Red Hat Bolsters Virtualization Play with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2009-09-02 Print this article Print

Red Hat has released the fourth update to its Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 platform, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4, which lays the foundation for the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization portfolio of solutions.

Red Hat has released the fourth update to its Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 platform, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4, which lays the foundation for the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization portfolio of solutions.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4 delivers expanded virtualization capabilities with the inclusion of kernel-based virtual machine (KVM) technology and Intel Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (Intel VT-d).

The new virtualization technology enables multiple virtual machines in an Intel Xeon Processor 5500 Series-based platform to directly share I/O devices. The new release also features improved I/O throughput and the inclusion of additional tools for developers. Red Hat announced Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4 at the Red Hat Summit 2009 in Chicago on Sept. 2.

"Red Hat Enterprise Linux plays a significant role in Red Hat's virtualization strategy, and the availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4 with the same virtualization technology base as Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization today is a significant step in our delivery of virtualization to the market," said Scott Crenshaw, vice president of the Platform Business Unit at Red Hat. "The release also features advances in performance, security and storage that span virtual and physical environments. With this update release, Red Hat Enterprise Linux aims to raise the bar once again, offering compelling software technologies with impressive quality and reliability."

At the processor chipset level, the new Red Hat release includes optimizations for Intel Xeon Processor 5500 Series platforms as well as AMD Istanbul platforms. Network advancements include Generic Receive Offload (GRO) that utilizes new processing components in advanced network adapters to offload portions of the receive stack. Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) performance enhancements and hardware support are also included.

"Red Hat and Intel have long collaborated on technology advancements to provide joint customers with reliable, high-performance and cost-effective technology for their IT infrastructures that runs great on Intel Xeon processor based platforms," said Doug Fisher, vice president of the Intel Software and Service Group and general manager of the company's System Software Division. "With today's update of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 operating platform, customers can take advantage of the latest Intel processor and chipset advances in physical and virtual environments. It's clear that the combination of Intel Xeon Processor 5500 Series and Red Hat Enterprise Linux using Intel VT-d and SR-IOV removes I/O virtualization bottlenecks to deliver increased performance, efficiency and scalability with high performance I/O devices."

Meanwhile, new developer support includes enhancement to the Systemtap performance monitoring toolset, including support for profiling and monitoring C++ applications, as well as inclusion of a large number of static kernel tracepoints to simplify performance observation for the highest profile kernel subsystems, the company said.

"Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4 is certified on the Cisco Unified Computing System," said David Lawler, vice president of the Product Management, Server Access and Virtualization Business Group for Cisco. "We continue to work closely with Red Hat to optimize both the Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization platforms for the scalable Cisco Unified Computing System to help enable our customers to grow their virtualized environments, improve business agility and provide coherent security and network policies."

IBM, HP and Dell also expressed support for the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4 platform.

"IBM is pleased to support the availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4 with the inclusion of KVM technology for our clients," said Daniel Frye, vice president, IBM Systems Software Development and Open Systems Development Executive, in a statement. "KVM is an important emerging open virtualization environment that IBM has contributed to and will support."

"As companies continue down a path of server consolidation, there is an increasing desire to derive cost savings from virtualization," said Paul Miller, vice president of marketing for enterprise storage and servers at HP, in a statement. "The combination of HP BladeSystem and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, now with the performance of KVM virtualization, provides customers with the low-cost, high-performance combination customers demand, backed by two industry leaders."

"Red Hat and Dell continue to deliver joint solutions to reduce complexity and lower operational costs for enterprises," said Judy Chavis, director of business development in Dell's Enterprise Product Group. "With today's delivery of the foundation of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4, certified with Dell PowerEdge servers, joint Red Hat and Dell customers are offered expanded scalability and performance, as well as the next generation of virtualization technology." 

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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