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1.2. Creating and Managing Custom Channels
There are many channels in Red Hat Satellite. Some are available to all users, some are available to users in a particular organization, and some are available only if subscriptions have been purchased for access to specific channels. Channels fall into these main categories:
- Paid Service Channels - These channels are available if the organization has purchased access to them either directly or in conjunction with a particular Red Hat solution. Red Hat Enterprise Linux is an example of a paid service channel.
- Custom Channels - These channels are created by the organizational administrator to manage custom packages. These channels, also known as private channels, by default, appear only to the organization who creates them; they can never be accessed by anyone else. However, private channels can be shared across organizations by setting up Organizational Trusts and sharing the channel.
Custom channels allow administrators to use the Red Hat Satellite infrastructure to deploy packages built and maintained by their organizations. All channel and package management activities take place in the Channels tab of the Red Hat Satellite web interface.
Because of the potential problems that may arise from deploying untested packages throughout the production environment, Red Hat strongly recommends creating beta channels covering select systems that can be used for staging.
For example, if the organization has a system group of Web servers that receives a set of custom packages, create temporary channels to install the packages on a non-critical subset of representative systems first. These might be development or staging servers, not live production systems. These temporary channels are then deleted using the steps described in Section 1.2.11, “Deleting Software Channels”.
1.2.1. Tools, Repositories, and Practices
Before creating and managing channels, note the differences between the various tools and repositories at your disposal. This is especially important when deploying both a Red Hat Satellite Server and Red Hat Satellite Proxy Server, as this increases the utilities and storage locations available. Furthermore, a Proxy-Satellite combination offers certain best practices for optimal performance.
The following package management tools are used in Red Hat Satellite:
- Red Hat Network Package Manager - Use this to push custom packages into custom channels on your Red Hat Satellite Proxy Server.
- Red Hat Network Push - Use this to push custom packages into custom channels on your Red Hat Satellite Server.
- Red Hat Satellite Synchronization Tool - Use this to import and synchronize standard packages from Red Hat Network Classic to the Red Hat Satellite server at your location. This is done via the Internet or CD/DVD ISO images.
Each of these tools has a corresponding package repository. Both Red Hat Network Package Manager and Red Hat Network Push require the creation of a temporary staging directory for placement of custom packages that are uploaded to the Proxy or Satellite. Delete these staging directories after use.
Red Hat recommends archiving custom packages externally from Red Hat Satellite.
When using both Red Hat Satellite Proxy Server and Red Hat Satellite, use only Red Hat Network Push and Red Hat Satellite Synchronization Tool. The Proxy-Satellite combination requires custom packages and channels be uploaded to the Satellite only. From there, the Proxy obtains the packages and distributes them to client systems.