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Container-friendly Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 hits general availability

Could be fastest-adopted release ever, completely objective company claims

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On Tuesday, Red Hat announced general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, a version that it immodestly claims will "redefine the enterprise operating system."

Following the typical six-month beta cycle and a release candidate that shipped in April, RHEL 7 delivers an enterprise-grade distribution of many of the latest technologies from the Linux world, plus various enhancements and upgrades from previous versions of the OS.

Perhaps most notably, the new version offers improved support for Linux containers, including Docker. RHEL first added Docker support in version 6.5 in November, and Shadowman has been collaborating with Docker since its 0.7 release to improve its storage and code-execution drivers.

In addition, XFS is now the default file system for RHEL 7, rather than Ext4, meaning the OS can now support volumes of up to 500TB.

The new release also introduces the ability to integrate with Active Directory domains for better interoperability in Windows environments, and it supports OpenLMI for easier management.

Red Hat has been enhancing its own, unique contributions to its distro, as well. The installer has been improved with a new GUI, but more importantly, for the first time Shadowman is offering a set of tools that can analyze existing RHEL 6 servers and advise admins on the appropriate migration procedure. What can be automated is automated, and where manual intervention is necessary, admins are directed to the appropriate documentation.

In a webcast introducing the new release on Tuesday, Jim Totton, VP of Red Hat's platform business unit, said that based on feedback from beta participants – 62 per cent of which said they planned to start migrating to RHEL 7 in the next six months – Red Hat believes this will be one of the most quickly adopted versions in its history.

For those who don't plan to migrate right away, however, the company said at its annual Red Hat Summit in April that it still plans to offer a RHEL 6.6 maintenance release, even as work on RHEL 8 is already underway.

Because Red Hat offers its software under a subscription model, RHEL 7 is available immediately for deployment by all current customers. ®

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