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Red Hat faithful rush to check out RHEL 6

RHEL users cite new virtualization toolset, EXT4 file system as biggest draws.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 (RHEL 6) is finally out and the faithful are eager to try out the final code after months of beta.

Greg Scott, CTO of InfraSupport Corp., an Eagan, Minn., systems integrator downloaded the operating system at 5 a.m. the day after Wednesday’s RHEL 6 formal coming out party.

He’s most interested in checking out changes to the operating system’s Red Hat Virtualization (RHEV) toolset.


“I have RHEV customers and RHEL 6 has the V2V tools integrated right in. I need those and have been waiting for them,” he noted.

Scott’s been playing around with RHEV in the beta release and with some hacking and help from Red Hat support, got the early code to work well. 

“Typically when you do a RHEV installation, there’s a RHEL virtual machine that does all the management. I’ll be running that and the Virt manager program with RHEL6 should be nicer than what was in RHEL5,” he noted.

Others said they need RHEL 6 just because it updates major, and aging, components of the overall operating system. (The last major release, RHEL 5 shipped in March 2007.)

For one thing, it uses an updated kernel.

“The packages in RHEL5 were getting quite old. With this release, a load of new updated packages are available,” said Vincent Van der Kussen, system engineer with BTR Services, a Belgian company that specializes in IT for the banking industry.

He also cited new power-saving features, the EXT4 file system and SSSD offline caching authentication as big improvements in the new release.

According to Red Hat’s Web site, the new System Security Services Daemon (SSSD) centralizes access to identity and authentication resources.

A big change with this release is Red Hat’s embrace of KVM, rather than Xen, virtualization.

As for wish list items for the next release? Well there’s always something. Van der Kussen would have liked to see a “more modern” file system, like BTRFS, incorporated, although he acknowledged it is  still in development.  And, he and others also said they’d like an easy upgrade path from RHEL5 to RHEL6, something comparable to  PreUpgrade in the Fedora world.

The new System Security Services Daemon (SSSD) provides centralized access to identity and authentication resources, enables caching and offline support.

Businesses that make heavy use of virtual machines should look into  RHEL6’s ability to run virtualized KVM guests as managed services. That enables fail-over between physical and virtual hosts, said John Locke, principal consultant for Freelock LLC, a Seattle-based IT consultancy with a strong open source focus.

Site editor Leah Rosin and senior site editor Bridget Botelho contributed to this story.

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