Satellite (software)

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Original author(s)Red Hat
Initial release2002[1]
Stable release
6.4 / October 17, 2018; 8 months ago (2018-10-17)
Operating systemLinux

In computing, Red Hat Satellite[2] is a systems-management product by the company Red Hat which allows system administrators to deploy and manage Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) hosts.

A Satellite server registers with Red Hat Subscription Management, mirrors all relevant software like security errata and bug fixes, and provides this together with locally added software and configuration to the attached servers.

The managed hosts register against the local Satellite server and access the provided resources like software packages, patches, configuration, etc. while they also provide information about the current health state of the server to the Satellite[3]

As of March 2017:

  • The latest version is Red Hat Satellite 6,[4] based on Foreman. This article focuses on Red Hat Satellite 6
  • The previous version was Red Hat Satellite 5. Based on Spacewalk it is still in widespread use despite being in the sunset of its lifecycle


Red Hat Satellite Server[edit]

The Red Hat Satellite Server enables planning and management of the content life cycle and the configuration of Capsule Servers and hosts through GUI, CLI (Hammer), or API (RESTful API).

Capsule Servers[edit]

Capsule Servers mirror content from the Satellite Server to establish content sources in different geographical locations, they are analogous to the Red Hat Satellite 5 Proxy Server.

Managed Client Systems[edit]

As well as Supported Managed Hosts Red Hat Satellite 6 also has some deployment and management capability on certain other hosts though Red Hat Support for these will be limited.[6][7]

Connection to Red Hat Customer Portal and External Content Sources[edit]

Satellite generally operates in "connected" mode, registering directly with the RHN and downloading 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.

For secure deployments, Satellite can operate in a "Disconnected" mode, where updates are downloaded directly from Red Hat via an Internet connected machine and then uploaded into Satellite or a local offline RHN proxy.

Both modes allow the organisation to control which versions of software it makes available for its hosts, as well as making additional software available within the local network.

Red Hat Satellite 6 components[edit]

Component[8][9] Details
The Foreman Provision and Life Cycle Management of physical and virtual systems
Katello Foreman Plug-in for Subscription and Repository Management
Candlepin Service in Katello to handle subscription management
Pulp Service in Katello to handle repository and content management
Hammer CLI tool providing command line and shell equivalents of most WEB UI functions
REST API RESTful API service for System Administrators and Developers to write custom scripts and third party interface applications
Apache Tomcat Embedded Tomcat server than must be interfaced via specified tools
Puppet A Puppet Master server installed as part of a Red Hat Satellite 6 Master Server or Capsule server
Hiera[10] A Key-Value database that is part of Puppet and helps keep site specific data out of manifests

Major modules[11][edit]


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 remotely managing hosts in several areas: software, operational management, and configuration. The 3[clarification needed] main mechanisms for managing hosts are:

  • Software Channel
  • 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.

History and Lifecycle[edit]

A primary purpose of earlier versions of Satellite was to allow organizations to utilize the benefits of Red Hat Network (RHN) without having to provide public Internet access to their servers or other client systems.[12] Later version of the tool have developed increased functionality.

Date Event.[13]
March 23, 2004 Initial Red Hat Satellite release
March 23, 2004 Red Hat Satellite 3 released
August 31, 2005 Red Hat Satellite 4 released
June 26, 2007 Red Hat Satellite 5 released
June 2008 Spacewalk donated as open source project upstream for Red Hat Satellite 5[14]
Sept 10, 2014[15] Red Hat Satellite 6 released. Technological base changed towards a combination of the Open Source projects Foreman (Web-Gui, Deployment), Foreman-Katello plugin (Content & Software Management), Puppet (Configuration Management), and others. Spacewalk is no longer upstream[4]
August 12, 2015[15] Red Hat Satellite 6.1 released.
July 27, 2016[15] Red Hat Satellite 6.2 released.
6/21/2017 [16] Red Hat Satellite 5.8 released. last release of sat 5 EOL (end of life) 5/2020.
February 21, 2018[15] Red Hat Satellite 6.3 released. This release allows integration with Ansible Tower
Oct 16, 2018[17] Red Hat Satellite 6.4 released. This release has built in Ansible Core , later puppet 5
May 14, 2019 Red Hat Satellite 6.5 released.

Future of Red Hat Satellite 6[edit]

The Lifecycle of Red Hat Satellite 6 is recorded at the Red Hat Satellite and Proxy Server Life Cycle which is updated as required, with future events on a bona fide basis.[13] When viewed in March 2017 Red Hat indicated Red Hat Satellite 6 will exit its Production 1 phase in September 2017 for a Production 2 phase of 2 years. No date had been set for end of support.

