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Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.8 Enters Testing

By Sean Kerner (Send Email)
Posted December 19, 2011


Just because Linux vendor Red Hat has a newer platform release out, doesn't mean it's leaving its older customers behind. Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) is now testing the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5.8 release, providing customers with updates to the platform.

Red Hat first launched Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (RHEL) back in 2007. In late 2010, Red Hat released RHEL 6, providing the next generation of enterprise Linux features. RHEL 6 was recently updated to RHEL 6.2, providing new control and storage features. The upcoming RHEL 5.8 release, which is now in beta, is getting its own set of updates. However, resource control is not among them.

The resource control functionality in RHEL 6.2 comes by way of the cgroups feature that is not present in the RHEL 5.x series.

"cgroups was extremely invasive so you'll never see that in RHEL 5," Tim Burke, vice president of Linux Engineering at Red Hat, told InternetNews.com. "We continue to do minor feature enhancements in RHEL 5."

Burke added that the minor feature enhancements added to RHEL 5 must not be invasive or overly risky. There is also the potential for additional hardware enablement in RHEL 5.

"For RHEL 5, the name of the game is stability, and stability always trumps everything," Burke said. "We get more conservative as the releases go on."

Although cgroups is not landing in RHEL 5.8, other types of enterprise controls are. Among the new features in RHEL 5.8 is support for Power Management Quality of Service (QoS). That's a feature that provides power savings to enterprises by way of automated scheduling based on QoS policies. There is also something known as 'iotop' support, which provides monitoring for I/O from a process perspective that can be helpful in troubleshooting performance.

On the virtualization front, Red Hat is improving KVM boot times as well as usability and stability fixes. KVM was not part of the first RHEL 5.0 release, and it was first introduced in RHEL 5.4 in 2009. As opposed to RHEL 6, which supports only KVM as the core virtualization technology, RHEL 5.x will continue to also support Xen. Xen is the open source virtualization technology that RHEL 5.0 first included. In RHEL 5.8, there are now new enhancements to Xen, including the ability to resize a virtual disk while the virtual guest is running.

"RHEL 5 is still getting development features so it's definitely not the end of the road for RHEL 5," Burke said. "Remember we have a 10-year product lifecycle. At this point RHEL 5 is only four years old, so we still have a long runway left for RHEL 5."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals.

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