Four Good Reasons to Switch to RHEL 5

Opinion: Unlike some operating system upgrades we could name-cough, Vista, cough-the new release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux gives enterprises at least four good reasons to upgrade your server operating system. No matter whether you're al

Sometimes you dont want the hassle of the big upgrade. For example, there is no good reason to "upgrade" Windows to Vista. On the other hand, there are upgrades like Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (RHEL) that give you some darn good reasons to make the jump.

Here are my four top reasons to change to RHEL 5:

1) Virtualization management

OK, so everyone and her uncle has a virtualization offering. Novells SLES (SUSE Linux Enterprise Server) 10 has supported the Xen virtualization program for months now. KVM (kernel-based virtual machine for Linux) was the hot new feature in the latest Linux kernel, 2.6.20. OpenVZ, as well as SWSoft and Parallels (one open-source project, and two-companies in one) are doing excellent work, as well.

What Red Hat brings to the table ahead of the pack is virtualization management. Anyone can set up a VM (virtual machine) on Linux—or, they can try. To set one up successfully, you really do have to know precisely what youre doing. With RHEL 5, any reasonably experienced system administrator should be able to set up VMs without yanking out major amounts of hair. Once in place, those VMs are also a lot easier to manage.

This is important.

A while back I talked with Al Gillen, vice president of research at IDC, and he told me, "The managing and provisioning and tracking of all this layered [virtualized] software through its full life-cycle is where the biggest competitive and financial battle is likely to come from. "With RHEL 5, Red Hat has struck a major blow in the virtualization wars.

Another factor that many seem to miss is that, by incorporating virtualization and its management into one package, RHEL 5 users wont have to pay for additional virtualization software. As Scott Crenshaw, RHELs general manager, said recently, "Our approach with virtualization is that the benefits of integrating with the OS are substantial and we can offer pricing models that are economically better."

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