Red Hat has finally released a beta version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Atomic Host, a stripped down build of the operating system optimised for running containers.
These containers are emerging as a key technology for packaging and deploying applications in cloud environments.
Available for download from Red Hat and on Amazon Web Services and Google Compute Platform, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7 Atomic Host was first detailed at the Red Hat Summit in San Francisco earlier this year.
This version of Red Hat's operating system provides a streamlined host platform optimised to run application containers.
The software components included in RHEL 7 Atomic Host Beta, as well as default system tunings provided by Red Hat, have been designed to enhance the performance, scalability and security of containers, the firm said.
A key feature of the platform is a new update mechanism that operates in an image-like fashion.
This is courtesy of an open source project called rpm-ostree, which allows updates to be applied in a single step - hence the 'Atomic' label - but in such a way that the software can be rolled back to its previous state if necessary.
RHEL 7 Atomic Host also includes Kubernetes, a framework for managing clusters of containers, enabling horizontal scaling of applications and services through multi-container deployments.
Kubernetes is another open source project developed with contributions from Google, VMware and the Docker project, and forms the basis of Google's Container Engine service announced last week.
According to Red Hat, RHEL 7 Atomic Host provides a secure environment for operating multiple applications and services through the use of Security Enhanced Linux, a set of modifications to the Linux kernel that enable it to better enforce separation between the containers and the host platform itself.
However, RHEL 7 Atomic Host faces competition from Core OS, another stripped-down Linux distribution that has been developed specifically as a host platform for Docker containers and which has already become the preferred platform for running Docker.
The beta of RHEL 7 Atomic Host provides all the required tools to build and run container images based on Red Hat's operating system, including RHEL 6 and 7 container images and Docker services.
Another key feature of containers is cross-platform portability. Red Hat said RHEL 7 Atomic Host enables deployment on virtualised infrastructure based on Red Hat Enterprise Virtualisation and VMware vSphere, as well as cloud platforms such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform, Amazon Web Services and Google's Compute Engine.
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