April 21, 2010, 2:22 PM — Red Hat will preview on Wednesday an upgrade to its enterprise Linux distribution, which offers dramatic improvements in scalability as well as power management and storage enhancements.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6 offers advancements gleaned from the past four years of upstream kernel development as well advances in compiling and debugging, virtualization and performance, said Tim Burke, vice president of platform engineering at Red Hat. A beta release is available at Red Hat's Web page.
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"We're trying to have lower total cost of ownership of deployment for large data centers," with version 6, Burke said. The release also is intended for midsize businesses as well, he said. General availability of the finished RHEL 6 release is planned for later this year.
In a prepared statement, the Linux Foundation endorsed both Red Hat and RHEL 6.
"Red Hat has set the standard of success for open source companies. Their business results are outstanding and have silenced long ago any doubters about whether or not you can build a profitable business on open source and Linux," said Amanda McPherson, vice president of marketing and developer programs at the foundation. "RHEL6 will be a big milestone for the Linux industry and Red Hat's millions of corporate users."
In the scalability realm, version 6 supports much larger memory configurations. "We can go up to 128TB," of addressable physical address space, Burke said. This is far beyond the previous limit of a single terabyte. Add in virtualization and swapping capabilities, and memory consumption is "almost unbounded," said Burke.
The upgrade also vastly improves CPU volume support, enabling the OS to scale out to hardware systems expected in the future. Previously, RHEL supported an estimated 512 processors; now it has a theoretical limit of 64,000 processors
"We can support vastly more CPUs, more core processors than we could in RHEL 5 and prior releases," Burke said.