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Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5 Beta Released

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 has been in broad use by enterprise customers since it was released in March 2007. The industry, however, doesn’t stand still. Even as Red Hat remains committed to a long, stable lifecycle, which our customers count upon, we continue to add enhancements to the Enterprise Linux 5 platform. Red Hat has announced the beta availability of the fifth update to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5.

Each update to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 platform has marked a milestone in platform or feature enablement, and today’s beta availability is no different. With the goal of optimizing our customers’ ability to get the most from a new generation of hardware, this update is designed to support IBM’s new Power7 processor, Intel (R) Itanium (R) processor 9300 series and Nehalem-EX as well as the upcoming AMD Opteron (TM) 6000 Series platform (formerly code named “Magny-Cours”). We expect the new platforms to leverage Red Hat’s history in scalable performance with new levels of core counts, memory and I/O, offering users a very dense and scalable platform balanced for performance across many workload types. To increase the reliability of these systems, Red Hat supports Intel’s expanded machine check architecture, CPU fail-over and memory sparing.

Red Hat also continues to make enhancements to our virtualization platform. New to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5 release is support for greater guest density, meaning that more virtual machines can be supported on each physical server. Our internal testing to date has shown that this release can support significantly more virtual guests than other virtualization products. The new hardware and protocols included in the beta significantly improve networking scaling by providing direct access from the guest to the network.

This fifth update to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 platform also introduces improved interoperability with Microsoft Windows 7 with an update to Samba. This extends the Active Directory integration to better map users and groups on Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems and simplifies managing filesystems across platforms.

An important feature of any Red Hat Enterprise Linux update is that kernel and user application programming interfaces (APIs) remain unchanged, ensuring Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 applications do not need to be rebuilt or re-certified. The unchanged kernel and user APIs also extend to virtualized environments: with a fully integrated hypervisor, the application binary interface (ABI) consistency offered by Red Hat Enterprise Linux means that applications certified to run on Red Hat Enterprise Linux on physical machines are also certified when run on virtual machines. With this, the portfolio of thousands of certified applications for Red Hat Enterprise Linux applies to both environments.

All subscribing Red Hat customers can download the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5 beta via Red Hat Network today.

Full details of today’s beta update can be found in the release notes.

Getting involved

We maintain a public mailing list for communication during Beta. You are welcome to subscribe to these lists and keep up-to-date with our latest developments. Announcements for Red Hat Enterprise Linux are posted to rhelv5-announce. Public discussions on the Beta occur on rhelv5-beta-list.