While not a major release, RHEL 6.3 does include enhancements to take advantage of the most recent advancement from hardware originial equipment manufacturers (OEMs). This includes updated device drivers for a multitude of peripherals, and also various features like compiler optimization for the Intel Xeon E5 processor family.
It also includes the following new features:
Developer Tools: The new RHEL supports OpenJDK 7. This is the Oracle-approved open-source Java Standard Edition (SE).
Security: Users can now use two-factor authentication for securely accessing RHEL. It also includes advanced encryption capabilities so data blocks can be encrypted in parallel by taking advantage of underlying multi-processor capabilities. This is supported by the introduction of AES-CTR (Advanced Encryption Standard Counter Mode) cipher for OpenSSH, the secure connection network tool
Scalability: RHEL can now support up to 150 virtual CPUs (vCPUs) per guest. By comparison, Red Hat states that is “significantly higher than the 32 vCPU per guest limit for VMware ESX 5.0.” In addition KVM virtual machine operating systems guests can access up to 2 terabytes of RAM.
Storage: RHEL;s Logical Volume Manager (LVM) now provides support for RAID levels 4, 5, and 6 to simplify overall storage administration by consolidating all management functions, such as creating and re-sizing volumes, deploying RAID, and taking snapshots into a single interface.
You can also now deploy RHEL as a Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) istorage target server. Red Hat claims that this will provide higher levels of reliability and performance that you get with native Fibre Channel but at a significantly lower cost.
Taken as a whole, there's nothing that jumps out at you, but the over-all message is that RHEL is better than ever not just as a high-end server operating system, but as a platform for virtual machines as well. If you need a top of the line server, RHEL is continuing to give you reasons to give it serious consideration.
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