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September 2009
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Redhat Enterprise 5.4 Released

This is at it’s heart an update to RHEL 5. But Redhat is promoting it as “the first product to deliver commercial quality open source virtualization featuring Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) hypervisor technology.” The kernel version is still 2.6.18, with backported patches. Redhat is promoting upcoming Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization products along with RHEL 5.4 on the announcement page .

The server release is touted as providing “the most cost-effective, flexible, and scalable environment”. There are two flavors, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform. The number of guests on Advanced Platform is unlimited while the standard release is limited to four guests.

Redhat Enterprise Linux is certified as a guest OS on the following platforms:

  • VMware ESX and VMware ESXi
  • BM POWER LPARs
  • IBM System z

Redhat Enterprise Linux supports three distributed system technologies:

  • Logical Volume Manager (LVM)
  • Global File System (GFS)
  • Distributed Lock Manager (DLM)

Redhat also has new managment tools for managing virtualized environments. And of course it provides tools like Samba for integration into Windows environments, Apache Web server, MySQL and Postgresql databases. And of course all the enterprise network services such as DNS, dhcp, and firewall capabilities are included.

Redhat is also promoting Redhat Enterprise Desktop as an alternative to “proprietary” desktop operating systems. They’re selling the “security” features and cost benefits of managing their system. And if you must run one of those “proprietary” systems, they offer virtualization to run it as a guest OS.

While not everything on RHEL 5.4 is the latest release, it does provide the kind of system and support that will make management comfortable.

Subscribers to RHEL 5 will get the updates automatically for free. New subscribers will pay about $349 for the server version and prices start at $80 for the desktop version.

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