Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 beta arrives with MariaDB as its default database

Red Hat's newest enterprise Linux takes one giant step forward to its release and shifts from MySQL to MariaDB for its database management system needs.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Red Hat's next major flagship release, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7 is here and ready for your testing. Besides adding new features for virtualization, the cloud, and in-place system upgrading, this release also sees Red Hat moving from Oracle's MySQL to MariaDB for its default database management system (DBMS).


RHEL 7, which is expected to be released in the first quarter of 2014, is based on Red Hat's community Linux, Fedora 19. For its Linux heart, however, it will be using the upstream Linux 3.10 kernel. This is in line with the recent Linux kernel developers' announcement that the 3.10 kernel would receive long-term support for commercial distributions..

Above this level, Red Hat, as expected, has decided to replace MySQL with its MariaDB fork for its DBMS.

In an e-mail exchange, Ron Pacheco, Red Hat's senior manager of platform product management, said, "In RHEL 7, MariaDB provides an outlet for database innovation, thanks to the rapid growth of the community and its adoption by many free and commercial offerings, with RHEL 7 being one of them. To meet the needs of the next-generation enterprise, IT needs a database that supports swift evolution and adaptation, both traits provided by MariaDB and the key rationale for its inclusion in RHEL 7."

Red Hat isn't leaving die-hard MySQL users in the lurch, even though MariaDB is a drop-in replacement for MySQL. "Red Hat will continue to support MySQL in the more mature editions of RHEL (including RHEL 6), but for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 we have selected a database technology for the future with MariaDB," said Pacheco.

As for other features, Red Hat stated that "The beta release of RHEL 7 adds value to new and existing IT projects across industries by adding key capabilities to improve critical but often cumbersome IT tasks like virtualization and storage while offering a clear pathway to the open hybrid cloud." These new and enhanced features include:

Linux containers: With RHEL 7, applications can be created and deployed in isolated environments using Linux Container technology, such as Docker. Under a container, system resources can be partitioned to each application container, providing each application with just the necessary resources and security isolation. This provides a lightweight alternative to more traditional virtualization programs such as Linux's own Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM)

Physical and hosted in-place upgrades: At the same time, RHEL 7 will offer an in-place upgrade feature for common server deployment types, allowing data centers to migrate existing RHEL 6.5 systems to RHEL 7. Additionally, RHEL 7 enables VM migration from a RHEL 6 host to a RHEL 7 host without virtual machine modification or downtime.

File system improvements: RHEL 7 includes enhancements to the ext4 and btrfs file systems IT also includes support for XFS as the default file system. With XFS, RHEL 7 can be scaled to support file systems up to 500 TeraBytes. The ext4 file system also adds scalability enhancements to increase the maximum standalone file system size from 16 TB to 50 TB, and gains support for block sizes of up to 1MB, considerably decreasing the time spent doing block allocation and reducing fragmentation. Btrfs, an emerging file system, will be available as a technology preview within RHEL 7 and includes integrated basic volume management, snapshot support, and checksum capability to validate full data and metadata integrity.

Enhanced storage support: Along with file system improvements, RHEL 7 will support very large scale storage configurations, including support for enterprise storage arrays, and, of course, its own Red Hat Storage Server New capabilities in storage management simplify the management of heterogeneous storage environments.

Windows interoperability: For datacenters where  RHEL and Microsoft Windows Server must co-exist, RHEL 7 comes with Samba 4.1. This enables system administrators to integrate users and resources with Windows Active Directory (AD) domains. Or, if you prefer, you can deploy RHEL Identity Management in a parallel trust zone with AD.

OpenLMI management support: RHEL 7 seeks to simplify configuration and administration with uniform management tools for networking, storage, file systems, performance, identities and security using OpenLMI. With OpenLMI, a relatively new system management system, administrators can use scripting and application programming interfaces (API)s s to automate management across multiple systems.

Unlike DevOps programs, such as Chef and Puppet, which are aimed at cloud deployments, OpenLMI is meant to set up and manage subsystems of bare metal and virtual production servers.

Want to know more? Red Hat has a new RHEL-focused blog to keep up with the latest developments. The Linux giant is also actively looking for RHEL beta testers and there's an independent software vendor (ISV) Partner Early Access Program for RHEL 7.

So, if you believe, as Red Hat does, that RHEL 7 with its cloud and virtualization support, represents the future of IT, the tools are here now for you to start building that future.

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