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We are excited to announce the availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8.7 and 9.1 Beta. RHEL provides a more flexible and stable foundation to support hybrid cloud innovation and a faster, more consistent experience for deploying applications and critical workloads across physical, virtual, private, and public cloud and edge deployments.

What’s new?

RHEL 8.7 and 9.1 Beta brings new features and enhancements that deliver greater consistency and a stronger security posture to the open hybrid cloud’s foundation, with the ability to deliver workloads, applications, and services faster with less effort across various environments.

Primary features and benefits

Here are a few highlights of what’s included in RHEL 8.7 and 9.1 Beta.

Security resources and tools

Red Hat Enterprise Linux provides built-in security features and profiles, simplifying how organizations can reduce risk and better maintain compliance. Security standards certification and a trusted software supply chain allow organizations to more confidently use Red Hat Enterprise Linux across use cases. New features include:

  • Organizations using identity management in RHEL can now use new Ansible® tooling to configure smart card authentication across their entire topology.  

  • Organizations can now access RHEL systems using identities stored in an external source (such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and more). 

  • Classified agencies and ISVs can better implement multilevel security (MLS) to match their information security classification needs with improved documentation. Please note that this feature is for RHEL 9.1 Beta.

  • A security administrator can take advantage of new attestation of the measured boot to remotely verify the integrity of their operating system’s boot environment. Please note that this feature is for RHEL 9.1 Beta.

Developer-friendly design and features

RHEL combines production stability with developer agility. It includes features that accelerate application development—including installation, coding, tool selection and setup, and container tools—plus multiple runtime languages, compilers, open source databases, and web and cache servers delivered via Application Streams. New capabilities include:

  • GCC-toolset 12, and the introduction of the GCC 12 compiler to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.

  • New updates to the Rust-toolset, LLVM-toolset, and Go-toolset.

  • Ruby 3.1 includes a new JIT compiler, a new debugger, improvements to IRB, better error messages, new hash syntax, and many other improvements.

  • Maven 3.8 is a new version of the build automation tool used to build, publish, deploy, and manage projects, primarily Java™.

  • .NET 7 brings many improvements in start-up and steady-state performance, as well as OpenTelemetry support.

  • Node.js 18 includes an update of the V8 JavaScript engine, global fetch enabled by default, and a core test runner module.

  • PHP 8.1 is a significant update of the PHP language. It contains many new features, including enums, read-only properties, first-class callable syntax, fibers, intersection types, and performance improvements. Please note that this feature is for RHEL 9.1 Beta.

  • Mercurial 6.2 is the latest Mercurial distributed source control management tool update. Please note that this feature is for RHEL 8.7 Beta.

Automation and management

Automation and management capabilities in RHEL 8.7 and 9.1 Beta continue to make it easier for customers to automate manual tasks, standardize deployments at scale, and simplify the day-to-day administration of their systems. New enhancements include:

System roles

A collection of supported workflows with RHEL lets organizations rapidly and consistently configure different RHEL versions using the same automation playbooks.

  • The HA cluster system role now supports multi-link clusters, additional Corosync configuration options, the ability to configure a STONITH Block Device (SBD), and the ability to configure bundled resources.

  • The web console system role can now configure systems to use a  custom port for the web console (rather than the default 9090 port).

  • The Microsoft SQL system role introduces support for Always On availability groups with the RHEL High Availability Add-on. The role can configure synchronous clusters (up to 5 nodes in SQL Server 2019) to scale read performance and includes support for configuration-only replicas that can be used to reduce cluster licensing costs.

  • The storage system role now has support for thinly-provisioned volumes, adding and removing disks from storage pools, and the ability to create and attach cache volumes to existing volumes.

  • The firewall system role can optionally reset the firewall configuration to system defaults to help with more consistent configurations. Plus, this role will now gather firewall facts that are exported as Ansible variables, and interfaces can be added to a zone by specifying a PCI device ID. 

  • The network system role now supports network configurations using the NMState API, configuring policy-based routing, and configuring IP over Infiniband connections.

Web console

New enhancements to the web-based tool are designed to make it easier to perform standard configuration and management tasks using an intuitive browser interface. New capabilities include the ability to:

  • View and manage system-wide crypto policies for greater consistency and risk reduction from existing and potential future attacks. 

  • Label and optionally encrypt and obfuscate specific data in sosreports generated in the web console.  Plus, users can now view a list of previous reports. 

  • Install only kpatch updates with improved kernel live patching workflow in the web console. 

  • Download RHEL installation media when creating a new virtual machine within the web console.

  • Edit custom firewall services, including changing/adding port numbers and updating descriptions. 

  • Pin services to quickly find and review status and perform actions as needed. 

  • Perform Podman container health checks to monitor container vitality and availability.

  • Identify hardware resource constriction by seeing information on the CPU with the highest utilization. Plus, the web console will now show Podman containers in the list of top CPU and memory consumers, along with CPU temperature.

RHEL for SQL

The enhanced Microsoft SQL Server system role allows customers to install, configure, and tune both single-node SQL Server environments as well as SQL Server Always on availability groups. This enhancement, available with the Red Hat Enterprise Linux High Availability Add-On, provides operational efficiencies for consistent task application through automation.

RHEL for Workstations

RHEL for Workstations 9.1 Beta now supports Firefox natively on Gnome Wayland sessions, allowing users to use more native tools. The XWayland/X11 Gtk+ backend can still be used via an additional firefox-x11 package. Please note that this feature is for RHEL 9.1 Beta.

Containers

To improve container image trust within and between organizations, we are incorporating Sigstore technology into our container tools. As a Technical Preview, Podman and Skopeo can sign and verify Sigstore signatures using local keys.

Additional resources


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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