Red Hat has begun distribution of the final build for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.1 (RHEL 6.1), which adds better performance, enhanced storage options and optimised virtualisation support.
The company claims that RHEL 6.1 is the fastest version yet, and that it set a new SPECvirt_sc2010 benchmark record running on an HP ProLiant blade server, thanks to lower latencies in networking and I/O traffic.
Network traffic management for multi-core servers has also been improved, and the software now supports PCI Express 3.0 and USB 3.0, and allows the hot-swapping of processors and memory on Intel Nehalem-EX systems.
Storage connectivity has been upgraded to add more support for Fibre Channel over Ethernet, datacentre bridging and iSCSI systems.
For virtualisation, the KVM has been tweaked to improve the management and control of systems, and RHEL 6.1 customers will be the first to get the Red Hat High Availability tool, which enables automatic failover for virtual machines and applications.
"This is a dot release, so there are lots of small improvements but nothing too major," Al Gillen, programme vice president for system software at IDC, told V3.co.uk.
"Probably the biggest single biggest feature is the improvement to the KVM virtual infrastructure and the management tools that go with it. Enterprises will most likely upgrade when they are ready, since dot releases like this might not give a good return on investment for time spent changing things."
Red Hat released RHEL 6 in November and offered version 6.1 to developers in beta format, but has now taken the code live. Another revision is likely in six months if the company maintains current schedules.
Red Hat, which is aiming to become the first open source company to take more than $1bn in annual revenues, claimed that the new version adds important improvements for customers.
"With Linux adoption growing across all workloads, RHEL 6.1 provides more enterprise reliability, performance and control throughout the datacentre," said Jim Totton, vice president and general manager of platform business at Red Hat.
"RHEL 6.1 continues to lead Linux innovation as we drive adoption across workloads that include physical, virtual and cloud deployments. We are pleased to provide these new capabilities to our global customers today."
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