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12 Client Migration

Upgrading from SLE 12 with the latest service pack (SP) to SLE 15 can be automated, but requires some preparation steps.

To upgrade the SP version on SLE 12 (for example, upgrading from SLE 12 or any SLE 12 SPx to SLE 12 SP4) can be fully automated and requires no additional preparation.

12.1 Upgrading SLE 12 SPx to version 15

SLE 12 SPx clients can be auto-upgraded to SLE 15 with YaST auto-installation. This also applies for other supported products based on SLE 12.

Note: Supported Upgrade Paths

For generally supported SUSE Linux Enterprise upgrade paths, see https://www.suse.com/documentation/sles-15/book_sle_upgrade/data/sec_upgrade-paths_supported.html (SUSE Linux Enterprise Upgrade Guide, Chapter Supported Upgrade Paths to SLE 15). It is important that you migrate the client to the latest available SP first. Upgrade to SLE 12 SP4 after December 2018.

Important: Auto-Upgrading Salt Minions Currently Not Supported

This procedure will work for traditionally managed systems (system type management). It is not currently available for systems using Salt (system type salt).

During the procedure, the machine reboots and performs the system upgrade. The process is controlled by YaST and AutoYaST, not by zypper commands.


Only perform this migration procedure on client systems managed by SUSE Manager servers. For upgrading the SUSE Manager server itself, see Chapter 11, SUSE Manager Server Migration. This is a viable method for major version upgrades such as an upgrade from SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 to 15.

12.1.1 System Upgrade Preparation

Make sure your SUSE Manager and all the clients you want to upgrade have installed all available updates, including the SUSE Manager tools. This is absolutely necessary, otherwise the system upgrade will fail.

The preparation process contains several steps:

  1. Download and save installation media

  2. Create an auto-installation distribution

  3. Create an activation key

  4. Upload an AutoYaST profile

Procedure: Download and Save Installation Media
  1. On the SUSE Manager server, create a local directory for the SLE 15 installation media.

  2. Download an ISO image with the installation sources, and mount the ISO image on your server:

    mkdir /mnt/sle15
    mount -o loop DVD1.iso /mnt/sle15

Procedure: Create an Auto-Installation Distribution. For all distributions you want to upgrade, create a SLE 15 distribution in SUSE Manager.

  1. In the SUSE Manager Web UI, click Main Menu › Systems › Autoinstallation › Distributions.

  2. Enter a Distribution Label for your distribution (for example, autumn2018)

  3. Specify the Tree Path, which is the root directory of the SLE 15 installation sources (for example, /mnt/sle15).

  4. For Base Channel, use the update target distribution SLE-Product-SLES15-Pool for x86_64.

  5. Confirm with Create Autoinstallable Distribution.

For more information about Autoinstallation, see Book “Reference Manual”, Chapter 7 “Systems”, Section 7.12 “Autoinstallation”.

Procedure: Create an Activation Key. In order to switch from the old SLE 12 SP4 base channel to the new SLE 15 channel, you need an activation key.

  1. Go to Main Menu › Systems › Activation Keys and click Create Key.

  2. Enter a description for your key.

  3. Enter a key or leave it blank to generate an automatic key.

  4. If you want to limit the usage, enter your value in the Usage text field.

  5. Select the SLE-Product-SLES15-Pool for x86_64 base channel.

  6. Decide about Add-On System Types. If in doubt, see https://www.suse.com/documentation/sles-15/book_quickstarts/data/art_modules.html (SUSE Linux Enterprise Modules & Extensions Quick Start).

  7. Click Create Activation Key.

  8. Click the Child Channels tab and select the required channels. Finish with Update Key.

Procedure: Upload an AutoYaST Profile. Create an AutoYaST XML file according to Section 12.1.2, “Sample Autoinstallation Script for System Upgrade (SLES 12 SP4 to SLES 15)”. For more information about AutoYaST, see Book “Reference Manual”, Chapter 7 “Systems”, Section 7.13 “Introduction to AutoYaST”.

