised for OES.

eDirectory 9.0 is part of OES2018 and many of the performance benefits of this version of eDirectory flow transparently to the OES customers upgrading to OES 2018.

With this release we also announce the immediate availability of Micro Focus / NetIQ Self Service Password Reset as an indirect entitlement to OES Customers. It’s now an entitlement to all versions of IDM, including the IDM Bundle Edition.  We hope this sufficiently addresses the request many of you had for some sort of self-service password reset capability in OES, and helps simplify your password management complexity, ticking yet another box for lowering the TCO with OES.

iPrint for OES 2018, is an add-on that makes most of the iPrint Appliance capabilities available to deploy on top of OES 2018, without having to redo your print infrastructure.  You’ll learn more about this in an accompanying article in this issue.

Protocol Stack Updates – SMB and NCP

Relevant capabilities of SMB 2.1 and 3.0 have been identified and the most important sub-set has been implemented in this release.  This includes for example the end-to-end encryption support which is increasingly becoming a need.  There’s also a 10% improvement in performance across both SMB and NCP protocols in our lab environment.  The NCP protocol has also been enhanced to support 64 bit identifiers in NSS.  The client for OES has also been enhanced to have integration with multi-factor authentication provided by the advanced authentication solution.

Mac Enhancements

There is an increasing focus on improving the Mac user experience.  It started with improving the directory listing performance quite a bit.  With this release we are also introducing the plugin to the Mac Finder application, which will allow users to salvage and purge files over the CIFS protocol.  There are plans to enhance this capability to support rights management as well in the future.

Domain Services for Windows (DSfW) Enhancements

We are delivering much awaited functional level upgrades to AD2008 R2 and AD2012 to DSfW in this release.  On upgrades, DSfW servers will be automatically upgraded to support the latest AD2012 functional level.  This enables seamless integration of 3rd party applications which otherwise needed some custom work and schema extension.  This is now greatly simplified.  This also improves the compatibility of newer versions of the 3rd party software that have been integrated with DSfW.  A direct benefit of this is the ability to now integrate NSS-AD integration with DSfW forests.

In addition to the functional level upgrade, we have also added support for AES 256 bit encryption and fine-grained password policies.

NSS Improvements

In addition to general performance improvements, with some tuning there have been specific improvements in the area of compression/de-compression.  NSS has also now been updated to support 64 bit file identifiers, eliminating the need to take the pool off-line and do a re-zid, in case you run out of identifiers.  With this, the number of files that can be hosted on a NSS volume increases exponentially to multiple trillions.

Install Changes and Integrated and controlled update channel(s)

With this release, we are more tightly integrated  with SLES and have deprecated the OES add-on media.  The single OES 2018 iso media is the only installer for OES, that installs OES and SLES at the same time.  We have taken advantage of the re-branding abilities of SLES and you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see the Micro Focus branding and OES feature slide shows as part of the installation workflow.

We have also made changes to the update channel workflow and will now be delivering both the SLES and OES updates from NCC for OES 2018 which get activated by just registering with the OES activation keys.  By doing this, the OES team gain control over all updates to the OES system and will be testing all the updates together and if all is well, we flip a switch to make available both the OES and SLES updates for your OES servers.  If we encounter an update which impacts OES, we get the issue resolved before making it available on the update channels, there by insulating your production systems from any impact.
You will still have access to the SLES key for the purposes using it as outlined in the OES end user license agreement.

UI Refresh for some components

We have also refreshed the UI of some components like Remote Manager, without modifying the workflow.  Similar user interface updates are being planned for NetStorage and DNS/DHCP Java Administration Console in a future update.

Cloud Integrated Storage (CIS)  - a Technical Preview

Put simply, CIS is the modern Dynamic Storage Technology (DST) which enables data tiering to on-prem or public cloud storage which are S3 compatible.  That includes for example our own SUSE Enterprise Storage (on-prem) or Amazon S3 (public cloud).  It allows us to off-load the data (not the meta-data) to a secondary tier which is encrypted by default, based on policies.  You also get to manage the encryption keys and keep it on-prem.

The polices are much more sophisticated than in DST and separation of data and meta-data allows for another layer of security.  The stored meta data is also used to do some interesting visualisations like dynamic age based hot-cold information in a dashboard, which allows you to see how much of your data on the OES network is how recent.

This is just an example of what can be done with the meta-data analysis and more value additions similar to this dashboard are possible.  You can learn much more in detail about CIS and the architecture and the technologies in encompasses in an accompanying article in this issue.

In Summary

We believe, OES 2018 is one of the best releases of OES we have ever made.  Start testing it and when comfortable, start upgrading your systems to OES 2018 and take advantage of the improvements and capabilities included in this release.  If you have any questions, comments or feedback, do drop a note to pmadhan@microfocus.com or OES@microfocus.com

 

This article was first published in Open Horizons Magazine, Issue 39, 2017/4, p5-6.

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