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Red Hat 6.2 scales up on multicore platforms

Dec 7, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

Red Hat revised its enterprise-focused Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) distribution, claiming greater performance and scalability on multicore platforms. RHEL 6.2 offers enhancements to resource management, high availability, storage and file system performance, and identity management, and it scored an all-time-high 22,000 users on the SAP SD benchmark, the company says.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.2 follows Red Hat's May release of RHEL 6.1, which offered virtualization performance optimizations, new hardware enablement, improved operational efficiency, and high availability improvements. In July, the company updated its 5.x branch to RHEL 5.7, and now says it plans to deliver a 5.8 beta later this month.

In addition, development is said to be underway on RHEL 7.0. Meanwhile, the community-supported RHEL clone CentOS has yet to catch up with copying RHEL 6.1.

While recent RHEL releases have focused on cloud computing, the big story with RHEL 6.2 instead relates to the distro's appeal as a fast server operating system, especially in enterprise storage. The distro is said to be faster and more scalable than ever on multicore systems.

In a Dec. 2 test using the latest two-tier SAP Sales and Distribution (SD) standard application benchmark, RHEL 6.2 was able to serve more than 22,000 SAP SD benchmark users on a single system, claims Red Hat. According to the company, this is the largest Linux result submitted to SAP to date.

In addition, RHEL 6.2's new Transmit Packet Steering (XPS) technology, which lets administrators pre-assign a CPU to handle network transmission requests, can improve network throughput by up to 30 percent, says Red Hat. The new release also offers file system enhancements that reduce read-write times and boost overall system utilization, claims the company.

Resource management goodies target SLAs

RHEL 6.2 also provides new system resource management features designed to better manage numerous virtual machines. For example, customers that deliver applications or hosted services on multi-tenant environments can now set maximums for CPU time assigned to a given application, business process, or virtual machine, says Red Hat. This lets customers more efficiently manage service level agreement (SLA) environments, as well as implement service priorities, says the company.

Following up on its High Availability (HA) enhancements to version 6.1, Red Hat now offers HA Add-Ons for applications that run in a RHEL guest deployment hosted by VMware. The HA support extends to the use of the GFS2 shared storage file system by the virtual machines. Other virtualization improvements are said to range from faster KVM network performance to a preview version of Linux Containers.

iSER support adds low latency and high bandwidth on SANs

Storage and file system enhancements include support of iSCSI extension for RDMA (iSER), which lets users run the iSCSI storage protocol with the same RDMA (remote direct memory access) scheme used on Infiniband networks.

With iSER, customers can now use more affordable SANs — rather than expensive Infiniband hardware or other dedicated interconnect fabrics — in order to achieve RDMA's low latency and high bandwidth, says Red Hat. As a result, 10 gigabit per second storage area networks (SANs) can be used with "even the most demanding storage environments," says the company.

General file system improvements are said to include delayed meta data logging, as well as asynchronous and parallel file system writes. RHEL 6.2 adds support for multiple active instances of Samba in a cluster, improving throughput and availability on large Samba clustered deployments, claims Red Hat.

Identity management, Linux style

New identity management features let customers quickly install, configure, and manage server authentication and authorization in Linux/Unix enterprise environments, while still providing optional integration with Microsoft Active Directory, says the company. The benefits of this centralized identity management and host-based access control are said to include reduced administrative overhead, streamlined provisioning, and enhanced security.

Other new features in RHEL 6.2 include enhanced PCI Express 3.0 and USB 3.0 support, says Red Hat. The new release also adds support for the Stream Control Transmission Protocol (SCTP).

On the desktop, meanwhile, new features include an updated X server implementation said to offer greater stability via the isolation of the system display drivers. RHEL 6.2 also provides tablet enhancements including improved support for Wacom graphic tablets, and the addition of background wireless scanning to the network manager.

In October, Red Hat joined Facebook's Open Compute Project, intended to open source the design and development of second-generation data centers for powering web and cloud services. Red Hat has certified RHEL on the Open Compute specs, and will test the distro along and other software on Open Compute servers.


Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.2 is available to subscription customers today and is accessible online using Red Hat Network and/or by using the Subscription Manager feature, says the company. More information may be found on the RHEL 6.2 product page. The certification number for the RHEL 6.2 tests on the SAP SD benchmark is #2011052, says Red Hat.

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