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Today, we are pleased to announce the beta release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5. To keep pace with the demand for enterprise-class infrastructure, the newest version of the leading Linux platform extends its scalability and manageability to aid in the build-out and control of large, complex IT environments. For example, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 will be designed to simplify the operation of mission-critical SAP applications by automating the optimal configuration of common SAP deployments. The beta release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 also offers enhancements and new capabilities in key areas such as:

  • Subscription Management Services;
  • Scalability;
  • Networking;
  • Storage;
  • Virtualization; and
  • Security.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux seamlessly integrates with Red Hat subscription management services to manage the local system and its allocated subscriptions. The Subscription Manager agent connects the system to the Red Hat Customer Portal or to an on-premise subscription management service set-up by the customer using Subscription Asset Manager. Once connected, the customer can realize centralized control of their subscription assets and manage inventory, status, and gain enhanced reporting for support multiple systems.

Scalability at the administrative level is increased by changes made to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 beta kernel. Kernel dump files on large systems can now scale to multiple terabytes of data, and a new compression algorithm (LZO) speeds the creation of dump files, leading to reduced down time during crash dump generation and faster troubleshooting. An enhancement to the perf tool’s tracing and testing commands also provides additional infrastructure event monitoring capabilities.

Networking enhancements new with the beta of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 range from improved performance to expanded compliance with industry-specific requirements. These new capabilities include:

  • Better analysis of multicast traffic by inspecting Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP) data to list router ports and groups with active subscribers;  
  • Stream Control Transmission Protocol (SCTP) association statistics in support of SS7 M3UA (Message Transfer Part Level 3 User Adaptation Layer) implementations provide additional monitoring capabilities for customers within the telecommunications sector; and
  • IEEE 1588 Precision Time Protocol Version 2 (PTPv2), used for precisely synchronizing clocks in an Ethernet network. PTPv2 is capable of achieving clock accuracy in the sub-microsecond range and supports network driver time stamping for many of the widely adopted  network drivers.

The storage additions to the beta version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 deliver improved scalability, performance, and ease of use. Enterprise storage customers benefit from improved control and recovery in iSCSI and Fibre Channel Storage Area Network (SAN) environments. The performance and high-availability features of Multipath IO are available to a broader set of devices and multipath device automatic naming enhancements provide shorter, more convenient device names. The beta version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 also supports Intel's NVM Express driver, the industry standard specification for accessing PCI Express bus-based SSDs. In addition, FUSE-based file systems, like GlusterFS, can now use asynchronous IO for improved performance.

The beta version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 continues to deliver virtualization to provide for a robust guest environment. The Red Hat guest can serve as a client to the highly scalable Gluster filesystem and Red Hat Storage. The path to Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization is streamlined by utilities that convert VMware OVF and Citrix Xen guests to Red Hat guests, helping customers to simplify their complex and diverse virtual infrastructure onto Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) technology. The maximum memory for Red Hat guests has increased to four terabytes, allowing guests to run large-scale workloads, and dynamic hot-add functionality for virtual CPUs enables customers to add compute resources to installed guests on-the-fly, reducing downtime.

Security enhancements keep the beta version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 up-to-date with essential government and industry regulations as well as emerging best practices. NSS, GnuTLS, OpenSSL and Java can now share a single, system-wide static data store, which can be used by crypto-toolkits as input for trusted certificate decisions, something that is required by many corporate deployments. Additional security capabilities include:

  • Support for smartcard authentication by providing single-sign-on capabilities across more application subsystems;
  • The latest version of OpenSCAP, an authenticated scanner that meets the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) SCAP 1.2 certification requirements; and
  • Support for the latest Transport Layer Security (TLS 1.2) standard, allowing secure network communication.

The beta of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 also features several desktop and graphical enhancements.  Users can now remotely operate Windows 7 and Windows 8 desktops and Windows Server 2012 consoles using the RDP protocol, and customers running the Evolution mail client will now experience better integration with Microsoft Exchange, especially from a calendaring perspective. Additionally, the base LibreOffice software is updated to 4.0, which provides a host of office workflow improvements.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 beta is now available on Red Hat Network to all customers with an active Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription. For access and downloads, please visit https://rhn.redhat.com/rhn/software/channels/Beta.do.

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