Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 beta arrives

Want to get ready for the next major release of Red Hat's flagship Linux distribution? You're in luck: The beta release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 is available for testing.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Red Hat has just released the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6.5 beta. This will become the latest update of Red Hat's top business Linux distribution.

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This RHEL edition extends the operating system's scalability and manageability to aid in the build-out and control of complex IT environments. Specifically, RHEL 6.5 has been designed to simplify the operation of mission-critical SAP applications by automating the optimal configuration of common SAP deployments.

In addition, RHEL 6.5 offers enhancements and new capabilities in the following areas:

Red Hat subscription management services integration: The revised Subscription Manager agent will connect the system to the Red Hat Customer Portal or to an on-premise subscription management service set up by the customer using Subscription Asset Manager. Once connected, the customer can realize centralized control of subscription assets, and manage inventory and status, while gaining enhanced reporting for multiple systems.

Administrative level scalability: Kernel dump files on large systems can now scale to multiple terabytes of data, and a new compression algorithm, LZO, speeds the creation of dump files, leading to reduced down time during crash dump generation and faster troubleshooting. An enhancement to the perf tool’s tracing and testing commands also provides additional infrastructure event monitoring capabilities.

Improved storage: Enterprise storage customers benefit from improved control and recovery in iSCSI and Fibre Channel Storage Area Network (SAN) environments. The performance and high-availability features of Multipath I/O are available to a broader set of devices and multipath device automatic naming enhancements provide shorter, more convenient device names.

The beta version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 also supports Intel's NVM Express driver, the industry standard specification for accessing PCI Express bus-based SSDs. In addition, Filesystem in Userspace (FUSE)-based file systems, such as GlusterFS, can now use asynchronous I/O for improved performance.

Better virtualization support: The Red Hat Kernel Virtual Machine (KVM) guest  (PDF Link) can serve as a client to the Gluster filesystem and Red Hat Storage. The path to Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization has also been streamlined by utilities that convert VMware OVF and Citrix Xen guests to Red Hat  guests. At the same time, the maximum memory for Red Hat guests has been increased to four Terabytes.

Security enhancements: Network Security Services (NSS), GnuTLS, OpenSSL and Java can now share a single, system-wide static data store, which can be used by crypto-toolkits as input for trusted certificate decisions, something that is required by many corporate deployments. In addition, RHEL 6.5 comes with single sign-on smartcard authentication; the latest version of OpenSCAP, an authenticated National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) enterprise, network security scanner; and Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.2 standard support.

For RHEL desktop users, the beta also supports remote Windows 7 and Windows 8 desktops and Windows Server 2012 consoles using the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). On the GNOME 2.28-based desktop, the Evolution mail client has better integration with Microsoft Exchange and the office-suite software, LibreOffice has been updated to 4.0

The RHEL 6.5 beta is now available on the Red Hat Network to all customers with an active RHEL subscription. For deeper details on the technical improvements, see the RHEL Beta 6.5 Technical Notes (PDF Link).

While Red Hat has not announced an official release date for RHEL 6.5 it's believed that it will be made available by year's end. RHEL 7, the next major update, had been expected to arrive sooner, but now it looks as if RHEL 7 won't appear, at the earliest, until the first half of 2014.

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