Experiences with Red Hat Network RHN on VMware (supported?)

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Hello community!


Our company is looking forward to install Red Hat Network (RHN) 5.5 for managing our RHEL environment.

Because we don't want to invenst in additional hardware, we'd like to use a VMware ESXi 4.1 virtual machine (migration to 5.1 is in progress) for this.

I suppose that this setup is supported because I found no dedicated support matrix for RHN 5.5 and ESXi is fully supported for RHEL 6.

Am I correct?


Has anybody of you guys personal experiences with this setup? How big the environments you're managing? What's about performance?


Best regards from germany,



Our RHN (or Satellite Server) currently accomodates approx 400 nodes.  It is a physical server with 2 x 1G ethernet connections, 16 x proc cores and 96GB of memory (memory is total overkill), connected to a SAN. 

Based on my experience (so far), my focus would be

  • memory
  • network
  • disk (both for available space and performance)
  • cpu (I have not seen issues with the server being CPU bound)

My first response for building ANY new system is: Virtualize.  And if the response is no, then I ask why.  As for Sat Server - if I was to rebuild mine, I would most likely Virtualize it using RHEV or KVM.

I assume you have confidence in your VMware infrastructure, which I assume is a shared infrastructure, in that it will meet your performance and sizing requirements.  There is an Oracle database (if you install the embedded release) which occasionally puts a load on the system, but a majority of the time I see Java(tomcat) consuming the most resources.

To answer your question: It depends ;-)  I do not see any show-stopper why you could not build your Sat Server in VMware (other than the bullet points above combined with how large your environment is).  I would be sure to build my Sat Server in such as way that made migrating to a new host as easy as possible (i.e. use separate VGs and LVs for Satellite Server mount points.)
I have not heard of a hardware dependency for Satellite.  I believe it simply needs a supported base OS.

Hello James,

thank your very much for your feedback!

I completely agree you to virtualize every new system. It is one of our company's missions to virtualize every server that has no special hardware requirements. As I'm also a VMware administrator I had a look at our farm - I'm sure that there should be no "performance show stopper" from the "VMware view".

I'd like to use the standalone database configuration because we have a dedicated Oracle database cluster - that also lowers the requirements for the virtual hardware.

How many space does your RHN need? We need to keep updates and packages for RHEL 5 and 6 (both i686 and x86_64). I couldn't find information about how big these repositories will be on the Red Hat page (or I wasn't searching deeply enough).


Best regards and thanks for the information!

I run my satellite server (version 5.5) /  RHEL 6.4 on VMware 5 without any issues.   Been running solid for well over a year now using the standalone Oracle instance.   I initially built it with 16 GB RAM and 4 Procs, but have increased the memory footprint to 24 GBs.   I have around 100 systems being management by it without issues.    BTW, this server started out on our VMware 4.x environment and upgraded to 5.x without any issues.   Performance is excellent.   I am also running a Spacewalk server with PostgreSQL as the DB with about the same load and the performance is equal to it's Satellite counterpart.  On both environements, I run 3 channels (dev, qc, and prod) a lot of configuration managemnet, kickstart / cobler profiles (and monitoring agents on the Spacewalk instance).  The servers are both AD bound with multiple users accessing it.   Have the abillity to snap it before upgrades and maintainence makes it so worth it.   

Good Luck with it.   

Thanks for pointing to those docs, Diaulas.

With an efficient virtualization solution, there's really no good reason not to host a Satellite Server on a VM (worst case, you'll end up with a 1:1 consolidation ratio). Dynamic addition of storage, RAM and CPU if your app grows beyond its expected footprint? Ability to checkpoint before each major software load, system patch, etc.? Yes please.

All our repos run on VMs. Granted, we don't currently use the KickStart functionality, but, even if we did, we're not so frequently KickStarting new systems so as to require heinous amounts of resources to accommodate it.