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RHN Satellite -- Don't Be Fooled

  May 20, 2005   Operations

At work we have rolled out RHN Satellite. Well, I have rolled it out. With some Python and RPM foo I was able to cleanly migrate 500 or so clients over to the Satellite. Only had to clean up 30 or so. Not too bad.

I admit that this whole thing has really been frustrating. There is no real migration path to take a few hundred machines in 30 some odd groups from and migrate them to your own Satellite. That was a lot of work. Some good code envolved.

Now that we are over to Satellite all the Red Hat quality crap uncovers itself. Passwords stored in a local log file. I’ve got the Satellite configured to use PAM to integrate into our Kerberos system. Passwords with certain characters just don’t work to register machines. Up2date just kinda hangs. Takes an Apache process on the server and pegs it. Basically, sometimes you log in, sometimes you end up pegging server processes, and, if it doesn’t like you, it wont let you register a machine.

Oh yeah, and then there was the 10 minutes when it sent out like 1,000 emails. The anti-spam systems blocked it from the mail relays. It was sending out errata notifications for RHEL 3 Update 5. At least 30 emails per user account. Any sort of mode to throttle that traffic and basically be a polite internet citizen? No.

Add in keeping up with Oracle 9iR2 for the back end database. Which is actually giving me the least amount of worry. Backups too.

Is all this worth it for the nice RHN interface? I’m definately going to say no. When you realize what a shabby product RHEL has turned into, and all this mess to manage it, its just not worth it. I’m so tired of beating my head against the horrible, show stopping bugs that are everywhere.

Want a real solution? Use CentOS and Yum. Its cheaper. Its better quality and more stable. (Yes, I know its RHEL rebuilt…that’s actually how it gets QA’d better.) It Just Works(tm).

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