Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.4 beta now available

If your business lives and dies by its Red Hat Enterprise Linux servers, here's your chance to get a quick peek at what's coming next.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor
The new Red Hat Enterprise Linux beta is ready to go.

On December 4th, Red Hat announced the release of the next beta for its flagship operating system, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6.4 is now available. According to the company, the release includes a broad set of updates to the existing feature set and provides rich new functionality in the areas of identity management, file system, virtualization, and storage as well as productivity tools.

While still primarily a server operating system RHEL 6.4 is designed "for optimized performance, stability and flexibility to cater to today’s diverse workloads running in physical, virtual and cloud environments." The shipping version of RHEL 6.4 is due out in the first quarter of 2013.

Perhaps RHEL 6.4 most significant improvement is that it will include Microsoft's Hyper-V Linux drivers.These will improve RHEL's overall performance on Microsoft Hyper-V and enable Microsoft Azure users to run RHEL 6.4 as persistent virtual machines.

In addition, the new RHEL includes installation support for VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V para-virtualization drivers. This new feature enhances the user deployment experience of Red Hat Enterprise Linux as a guest in either of these virtualization environments." It will include " KVM virtualization virtio-scsi support, a new industry storage architecture, provides industry leading storage stack scalability."

Other key new features and improvements include:

Identity Management:

  • System Security Services Daemon (SSSD) enhancements improve the interoperability experience with [Microsoft Active Directory] by providing centralized identity access control for Linux/Unix clients in a heterogeneous environment.

File system:

  • Parallel NFS (pNFS http://www.pnfs.com/) client (file layout only) remains in technology preview, however now delivers performance improvements with the addition of Direct I/O for faster data access. This drives particular performance benefits for I/O intensive use cases including database workloads.


  • The use of swap functionality over NFS enables more efficient read/write trade-offs between local system memory and remote disks. This capability increases performance in very large, disk-less server farms seen in ISP and Web hosting environments.
  • Enhancement in c-groups delivers the ability to migrate multi-threaded applications without errors.
  • Optimized perf tool for the latest Intel processors


  • New system log features identify mapping from block device name to physical device identifier – allowing an administrator to easily locate specific devices as needed.

Productivity Tools:

  • Microsoft interoperability improvements with Microsoft Exchange and calendar support in Evolution. Productivity functions, such as calendar support with alarm notification and meeting scheduling is improved.
  • Customers such as animation studios and graphic design houses now have support for the newer Wacom tablets.

Want to check this out for yourself? Registered Red Hat users can download the RHEL 6.4 beta now.

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