Red Hat Linux: The business OS for flexibility and value

Brian Stevens, CTO and vice president of engineering at Red Hat talks about RHEL 5

Today's IT departments need to do more, with less budget. They need to rapidly develop and deploy new applications. They need to build a flexible infrastructure--one that can rapidly adjust to the needs of the business. There are many key benefits inherent in Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

The latest release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, version 5, often coupled with other Red Hat open-source solutions, transforms the economics of IT by eliminating the need to purchase, integrate and maintain the proprietary server software stack. Customers today deploy many expensive software components on their servers: clustered file systems, volume managers, virtualization, application servers and the like, which cost thousands of dollars per server. With Red Hat Enterprise Linux, many of these capabilities are included for no additional cost, freeing up hundreds of thousands of dollars of budget--which can be used to deliver new applications, improve service levels and train staff. The goal is to disrupt the economics and to free budget that CIOs can reallocate to close the capabilities gap. For example, virtualization, storage management and high availability capabilities are all integrated into the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform.


A primary goal of Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform was to make virtualization simple and practical in real-world deployments. Consequently, the product includes both server and storage virtualization and a powerful system management infrastructure.

One of the great features of virtualization is the ability to move virtual machines from one physical server to another in real time, called live migration.

In the latest version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux:

  • Virtualization is provided in all server products and is optionally available for client products.
  • Storage and extended server virtualization are provided with Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform.
  • Red Hat Network supports virtualized guest operating systems.
  • Virt-manager, libvirt/virsh management tools are included.


Live migration through virtualization is not very useful if the servers don't have a common view of storage. So we included a global file system and multinode logical volume management with every copy of Advanced Platform. It allows virtual machines to migrate at will, while keeping seamless access to their storage.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 includes:

  • Support for root device multipath IO, improving availability
  • Single system/guest version of Red Hat Global File System, included in the base server product
  • Block device data encryption support


Another major focus area for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 was to deliver industry-leading security. Red Hat recently announced that the product was the first to receive EAL4+/LSPP certification, thereby meeting the needs of the most demanding security environments. In other areas, the product provides the latest technologies for application development, heterogeneous interoperability and desktop users.

Red Hat's leadership role in the open-source development community means that its engineering organization is responsible for development of many of the technologies that deliver these features.

In Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5:

  • SELinux enhancements include multilevel security and targeted policies for all services.

  • SEtroubleshooter GUI simplifies SELinux management.

  • Integrated directory and security capabilities.

  • IPSEC enhancements improve security and performance.

  • ExecShield enhancements, such as a call frame Canary word, strengthen hacker defenses.

  • New audit features provide powerful new search/reporting and real-time monitoring.

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