Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 Testing Best Practices for ISVs

Today there are thousands of vendors and applications than are supported and certified to run on Red Hat® Enterprise Linux® 5. It is this ecosystem that makes it possible to meet real customer requirements by delivering solutions. The value of this combined solution stack is enhanced every time an ISV updates their software to provide new features and benefits, and every time Red Hat introduces new features and benefits in minor and major releases.

At every step, each advance allows new problems to be solved that were out of reach before. And this in turn opens up the possibility for a whole new set of discussions with customers which can lead to business growth for our partners and Red Hat; Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 is no exception. This platform has so many powerful new capabilities that the potential for new growth is why we make such a huge commitment in people and resources for each generation.

From an application perspective, there are two major points to keep in mind:

  1. Platform consistency: Red Hat Enterprise Linux is the same across physical systems, virtual machines, and clouds. This means that any application development, porting, or certification only needs to be done once, and is valid for all deployment methods.
  2. Red Hat's Major Release/Minor Release model: Red Hat maintains compatibility across minor releases, and implements significant changes and innovations across major releases. While we do maintain a high level of application compatibility across the major releases, there are changes and it is wise to test applications to ensure that they continue to function correctly. And, of course, changes to applications may be needed to take advantage of the new capabilities in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.

Once a customer adopts a major release from Red Hat they can deploy subsequent minor releases without having their application vendors or their own IT organizations go through expensive and time consuming re-certification efforts. This is because Red Hat goes through extensive lengths to avoid creating any compatibility issues during the life cycle of each major release.

This commitment is carried forward even further as we help our software partners and customers certify once on physical servers and we will support that same application un-modified to run on any Red Hat-supported hypervisors including our own Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization offering. This certify once, deploy anywhere commitment can also work in reverse. If a customer or ISV wants to certify on virtual machines, we will support and back that same application to work on a physical machine. If there are any issues with this we will fix the problem like any other bug we might see in the code with the same service level response that we use to support customers today around the globe.

This approach sets us apart from many other operating environments, and as Red Hat releases updates to each major release (a major release update is also known as a minor release) it is a best practice for customers to deploy these latest updates.

As each major release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux is introduced, there are more significant changes to the code that can impact a broader base of customer and ISV applications, but even in this scenario we expect many applications to run unmodified.

Because of this, our ISV guidance for major releases is simple: Test early, test often, and tell us.

It is important to note that the end goal here is to make sure that the rich ecosystem of thousands of applications available on Red Hat Enterprise Linux today are certified by the partner community to run on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6. The incentive for all of us to achieve this is the potential to accelerate new business opportunities.

Red Hat does not conduct formal certifications of the software offered by our ISV partners. The formal authority to whether an application is officially certified or not rests with each ISV. That said, we also have a partner locater on our web site that lists the certifications that have been successfully completed by our ecosystem partners. We encourage all our ISVs to make sure that they are signed up as a Red Hat partners, and have updated their listings to show their current certification status against each major release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

So what steps can you take today? Here are a few suggestions that we hope you will find useful:

  • Download the most recent release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, install your application, and share the results with us.
  • If you encounter any problems, file a problem report at bugzilla.redhat.com. The sooner you do this, the greater the likelihood of getting issues resolved in the next minor (point) release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
  • If you have not yet done so, sign up as a Red Hat ISV partner
  • Send the Red Hat ISV Partner Team an email outlining your test status. Are things going well, or are there issues?
  • Let us know your test plan timing. Do you already support the most recent release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux or do you have other dependencies that might significantly delay your certification and support: let us know, we may be able to help.
  • Attend our webinars
  • Read our blogs
  • Reach out to your peers in the Red Hat ISV partner community
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