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Applies to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15

1 Upgrade Paths and Methods Edit source

SUSE® Linux Enterprise (SLE) allows upgrading an existing system to the new version, for example, going from SLE 12 SP4 to the latest SLE 15 service pack. No new installation is needed. Existing data, such as home and data directories and system configuration, is kept intact. You can update from a local CD or DVD drive or from a central network installation source.

This chapter explains how to manually upgrade your SUSE Linux Enterprise system, be it by DVD, network, an automated process, or SUSE Manager.

1.1 Upgrading versus Fresh Installation Edit source

Upgrades between two major releases of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server are supported by SUSE. Whether it is better to upgrade or perform a fresh installation depends your specific scenario. While upgrades promise less work, fresh installations ensure you benefit from all new features of a release such as disk layout changes, specific filesystem features, and other improvements. To get the most out of your system, SUSE therefore recommends fresh installations in most scenarios.

In both cases—upgrade as well as a fresh installtion— customers will have to check if system settings and default values still fit their requirements.

For updates from one service pack of a specific release to another one of the same codestream, SUSE recommends to do it in-place, and not to perform a fresh installation. Nevertheless there may be reasons and scenarios for a customer to perform a fresh installation in this case, too. The decision what is more suitable can only be made by the customer.

1.2 Supported Upgrade Paths to SLES 15 Edit source

Before you perform any migration, read Chapter 3, Preparing the Upgrade.

Important
Important: Cross-architecture Upgrades Are Not Supported

Cross-architecture upgrades, such as upgrading from a 32-bit version of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server to the 64-bit version, or upgrading from big endian to little endian are not supported!

Specifically, SLE 11 on POWER (big endian) to SLE 15 on POWER (new: little endian!) is not supported.

Also, since SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 is 64-bit only, upgrades from any 32-bit SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 systems to SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 and later are not supported.

To make a cross-architecture upgrade, you need to perform a new installation.

Note
Note: Skipping Service Packs

The easiest upgrade path is consecutively installing all service packs. For the SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 product line (GA and the subsequent service packs) it is also supported to skip one service pack when upgrading. For example, upgrading from SLE 15 GA to 15 SP2 or from SLE 15 SP1 to 15 SP3 is supported.

Overview of Supported Upgrade Paths
Figure 1.1: Overview of Supported Upgrade Paths
Note
Note: Upgrading Major Releases

We recommend to do a fresh install when upgrading to a new Major Release, for example from SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 to SUSE Linux Enterprise 15.

Supported Upgrade Paths per Version
Upgrading from SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 (any Service Pack)

There is no supported direct migration path to SUSE Linux Enterprise 15. We recommend a fresh installation in this case.

Upgrading from SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 GA / SP1 / SP2 / SP3

Upgrading from SLES 11 SP3 or older service packs directly is not supported. You need at least SLES 11 SP4 before you can proceed to SLES 15.

If you cannot do a fresh installation, first upgrade your installed SLES 11 service pack to SLES 11 SP4. This upgrade is described in the SLES 11 SP4 Deployment Guide.

Upgrading from SUSE Linux Enterprise Server11 SP4

Upgrading from SLES 11 SP4 is only supported via an offline upgrade. Refer to Section 1.3, “Online and Offline Upgrade” for details.

Upgrading from SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 GA / SP1 / SP2

Upgrading from SLES 12 SP2 or older service packs directly is not supported. You need at least SLES 12 SP3 before you can proceed to SLES 15.

If you cannot do a fresh installation, first upgrade your installed SLES 12 service pack to SLES 12 SP3. This upgrade is described in the SLES 12 SP3 Deployment Guide.

Upgrading from SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 SP3

Upgrading from SLES 12 SP3 is only supported via an offline upgrade. Refer to Section 1.3, “Online and Offline Upgrade” for details.

Upgrading from openSUSE Leap 15

Upgrading from openSUSE Leap 15 is supported. See Section 5.9, “Upgrading from openSUSE Leap to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. Only the server installation of Leap is supported for an upgrade.

Upgrading SUSE Linux Enterprise Public Cloud Guests

See https://documentation.suse.com/suse-distribution-migration-system/1.0/single-html/distribution-migration-system/ for instructions on upgrading SLE guests in public clouds.

1.3 Online and Offline Upgrade Edit source

SUSE supports two different upgrade and migration methods. For more information about the terminology, see Section 2.1, “Terminology”. The methods are:

Online

Upgrades that are executed from the running operating system itself (system up and running state). Examples: online update with Zypper or YaST, connected through SUSE Customer Center or Repository Mirroring Tool (RMT), Salt Policy via SUSE Manager.

For details, see Chapter 5, Upgrading Online.

When migrating between Service Packs of the same major release, we suggest following Section 5.4, “Upgrading with the Online Migration Tool (YaST)” or Section 5.5, “Upgrading with Zypper”.

Offline

Upgrading offline implies that the operating system to be upgraded is not running (system down state). Instead, the installer for the target operating system is booted (for example, from the installation media, via network or via local boot loader), and performs the upgrade.

For details, see Chapter 4, Upgrading Offline.

Important
Important: SUSE Manager Clients

If your machine is managed by SUSE Manager, update it as described in the SUSE Manager documentation. The Client Migration procedure is described in the SUSE Manager Upgrade Guide, available at https://www.suse.com/documentation/suse-manager.

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