update Red Hat Linux Enterprise Version 5 has just been released and already Australian accommodation Web site Wotif.com is implementing the solution.
Wotif.com sells accommodation online in over 40 countries, and attracts almost 2.5 million user sessions every month. It launched in Brisbane in 2000 and now has offices in Canada, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the UK.
Wotif.com is an existing Red Hat customer, and according to a statement released this morning, is beginning the the implementation of RHEL5. CIO Paul Young said Wotif.com continually upgrades core technologies to take advantage of new features.
"With more cost effective server optimisation, greater performance and improved scalability, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 will assist the ongoing virtualisation of our test and development environments and provide better support for emerging hardware with new CPU features (dual and quad core processors).
"We expect to complete the upgrade by migrating our core production systems to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 within six months," Young said.
RHEL5 was launched today after two years of collaboration with customers and partners around the world, Max McLaren, Red Hat managing director Australia and New Zealand, said in the statement.
"As a result, this latest version of Enterprise Linux is ready to support the business critical operations of organisations in Australia and New Zealand and address their frustration and pain points -- like being unable to consume all of the technology being sold to them, and technology that just doesn't solve their business problems effectively."
Though Red Hat still dominates Linux, a lot has changed in that time. Novell's Suse Linux Enterprise Server beat Red Hat to the punch with a major new feature, the Xen virtualisation software.
Oracle has entered the market with a clone of Red Hat's operating system. Ubuntu is making inroads with strong ties to open-source community volunteers. And Sun Microsystems -- for years Red Hat's prime target -- is fighting back by bringing its Solaris operating system to widely used x86 servers and making it open-source software as well.
RHEL 5's biggest new feature, hands down, is Xen virtualisation. The promise of virtualisation software, which lets a single machine run multiple operating systems in separate partitions called virtual machines, is that a single computer can replace several inefficiently used ones. In the longer term, virtualisation also permits software to be moved -- sometimes while running -- from one computer to another, which opens the door for higher reliability and a fluidly responding computer room.
Accompanying the virtualisation promise, though, are difficulties. Administrators need new management tools, software licensing becomes more complicated, and the underlying technology must be certified to work with a multitude of software and hardware options.
Other enhancements to the latest version of the enterprise solution include additional performance, scalability and security features, expanded development environment and toolset as well as improved interoperability with Microsoft Windows and Unix.
CNET.com's Stephen Shankland contributed to this report.