RHEL 6.1 released, Microsoft supports CentOS in Hyper-V; news in brief

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.1 update is released, Microsoft decides to support the open source CentOS, and other news.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.1 update improves virtualization, 
adds support for future hardware
Last week, Red Hat rolled out its first update to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6 operating system. The 6.1 release comes about six months after the debut of RHEL 6.0 in November 2010, but a beta version of the update has been available since late March. The point release includes the  usual bug fixes, security updates and support for upcoming hardware..

It also includes technologies that Red Hat says will enable smoother enterprise deployments, tighter integration with heterogeneous systems and virtualization enhancements designed to squeeze more performance out of machines by minimizing overhead.

Also  included: Support for automatic failover for virtual machines and applications using the Red Hat High Availability add-on and a technology preview of Red Hat Enterprise Identity (IPA) services, based on the open source FreeIPA project. The release's technical notes include a detailed overview of all changes included in RHEL 6.1.

VMware vs. Red Hat: Whose PaaS will rule?
Earlier this month, Red Hat joined VMware in offering an open source Platform as a Service (PaaS) solution that will enable software developers to build, test, and deploy applications as cloud-based services. While some say Red Hat's OpenShift is late to the party, Issac Roth, the PaaS Master at Red Hat, says his company's experience supporting Linux servers around the world, gives it a leg up on VMware when it comes to running a cloud service.

Microsoft supports open source CentOS
Microsoft customers can now run CentOS as a guest operating system in supported Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V environments.

"This development enables our hosting partners to consolidate their mixed Windows plus Linux infrastructure on Windows Server Hyper-V; reducing cost and complexity, while betting on an enterprise class virtualization platform," said Sandy Gupta, the manager of marketing for Microsoft's Open Solutions Group, in a statement.

The irony of Microsoft's decision to embrace some forms of open source software, while simultaneously suing other companies for using open source software wasn't lost on several bloggers who claimed that the move was a back-handed compliment to Red Hat. The free open source CentOS, after all, is based on RHEL, and is its direct competitor in the enterprise environment. Linux users who don't want to pay for Red Hat's support contracts can use the similar CentOS as an alternative, making Microsoft's decision to support CentOS on its servers a potential problem for Red Hat. 

What's new for Linux 2.6.39 kernel release
Linus Torvalds released the newest Linux 2.6.39 kernel last week, just three months after release 2.6.38, making it the third major kernel release in 2011. The biggest change for 2.6.39 is the implementation of the latest version of the IPset command line networking technology, which should simplify the implementation and operation of firewalls. The release also includes changes to improve virtualization technologies.

"KVM now also handles the asynchronous processing of page faults; in other words, the guest system can temporarily execute another thread while the host takes a memory page requested by the current thread out of storage. The basic infrastructure for operation as a Xen host was integrated (Dom0) in 2.6.37 and now kernel 2.6.39 includes a network backend to allow the front-end drivers in Xen guests (DomU) to communicate with other systems," Thorsten Leemhuis wrote in his kernel release summary

In addition to the changes designed to improve Linux performance on servers, the new kernel release also includes changes that will be appreciated by Linux PC users, including drivers for AMD's high end graphics cards.

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