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I'm a Windows SysAdmin and we currently have a half dozen CentOS 5.5 machines at my current job. I also use Fedora 14 at home. I've been trying to get up to speed on Linux and feel like sticking with the RedHat derivatives as opposed to trying a new distro whenever something new comes out has really helped me.
I have a job interview coming up and it sounds like something I'd really like. They have an upgrade of VMWare from 3.5 to 4.1 in the works and virtualization is really my focus right now. Anyway the guy told me that they use SUSE and he really doesn't like RedHat. I don't remember how he described it, but he made it sound like it was too specialized and SUSE is more open.
This is the job description.
Experience with MS Windows 2000, 2003 and 2008, Active Directory Architecture, deployment and group policies Red Hat and Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise server (SLES), OES NetWare (On Linux).
Experience with multiple virtualization products including VMware ESX and VMware desktop.
Experience with tools used to analyze and perform bulk changes to LDAP directory content including Apache LDAP studio and MS Access.
Experience with XML, LDIF, VB script., SSL and secure communications, SLP, DDNS, YAST, RPM, PAM., CRON, Sniffer Pro and Wire Shark .
Is going into a SUSE environment going to screw up all the good linux mojo I have going on? I like working in Fedora/CentOS now. Is there a real difference?
SLES comes with the one-stop-shopping system admin tool Yast, which makes things easier, though you'll still want to do some things by editing config files manually. For instance, it's nice that you can use Yast to quickly configure your network settings, but they didn't set up anything for changing the slave order of bonded devices, so you might run the Yast dialog first, then manually add that change to your ifcfg-bondx file.
SLES also comes with a very handy enterprise patch management tool, SMT. It can be a pain to set up initially, but once it's going, it's very nice. You can configure different servers to development, test, and production repositories, and progress your patches through those phases all in one place.
Red Hat does not have an equivalent to Yast. They do have an equivalent to SMT, called Red Hat Network. I'm not equipped to argue the strengths and weaknesses of the two.
In general, Novell gets the whole enterprise environment a lot more than Red Hat does, because Novell has been there a heckuva lot longer. At least, that's what the folks from IBM had to say when we were planning to run a flavor of Linux on their hardware, so we took their recommendation (they support both RHEL and SLES). Since Watson was running SLES 11, they seem to be practicing what they preach.
I agree totally with SL00b and AlucardZero. They're all basically the same, but (my opinion totally), SLES has been much easier to work with and integrate, than RHEL. I find the tools easier to deal with too...a bit more 'centralized', and if you're a Windows admin, you will probably find it easier to make the jump.