Less than a month after the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5, the Linux developer has announced a public beta of the long awaited RHEL 6, the aim of which is to “blur the lines between virtual, physical and cloud computing.”
It’s three years since RHEL 5 was introduced and, despite regular updates, the Linux OS is starting to show its age, particularly when it comes to handling modern multi-core processors. To this end the new implementation features big architectural changes aimed at enhancing performance and scalability with, in theory at least, support for up to 64,000 cores. The amount of addressable memory has also been increased, up to 128TB, and the, now default, ext4 file system similarly enhanced to handle much larger files. XFS support is also set to be included, along with Btrfs and NFSv4.
There are virtualisation changes too, building on the KVM (Kernel Based Virtual Machine) hypervisor introduced in RHEL 5.4. The Xen hypervisor is dropped in RHEL 6 and experimental support for Linux Containers added.
Other changes include power management and security enhancements including an SELinux sandbox and a new service to centrally manage user credentials and identities.
Available for 32/64bit Intel and AMD platforms, plus IBM Power System Z platforms, the RHEL 6 beta is available for free download and evaluation at RHEL6 Beta.
No dates have been announced for the final release of RHEL 6, although further announcements are expected at the Red Hat Summit in June. In the meantime Red Hat is keen to stress continued development and support for RHEL 5, which will remain on the books until 2014.