Today Red Hat unveiled the eighth update to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4. The company notes that the focus of product updates in the future will shift away from providing significant code changes and focus on providing critical fixes and helping customers evolve their IT plans for eventual migration to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.
Key features in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.8 include:
Improved virtualization performance and scale
- New, optimized devices drivers for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 virtual guests deployed on the KVM hypervisor that should be included in future Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 releases. Support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 virtual guests running on Xen-based systems continues as before.
- Virtual guest support for up to 256 disk devices (increased from 16). This will allow the deployment of much larger virtualized applications.
Improved Windows interoperability and file system support
- A Samba update to improve Microsoft Windows interoperability, which allows customers to deploy Red Hat Enterprise Linux as a secure, reliable, high performance, file server for Microsoft Windows environments.
- Samba support allows customers to attach Microsoft Windows clients to a Red Hat Enterprise Linux server without requiring Windows Client Access Licenses (CALs).
- An update to autofs (used to map file systems) provides increased reliability and stability.
General performance improvements
- Includes three new “kernel tunables” that allow customers to optimize application performance by reducing latency and improving utilization.
- Updated high-speed networking support with enhancements to the Open Fabric Distribution Networking (OFED) software stack.
Storage and filesystem enhancements
- Improved Device Mapper reporting is provided to help storage administrators.
- More information captured from HP active-passive arrays helps administrators monitor and configure storage in multipath high-availability configurations.
Enhanced developer support
- Updated GNU Compiler Collection allows customers to compile applications on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 with compatibility with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5. This helps customers prepare for moving applications to the newer Red Hat release.