Red Hat has made available a beta of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 (RHEL 7) for testers to start evaluating, just weeks after the final release of RHEL 6.5 to customers. The new version is aimed at meeting the requirements of future applications as well as delivering scalability and performance to power cloud infrastructure and enterprise data centres.
Available to download now, the RHEL 7 beta introduces a number of enhancements, including better support for Linux Containers, in-place upgrades, XFS as the default file system, improved networking support and improved compatibility with Windows networks.
Inviting customers, partners, and even members of the public to download the RHEL 7 beta and provide feedback, Red Hat is promoting the upcoming version as its most ambitious release to date. The code is based on Fedora 19 (Red Hat's community developed Linux) and the upstream Linux 3.10 kernel, the firm said.
"Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 is designed to provide the underpinning for future application architectures while delivering the flexibility, scalability, and performance needed to deploy across bare metal, virtual machines, and cloud infrastructure," Senior Product Marketing Manager Kimberly Craven wrote on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux blog.
These improvements address a number of key areas, including virtualisation, management and interoperability.
Linux Containers, for example, was partially supported in RHEL 6.5, but this release enables applications to be created and deployed using Linux Container technology, such as the Docker tool. Containers offers operating system level virtualisation, which provides isolation between applications without the overhead of virtualising the entire server.
Red Hat said it is now supporting an in-place upgrade feature for common server deployment types. This will allow customers to migrate existing RHEL 6.5 systems to RHEL 7 without downtime.
RHEL 7 also makes the switch to XFS as its default file system, supporting file configurations up to 500TB, while ext4 file systems are now supported up to 50TB in size and B-tree file system (btrfs) implementations are available for users to test out.
Interoperability with Windows has also been improved, with Red Hat now including the ability to bridge Windows and Linux infrastructure by integrating RHEL 7 and Samba 4.1 with Microsoft Active Directory domains. Red Hat Enterprise Linux Identity Management can also be deployed in a parallel trust zone alongside Active Directory, the firm said.
On the networking side, RHEL 7 provides support for 40Gbps Ethernet, along with improved channel bonding, TCP performance improvements and low latency socket poll support.
Other enhancements include support for very large scale storage configurations, including enterprise storage arrays, and uniform management tools for networking, storage, file systems, identities and security using the OpenLMI framework.
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