Magnificent seven

Multi-tasking Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 rolls out

Lucy Carey

First big major point RHEL update in three and a half years looks to the future with a tight grip on Docker and laser focus on modern enterprise.

First launched in 1994, Red Hat Linux forms a central pillar for Red Hat solutions across cloud and virtualization, storage and middleware. With today’s launch of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7  (RHEL 7) – the first big major point release for the tech in over three years –  it’s hoped that the operating system will further consolidate its grip in the space, moving beyond its current position as a commodity platform.

Red Hat Linux is responsible for handling over 50 percent of the world’s trading volume, running across 28 stock exchanges in 24 countries, and its operating system is runs on some of the world’s biggest clouds. According to Red Hat, RHEL 7 is their most “ambitious release to date,” and one that they believe represents the “future” of IT.

It’s a lofty statement, but Red Hat  certainly have had their focus firmly on the razor edge of enterprise and data centre tech in this release. To this end, RHEL 7 is geared to be a foundation for future application architectures, whilst also  being flexible and scalable enough to support deployments across across bare metal, virtual machines, and cloudy infrastructure.

Headline features in this release include enhanced application development, delivery, portability and isolation through Linux Containers, including the much vaunted Docker, across physical, virtual, and cloud deployments as well as development, test and production environments. There have also been significant file  system improvements, including XFS as the default file system, scaling to 500 TB.

Cross-realm trust makes secure access for Microsoft Active Directory users across Microsoft Windows and Red Hat Enterprise Linux domains simple, providing the flexibility for Red Hat Enterprise Linux to co-exist within heterogeneous datacentres. And finally, there are powerful and secure application runtimes and development, delivery and troubleshooting tools, integrated into the platform and container-ready.

Importantly, there’s also been an update to the underlying Linux kernel from 2.6.32 in RHEL 6.x to 3.10  - indicative of the overarching effort to modernize RHEL.  Forrester analyst Richard Fichera explained to TechCrunch that this development is significant because it allows the Hatters to “play catch-up and a bit of leap-frog with SUSE, bringing their release into the 3.x series kernel sequence, and in general because it introduces a bunch of useful improvements for their customers.”

With the 1.0  release of JAX Innovation Awards 2014 ‘Most Innovative Open Technology’ winner Docker this week, it’s been an important week for the Linux 7 ecosystem. Jay Lyman, Senior Analyst for  451 Research, affirms the importance of Linux 7 in helping to  usher  forth the next generation of technologies, explaining “Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 helps to introduce newer technology, such as Linux Containers and related Docker software, to large enterprise environments.”

With this development comes the stability and certifications that enterprises depend upon –  a critical factor for Lyman, given the increasing number of organizations blending new technology and methodology, for example cloud, agile and DevOps approaches – with existing in-house infrastructure, processes and governance.

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