Dan's Take

Red Hat Targets Multi-Cloud Deployments With RHEL 7.4

A strong platform for enterprise computing.

Red Hat just announced the general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7.4, saying "Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.4 offers new automation capabilities designed to limit IT complexity while enhancing workload security and performance for traditional and cloud-native applications."

Here's a quick summary of key features:

Security
  • Updated audit capabilities to help simplify how administrators filter the events logged by the audit system, gather more information from critical events and to interpret large numbers of records.
  • USB Guard, a feature that allows for greater control over how plug-and-play devices can be used by specific users to help limit both data leaks and data injection.
  • Enhanced container security functionality with full support for using SELinux with OverlayFS helps secure the underlying file system and provides the ability to use docker and use namespaces together for fine-grained access control.
Performance
  • Support for NVMe Over Fabric helps to provide customers with increased flexibility and reduced overhead when accessing high performance NVMe storage devices located in the data center on both Ethernet or Infiniband fabric infrastructures.
  • General enhancements to Red Hat Enterprise Linux's performance when deployed on the public cloud, highlighted by decreased boot times to better enable mission-critical applications to start sooner, and support for the Elastic Network Adapter (ENA) on Amazon Web Services (AWS) to enable new network capabilities.
Linux Containers and Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host
Based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.4, enhancements include:

  • Improved security. Integrated support for SELinux and OverlayFS, as well as 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.
  • The introduction of LiveFS as a Technology Preview, which enables users to install security updates and layer packages without a reboot.

Management and Automation
Designed to complement the capabilities of Red Hat Satellite and automation via Ansible, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.4 introduces Red Hat Enterprise Linux System Roles as a Technology Preview. System Roles provide a common management interface across all major versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, enabling an automated workflow via Ansible automation to be created once and used across large, heterogeneous Red Hat Enterprise Linux deployments without additional modifications.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux for Multiple Architectures
RHEL 7.4 supports X86,  IBM Power, IBM z Systems 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 as well as the Open Container Initiative (OCI) runtime and image format.

Dan's Take: Riding Many Horses Without Falling Into the River
Red Hat continues to demonstrate the ability to seamlessly work with different open source projects. If we examine this announcement, we see that the company has participated in many different open source projects, integrated the results, tested them, then productized them. The latest edition includes:

  • Enhancements to the base operating system to improve security, manageability, reliability and performance while executing on a broad array of microprocessor architectures.
  • Enhancements to the capabilities of the platform so that it can support many types of processing virtualization, including virtual machine and operating system virtualization and partitioning capabilities. Although not mentioned in this announcement, the company already works with workload managers, parallel processing managers and several forms of cluster managers. This also includes tighter integration with Amazon's AWS computing environment.
  • Further integration of Red Hat's recent acquisition of Ansible for monitoring and management of complex physical, virtual and cloud-based computing environments.
  • Let's not forget the company's strong support of  access, application, storage and network virtualization as well.

Each iteration makes RHEL an even stronger platform for enterprise-level computing functions. It's clear that the company has listened to its customers and partners and is doing its best to address their requirements.

About the Author

Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. He has been a business unit manager at a hardware company and head of corporate marketing and strategy at a software company.

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