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Red Hat moves to RHEL 5.7 as Oracle nabs Ksplice

Jul 22, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

Red Hat released version 5.7 of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, adding new drivers and KVM hypervisor improvements. In other enterprise Linux news, Oracle acquired Ksplice and its Linux-based hot-patching update technology, and an eWEEK review found the new Ubuntu-based Stackops Linux distro speeds the process of configuring and deploying OpenStack clouds.

Although Red Hat has already released Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6.0 and RHEL 6.1, the company is continuing to update its 5.x line, and has now added an incremental 5.7 release. The release will get no clonage from community-based Red Hat clone CentOS, which recently moved up to version 6.0.

RHEL 5.7 follows RHEL 5.6, which was announced in November in conjunction with RHEL 6.0. RHEL 5.6 was duplicated in the free CentOS 5.6 distro in April.

Once again, Red Hat continues to focus on KVM virtualization, backfilling some RHEL 6.x features into the 5.x product line. In particular, RHEL 5.7 offers improved migration convergence speed for KVM, according to the Red Hat announcement. Other KVM-related enhancements include enhancing CD-drive emulation and an improved boot sequence, says the company.

A variety of new hardware has been enabled on Intel, AMD, Power Architecture, and IBM System z platforms, says Red Hat. A new subscription manager is said to improve tracking and usage of subscriptions, and there's now improved support for the network bridging, LDAP, and the Security Content Automation Protocol.

Additional features include High Availability "fencing" features to improve cluster reliability, says the company. More information may be found in Red Hat's RHEL 5.7 release notes.

Oracle buys Ksplice

Red Hat rival Oracle announced on July 21 that it has acquired Ksplice, as reported by our sister site eWEEK. Oracle did not disclose terms of the deal to buy the privately held software company based in Cambridge, Mass., says the story.

Founded in 2008, Ksplice makes hot-patching software that enables Linux administrators to perform system updates, bug fixes, and security patches without having to take a system offline. The company is said to have about 700 customers in a number of vertical segments.

Ksplice code will be integrated into the Oracle Linux Premier Support package, but apparently will not be available for use with Oracle's enterprise Linux rivals. "The Oracle Linux Premier Support subscription applies [only] to Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel," Oracle said in a statement. "Oracle does not plan to support Red Hat Enterprise Linux or SUSE Enterprise Linux."

According to Oracle, the company will be the only enterprise Linux provider that can offer zero downtime updates.

Stated Ksplice CEO Jeff Arnold, "Ksplice's technology will be able to take Oracle's kernel updates and transform them into zero downtime updates that provide always-accessible systems with no reboot necessary. This results in improved system availability and security as well as reduced operational costs for the customer."

StackOps helps tame wild OpenStack cloud, says review

Also at eWEEK this week, Jason Brooks has reviewed OpenStack enabling software Stackops, offered by Madrid, Spain-based StackOps. The Ubuntu Linux-based distribution is designed solely to facilitate access to the open source OpenStack cloud platform.

OpenStack has built up a lot of momentum since Rackspace and NASA joined forces in 2010 to launch the cloud platform. NASA used the technology for its Nebula internal cloud, and Rackspace uses OpenStack ObjectStorage in its cloud storage platform. Cisco has submitted a network-as-a-service proposal for OpenStack. Already, the cloud project has more than 60 contributing partners, including NASA, Rackspace, Dell, Intel, AMD, Citrix, Cisco, and Brocade.

In May of this year Canonical announced OpenStack would be the core technology in its Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud package, which allows organizations to launch Linux-based clouds. OpenStack was first supported in the most recent Ubuntu 11.04.

Other OpenStack-based Linux distributions and middleware are also on the way, writes Brooks. Citrix, for example, recently announced an OpenStack distribution of its own called Project Olympus.

The Ubuntu-based StackOps is paired with a web-based Smart Installer application to speed the process of configuring and deploying OpenStack clouds, explains Brooks. StackOps charges nothing for its distribution or its Smart Installer application, but sells services around its offering.

StackOps "makes it rather easy to get up and running with a single-node OpenStack implementation," reports Brooks in his review. The application is deemed to be "suitable for early testing and for familiarizing oneself" with OpenStack.

Yet, it's still early days yet with both OpenStack and StackOps, so users can expect some rough edges, Brooks adds. Although StackOps also supports dual and multinode OpenStack configurations, Brooks does not recommend it at this stage.

"StackOps, and OpenStack in general, has yet to approach the level of maturity of a typical Linux distribution," writes Brooks. "The components that underlie OpenStack are solid, but the integration and tools situation reminds me of the early Xen hypervisor tests performed by eWEEK Labs in 2005 and 2006. For now, putting OpenStack into production will require in-house or outsourced expertise."

Nevertheless, Brooks found that StackOps streamlined his path toward OpenStack configuration and testing. "OpenStack supports a great deal of diversity in its components, and StackOps helpfully narrows things down a bit," he writes.

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