RHEL 7 is more than a reskinning of RHEL 6. With its updated packages, new toolkits and widgets, it’s a more modern kernel. But if you were anticipating a breakthrough, don’t. Although it’s a very different release to RHEL 6, in any form, it’s an expected one.

So what key things make it different?

# 1 Systemd

The introduction of Systemd has greatly improved the speed, performance and flexibility of RHEL 7 at service startup and during operation and management. Plus it provides System Administrators (Sys Admins) the ability to analyse issues easier.

# 2 Docker

Docker-managed containerization is a big deal for customers in general. It enables them to extend the ROI of their older server assets and to introduce cost flexibilities by providing customers with the ability to run multiple application instances on physical, virtual, or cloud infrastructures.

Plus, Docker just makes things a whole lot more cost effective and easier to manage. For example, if you’re a Sys Admin you can now build, ship and run distributed applications across multiple platforms in a shorter time. This is because applications and services can now be deployed inside containers and moved between host systems without requiring specific dependencies or package installations on the target host.

# 3 Microsoft Active Directory

The introduction of direct support for Active Directory authentication is another significant update. This shift away from NIS and existing LDAP authentication mechanisms is likely to cause those customers still on the fence about moving to Linux, the reason to shift. Why? Because customers maintaining multiple authentication mechanisms for their Windows and Linux infrastructures can now combine them without jumping through too many hoops.

# 4 Performance Co-Pilot (PCP)

The introduction of PCP to the mix provides Sys Admins with a whole new API for importing, exporting and processing performance data. It can collect all kinds of performance metrics on a server and make them available to any local or remote viewer, even running on other platforms.

Sys Admins can now access detailed information on application performance and troubleshoot intractable server-side problems much easier because of their heightened visibility into the operating state of a server.

# 5 XFS

The new default file system is XFS (extended file system) rather than Ext4, and can support file systems up to 50TB in size. A huge leap and great for customers with large data volumes that have avoided porting to Linux before now.

None of these changes or additions will come as much of a surprise to anyone who's been working with Red Hat's Fedora distribution. But those who working exclusively within the RHEL 5 and RHEL 6 ecosystems are in for a jolt, so expect the adoption of RHEL 7 to be slower in these places. RHEL 5 and RHEL 6 may be around longer than Red Hat may like.

Overall, nice hat.

If you want to test RHEL 7 in your environment talk to us on Auckland 09 9180580 or Wellington on 04 499 6988

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Libby May

With a Masters in Computer Science, Libby started her working life as a Network Engineer. She has spent the last 16 years in marketing helping tech companies realise their potential. For the last two years she's been helping enterprise IT.

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