You likely already know this, but let me state it anyhow: SUSE Manager is an awesome tool to manage your SUSE and Redhat server environment. At least it is since the update to version 3 – I wouldn’t start arguing if version 2 users wouldn’t come to the same conclusion.
SUSE has put a great deal of effort in making admins’ life easier when you’re dealing with SLES and RHES servers – but what about i. e. OpenSUSE hosts? Well, that’s not officially supported, for obvious reasons, but you’ll still get much from SuMa3 even for such non-supported distros.
One area that lags most is the creation of “bootstrap repositories”. That’s what you need to provide, so that a bare-metal (or “empty VM” or “blank instance”) install not only gets the base OS installed from media, but will be able to access all those small and large packages needed to get the new instance “on board” for i. e. Salt management via SuMa3. For SLES and RHES, there’s a program called “mgr-create-bootstrap-repository”: It knows what RPMs are needed for which of the supported distros and will fetch the latest and greatest version from it’s stash (in other words, from its mirror of the product repositories). It actually is configurable in its list (it’s in /usr/share/susemanager/mgr_bootstrap_data.py), but it is linked to the SuMa3 database in a way that will only fetch from actual product repositories. (The reason behind this is, that it needs to know which “channels” to check for which product – and i. e. OpenSUSE is none of SUSE’s products, hence your OpenSUSE channels are not identifiable as such in the database.)
The beauty of “mgr-create-bootstrap-repository” is that you can run it over and over again, for example per “cron”, to re-create the bootstrap repository when you’ve received updated packages in your channels. Of course you could write your own mechanism to retrieve those required RPMs and put them into a repository, but wouldn’t it be nice if you could make “mgr-create-bootstrap-repository” do that four you? 🙂 Continue reading