Red Hat Satellite 5[edit]

For Red Hat Satellite version 5 the Satellite Application was implemented by a toolset named Project Spacewalk.

Red Hat announced in June 2008 Project Spacewalk was to be made open source under the GPLv2 License[14]

Satellite 5.3 was the first version to be based on upstream Spacewalk code.[18]

In the Spacewalk FAQ[19] issued in 2015 after the release of Red Hat Satellite 6:

  • Red Hat formally released Spacewalk as open source(GPLv2) in June 2008.
  • Red Hat would continue to sponsor and support Spacewalk as the upstream Red Hat Satellite 5. however that participation is anticipated to diminish as Red Hat Satellite 5 enters the final phases of its lifecycle. Spacewalk is not and can never be upstream for Red Hat Satellite 6 released in September 2014.[20][21] due to it being a ground up rebuild with a different toolset.

Future of Red Hat Satellite 5[edit]

The Lifecycle of Red Hat Satellite 5 is recorded at the Red Hat Satellite and Proxy Server Life Cycle which is updated as required, with future events on a bona fide basis.[13] When viewed in March 2017 Red Hat indicated:

  • Red Hat Satellite 5 is in the final Production 3 phase.
  • The current releases, 5.6 and 5.7, would remain supported through January 2019.
  • A further minor release 5.8 will be the only release supported in a supplementary Extended Life Phase from February 2019 through to EOL in May 2020.

As of April 2017 Satellite minor release 5.8 is in available in beta.[22]


  1. ^ "Red Hat Satellite 6 roadmap and demonstration". Red Hat Summit. 2016-10-21. Retrieved 2017-03-25.
  2. ^ "Introducing Red Hat Satellite 6 - Datasheet" (PDF). Red Hat. 2014. Retrieved 2016-02-03.
  3. ^ Kalidindi, Srinivas R. (2007). "3.2.1". Linux Operating System Configuration Management Framework: A Scalable and Efficient Approach Using Open Source Utilities (MSC.). Ohio University. Retrieved 2017-03-17.
  4. ^ a b "Red Hat Satellite 6 comes with improved server and cloud management". znet. 2014-09-10. Retrieved 2017-03-24.
  5. ^ "Architecture Guide Introduction to Red Hat Satellite 6". Retrieved 2017-02-02.
  6. ^ "Satellite 6 Support for non-Red Hat distributions". Red Hat. 2016-09-07. Retrieved 2016-02-03.
  7. ^ "How does Red Hat support scripting frameworks?". Red Hat. 2016-04-01. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  8. ^ "architecture-guide Components". Red Hat. Retrieved 2017-02-02.
  9. ^ "architecture-guide Components usage". Red Hat. Retrieved 2017-02-02.
  10. ^ "Hiera 3.2". Puppet. Retrieved 2017-02-02.
  11. ^ Loschwitz, Martin; Feilner, Markus; Casad, Joe (1 February 2015). "Exploring Red Hat Satellite Server 6" (171). Linux Magazine. Archived from the original on 27 August 2017. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  12. ^ "Red Hat Network Satellite 5.0 Installation Guide - RHN Satellite Server". 2008. Retrieved 2017-02-03.
  13. ^ a b c "Red Hat Satellite and Proxy Server Life Cycle". Red Hat. Retrieved 2017-03-25.
  14. ^ a b "Project Spacewalk Announcement". Red Hat. 2008-06-02. Retrieved 2017-01-31.
  15. ^ a b c d "Red Hat Satellite 6.3 FAQ". 2 February 2018. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  16. ^ "Red Hat Satellite 5.8 is now generally available". 21 June 2017. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  17. ^ "Red Hat Satellite 6.4 is now generally available". 16 Oct 2018. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  18. ^ "Red Hat stretches Linux system management tentacle". The Register. 2009-09-02. Retrieved 2014-02-05.
  19. ^ "(Spacewalk) Frequently Asked Questions". Red hat. 2015. Retrieved 2017-02-01.
  20. ^ "Satellite version 6 with Puppet, git, Foreman, Katello, Pulp and Candlepin included - questions on using Puppet".
  21. ^ "Spacewalk: Free & Open Source Linux Systems Management". Retrieved 2012-10-14.
  22. ^ "Red Hat Satellite 5.8 Beta Program". Red Hat. 5 April 2017. Retrieved 16 May 2017.

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