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Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2 delivers enhanced security and containers support

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Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2 delivers enhanced security and containers support

Red Hat has officially released the latest update to its enterprise-grade Linux distribution, adding new security and network capabilities and extending support for operating applications in containers, plus integration with Red Hat’s operational analytics service to flag up any developing issues.

Available now, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7.2 continues the firm’s mission of providing an enterprise-grade Linux platform for operating business applications and services, one that also evolves to meet the changing requirements of the wider business environment and its challenges.

It is the second update of the RHEL 7 platform that was a major release for Red Hat in 2014. The RHEL 7.1 update was released earlier this year.

“Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2 continues this effort, delivering new capabilities for containerised application deployments and significant networking enhancements while retaining our focus on delivering a stable, reliable and more secure platform for the most critical of business applications,” said Jim Totton, vice president and general manager for Red Hat’s Platforms Business Unit.

As ever, this means a key focus is security, but Red Hat has also extended support for operating containers, as well as numerous tweaks to improve overall system performance. Many of the new features were showcased in the beta of RHEL 7.2, which was made available in September.

On the security side, RHEL 7.2 now includes support for Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) in the Red Hat Identity Management system. DNSSEC is a set of security extensions that provide authentication for DNS information on the internet, to guard against attacks involving falsification or corruption of DNS records.

Also included is an OpenSCAP plug-in for the Anaconda installer used by Red Hat. This adds support for the Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP), allowing for SCAP-based security and configuration analysis during the installation process, to help ensure systems are deployed with as secure a configuration as possible.

Red Hat is also moving to bolster support for containers, with updates to the Docker engine and Kubernetes, Google’s container orchestration platform. Also included is an updated version of Atomic Host, a stripped-down version of RHEL optimised for running containers.

The firm also announced a beta release of Red Hat Container Development Kit 2, a collection of resources to help developers build and deploy container-based applications that are certified for Red Hat container hosts, such as RHEL 7.2, Atomic Host 7.2 or the OpenShift Enterprise 3.1 application platform that was updated earlier this month.

Other enhancements in RHEL 7.2 address performance, particularly when it comes to networking, with Red Hat having an eye on the nascent demand for network function virtualisation (NFV) in the telecoms and service provider sectors.

Red Hat claims it has tuned the network kernel stack to improve packet processing times, to the point where RHEL 7.2 can perform at physical line rates for demanding workloads, and also now supports DCTCP, an enhancement to the TCP congestion control algorithm aimed at data centre networks that enables infrastructure to react according to the degree of congestion experienced.

Red Hat is also including in RHEL 7.2 the Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK), a set of libraries and drivers designed to support the development and operation of network functions running in software on standard server hardware.

Meanwhile, Red Hat said that RHEL 7.2 is compatible with Red Hat Insights, a cloud-based operational analytics service designed to proactively identify and resolve technical issues with infrastructure based on Red Hat platforms. This is being made available at no additional cost for up to 10 Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 systems, enabling customers to detect technical issues before they impact business operations through continuous monitoring.

Finally, Red Hat has also updated its development platform for ARM-based servers with the RHEL 7.2 release. Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server for ARM 7.2 Development Preview enables new partner hardware and additional features for the ARM architecture, the firm said.

Currently, Red Hat Enterprise Linux for ARM processors (RHELA) is only available to customers and partners signed up for Red Hat’s Early Access Programme, but the firm has previously hinted that a public beta may be offered some time in 2016.

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