Red Hat delivered its latest major operating platform release, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, in November 2010, representing a new standard of flexibility, efficiency and control for customers’ commercial open source environments. The release included features applicable to all computing environments — from physical to virtual to the cloud – with improvements in performance, scalability and reliability. The platform has been well-received by customers and we announced earlier this week that Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 has already set a new standard in storage performance based on internal testing by Red Hat engineering.

Today, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 takes another step forward with the availability of the beta for the first update to the platform. The beta includes new features, bug fixes and support for new hardware from our key partners. We encourage our customers, partners and the community to install the beta and share your feedback on this latest update to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 with us. To access the beta, visit here, and to read the Release Notes for the beta, visit here.

Notable improvements in the beta include:

  • Virtualization performance optimizations – objective is to minimize virtualization overhead in comparison to bare metal operation
    • Network latency speedups by moving this functionality into kernel routines
    • Disk I/O latency enhancements via ioeventfd
    • Metadata caching of qcow2 images reducing I/O overhead
    • FPU register use optimizations
  • New hardware enablement – supporting the current generation of multicore processors and peripherals as well as improving reliability
    • Processor scheduler enhancements increasing the NUMA hardware topology awareness
    • Ability to dynamically add memory and processors on certain systems
    • Support for PCI express 3.0, enabling higher bandwidth
    • Updates to a range of device drivers: network, disk, graphics
  • Operational efficiency – improved system services, resource control and performance
    • Cgroup resource controls augmented with I/O rate limiting capability
    • More efficient network processing across multi-core systems via packet flow steering
    • Performance improvements in device-mapper-multipath’s handling of failed storage
    • Enhancements in network storage including FCoE datacenter bridging and iSCSI offloading
    • Improved IPv6 support across virtual networks and DHCP services
    • Transparent proxy of services using squid
    • Netgroup support, renewal for kerberos credentials
  • Development and monitoring tools – augmenting diagnostic capabilities
    systemtap tracing enhancements


    • Gdb debugger has improved C++ and python handling
    • Valgrind memory tracing enhancements to better match multi-core processors
    • Eclipse development environment includes enhanced breakpoint and code generation for C/C++ and Java
  • High Availability – improvements in this Add-On option include:
    • Ability to use the high availability infrastructure to failover KVM virtual guests
    • NFSv4 resource agent monitoring
    • Substantial documentation enhancement

To learn more about Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, visit here, and to read a technical deep-dive on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, visit here.

The Red Hat Summit, taking place in Boston May 3-6, 2011, will feature sessions, labs and opportunities for collaboration focused around Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6. Visit here to see the full list of sessions focused on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.