Custom Channels

While SUSE Manager provides all required channels, you might find it useful to create custom channels specific to your environment.

Custom channels give you the ability to create your own software packages and repositories, which you can use to update your clients. They also allow you to use software provided by third party vendors in your environment.

You must have administrator privileges to be able to create and manage custom channels.

Before you create a custom channel, determine which base channel you want to associate it with, and which repositories you want to use for content.

This section gives more detail on how to create, administer, and delete custom channels.

Creating Custom Channels

If you have custom software packages that you need to install on your SUSE Manager systems, you can create a custom child channel to manage them. You will need to create the channel in the SUSE Manager Web UI and create a repository for the packages, before assigning the channel to your systems.

You can select a vendor channel as the base channel if you want to use packages provided by a vendor. Alternatively, select none to make your custom channel a base channel.

Custom channels will sometimes require additional security settings. Many third party vendors secure packages with GPG. If you want to use GPG-protected packages in your custom channel, you will need to trust the GPG key which has been used to sign the metadata. You can then check the Has Signed Metadata? check box to match the package metadata against the trusted GPG keys. For more information on importing GPG keys, see reference:systems/autoinst-gpg-and-ssl-keys.adoc.

Do not create child channels containing packages that are not compatible with the client system.

Procedure: Creating a Custom Channel
  1. In the SUSE Manager Web UI, navigate to Software  Manage  Channels, and click Create Channel.

  2. On the Create Software Channel page, give your channel a name (for example, My Tools SLES 15 SP1 x86_64) and a label (for example, my-tools-sles15sp1-x86_64). Labels must not contain space characters or capital letters.

  3. In the Parent Channel drop down, choose the relevant base channel (for example, SLE-Product-SLES15-SP1-Pool for x86_64). Ensure that you choose the compatible parent channel for your packages.

  4. In the Architecture drop down, choose the appropriate hardware architecture (for example, x86_64).

  5. Provide any additional information in the contact details, channel access control, and GPG fields, as required for your environment.

  6. Click Create Channel.

Procedure: Creating a Software Repository
  1. In the SUSE Manager Web UI, navigate to Software  Manage  Repositories, and click Create Repository.

  2. On the Create Repository page, give your repository a label (for example, my-tools-sles15sp1-x86_64-repo).

  3. In the Repository URL field, provide the path to the directory with the repodata file (for example, file:///opt/mytools/). You can use any valid addressing protocol in this field.

  4. Uncheck the Has Signed Metadata? check box.

  5. OPTIONAL: Complete the SSL fields if your repository requires client certificate authentication.

  6. Click Create Repository.

Procedure: Assigning the Repository to a Channel
  1. Assign your new repository to your custom channel by navigating to Software  Manage  Channels, clicking the name of your newly created custom channel, and navigating to the Repositories tab.

  2. Ensure the repository you want to assign to the channel is checked, and click Update Repositories.

  3. Navigate to the Sync tab and click Sync Now to synchronize immediately. You can also set an automated synchronization schedule on this tab.

Procedure: Adding Custom Channels to an Activation Key
  1. In the SUSE Manager Web UI, navigate to Systems  Activation Keys, and select the key you want to add the custom channel to.

  2. On the Details tab, in the Child Channels listing, select the channel to associate. You can select multiple channels, if you need to.

  3. Click Update Activation Key.

Deleting Custom Channels

You cannot delete SUSE Manager channels with the Web UI. Only custom channels can be deleted.

  1. In the SUSE Manager Web UI, navigate to Software  Manage  Channels, and select the channel you want to delete.

  2. Click Delete software channel.

  3. On the Delete Channel page, check the details of the channel you are deleting, and check the Unsubscribe Systems checkbox to remove the custom channel from any systems that might still be subscribed.

  4. Click Delete Channel.

When channels are deleted, the packages that are part of the deleted channel are not automatically removed. You will not be able to update packages that have had their channel deleted.

You can delete packages that are not associated with a channel in the SUSE Manager Web UI. Navigate to Software  Manage  Packages, check the packages to remove, and click Delete Packages.