Red Hat Satellite is an open source systems management application. Satellite allows system's administrators to deploy, manage and monitor Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Solaris hosts. Satellite can be thought of as a local version of Red Hat Network.
An organisation's Satellite server registers with Red Hat Network and downloads relevant software into Satellite's software channels. The organisation's hosts then register against the local Satellite server, instead of directly against Red Hat Network.
This allows the organisation to control which versions of software are available for its hosts as well as making additional software available to their hosts.
Satellite offers numerous methods for deploying hosts, including simple kickstart, bare metal install and re-imaging. Current versions of Satellite support kickstart using Cobbler as an underlying framework. PXE Boot, and Koan are methods that can be used to implement bare metal installs and re-imaging of hosts.
Satellite assists in managing hosts in two main areas: software and configuration. The 3 main mechanisms for managing hosts are:
- Software Channels
- Configuration Channels
- Activation Keys
Satellite can provide monitoring of software and systems via probes. These probes periodically explore the target host and send alerts if the probes do not get the correct replies, or if the replies fall outside of some specified range.
Relationship to Spacewalk
Satellite is a supported version of Spacewalk. As such it only supports Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Solaris. Red Hat has released an open source version of Satellite called Spacewalk. Features that are contributed to Spacewalk may be incorporated into Satellite though this is not always the case or guaranteed.
Spacewalk and Red Hat Satellite are in long term support mode for Red Hat, as they were originally designed to duplicate the RHN experience that customer saw in 2001 on Red Hat website to be internally deployed into a company's intranet. Therefore the design was web-centric before system management tools such as Chef, Puppet, cfengine or other third party stacks like OpenStack. So Red Hat has focused most of its main efforts on new projects such as Fedora's Katello and Foreman to replace the functionality of Spacewalk and Red Hat Satellite.