Red Hat last week released the second beta of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6. The first beta was released in April, and incorporated a range of new and upgraded features. The Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 beta 2 provides an updated installer, additional new technologies and resolutions to many of the issues that were reported in the initial beta. Red Hat is asking customers and partners who are testing the initial beta to install and continue their testing with beta 2.
Depending on testing and feature requirements, an additional beta may be released in the coming weeks, with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 expected to be generally available later this calendar year. Red Hat's release timing is quality driven, not date driven," emphasized Tim Burke, vice president of RHEL product development, during an interview at the recent Red Hat Summit 2010. "It is first and foremost the stability and enterprise readiness of the product that is going to dictate the release date." Many of the advances in RHEL 6 are aimed at providing improved performance and scalability for both virtualization and bare metal, Burke explained.
Customers are increasingly interested in workload consolidation, says Burke, observing, one inhibitor to database deployment, for example, on Linux is the overhead for IO operations - things like network and disk operations, Burke said. "RHEL 6 has a much more efficient and highly scalable IO architecture and that enables a lot of these high-end workloads - such as databases, transaction processing, high-end messaging workloads - to be very well suited to run on RHEL 6. The benefit of that is that customers then don't have to make a choice of bare metal versus virtualization. They can use these really intensive workloads and capitalize on the flexibility that virtualization provides. That is just one focus."
Another key focus area in RHEL 6 is Red Hat's Green IT initiative. "We have improved the power management features within our platform to be able to do things like enter lower power states effectively. We have some slides in our presentation showing a 40% reduction in the power envelope consumed, contrasting RHEL 5.4 to RHEL 6, on the same hardware. Forty percent at idle is quite significant," Burke noted.
RHEL 6 also introduces Control Group technology which is a form of resource management. "It is ideally suited for virtualized environments because you are able to describe which virtualized guests get priority resource allocation," said Burke, explaining that this new capability gives the system administrator much more fine-grained control over the system resources, thereby enabling better defined SLAs. For information about additional new features in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, visit the beta portal.