Ready for more Red Hat? RHEL 7.4 beta released

The next major Red Hat Enterprise Linux update is on its way.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

For a change of pace, here is a Red Hat's announcement that isn't mostly about clouds and containers. Instead, the news about the beta release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7.4 is largely about new and updated features to help organizations bolster security and compliance, streamline management and automation, and improve systems administration.

At the top of Red Hat's list is improved security. RHEL 7.4 Beta introduces several new security features. These include:

    • Support for Network Bound Disk Encryption. This is an automated system for provisioning and acquisition of per-host decryption keys. This way, if a drive with secrets on it dies, it can still be decrypted in the process of restoring the drive to service.
    • OpenSSL HTTP/2.0 enhancements. This enables several new OpenSSL Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol features such as Application-Layer Protocol Negotiation (ALPN). With this application-layer protocols are encapsulated in the TLS and the protocol selection negotiation happens within the TLS handshake. The net result is faster security handshakes with higher level encryption protocols.
    • Updated audit capabilities. This makes it easier for administrators to filter the events logged by the audit system, gather more information from critical events, and to interpret large numbers of records.

    Moving on, with RHEL being installed on everything from bare metal servers to cloud-native virtual machines (VM), Red Hat wants to make system management and automation easier. Besides the old Red Hat Satellite, Red Hat is incorporating Ansible DevOps into RHEL 7.4. To make system configuration easier for those who don't know Ansible, the new RHEL includes RHEL System Roles. These are ready-to-deploy, RHEL-specific supported configurations. These rely on Ansible automation to simplify the management and maintenance of both RHEL 6.x and 7.x server deployments with a single set of tools.

    Red Hat is embracing Ansible. The beta includesseveral new features to help systems administrators spend less time triaging events and more time on making the most of your servers. These features include:

    • Additional enhancements to RAID Takeover. This enables sysadmins to easily change the RAID configuration and characteristics of their logical volumes while in-use. For example, you can move a disk array from RAID 3 to RAID 5 without taking your storage off-line.
    • Network Manager has been updated to version 1.8. This core Linux networking program introduces extended firewall route options and route-table setup, MACsec for L2 virtual private networks (VPNs), improved DNS, DHCP configuration visibility, and dynamic configuration of Ethernet interface options.
    • Support for new Performance Co-Pilot (PCP) client tools. PCP is an open-source system performance and analysis framework. The new client enable for the export of performance metric values to influxdb. Once in this open-source platform built for metrics and events (time series data), you can use it for DevOps monitoring, real-time analytics, and IoT monitoring.

    All of this sounds great to me. You can check it out for yourself if you have anactive RHEL subscriptions. You can download and preview RHEL 7.4 Beta via the Red Hat Customer Portal and provide feedback via Red Hat Bugzilla.

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