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Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8.2 will be GA soon, and brings new features and improvements to existing ones across the board. RHEL 8.2 includes installation enhancements and a better in place upgrade experience, to resource management for optimizing workloads on large systems, to new container tools to improve use of RHEL and the Red Hat Universal Base Image (UBI). We have a lot to cover. So let's get started! 

Streamlining management, installation and upgrades

RHEL is about much more than just the bits that we deliver with each release. We are focused on providing tools that allow you to more easily manage and maintain your RHEL instances across the hybrid cloud. RHEL 8.2, along with Red Hat Insights, includes several features to improve management, installation, and upgrades.  

RHEL 8.2 adds subscription registration to the installation, and you can also enable Red Hat Insights at install time as part of the process. This helps streamline setup and gives Insights monitoring right out of the box after the install is complete.

Red Hat Insights helps organizations identify and remediate known threats to security, performance, and stability to avoid unplanned downtime. It's part of the RHEL subscription for RHEL 6.4 and later, and we want to help organizations take advantage of this feature to help save time and money by tackling problems early. 

Today the Insights team announced improved features around visibility into system security and compliance policies, as well new policies and patch services and more. See the Red Hat Insights post for more on those. For systems already running Insights, teams can use the upgrade recommendation to proactively identify machines that are eligible for in-place upgrades. 

While not specific to RHEL 8.2, Red Hat has also released the Convert2RHEL tool for converting systems from unsupported RHEL-like systems (CentOS or Oracle Linux) to supported RHEL versions. See Pallavi Ravishankar's post on Convert2RHEL and Brian Smith's post on using Convert2RHEL with Red Hat Satellite

The cloud-native future, today: Container tools and images

If your organization is running workloads in Linux containers, RHEL 8.2's container tools and its enhancements to the Red Hat Universal Base Image (UBI) will help in building and deploying containerized applications. 

This release includes a new application stream for Red Hat's container tools (container-tools:2.0) that is supported for 24 months, as well as an update to the container-tools:rhel8 stream that includes Podman 1.6.4. The 2.0 release of the container tools application stream includes CRIU (which stands for "checkpoint and restore in userspace") and an updated Udica. 

As part of 8.2 we're also releasing a tech preview with containerized versions of Skopeo (used to work with remote image registries) and Buildah (used to build container images). This allows users to run container builds in a container to isolate them from the running system. 

To improve security for containerized workloads, Udica now supports creating customized SELinux policies for containerized workloads. Red Hat has continued to reduce the risk of processes escaping a container and causing security issues for the host system. 

In addition to existing UBI images, we're also announcing OpenJDK and .NET 3.0 containers  so teams can take advantage of those in creating applications for cloud-native environments. They join the standard UBI image, the minimal UBI image, and language-specific images that include Perl, Python, Golang, PHP, Ruby, NodeJS, and more available in the Red Hat Container Catalog.

We are also making it easier to access the source code for UBI containers, and are providing a command to help download the source code associated with the image. We want to help our partners in meeting the source code requirements for open source software in containers. See our documentation on using skopeo to obtain and work with source images

Optimizing workloads with cgroup v2 and NUMA controls

Control groups (cgroups) are part of the Linux kernel that help container runtimes isolate processes so they are contained. In addition to Linux containers, cgroups are useful for other services and applications running on RHEL. 

In RHEL 8, we introduced cgroup v2, and in RHEL 8.2 we're now promoting cgroup v2 to full support. Note that cgroup v1 will continue to be the default in RHEL 8, but v2 is an opt-in capability for customers that want to take advantage of the new features.  

One of the highlights in this release is an advanced memory controller which is capable of hard or soft reservations, as well as the ability to adjust (or disable) swap at the resource group level. All of the cgroup v2 controllers are available via systemd, making it easier to manage resources for your applications on RHEL 8.2.

RHEL 8.2 now allows you to set NUMA policies for services using systemd. When you combine this with the CPU pinning (assigning processes to specific CPUs) provided by the cpu-partitioning tuned profile, you have a very capable stack to optimize performance sensitive workloads. 

Get to know RHEL 8.2

We're only skimming the surface of improvements and enhancements in RHEL 8.2, of course.  All of RHEL 8.2's exciting improvements and new features will be GA soon for RHEL subscribers. In the coming weeks, we'll be writing more about RHEL 8.2 features and how you can benefit from them in your organization.


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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