The latest Linux-based OS from Red Hat offers a strong foundation for hosting virtual workloads, complete with distinctive capabilities such as security features rooted in SE Linux.
Enterprise Linux 6, the latest version of Red Hat's flagship Linux-based
operating system, began shipping last month, boasting a bevy of core
improvements around scalability, resource management and virtualization. What's
more, the system ships with a slate of updated open-source software components
that stand to make life easier for developers and system administrators who
wish to take advantage of recent features without leaving Red Hat's support and
certification umbrella to do so.
Enterprise Linux has long been a trusty go-to operating system option for most
server roles, if not in its official Red Hat branded form, then in one of its
respun incarnations, such as the fee-free CentOS or the Oracle rebrand
Unbreakable Linux. Based on my tests of RHEL 6, I expect this new release to
continue in that tradition-the new release performed as solidly as ever, and
benefits from a support term that's been lengthened from seven to 10 years.
sites that rely on Xen for virtualization, or that wish to host .NET
applications from Linux, Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Server will offer a
better fit, as Red Hat has transitioned completely away from Xen support in RHEL
6 and has consistently turned a cold shoulder to Mono, the open-source
implementation of Microsoft's .NET. Mono is,
however, available through the volunteer-based Extra Packages for Enterprise
Linux project that rebuilds certain software packages from Fedora for use
(albeit unsupported) with RHEL.
while RHEL offers a strong foundation for hosting virtual workloads, complete
with distinctive capabilities such as security features rooted in SELinux, it
doesn't, on its own, offer as well-integrated a virtualization management
experience as do purpose-built virtualization products such as VMware's
vSphere. However, I've yet to try Red Hat's separate virtualization management
product, which has remained uncharacteristically proprietary in its licensing
pending the completion of an effort to port the application to Java from C#.
aimed primarily at server roles, RHEL 6 can also perform well as a desktop
operating system, as it ships with recent versions of all of the usual suspects
of the Linux desktop, anchored by Version 3.2 of the OpenOffice.org
productivity suite and Version 3.6 of Mozilla's Firefox Web browser. RHEL
includes fewer software packages than do some of its less buttoned-down Linux
relations, but the EPEL repository I mentioned can fill some of these gaps in a
has shifted its pricing around a bit for RHEL 6, most notably by increasing the
starting cost of a supported edition of the product from $349 per year to $799
per year. Red Hat still offers a $349 edition of the product, but that edition
is now "self-supported," (see here
for more information). The Production Support SLA page on Red Hat's Website
still lists the "basic" support tier alongside the standard and
premium tiers, but Red Hat doesn't offer any RHEL SKUs with basic support, nor
is basic support available on its own.
is sold by annual subscription, on a per socket pair basis. An x86-64 server
with two physical sockets running RHEL 6 will cost $799 annually with standard
support, and $1,299 with premium support, each with an allowance for one virtualized
RHEL guest instance. Red Hat also sells editions with allowances for four
guests, and for unlimited guests. Red Hat charges separately for "Add-on
Functionality" such as high availability, load balancing and scalable file
system support. The Power architecture and IBM
System z editions of RHEL 6 are priced separately. For all the details, go here.
As Editor in Chief of eWEEK Labs, Jason Brooks manages the Labs team and is responsible for eWEEK's print edition. Brooks joined eWEEK in 1999, and has covered wireless networking, office productivity suites, mobile devices, Windows, virtualization, and desktops and notebooks. Jason's coverage is currently focused on Linux and Unix operating systems, open-source software and licensing, cloud computing and Software as a Service. Follow Jason on Twitter at jasonbrooks, or reach him by email at email@example.com.