Gartner Research

Enterprise Linux Server Operating System Comparison 2011: RHEL or SLES; Which Is Right for You?

Published: 30 March 2011

ID: G00210043

Analyst(s): Richard Jones


The two leading enterprise Linux server operating system distribution vendors have released their next major revisions. Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 Service Pack 1 and Red Hat's Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 both represent the latest hardened and maintained Linux operating systems that the Linux community has to offer: systems that continue to close the gap on proprietary Unix in supporting mission-critical scalable workloads. Though many features and functions continue to converge between the two vendors' products, the vendors' strategies for virtualization and cloud have diverged.

Table Of Contents

Summary of Findings


  • Linux/x86 as a Replacement for Proprietary Unix
    • Hardware-Enabled Features
    • Software-Specific Features
    • Extended Service and Support
    • Linux Maturity
  • Enterprise Linux Server Introduction
    • Novell SLES 11 SP1
    • Red Hat RHEL 6
  • Enterprise Linux Server Major Features
    • High Availability and Clustered Scalable Storage
    • Storage
    • Security
    • Installation and Configuration
    • Management
    • Guest for Cloud and Virtualization
    • Support
    • System Update
    • Pricing


  • Move from Unix to Linux
  • Choose RHEL or SLES Based on Needs
  • Take a Multi-Vendor Approach for Price Negotiations
  • Create a Linux Vendor Migration Strategy
  • Explore Unpaid Linux as an Option for Non-Mission-Critical Workloads

The Details

  • File System Scalability
    • File System Architecture
    • File System Performance Factors
  • SELinux and AppArmor


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