The SUSE community gathered in Munich, Germany on June 20-22 for SUSECON 2023. This year’s event was the first live SUSECON conference since 2019, and visitors were happy to be back together to network with colleagues, partners, and potential clients. The theme of this year’s conference was “Reimagine, Innovate, Secure,” and it was clear that SUSE has been giving some thought to reimagining its role in the industry.
This year’s event marked the first major appearance of Dirk-Peter van Leeuwen since he took the helm as SUSE’s CEO. In his keynote address, van Leeuwen emphasized that SUSE will focus on Open Source and the community, as well as on what he called “customer-driven innovation,” which he defined as building what customers want and need. SUSE’s emphasis will be on helping customers modernize and addressing the overall tech skills gap in the IT industry. According to van Leeuwen, the company is restructuring to be closer to the customer, with the emphasis on better personal connections, more face time, and more attention to building solutions together. He pledged to focus on openness and avoiding vendor lock-in for SUSE customers.
Although the conference was about more than just new products, a few topics seemed to generate the most buzz in the hallways. One big topic was SUSE’s new workload-centric Adaptive Linux Platform (ALP). ALP, with its immutable OS and modular design, offers a low-maintenance, user-friendly alternative for understaffed IT-departments.
Another important topic was SUSE Rancher’s AI assistant, which watches for potential problems, points them out, then suggests possible solution or next steps. The AI assistant allows Rancher shops to onboard DevOps people faster, and those people can also be lower-skilled than in the past. The assistant provides specific information based on the system / implementation it is being used on. It then delivers actionable insights on current or potential problems based on live data. The AI assistant is already available to Rancher Prime users, and it will be fully integrated into the Rancher UI later this year.
Edge was also on the menu, with SUSE celebrating the recent release of Edge 3.0 with SLE Micro (an all-purpose OS purpose built for edge). They also touted K3S and Rancher enabling “edge native applications.”
Another topic that figured prominently in the festivities was SUSE Manager (SUMA). SUMA has already been partially containerized and will continue down the containerization path. SUSE feels that the experience they have gained through the SUMA containerization process will be helpful when assisting customers who are also starting their Cloud Native journey and need to containerize their applications.
Interestingly, Red Hat made its announcement about restricting access to RHEL sources during the SUSECON event, which added an additional hot topic for the SUSE crowd. The timing seems almost too good to be true: while SUSE reinforces its open source roots and dedication, Red Hat moves toward a vendor lock-in model. SUSE is very well positioned to take advantage of the doubt created by the Red Hat announcement.
The SUSE community seemed happy to be back together and very positive about the company’s direction. The general sense was that Dirk-Peter van Leeuwen is a good choice as CEO and that he is what SUSE needs right now to move on to the next phase of growth.
Content for the digital version of SUSECON 2023, which followed one week later, is available online https://www.suse.com/susecon/.
Linux New Media is a SUSECON media sponsor.