What is our primary use case?
My colleagues and I have been using the product for several years now. Overall, I have been very satisfied with it and the way it has integrated into many of the solutions that we have placed in service. SLES is a mature, solid Linux offering. I recommend that companies, which have not reviewed its potential, take a second look.
My experience with SLES extends for at least eight years.
How has it helped my organization?
The organization was using an Oracle database and application server, and the Orarun package made deploying those products so easy. It even allowed us to move most of the Oracle software configuration effort away from us to DBAs and application support personnel.
I do not know if YaST or Orarun made the most impact in our organization. Both made life a lot easier. YaST just made administration a breeze.
What is most valuable?
The best experience would have to be the upgrade process. It has progressed to be very easy and seamless.
The most valuable aspect of the product was the support for the Oracle product stack. The Orarun package was such a tremendous help in our shop.
What needs improvement?
When working in a Department of Defense environment, Security Technical Implementation Guides (STIGs) have to be followed. SLES is not really addressed directly here. It did make following security policy difficult. Red Hat is more friendly in this respect.
For how long have I used the solution?
More than five years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
I do not recall any stability issues up until Hyper-V was added to the mix. I am not really sure it should be counted because we were not privy to the underlying configuration, and there were other VMs experiencing similar behavior.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
With respect to scalability, there have never been any issues. The product was always able to perform the way we needed it to. The SDK and HA software extensions really helped to make many of our solutions possible.
How are customer service and technical support?
Unfortunately, I have not been overly impressed with their technical support, except on one occasion. I was completely blown out of the water by the outcome of ticket I opened on setting up an IMAP server. The support rep assisted me and drafted a document that would be published for others to benefit from.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
My organization moved from Solaris and HP-UX to SLES. These vendors' OEM hardware became too expensive and we were looking for an alternative.
SLES proved to be a very extendable product, supporting most, if not all of our infrastructure. The major reason I chose to use the product was the extensive enterprise peripheral support. Out-of-the-box SLES supported all of our HBAs and hardware specific components. This was really what sold me.
How was the initial setup?
It also was very easy to setup, and offered an easy to use advanced setup option as well. This helped to create special configurations for different use cases.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
As far as licensing goes, there is nothing unusual here. The price and model have worked fine for my organization
What other advice do I have?
Any company looking to standardize on a Linux platform should seriously review this product. It has served me well for many years.