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At Red Hat, we work on a wide range of technologies and sit at the crossroads of our communities, customers, and partners. We believe our best work is done when we work together to find new solutions. So we asked, what if an operating system could be updated via image-based transactions, and what if those images could be built and shipped like a container? What if we could use the same tools, skills, and patterns as today’s containerized applications, closing the gaps between pipeline and production? The result is a way to think differently about how to build, deploy, and manage Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Image mode for Red Hat Enterprise Linux is a new deployment method that takes a container-native approach to deliver the OS as a bootc container image. Image mode builds on the success of open source projects such as bootc, which manages the installation and updating of hosts in any part of the hybrid cloud, to create a deployment model that fits seamlessly into container-native workflows. This approach addresses challenges in managing Linux at scale, from pushing patches to disparate locations to disconnects between operations teams and the application development cycle.

What does any of that mean for you? Well, with image mode for RHEL, we think you will gain:

  • A complete inventory of standard images and environments with history and version control
  • Tracking of OS images and changes across all deployed bootc images
  • Simple updates and rollbacks needing only a reboot
  • A way to experiment faster with new dependencies and capabilities without duplicating work
  • An opportunity to explore containerized Ci/CD and other tools to augment the workflows and gain new functionality

Simple. Consistent. Anywhere.

Typically, we don’t talk much about the software we release as a Technology Preview. However, we do believe that acting as a catalyst between communities and customers is the best way to advance.  We know that the things we build get used in many ways we couldn’t anticipate.  So what will happen when YOU combine container tools with an open source operating system designed for image-based deployments? We invite you to explore with us.

Like a lot of you,  we’ve been exploring AI workloads. AI brings challenges of complicated software stacks and particular hardware support to the forefront of application development. And AI workloads are being built in every possible combination of cloud, edge, and on premises. Image mode for RHEL gives us a way to pull all of these worlds together for tight dependency management across the applications and the underlying hardware when building, testing, and deploying AI applications, both through its flexible nature and tight integration with Podman Desktop and Podman AI Lab.

Developers can readily build intelligent applications using Podman AI Lab on their laptop through a process that’s greatly simplified by an AI Lab recipe catalog and straightforward AI playground environment. They can then use the bootc extension for Podman Desktop to create native disk images for clouds, virtual machines, or even bare metal installers, all running on the proven, trusted, and consistent backbone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Additionally, Red Hat Insights will now offer these management features when an image mode host is added to the inventory:

  • Detailed host information in the same view as any other RHEL host
  • Tasks to initiate updates when a new version of an image is detected
  • Scanning for security and operational recommendations

Plus, baking activation keys into the image via the Containerfile makes it easy to automatically register an image mode host during provisioning.

Interested in learning more? 

Check out our image mode quick start blog post 

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