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Red Hat is proud to announce the global availability of the next minor release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system platform, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.3. The rich array of features in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.3 originates from many sources including Red Hat engineers, partners, and customers, as well as the open source community. Through the innovation harnessed through a strong and vibrant ecosystem, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.3 provides enterprises with mature, stable technology supported by its award-winning worldwide support organization.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux continues to reinforce its position as a leading operating system within hybrid environments – where customers expect consistency, stability, yet flexibility – to create standard infrastructure patterns across physical, virtual, and cloud environments. This is demonstrated by features including secure disk wiping, and live volume re-sizing of virtual guests. They represent the marriage of key capabilities, such as security and storage resource management, with next-generation architectures including cloud and virtualization.

With minor releases of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, enhancements are made to take advantage of the most recent advancement from hardware OEMs. This includes updated device drivers for a multitude of peripherals, and also various features like compiler optimization for the Intel Xeon E5 processor family.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.3 includes enhancements and new capabilities providing rich functionality particularly in the areas of developer tools, virtualization, security, scalability, file systems, and storage. Highlighted below is a small subset of the new features and enhancements in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.3.

Developer Tools: In addition to OpenJDK6 support in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, the newly introduced OpenJDK7 allows customers running Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.3 to develop and test with the latest version of open source Java. The Red Hat Developer Day is scheduled for June 26th at the 2012 Red Hat Summit & JBoss World. More about this and other capabilities will be presented, including the Red Hat Enterprise Linux toolset (updated GCC), performance optimization, thread programming and NUMA. For more information about developer day, please visit here.

Virtualization: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.3 helps smooth migration to a virtualized environment. This is achieved with the help of new Virt-P2V tools that can easily convert a Red Hat Enterprise Linux or Microsoft Windows system running on physical hardware to run as KVM guests. This release implements a more robust mechanism to protect data associated with defunct virtual machines. The method by which virtual disk images are securely wiped has been enhanced to allow greater security and stronger compliance with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS).

Security: Users can now use two-factor authentication for securely accessing their Red Hat Enterprise Linux environment. This type of authentication mechanism is more secure than simple password based authentication. Two-factor authentication is being adopted into enterprise environments and is often referenced in industry standards. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.3 also includes advanced encryption capabilities so data blocks can be encrypted in parallel by taking advantage of underlying multi-processor capabilities. This is supported by the introduction of AES-CTR (Advanced Encryption Standard Counter Mode) cipher for OpenSSH. AES-CTR is well suited for high-speed networking environments.

Scalability: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.3 continues to test the outer bounds of scalability for an operating system platform by increasing the maximum number of virtual CPUs (vCPUs) per guest to 160 from 64. This is significantly higher than the 32 vCPU per guest limit for VMware ESX 5.0. The maximum supported memory configuration for KVM guests has also been increased from 512GB to 2TB.

File Systems: File system improvements include O_DIRECT support in FUSE (File system in user space). When enabled, all FUSE reads and writes go directly to storage, bypassing the server cache. This capability can lead to more consistent response times and predictable access to data by multiple accessors for certain use-cases, including database writes and deduplication. GFS2 (shared storage file system) can now read and write data to the disks faster than in previous releases for certain use-cases. In addition, file system check utilities for GFS2 can now be used to check the integrity of the older GFS1 file system.

Storage: The Logical Volume Manager (LVM) now provides support for RAID levels 4, 5, and 6 to simplify overall storage administration by consolidating all management functions, such as creating and re-sizing volumes, deploying RAID, and taking snapshots into a single interface. It is now possible to deploy Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 as a FCoE based storage target server providing the high level of reliability and performance available with native Fibre Channel but at a significantly lower cost. This feature complements the FCoE Initiator support that was delivered in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.0.

Subscription Management: With Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.3, by default customers can use Red Hat Subscription Management (SAM), an enhanced subscription management capability using X.509 certificates that allows customers to effectively manage subscriptions locally and report on subscription distribution and utilization. This helps facilitate compliance, upgrades, and long-term planning. Customers register their systems using Red Hat Subscription Manager to the Red Hat award-winning customer portal or an instance of Red Hat Enterprise Linux SAM. Customers who used RHN Classic subscription management with prior releases of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, can continue to use it or migrate to Red Hat Subscription Management.

More information about Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.3 can be found here.

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