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In May, we announced the general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8, the intelligent operating system designed to span the breadth of deployments across enterprise IT. A modern, open source operating system built for the hybrid cloud, RHEL 8 supports workloads and operations for private enterprise datacenters and multiple public cloud infrastructures. RHEL 8 helps organizations meet not only the demands of modern datacenter operations but also the needs of growing workloads such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet-of-Things (IoT).

Work on RHEL 8 has continued and we are pleased to announce the beta availability of RHEL 8.1. This update delivers several new enhancements to the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform. RHEL 8.1 Beta improves manageability, adds new security enhancements and enables greater developer productivity. This release also includes updated drivers that deliver new features and bug fixes for supported hardware platforms.

Improved manageability

The Red Hat Enterprise Linux web console now supports finer granularity when configuring firewall rules and system services, including:

  • Better configuration for firewall zones

  • Log filtering based on services

  • Service filtering based on metadata like service name and state.

Additionally, for virtual machines (VMs) running on RHEL 8.1 Beta, you can now use the web console for importing existing QCOW images, managing different types of storage pools and modifying autostart configuration and memory allocation, as well as pausing and resuming existing VMs.

Enhanced security

Security continues to be an important focus for RHEL, and RHEL 8.1 Beta adds container-centric SELinux profiles. With this new capability, you can create a more tailored security policy for better control of how a container accesses host system resources such as storage, compute and network. This enables customers to more effectively harden their container deployments against security violations, making it easier to achieve and maintain regulatory compliance. Administrators can also be far more selective about which applications are permitted to be launched on a system using a new application whitelisting functionality. This feature reduces the potential risk of running unknown or untrustworthy applications. Additionally, RHEL 8.1 Beta will be used as we pursue additional FIPS-140 and Common Criteria certification for the platform.

Developer productivity

To help boost developer productivity while limiting the potential for system downtime, RHEL 8.1 Beta delivers a number of new application streams with new developer tools, application frameworks and languages. These packages can be obtained using yum, and are included in all Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscriptions.

RHEL 8 introduced image builder, a component that enables you to create custom system images in a variety of formats. With RHEL 8.1 Beta, Image Builder is extended to support more configuration options for adding users and SSH keys. New image formats have also been added to support cloud platforms such as Google Cloud Platform and Alibaba Cloud. With these additions, RHEL 8.1 Beta now supports every major cloud infrastructure platform including AWS, Microsoft Azure, OpenStack and VMWare.


With every release of RHEL, we seek to push performance boundaries even further. RHEL 8.1 Beta strives to achieve this with key performance tools such as eBPF, an extended version of the Berkeley Packet Filter, to help troubleshoot complex network issues, and XDP (eXpress Data Path - available as a Tech Preview).

Additional Offerings

During the beta period, we greatly look forward to your feedback For a full list of new features, enhancements and fixes, please see the release notes. Customers and partners with active subscriptions can access Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.1 Beta today. Developers can download it from Red Hat Developer.

Chris Baker is principal product marketing manager, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and Don Pinto is senior principal product marketing manager, Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

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