Foreman or Spacewalk, Your Red Hat Satellite With No Cost!

Red Hat Satellite is a system management software for Red Hat Enterprise Linux that provided by Red Hat. Red Hat Satellite is an open source software but you have to pay for subscriptions, if you want access to that. Red Hat Satellite or any other system management software is necessary for medium and large companies to provision, manage and keep update physical and virtual servers.

But if you can’t pay for these software, so what is alternative?

Before find the answer of the above question, I should mention that Red Hat doesn’t sell software, Red Hat sells support of the software and all Red Hat’s software are open-source but not totally free.

As Red Hat also develops Satellite from other open-source software, so the software will be alternative for Red Hat Satellite. The functionality is same but you have no support and you have to read documentations and community to find solution for resolving issues.

Red Hat Satellite 5 was based on Spacewalk and Red Hat Satellite 6 is based on Foreman. We’ll review the both alternative in this post.


Spacewalk is an open source Linux systems management solution. It allows you to:

  • Inventory your systems (hardware and software information).
  • Install and update software on your systems.
  • Collect and distribute your custom software packages into manageable groups.
  • Provision (kickstart) your systems.
  • Manage and deploy configuration files to your systems.
  • Provision and start/stop/configure virtual guests.
  • Distribute content across multiple geographical sites in an efficient manner.

Spacewalk manages software content updates for Red Hat derived distributions such as Fedora, CentOS, and Scientific Linux, within your firewall. You can stage software content through different environments, managing the deployment of updates to systems and allowing you to view at which update level any given system is at across your deployment. A central web interface allows viewing of systems, their associated software update status, and initiating update actions.

Spacewalk also provides provisioning capabilities, allowing you to manage your systems throughout their lifecycle. Via Provisioning, Spacewalk enables you to kickstart provision systems and manage and deploy configuration files. Spacewalk also has virtualization capabilities to enable you to provision, control, manage, and monitor virtual KVM and Xen guests.


Foreman is a complete lifecycle management tool for physical and virtual servers. We give system administrators the power to easily automate repetitive tasks, quickly deploy applications, and proactively manage servers, on-premise or in the cloud.

Foreman is an open source project that helps system administrators manage servers throughout their lifecycle, from provisioning and configuration to orchestration and monitoring. Provisioning support gives you easy control of setting up new servers, and using configuration management (Puppet, Ansible, Chef and Salt are supported), you can easily automate repetitive tasks. With Foreman, you can quickly deploy applications, and proactively manage change, both on-premise with VMs and bare-metal or in the cloud. Foreman scales well to multiple locations (offices, data centres, etc) and multiple organisations, allowing you to grow without losing your single source of infrastructure truth.

Foreman, provides comprehensive, interaction facilities including a web frontend, CLI and RESTful API which enables you to build higher level business logic on top of a solid foundation. It is deployed in many organizations, managing from 10s to 10,000s of servers. Several commercial products are based on Foreman.

Foreman’s Key Features

Foreman allows you to:

  • Discover, provision and upgrade your entire bare-metal infrastructure
  • Create and manage instances in virtualization environment and across private and public clouds
  • Install operating systems via PXE, local media or from templates or images
  • Control and gather reports from your configuration management software
  • Group your hosts and manage them in bulk, regardless of location
  • Review historical changes for auditing or troubleshooting
  • Web user interface, JSON REST API and CLI for Linux
  • Extend as needed via a robust plugin architecture

Supported Operating System

The following operating systems are known to install successfully from Foreman:

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux
  • CentOS
  • Fedora
  • Debian
  • Ubuntu
  • Solaris
  • Oracle Linux
  • SLES
  • OpenSuse
  • CoreOS
  • FreeBSD
  • Junos

Supported Cloud Providers

Foreman can provision on bare metal as well as the following cloud providers:

  • Amazon EC2
  • Google Compute Engine
  • Libvirt
  • OpenStack
  • oVirt and RHEV
  • Rackspace
  • VMware

Do Anything By Plugins

Foreman has lot of plugins for managing systems, automation and other tasks. Plugins are tools to extend and modify the functionality of Foreman, Smart Proxy and Hammer CLI. The core Foreman applications are designed to be lean, to maximize flexibility and to minimize code bloat. Plugins offer custom functions and features so that each user can tailor their environment to their specific needs.

Further Reading

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0 Beta

Red Hat Access Labs – Review

[News]: Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host – VMware Guest

Linux Distributions for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise

Splunk Log Management

External Links



Davoud Teimouri

Davoud Teimouri is as a professional blogger, vExpert 2015/2016/2017/2018/2019, VCA, MCITP. This blog is started with simple posts and now, it has large following readers.

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