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Architecting, deploying, and managing hybrid cloud environments can be a challenging and time-consuming process. It starts with processor selection, operating system configuration, application management, and workload protection, and it never ends. Every step requires a reliable, trusted software foundation with a comprehensive set of features and capabilities to fuel optimal performance, greater consistency, and enhanced security capabilities for your environment. With new features in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9.4 (RHEL), you can speed-up and simplify many infrastructure life cycle operations across your entire hybrid cloud environment, from on-site datacenters to public cloud infrastructure to edge devices.

Choose your processor architecture

From performance and scalability to reliability and cost, every application brings its own unique requirements to modern IT environments. As part of the complete RHEL platform portfolio, RHEL for ARM gives you the flexibility to deploy critical applications and services on the optimal processor architecture for each workload. With reduced power consumption and operating costs, enhanced uptime, and more predictable performance, RHEL for ARM helps you deploy a software foundation across your entire IT environment with greater consistency and efficiency.

RHEL for ARM now includes support for virtualization with both RHEL 9.4 ARM 64 hosts and RHEL 9.4 ARM 64 guests, all using the 64k page size kernel, allowing you to consolidate workloads and increase operational efficiency. With virtualization capabilities now available across 64-bit Arm, x86, and IBM Z host architectures, you can choose the most effective and efficient hardware for each of your virtual machines, and manage everything through a single, standardized toolset.

Hardware certification testing is a critical activity in the RHEL life cycle, providing improved interoperability and supportability for your infrastructure foundation. Ongoing testing and certification of virtualization capabilities in RHEL for ARM 9.4 helps confirm that your infrastructure is optimized to run virtualized workloads efficiently and reliably.

More consistently build and deploy operating system images

Consistent infrastructure configurations can help you streamline operations, enhance agility, and simplify management tasks across your hybrid cloud environment. As part of Red Hat Insights, and included with RHEL subscriptions, image builder lets you more consistently provision RHEL hosts to support standardized operating environments (SOE). Coming soon, with new proactive guidance for Insights image builder, you can access recommendations and information to help you build RHEL images more efficiently, and in less time. Based on an analysis of your selected packages, the image builder can suggest additional, relevant packages so you don’t miss critical components. And if you can’t find a package, then the image builder can suggest additional repositories to help speed up your search. As you select RHEL releases, the image builder displays relevant life cycle information to help you plan upgrades and migrations.

With the Red Hat Hybrid Cloud Console virtual assistant, you can now receive guidance on creating, customizing, and deploying images in public cloud environments. And when you create RHEL images for edge devices, you can now include certified cryptographic modules in compliance with Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) Publication 140-2.

Manage systems across your network

Fast and efficient server management is crucial for maintaining operational efficiency, driving compliance, and minimizing downtime. New features and capabilities in the RHEL 9.4 web console let you interactively configure and manage both local systems and networked servers across your environment. Simplify and standardize virtual machine operations with enhanced external virtual machine snapshot capabilities, including support for live snapshots. Automate kernel crash dump (kdump) configurations to improve consistency across your environment. Improve login security with WireGuard, a high-performance virtual private network (VPN) solution that runs in the Linux kernel. Pin rpm-ostree deployments, reset current deployments, and perform clean-up tasks to simplify the management of RHEL edge devices.  Best of all, you can do all of this from a single web-based interface.

Protect your systems, workloads, and data

Automation helps you enforce standardized configurations, address security vulnerabilities, and better adhere to security policies. With RHEL system roles, you can automate many common management tasks across on-site infrastructure, cloud resources, and even edge devices. Enhance security across your hybrid cloud with the fapolicydsystem role by automatically deploying and configuring fapolicydto allow or deny application executions at scale. Increase efficiency by using the ad_integration system role to configure dynamic domain name system (DNS) updates on RHEL hosts integrated with Microsoft Active Directory. Gain flexibility when systems become unresponsive by customizing quorum device (qdevice) options and fencing topologies with the high availability clustering system role. The new snapshot system role provides for more rapid, predictable and repeatable data backup and recovery operations at scale, letting you create and manage point-in-time snapshots of logical volume manager (LVM) storage volumes. You can even better protect sensitive data with the Microsoft SQL Server system role, which automatically installs, configures, and deploys Microsoft SQL Server 2022 as a confined application using SELinux.

Beyond system roles, other new features and capabilities of RHEL 9.4 help protect your critical infrastructure and data. Passkey authentication, a component of the zero trust architecture (ZTA) security model, allows for passwordless and multifactor authentication (MFA) with Fast IDentity Online 2 (FIDO2) passkeys for centrally managed users. This feature has been tested and verified with Yubico YubiKey devices, and works with FIDO2-compliant hardware key devices.

Finally, new capabilities in the RHEL High Availability Add-On can automatically detect SAP HANA index server failures and switch to secondary nodes, shortening recovery times and increasing data availability.

Try RHEL 9.4

To find out more about the new features provided in RHEL 9.4, you can read the official documentation and release notes. And there's no better way to find out about new features than by downloading it and trying it yourself.

About the author

Gil Cattelain is Principal Product Marketing Manager for Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Cattelain has more than 20 years’ experience as a leader in high-tech software product marketing with a proven track record of managing major product releases and go-to-market strategies. Prior to Red Hat, Cattelain held product marketing leadership roles at Micro Focus, Novell, and Genesys, focusing on the endpoint management and DevOps/agile solutions, including digital marketing for the contact center market.

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