​Red Hat loves containers in RHEL 7.2

The latest Red Hat Enterprise Linux includes major improvements to security, networking, system administration and, oh yes, containers. Lots and lots of new container goodness.

Red Hat will never forget that it's first and foremost a Linux company. But, with its newest flagship release, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7.2, the Raleigh, NC-based open-source company is working ever more with containers and the cloud.

True, RHEL 7.2 boasts new security, networking, and system administration features. The biggest difference is its new emphasis on enterprise-ready Linux container-based application development and deployment. This new Linux distribution also incorporates Red Hat Insights. This is a new operational analytics offering that's designed to increase efficiency and reduce downtime through the proactive identification of known risks and technical issues.

With containers, RHEL 7.2 features many container updates. These include significant upgrades to the Docker engine, Kubernetes container management, Cockpit server management and Red Hat's Atomic container upgrade command. Finally, RHEL Atomic Host 7.2, the latest version of Red Hat's container workload-optimized host platform, comes with most RHEL 7.2 subscriptions.

Looking ahead, Red Hat is also offering the beta of the Red Hat Container Development Kit 2. This kit is a collection of images, tools, and documentation meant to help developers create container-based applications. Programs made with the Kit are certified for deployment on Red Hat container hosts, including RHEL 7.2, RHEL Atomic Host 7.2 and OpenShift Enterprise 3.

Moving back to Red Hat's Linux heart, here are the latest new RHEL features.

Security

RHEL 7.2 now includes OpenSCAP. This program is an implementation of the Security Content Automation Protocol. This NIST standard-based tool analyzes systems for security compliance. The new Open SCAP Anaconda plug-in now enables you to use SCAP analysis during operating installations. This helps ensure that your system is secure from the start.

Next up, the Red Hat Identity Management system (IdM) now supports DNSSEC for DNS zones. This extends DNS to provide a secure chain of trust for address resolution.

Networking

RHEL 7.2's network performance has been improved overall. Specifically, Red Hat claims that throughput has been "doubled in many network function virtualization (NFV) and software defined networking (SDN) use cases." Other enhancements to the kernel networking subsystem include:

  • Tuning the network kernel stack to dramatically improve packet processing time, enable RHEL 7.2 to perform at physical line rates in advanced (virtual and containerized) workloads.
  • Inclusion of the Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK). This set of libraries and drivers make it possible to rapidly develop low-latency and high throughput custom applications capable of direct packet processing in user space for NFV. Before your systems could only run only one type of network application: DPDK-enabled or traditional-network enabled. The new bifurcated driver allows both kinds of applications to be hosted on the same system.
  • DCTCP is an enhancement to the TCP congestion control algorithm for data center networks. It leverages Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN). This enables faster network traffic on most modern data-center switches. It works across both Windows Server and RHEL.

System Administration

To help system administrators use RHEL 7.2 in data-centers, RHEL now includes Relax-and-Recover. This Linux-based disaster recovery tool enables sys-admins to create local backups in ISO format. These can be centrally archived and replicated remotely for easy--well as easy as it ever gets--disaster recovery.

Finally, Red Hat Insights, a hosted service designed to help you proactively identify and resolve technical issues available for up to 10 RHEL 7.x systems at no additional cost. It's designed help you spot technical issues before they impact business operations

Last, but far from least, the RHEL for ARM 7.2 Development Preview is now available. Red Hat is still determined to bring the ARM processor to the data center and this is the next step towards making that happen.

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