Feeds

RHEL 5.5 - extra lube for your KVMs

CentOS for grown ups

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Review Red Hat's Enterprise Linux (RHEL) version 5.5 has reached the beta stage with downloads available for those with a subscription to the Red Hat Network.

Typically, most news involving Red Hat's familiar, free Linux distro Fedora comes from the client software - such as GNOME updates and other desktop tools. But with the new RHEL, the big news lies with improvements to kernel-level software.

The RHEL 5.5 beta brings a slew of hardware improvements, including support of IBM's new Power7 chips, which are looking like a popular platform for Linux on embedded devices. This release also brings more driver support for external devices and run-time memory allocation for virtual machines.

For a complete list of everything new and improved in RHEL, you can check out the technical notes on the Red Hat website. But what really catches the eye is the work done on the Kernel Virtual Machine (KVM).

RHEL 5.4 brought full support for the KVM hypervisor, making KVMs the primary virtualization solution. RHEL 5.5 aims to continue that trend. Chief among the new features for KVMs in this release is the better memory management and improved device interactions. As of this release KVMs will be able to use any attached PCI devices as if they were attached directly to the guest OS, rather than running as virtualized devices.

On some hardware, notably Intel machines running VT-d extensions, PCI devices can be swapped and reassigned while a virtual system is running.

RHEL 5.5 also allows you to reallocate memory while a virtual machine is running so there's no need to shut down your servers or guest operating systems just to increase or decrease the allocated RAM.

Samba also sees some love in RHEL 5.5, with improvements that should make working with Microsoft Windows 7 and Windows 2008 Server a bit smoother.

As with many features in RHEL, if you've been using recent releases of Fedora many of the latest features in RHEL may be familiar. For example, recent improvements and many much-needed bug fixes to the Anaconda system installer are also now available in RHEL 5.5.

While RHEL is probably most familiar in server setups, the desktop workstation has been updated as well with the latest version of the GNOME desktop and all usua,l accompaniments, including the latest version of OpenOffice.org. Plus there's support for Microsoft's Office 2007 Office Open XML (OOXML) file formats.

Those that do use RHEL on the desktop will be happy to hear that WIFi support is a big part of the coming 5.5 release. There's support for Ralink rt2 drivers as well as drivers for Intel WiFi cards and the Atheros ath9k driver for the latest chips.

For those of you who don't manage datacenters' worth of RHEL server and don't want to spend the big money on an admittedly well supported desktop version, then you'll likely want to stick with CentOS, the free version of RHEL.

Security for virtualized datacentres

Next page: The bottom line

More from The Register

next story
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
iOS 8 Healthkit gets a bug SO Apple KILLS it. That's real healthcare!
Not fit for purpose on day of launch, says Cupertino
Profitless Twitter: We're looking to raise $1.5... yes, billion
We'll spend the dosh on transactions, biz stuff 'n' sh*t
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.