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Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8.3 will be available in the coming weeks. In this post we'll take a look at some of the highlights and important new features that are planned for RHEL subscribers.

A RHEL release has many constituencies. RHEL has to meet the needs of system administrators who crave system stability and predictability, and developers who want flexibility and new language and software choices. With new system roles, a major RHEL container tools update, cloud administration updates and more, RHEL 8.3 delivers for those who depend on enterprise open source to run today's businesses. 

The third update since RHEL 8's release in early 2019, RHEL 8.3 continues the six-month cadence of minor releases. By offering a predictable, time-based release cycle we help drive new features in a timely fashion without compromising the reliability of RHEL that our users and customers depend on. 

System roles and tuning

System roles simplify configuring a system for specific tasks. Running system roles is easy, but developing effective roles takes a solid understanding of RHEL and its internals. With the RHEL 8.3 release, Red Hat is bringing a number of new system roles to its subscribers to help optimize and protect systems. 

The Logging system role helps configure rsyslog daemon parameters, rules and outputs. The Metrics role uses Performance Co-Pilot (PCP) to configure a host to collect data from other hosts. The kernel settings role helps tune Linux kernel settings for RHEL to better optimize performance. Note that these roles are not limited to RHEL 8.3, but are developed to work across multiple versions 

We also have new roles to apply consistent security configurations across RHEL systems. Need to set up Network Based Disk Encryption (NBDE), or issue/replace self-signed and Identity Management (IdM) issued certificates? We have you covered. Red Hat has also a role to enable and set parameters for session recording on systems so that you can more easily track and audit activity across RHEL systems.

Organizations that are using RHEL for SAP can find three new system roles to help pre-configure systems to help prepare the system for SAP software, then further refine the pre-configuration for SAP HANA or SAP Netweaver. 

System roles cannot replace experienced system administrators, but they can help seasoned admins do more by automating and standardizing repeatable processes. Admins can spend more of their time doing work that's more valuable to the business and less time re-inventing the wheel by leveraging the knowledge and know-how of Red Hat through system roles.

Deploy Red Hat Enterprise Linux images directly into the cloud

In RHEL 8.3, Image Builder’s Push to Cloud capability helps teams work together by enabling administrators or developers to not only build customized machine images, but also enter cloud provider details so images are automatically uploaded and available through their cloud provider’s inventory. This ability to rapidly deploy images and updates speeds operations, facilitates cloud workload migrations and streamlines the path from development to production.

With this release we've also added the ability to upgrade in place in the cloud. For customers with persistent workloads in the cloud, this helps you move from RHEL 7 to RHEL 8 without a complete reprovision. 

Insights improvements including health at a glance

Red Hat Insights, part of any RHEL subscription, is there to help teams proactively identify and remediate problems that threaten system security, stability, performance and uptime. It's like having a veteran system administrator at your fingertips, proactively examining your system for issues and helping to walk through solving them as well.  

When logging into the RHEL 8.3 web console, admins will notice an updated system overview with a panel for system health status. At a glance, you'll be able to see whether the system is up to date and if Red Hat Insights has any recommendations for your system. 

If you haven't set up your systems with Insights yet, the Insights user interface will guide you through the system registration process. We strongly recommend using Insights to take advantage of the wealth of system knowledge and easy troubleshooting that comes with it. See the latest features in Red Hat Insights on the Red Hat Blog, including new tagging and filtering capabilities that enhance visibility across SAP applications in Red Hat Environments .

New languages, new container tools

Sometimes you want to remain on an older version of a programming language or tool that only gets crucial bugfixes and security updates and sometimes you need to move quickly. RHEL 8 introduced the concept of Application Streams to allow organizations to have more flexibility between staying on a known version of a language or tool, like Perl, Ruby, GCC, Node.js or RHEL container tools, or updating to get the newer features. 

With RHEL 8.3 we're adding new releases of Node.js, PHP, Ruby, GCC, Git, NGINX, and Perl. 

We also have added full support in RHEL 8.3 for Buildah and Skopeo running in containers. This adds flexibility for developers working on other systems to work with applications in Red Hat's Universal Base Image (UBI) or to develop continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) tooling based on Buildah and Skopeo. 

In 8.3 we're also making a containerized release of Podman available as a tech preview, and bringing Podman 2.0 to RHEL. 

Podman 2.0 gives developers a Docker-compatible REST API so that teams can now use Podman not just for local development, but for remote container builds and CI/CD tooling as well. 

RHEL 8.3 will be available in the coming weeks and accessible to all active RHEL subscriptions via the Red Hat Customer Portal. Be sure to keep your eye on the Red Hat Blog RHEL channel for in-depth posts on RHEL features, how-tos, and more.


About the author

Joe Brockmeier is the editorial director of the Red Hat Blog. He joined Red Hat in 2013 as part of the Open Source and Standards (OSAS) group, now the Open Source Program Office (OSPO). Prior to Red Hat, Brockmeier worked for Citrix on the Apache OpenStack project, and was the first OpenSUSE community manager for Novell between 2008-2010. 

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