The most important corporate server Linux gets refreshed: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.4

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.4 comes with improved security and performance for servers, containers, and clouds.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Red Hat may be planning on being the leading private cloud company, but that doesn't mean it's giving up its Linux leadership. On Aug. 1, the Raleigh, N.C.-based company announced the general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7.4, the latest version of its flagship enterprise Linux distribution.

Here are its latest features:


    • Updated audit capabilities to help simplify how administrators filter the events logged by the audit system, gather more information from critical events, and interpret large numbers of records.
    • USB Guard, which is a Linux software framework that protects your servers from rogue USB devices, is integrated into RHEL.
    • Enhanced container security functionality, with full support for using SELinux with OverlayFS to secure the underlying file system and the ability to use docker and use namespaces together for fine-grained access control.
    • Red Hat will no longer use by default deprecated insecure OpenSSH algorithms and protocols such as arcfour, SHA-1-based key exchange algorithms, and blowfish-cbc


      Today's business applications require more bandwidth and increased storage, placing a performance strain on traditional operating systems and hardware. RHEL 7.4's new features will improve both networking and storage performance. It's new features include:

      • Support for NVMe Over Fabric helps provide customers with increased flexibility and reduced overhead when accessing high-performance Non-Volatile Memory (NVMe) storage devices on both Ethernet or Infiniband fabric infrastructures. NVMe is a communications interface/protocol developed specially for low-latency Solid-State Drives (SSD)s. By being able to handle up to 65,536 data transfer queues, it's great for speeding servers up that deal with multiple simultaneous disk I/O requests.
      • General public cloud enhancements by decreasing boot times to better enable mission-critical applications to start sooner. It also now supports Amazon Web Services (AWS)'s Elastic Network Adapter (ENA) to enable new network capabilities.


        RHEL 7.4 includes the latest version of RHEL Atomic Host. This is a purpose-built container host for secure and reliable containerized applications across hybrid clouds. Its new features include:

        • Improved security without sacrificing performance, thanks to integrated support for SELinux and OverlayFS, and full support for the overlay2 storage graph driver.
        • Full support for package layering with rpm-ostree, providing a means of adding packages like monitoring agents and drivers to the host operating system.
        • LiveFS is introduced as a technology preview, which enables users to install security updates and layer packages without a reboot.


        With data center footprints that span from bare-metal to the cloud, controlling IT environments grows ever more complex. Besides the existing Red Hat Satellite and Ansible Tower, the new RHEL introduces RHEL System Roles as a technology preview. This DevOps tool provides a common management interface across all major RHEL versions. This enables sysadmins to use Ansible automation across large, heterogeneous RHEL deployments.

        Multiple architecture support

        Red Hat remains committed to supporting data center infrastructure customer choice. RHEL 7.4 does this by supporting multiple architectures. These include IBM Power, IBM System z, and 64-bit ARM (as a Development Preview). For the IBM Power Little Endian architecture, this release enables support for the High Availability and Resilient Storage add-ons and the Open Container Initiative (OCI)'s new container runtime and image format.

        Put it all together and you have a Linux you can use on physical servers, in and with containers, and on the cloud. Once more, in RHEL 7.4 Red Hat has an outstanding Linux for corporate users.

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