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Red Hat Announces the Beta Release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.3

Today, we are pleased to announce the availability of the beta for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.3. This beta includes a broad set of updates to the existing feature set and also provides rich new functionality particularly in the areas of virtualization, scalability, storage, file systems, and security.

As always, the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.3 beta delivers new hardware enablement made possible by our strong relationships with our strategic hardware partners. This beta release has been designed for optimized performance, scalability, and reliability to cater to the diverse workloads running in physical, virtual and cloud environments.

Key functionality in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.3 beta is as follows:

Virtualization

  • A new tool called Virt-P2V that facilitates the conversion of physical Windows or Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems into virtual images to be deployed as KVM guests inside Red Hat Enterprise Linux or Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization.
  • Stronger compliance with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS), including the ability to perform secure wipes of virtual machine disks.
  • The ability to perform live volume resizing, improving the overall availability of virtualized guests.

Scalability

  • The maximum number of virtual CPUs (vCPUs) has been increased from 64 to 160, which lets you run larger CPU-intensive workloads on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux platform. VMware ESX 5.0 currently support 32 vCPUs.
  • The maximum supported memory configuration for KVM guests has been increased from 512GB to 2TB.

File Systems

  • GFS2 enhancements that create faster read-write capabilities for specific use cases.
  • Support of O_Direct in FUSE (Filesystem in User Space), which can provide improved performance for certain workloads.
  • Simplified configuration and administration for the file system. Integration of automount capability with System Security Services Daemon (SSSD) provides centralized management of configuration data and the ability to improve performance through caching and load balancing. (This feature is a Technology Preview.)

Storage

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.3 provides full support for Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) Target. This feature, which was previously provided as a Technology Preview, allows customers to present their Red Hat Enterprise Linux servers as FCoE storage devices. This feature complements the FCoE Initiator support that was delivered in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.0.
  • The Logical Volume Manager (LVM) now provides support for RAID levels 4, 5, and 6. (Previously, support for these RAID levels was provided through the MD subsystem.) This expanded LVM RAID support simplifies overall storage administration by consolidating all management functions, such as creating volumes, resizing volumes, deploying RAID, taking snapshots, etc., into a single interface.
  • The LVM now provides the ability to create thin provisioned logical volumes. Previously, storage was allocated when the volume was created, and needed to be monitored for space consumption and expanded manually. In Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.3, storage is allocated as required, allowing volumes to expand up to the requested size on demand without intervention. (This feature is a Technology Preview.)

Security

  • Availability of a two-factor authentication mechanism, enhancing the overall security available to lock down Red Hat Enterprise Linux environments and enabling compliance with industry standards such as PCI-DSS.
  • Expansion of the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) to provide particular benefits for system performance on multi-processor machines.

Identity Management

  • With native support for netgroups and the services map in System Security Services Daemon (SSSD), Red Hat Enterprise Linux servers can be integrated into centralized systems -- such as Active Directory -- to manage system users.
  • The addition of an automembership plug-in streamlines the administration of new users and hosts when they are added into the Identity Management system by automatically placing them into a predefined set of groups, speeding user and host provisioning.
  • Performance improvements through session data caching, which lowers the overall load on authentication servers.

Hardware Enablement

  • Software bandwidth management for USB 3.0 for select Intel platforms is now available.
  • Compiler optimization for Intel Xeon E5 processor family, which improves the result of string operations, is now included.
  • Improvements to memory and I/O breakpoint execution operations within compiler tools are now included.

Developer Tools

  • With the introduction of OpenJDK 7, customers can develop and test with the latest version of open source Java.

We look to our community and partners for feedback to ensure Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.3 is another high-quality release. The beta can be accessed here. The Release Notes can be accessed here. More detail on the new features can be accessed here. To learn more about Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, visit here.