  1. Go to Main Menu › Systems › Autoinstallation and click Upload Kickstart/Autoyast File.

  2. Paste the XML content in the text area or select the file to upload and click Create.

  3. Add autoupgrade=1 in the Kernel Options of the Details tab and click Update.

  4. Switch to the Variable tab.

  5. In the text field registration_key= enter the key from the preparation above.

  6. Click Update Variables.

After you have successfully finished this process, you are ready to perform the upgrade. For upgrade instruction, see Warning: Synchronizing Target Channels.

Warning: Synchronizing Target Channels

Before successfully initializing the product migration, make sure that the migration target channels are completely mirrored. For the upgrade to SUSE Linux Enterprise 15, at least the SLE-Product-SLES15-Pool base channel with the SLE-Manager-Tools15-Pool child channel for your architecture is required. The matching update channels such as SLE-Manager-Tools15-Updates and SLE-Product-SLES15-Updates are recommended. Watch the mirroring progress in /var/log/rhn/reposync/sles15-pool-x86_64.log.

  1. Go to the system via Main Menu › Systems and click the name of the system. Then click System Details › Provisioning › Autoinstallation › Schedule, and choose the AutoYaST XML profile you have uploaded above.

  2. Click Schedule Autoinstallation and Finish.

    Next time the machine asks the SUSE Manager server for jobs, it will receive a reinstallation job which fetches kernel and initrd and writes a new /boot/grub/menu.lst (containing pointers to the new kernel and initrd).

    When the machine boots, it will use the Grub configuration and boots the new kernel with its initrd. No PXE boot is required for this process. A shutdown of the machine is initiated as well, effectively 3 minutes after the job was fetched.

12.1.2 Sample Autoinstallation Script for System Upgrade (SLES 12 SP4 to SLES 15)

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<!DOCTYPE profile>
<profile xmlns="http://www.suse.com/1.0/yast2ns"
      <confirm config:type="boolean">false</confirm>
    <add_on_products config:type="list">
        <ask_on_error config:type="boolean">true</ask_on_error>
        <name>SLE15 Updates</name>
        <ask_on_error config:type="boolean">true</ask_on_error>
        <name>SLE15 Manager Tools Pool</name>
        <ask_on_error config:type="boolean">true</ask_on_error>
        <name>SLE15 Manager Tools Updates</name>
    <only_installed_packages config:type="boolean">false</only_installed_packages>
    <stop_on_solver_conflict config:type="boolean">true</stop_on_solver_conflict>
    <sysconfig config:type="boolean">true</sysconfig>
    <modified config:type="boolean">true</modified>
    <remove_old config:type="boolean">false</remove_old>
    <keep_install_network config:type="boolean">true</keep_install_network>
    <start_immediately config:type="boolean">true</start_immediately>
    <init-scripts config:type="list">

12.2 Migrating SLE 12 or later to version 12 SP4

Existing SLE 12 clients (SLE) may be upgraded to SP4 with the SP Migration procedure provided by the Web UI. The same applies for other supported products based on SUSE Linux Enterprise 12.

Warning: Synchronizing Target Channels

Before successfully initializing the product migration, you first must make sure that the migration target channels are completely mirrored. For the upgrade to SLE 12 SP4, at least the SLES12-SP4-Pool base channel with the SLE-Manager-Tools12-Pool child channel for your architecture is required. The matching update channels such as SLE-Manager-Tools12-Updates and SLES12-SP4-Updates are recommended.

Procedure: Migrating SLE 12 Client to SP4
  1. Direct your browser to the SUSE Manager Web UI where your client is registered, and login.

  2. On the Systems › All page select your client system from the table.

    sles old details page

    If there are Software Updates Available › ] in the menu:System Status[ notification install these updates first to avoid trouble during the migration process.

  3. On the system’s detail page select the Software › ] tab › then the menu:SP Migration[ tab.

    sles old details spmigration
  4. From this tab you will see the installed products listed on your client. Select the wanted Target Products (if there is more than one), which is SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 SP4.

    sles migration target

    Then confirm with Select Channels.

    sles migration channels
  5. Select Schedule Migration › ] › and then menu:Confirm[.

    sles migration schedule

Check the System Status on the system’s details when the migration is done.

sles migrated

If the System Status › ] notification does not report a successful migration but lists menu:Software Updates Available[, install the update now and then check again.

Finally, consider to schedule a reboot.

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