Spacewalk vs. Katello

When managing alot of systems (virtual or physical) it makes sense to centralize the package management. It also saves you alot of time.

Spacewalk does exactly that for RPM-based systems like CentOS, Fedora or SLE. Its the community and open-source version of the RedHat Network Satellite Products  (RHN). It brings you alot of nice features like

  • Systems inventory with hardware and software info (DMI)
  • Centralized package management. Installing / Updating software on systems (single/grouped/batch)
  • Errata overview for systems (security/bugfixes/enhancements)
  • Kickstart / Provision systems
  • Audit
  • basic config file distribution (better do this with puppet/chef)
  • basic monitoring (better do this with munin/graphite/ganglia..)

Spacewalk started in 2008 and is now at version 2.0 and really stable and mature.

Meanwhile RedHat announced the next generation called CloudForms. The community equivalent to it is Katello. Its a complete rewrite compared to Spacewalk. For instance it uses Foreman for provisioning and Pulp for package management.

So I had a look at Katello to see whether it could replace Spacewalk already or in the future. However I was disappointed. Its still in an early development state at version 1.3. I am missing several key features that hopefully will come soon in the futue:

  • No errata for CentOS repositories. Only for repositories that contain errata themselves like EPEL.
  • You cant see in detail which package updates are available for which systems

As a conclusion I can say that Katello is the future. Provisioning with Foreman, Multiple customizable environments (dev/staging/production etc) and promoting package changesets thru them. To just name a few improvements. However at the moment it still lacks some features that Spacewalk has and you dont wanna miss.

  1. Next generation of Spacewalk/RHN is not CloudForms. CloudForms is a multicloud management platform. And the community equivalent of CloudForms is ManageIQ.

    Next generation of but its true that Katello is the successor of Spacewalk.

      • phil
      • November 10th, 2014 3:19pm

      Hi, you are not entirely right. CloudForms consists of several components, one being CloudForms System Engine. CloudForms is the product name. CloudForms System Engine is a subcomponent of CloudForms which provides System Management aspects, similar to RHN product. This component manages how systems run across their physical, virtual and cloud environments. It includes managing content and image definitions, as well as managing software updates. Katello is the community edition for the WebUI & API within the CloudForms System Engine component of CloudForms.
      (If you compare screenshots, you can clearly see there are alot similarities between CF System Engine and Katello)

      However its time for me to re-evaluate Katello which has now grown to version 2.0. Maybe its good enough to replace Spacewalk already.

      • Hi Phil,

        did you ever get around to re-evaluating Katello? I just stumbled across Foreman and am wondering whether I should invest time to migrate away from Spacewalk

          • phil
          • October 7th, 2015 1:01pm

          Hey Stefan! I never did a complete re-evaluation but I checked on possibilities for importing Errata. However that still wasnt possible. And at least for me, having Errata is one of the core arguments.

          • Hi Phil,

            thanks for taking the time to respond. I agree with you on that point. Let’s see what the future brings 🙂

            Best wishes,


            • cj
            • January 21st, 2016 9:39pm

            Hi Phil,

            Can we get CloudForms for CentOS?


            • phil
            • January 26th, 2016 1:05pm

            Hi, what do you mean?

    • Bishop
    • April 19th, 2016 12:07am

    cj :
    Hi Phil,
    Can we get CloudForms for CentOS?

    You can get ManageIQ, at least, judging from the very good chef recipe here: . It could give you enough to get a manageIQ box going, if you don’t want to just grab and inject their Appliance VM into your infrastructure for a demo.

    Having said that, the content of this article has more errors than the writing itself. One would say ‘alot’ of errors, but that’s entrapment.

    The bundling of updates into Errata is neither a sound nor complete method of publishing code updates, as the mapping from RPM update to Erratum isn’t 1:1 (or 1:M). Pieces go missing, and it’s a terrible way of enabling people to update in a lazy fashion. People complain about the cost of an enterprise linux and its commitment to compatibility, but then are too afraid or blind to the few benefits to actually reap the rewards. We need to trumpet the rewards and work with them as we build on the stability which is RHEL(/CentOS), so we have a rebuttal when this week’s shiny new dev struts in and complains that Java is more than a week behind the beta release.

    We need to be more critical and understanding of what we’re getting, and for what cost — lest we get another unauditable packaging system (not RPM) or another ‘feature’ like the systemd Fridge Art.

    • Milan
    • May 26th, 2016 3:11pm

    Hi Guys

    I wonder if anyone can explain to me why do you have to use RedHat Satellite to patch redhat systems registered via subscription manager?

    Is there any other way? than paying for license to RedHat 🙁


      • phil
      • May 26th, 2016 7:02pm

      I’m not sure if thats what you are asking about but you can aswell manage your systems with Spacewalk instead of RHN when having a RedHat subscription.

        • Suhail
        • June 16th, 2017 4:05pm


        Are you sure you can manage RHEL licensed systems using Spacewalk?

        That’s not what they say:


          • phil
          • June 21st, 2017 8:04pm

          yes you can manage RHEL systems. however if you do have a RHN subscription, it might make more sense to use RHN Satellite. I guess thats what that table is supposed to mean

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