UPDATED 09:00 EDT / APRIL 21 2020


Red Hat debuts RHEL 8.2 enterprise Linux with intelligent monitoring capabilities

Linux software company Red Hat Inc.today pushed out a major update to its Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system, one week before its annual Red Hat Summit 2020 event kicks off in digital form.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.2 is the latest version of the company’s flagship operating system for business users. RHEL, as it’s known, supports diverse workloads in physical, virtualized and cloud environments. The company sells specialized versions of the platform for servers, mainframe, SAP applications, desktops and OpenStack.

The new release builds on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8, a version of the OS that the company said was redesigned for the hybrid cloud era, with support for multiple public cloud computing platforms. Highlights of of the release include new intelligent management and monitoring capabilities and enhanced container tools that enable more isolation and privacy for application developers.

The new management and monitoring capabilities in Red Hat Insights are likely to be especially welcome at a time when many companies are operating with skeleton crews to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. With limited staff available, firms are struggling to monitor and manage their information technology stacks properly, Red Hat said.

Red Hat Insights is an automated diagnosis and systems management service that uses predictive analytics to identify and solve issues ranging from security vulnerabilities to stability problems. The latest version helps improve visibility into IT security, compliance posture and operational efficiencies, Red Hat said.

For example, it offers new Policies and Patch services to help users define and monitor which Red Hat product advisories apply to Red Hat Enterprise Linux instances. There’s also a new Drift service that helps IT teams to compare their systems to baselines, providing a reliable benchmark that can be used to try and reduce complexity and troubleshoot any problems that occur.

Other features include a new version of Control Groups to improve resource management by preventing certain computing processes from consuming too much system memory.

The release also enhances RHEL’s monitoring and performance capabilities with the introduction of Performance Co-Pilot (PCP) 5.02. It now comes with new collection agents for Microsoft SQL Server 2019 on Linux.

“Right now, IT organizations need to do more with existing technologies in their established software stack; they need to drive operational stability and maintain service availability, frequently with remote or limited IT teams, without mortgaging their technological future,” Stefanie Chiras, vice president and general manager of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, said in a statement. “Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.2 provides this and more, with proactive, intelligent monitoring capabilities and enterprise-ready container tools, enabling IT teams to support the crucial needs of today while maintaining ready to take on a cloud-native future, whenever their operations can support it.”

More container tools

The RHEL 8.2 release also reflects the surging popularity of software containers, which are portable operating system environments that contain all of the components an application needs to run.

“While containerized workloads provide a clear path towards digital transformation and a cloud-native future, the tools used to build these applications must balance the latest, up-to-date innovations with a stable and supported lifecycle,” Red Hat said.

To that end, RHEL 8.2 introduces an update application stream of Red Hat’s container tools, supported for 24 months. There are also new, containerized versions of Buildah and Skopeo now available in tech preview. Buildah is a command-line tool for building Docker- and Kubernetes-compatible images quickly and easily, while Skopeo is an open-source image copying tool.

Also new is Udica, which enables developers to create customized, container-centric SELinux policies more easily. When applied to specific workloads, Udica helps to reduce the risk of processes “breaking out” of a container and causing problems with other containers or the container host, Red Hat said.

Other enhancements in the release pertain to the Red Hat Universal Base Image, which serves as a base operating environment for cloud-native and web-based applications. For example, Red Hat UBIs now support the OpenJDK and .NET 3.0 programming languages, and offer improved access to the source code associated with a given image via a single command. That should make it easier for developers to meet source code licensing requirements, Red Hat said.

The company further highlighted a few performance upgrades designed to streamline the overall user experience. For example, RHEL’s subscription registration has now been integrated with the installation process to on-board new users more easily. In addition, users can now enable Red Hat Insights during installation.

“It’s not all cloud in enterprise IT, as substantial workloads are still running on-premises,” said Constellation Research Inc. analyst Holger Mueller. “Those workloads require operating systems and while one may think there is little room to innovate, Red Hat shows us the opposite is true. Today’s release adds better administration for modern workloads and more intelligence in the dashboard. Improved networking, which means better hybrid cloud support, is the other key innovation here.”

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.2 will be made generally available “soon,” when users will be able to download it from the Red Hat Customer Portal.

Photo: Leonid Mamchenkov/Flickr

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