Getting ready to upgrade your Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)? You can get a look at the future with the just-released RHEL 8.5 Beta. Best of all, you'll no longer need an explicit beta subscription to get the operating system. From here on out, all Red Hat accounts come with an unlimited quantity of Red Hat Beta Access subscriptions.
So, what does this Beta bring us?
For starters, RHEL's web console, which is based on the open-source Cockpit project, now enables you to live patch the kernel from it. Previously you could only keep your Linux running while updating the kernel in real-time by using the shell.
The updated web console also includes an enhanced performance metrics page. With this, you can more easily identify high CPU, memory, disk, and network resource usage spikes and their causes. In addition, you can also more easily export metrics to a Grafana server for a deeper look at what's going on in your servers.
Red Hat is also continuing to integrate its Ansible DevOps program into RHEL. RHEL's system roles now use Ansible roles and modules to configure, automate and manage RHEL services. In this Beta, new or enhanced system roles include:
RHEL system role for Microsoft SQL Server: Allows IT administrators and DBAs to more quickly install, configure and tune SQL Server in an automated fashion.
RHEL system role for VPN: Reduces the time to configure VPN tunnels and reduces the risk of misconfiguration or use of non-recommended settings. Also supports host-to-host and mesh VPN configurations.
RHEL system role for Postfix: In tech preview for some time, the RHEL system role for Postfix is fully supported with RHEL 8.5. It enables administrators to skip the manual configuration of Postfix, automating how you install, configure, and start the server, as well as specify custom settings to better control how Postfix works in your environment.
RHEL system role for timesync: Uses a new Network Time Security (NTS) option as part of the existing timesync system role.
RHEL system role for Storage: Adds support for LVM (Logical Volume Manager) VDO (Virtual Data Optimizer) volumes and volume sizes that can be expressed as a percentage of the pool's total size.
Want to know more? Check out the RHEL system roles overview to learn about how to install and use RHEL system roles.
There are numerous other improvements as well. The most significant of these is that the Beta comes with OpenJDK 17, the latest open-source reference implementation of Java SE. It also comes with network time security (NTS) for the essential Network Time Protocol (NTP).
If all goes well with the beta, RHEL 8.5 will ship in early November. In the meantime, you'll be able to see if making the move will be worth your time by kicking the beta's tires.