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Red Hat spruces up 2011's enterprise Linux with RHEL 6.6 Beta

Updates a-comin' for those who haven't traded up to version 7

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Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7 hit general availability in July, but that doesn't mean Shadowman has stopped polishing the version 6 branch of its flagship Linux distribution, despite it being nearly four years old.

RHEL 6.6, which went into beta testing on Tuesday, is a long-promised maintenance release that will be the first update to the older branch of the OS since Red Hat shipped RHEL 6.5 in November 2013.

Among the more significant changes, Red Hat's High Performance Networking component, which was previously available only as an add-on product, has been integrated with the base kernel and now comes standard with all RHEL 6.6 installs.

The release also includes an updated version of Red Hat's RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE) implementation that improves performance. Because the wire protocol format has changed, however, all systems using RoCE will need to be updated to RHEL 6.6 to ensure reliable connectivity.

Performance Co-Pilot (PCP), a framework and set of services for system-level performance monitoring and management, has been added to RHEL 6.6 as a technology preview. The tools provide APIs for analyzing performance data via C, C++, or Python, and a JSON interface makes the data available to web applications.

RHEL 6.6 also offers improvements for running the OS as a guest in virtualized environments, particularly on RHEL 7 hosts and when running on Windows with Hyper-V.

And, of course, the release delivers the usual raft of bug fixes and performance updates. For the full scoop on what's new, you can check the official RHEL 6.6 release notes, while the technical notes provide a more detailed breakdown of which packages have changed and how.

The RHEL 6.6. beta code is available now to all Red Hat subscription holders via the company's download portal. Shadowman didn't say when it expects the release to graduate to general availability, but if RHEL 6.5 is anything to go by, we can expect the final version to ship in around six weeks. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

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