Taking advantage of the arrival of Suse Linux Enterprise Server 15, Suse has announced the availability of a core optimized for Azure, able to draw advantage of specific to the Microsoft cloud acceleration functions. This optimization boosts performance, but is paid in terms of support, compatibility and features.

Designed specifically for the proceedings at the request of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15, this core operates some advanced features of the Azure cloud and offers performance improved as well as a reduced memory footprint.

SUSE says have worked with Microsoft’s Open Source teams to adapt its core optimized to Azure. In particular, the new kernel is able to take advantage of accelerated cloud Microsoft networking capabilities. Accelerated networking relies on NICs smart (smartNICs) installed in the Azure servers.

Allows it to bypass the Hyper-V virtual switch relying on the use of SR – IOV (Single Root I/O Virtualization) to directly access the optimized functions of smartNICs. According to Microsoft, this allows to boost 25% network performance while reducing the average latency of 23%. Get more info here about 6 more Linux commands.

Suse kernel is also able to leverage Azure Write Accelerator. This feature of acceleration of the Scriptures is available as an option on the virtual machines of the M series using the offer Premium Storage. Write Accelerator is designed to boost the level of IOPS (input/output operations per second in English) volumes Azure write for applications requiring a high level of performance and low latency of storage, as it is by example the case of the large databases log files.

According to Susa, the kernel optimized for Azure will evolve at a pace that is aligned on the launch of Azure engineering cycle.

Optimization for Azure requiring compromises

Conceived and designed for instances on demand, however the kernel optimized for Azure suffers some limitations compared to the traditional core. First of all – and this is obvious in the light of its development cycle – it is associated with long-term (LTSS) support offers. A kernel optimized for Azure is supported until service Pack following SLES.

The optimized kernel doesn’t support also other important features of Suse, as HA mode or hot patching (kernel patching live). If users need these features, they will have to deploy a standard kernel to Azure. SUSE also highlights the risk of introduction of incompatibilities at the level of the binary interface for the kernel (kABI or kernel Application Binary Interface) applications during the cycle of a service pack. As a result, the kernel Azure is not certified for some applications such as SAP.

Note that it is possible to use the Susa Zipper tool to switch a core Azure to a traditional core and vice versa. Manipulation, however, requires a restart of the virtual machine to take effect.

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