Red Hat came out today with a beta release of its Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.6 (RHEL 6.6) platform. The new beta follows Red Hat's June release of RHEL 7 and inherits a few of its features.
"The feature list for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 ties closely to the feature list from the GA [general availability] of the major release (6.0) in November 2010," Steve Almy, product manager at Red Hat, told eWEEK. "While we may selectively introduce new features into a minor release like Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.6 Beta, we take great care to not disrupt the feature set that was first released with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6."
Red Hat offers a 10-year lifecycle for RHEL, which includes the promise of Application Binary Interface (ABI) compatibility. As such, Red Hat will not change major elements of an in-production release in a way that could impact stability or existing compatibility. That doesn't mean, however, that Red Hat can't and doesn't actually provide some new features to existing RHEL 6.x users.
"Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.6 Beta does include some features that were first introduced with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 in June, the most prominent being Performance Co-Pilot (PCP)," Almy said.
Almy explained that PCP is a suite of tools, services and libraries for acquiring, storing and analyzing system-level performance measurements. PCP is intended to be a lightweight, distributed architecture that makes it well-suited to centralized analysis of complex systems.
"PCP is a great example of a feature/capability that is downloaded from Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, as we feel that it can be of great use to not only Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 deployments but also our existing installed base currently using Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6," Almy said.
Another pair of features that originated in RHEL 7 is support for the HAproxy and keepalived open-source load-balancer technologies. HAProxy was previously a technology preview in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, Almy said.
"With Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.6 Beta, we've moved it into the realm of fully supported features, giving customers confidence in deploying both HAProxy and keepalived in mission-critical environments," Almy explained.
RHEL 6.6 will now also provide a more integrated Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) capability than had been previously available to RHEL 6.x users. RDMA has been supported inside the mainline Linux kernel since 2009, thanks in part to code contributions from networking vendor Cisco. The new RHEL 6.6 beta release now enables support for RDMA over converged Ethernet.
"This feature was previously provided by the High-Performance Networking (HPN) Add-On for Red Hat Enterprise Linux," Almy said. "With Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.6, we've bundled this capability into Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.6 Beta, making it an internal capability rather than an add-on."
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.