Friday, June 28, 2019

The Benefits and Features of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8

By: Paul Cudmore   Categories:Power Systems

The Benefits and Features of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8

This past May, Red Hat released version 8 of its flagship platform Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)

It’s been 5 years since the last major release and there are exciting new features that make version 8 the best Linux to run your business on.

I'm going to examine some of these features such as portability, AppStreams, and a web-based management tool to make the transition to Linux much easier.

In addition to the various bare metal options, Red Hat is supported on enterprise hypervisors (VMWare, Hyper-V, KVM) and all major clouds (AWS, Azure, Google, IBM, Alibaba and private). Red Hat’s motto: “Every datacenter. Every cloud. Every application.”, is not merely a marketing tagline. Multi-cloud/Hybrid computing is easier than ever.

In order to simplify deployment in the hybrid world, Red Hat has introduced the RHEL 8 Image Builder. Normally you would have to create a “gold image” for each of the different platforms in your environment. There would be one for the VMWare environment, one for Hyper-V, one for each cloud platform, etc. Maintaining these images and synchronizing the changes would take many hours of tedious administration. With RHEL 8 Image Builder, you can create a custom system image and deploy it anywhere in your environment. Container images can be built on Red Hat with the Universal Base Image and run on any OCI compliant Linux container.
 

Better Management Tools

Linux and UNIX, in general, have long been known as a command-line oriented operating system. This is no longer true because there are many GUI based tools to help make administration easier, but there is still a perception that Linux is difficult to learn. In order to make the transition to Linux easier for administrators, Red Hat has included a web administration tool which is based on the open source Cockpit project. This provides an easy-to-use interface to manage all aspects of your server, and if you still need to access the command line it has a built-in terminal application.
 

Red Hat Insights

Another tool to help ease the transition to RHEL is Red Hat Insights. According to Red Hat: “Red Hat Insights helps proactively identify and remediate IT issues, from security vulnerabilities to stability problems. It uses predictive analytics based on Red Hat’s vast knowledge of open technologies to help administrators avoid problems and unplanned downtime in production environments.” They are calling it “expertise as-a-service” and it is not a new offering. But as of RHEL 8, it is included as part of your RHEL subscription.
 

Long Lifecycles While Maintaining Relevance

RHEL releases are supported for 10 years from the date of their initial release. This means business are not forced into needless upgrade cycles that may disrupt their core applications. However, there is a drawback to the long release cycles: some packages may become significantly out of date or obsolete by the end of the cycle. This forces customers to go to great lengths to get a newer or alternative package that satisfies their need. Adding alternate repositories and/or manually downloading packages are some of the workarounds used. This can lead to compromised security and instability of the system.

In order to address this problem many Linux distributions, including RHEL, are separating the core O/S distribution from the application packages. On RHEL this function is called AppStreams and it allows you to get newer versions of the software you require without hacking the package manager to get it. 

Overall, the IT world is getting more complicated every day. Each time a new technology is introduced, there are claims it will make your job simpler and save you money. This is usually the opposite of what happens because there are new tools to learn and more integration challenges; but with the release of RHEL 8 there are features that will help make your job easier by simplifying the platform you run your business on.

Contact us today or chat with us live, if you would like to test drive RHEL 8 on the latest IBM Power hardware.

For further information, read the IDC study here.

Paul Cudmore
Paul Cudmore

Paul Cudmore

Paul comes with many years of experience in the IT industry, having worked with a broad range of hardware and software technologies. He has extensive experience in administering and implementing mid-range infrastructure solutions that include Cloud, Virtualization, Clustering and Storage, and more.

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Full biography

Paul comes with many years of experience in the IT industry, having worked with a broad range of hardware and software technologies. He has extensive experience in administering and implementing mid-range infrastructure solutions that include Cloud, Virtualization, Clustering and Storage, and more.

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