When RHEL 7 development first got started, there were indications that the Btrfs filesystem would become the default, but that never matured. Btrfs is a next-generation Linux filesystem effort that has already been embraced by Oracle and SUSE in their Linux distributions. According to Dumas, Btrfs is available as a technology preview for RHEL 7, but just isn't considered to be fully capable enough for all the use cases and requirements of Red Hat customers.
Another key area of improvement in the RHEL 7 release is interoperability with Microsoft Windows environments.
"We want people to be able to just drop their server into a Windows environment and have it seamlessly integrate," Dumas said.
Dumas added that Red Hat still has more Windows integration work to do, which will land in the RHEL 7.1 release. That said, she emphasized that the Windows integration in RHEL 7 is significantly improved over prior RHEL releases, making it easier for server administrators to manage and deploy.
With RHEL 7, Red Hat is also making a shift toward a new default open-source database for its users. Instead of the open-source MySQL database, which has been the default since Red Hat's first enterprise release, RHEL 7 now includes the open-source MariaDB as the default database choice. The MySQL database is an open-source technology that was acquired by Oracle as part of its acquisition of Sun Microsystems in 2010. The original creator of MySQL, Monty Widenius, forked the code to create the MariaDB database. In 2013, MariaDB gained commercial support through a merger with SkySQL.
"We work with SkySQL and MariaDB," Dumas said. "MariaDB has a really solid upstream and has been looking at performance improvements that MySQL has been slow to pick up."
Dumas added that, from her perspective, it's a reasonable move to go from MySQL to MariaDB and it shouldn't be big a deal for RHEL users to make the shift. That said, she noted that MySQL is still an optional choice for RHEL 7 users.
After nearly four years of effort building toward the RHEL 7 release, Dumas said that for her, the really interesting parts of development actually start now. The RHEL platform team that she leads will be doing more work in the upstream open-source communities in Fedora as well as addressing what she referred to as "odds and ends" that need to be tied up.
Red Hat is just now putting together its plans for RHEL 7.1, which will be an incremental update to the platform.
"I hope we get a quiet month so we can figure out what we're going to do and then we can go and tackle a whole lot of things that have been on the backburner," Dumas said.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.