Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1 Beta is here

Doesn't it seem like RHEL 7 just came out the other day? Well, brace yourself, the next version is already on its way.

Time, and operating system developments wait on no one. Only a few months ago Red Hat released Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7 and now the RHEL 7.1 beta has landed on our doorsteps.

This newest RHEL introduces support for the POWER 8 little-endian, hardware architecture support for IBM Power Systems

This update comes with the following improvements:

Red Hat is adopting OpenLMI. This is a standardized remote application programming interface (API). In RHEL 7.1, OpenLMI comes with storage management enhancements and support for thin provisioning in Logical Volume Manager (LVM).

RHEL 7.1 also includes Ceph userspace components and the Ceph RADOS Block Devices (RBD) kernel module for easier access to Ceph block storage devices.

When Windows and Linux servers must live under the same roof, RHEL 7.1 offers improved interoperability with Windows file and print services. This is being done by limiting reliance on Winbind and adding improved integration of Common Internet File System (CIFS) with Red Hat's System Security Services Daemon (SSSD).

To improve security, RHEL 7.1 also comes with support for FreeOTP, a two-factor authentication application for one-time password authentication. This works with the LDAP and Kerberos protocols. The beta also introduces a new Certificate Authority (CA) management tool. This makes it easy for customers using Red Hat's Identity Manager (IdM) -- which integrates Kerberos authentication, directory services, certificate management, DNS, and NTP into a single service -- to change a CA certificate and alter the trust chain.

The last should be used with extreme caution. I see real potential for abuse here.

RHEL 7.1 also comes with support for a newer edition of the Docker container program, version 1.2.

Finally, RHEL 7.1 includes numerous "out-of-the-box" performance management features such preset as tuned and performance profiles. In addition, new locking mechanisms have been implemented in the kernel that improve processor efficiency for large systems with sizable Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA) nodes.

As I survey all these changes, I can see how any shop that wants to get the most out of RHEL would want to give this beta a try. If it works out well, I can also seeing a business shifting over to it in double-quick time. This looks like a good, solid upgrade, albeit I remain a bit concerned about the power that the new CA tool gives over IdM.

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