Only a week after releasing CentOS 6.1, the CentOS project finished up version 6.2 of its CentOS community version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), while Oracle launched Oracle Linux 6.2 — a RHEL 6.2 clone that adds the company's Unbreakable Enterprise Linux kernel. Meanwhile, Red Hat released a beta of its long-lifecycle RHEL 5.8 platform and announced strong third quarter earnings.
The CentOS project must have overclocked its coffeemakers to the max, as the team released CentOS 6.2 only a week after it let go with CentOS 6.1. As noted by The H, the surprise appearance of CentOS 6.2 coincided with Oracle's release of its own RHEL clone Oracle Linux 6.2 (see farther below).
CentOS 6.1 was almost seven months in the making, but followed its Red Hat Linux Enterprise (RHEL) 6.1 master at a faster clip than did CentOS 6.0 in its imitation of RHEL 6.0. The CentOS 6.2 release bests that pace by a long shot, trailing RHEL 6.2 by only two weeks.
The community-driven, freely available CentOS 6.2 offers almost all the non-proprietary portions of RHEL 6.2, and is said to be 100 percent binary compatible. The distribution is available for i386 and x86_64 architectures.
Oracle Linux 6.2
Oracle Linux is a RHEL clone of a different stripe, as adds a RHEL-based Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel. In Oracle Linux 6.2, the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel appears to be the main addition to the RHEL 6.2 foundation. The kernel, which is optimized for performance on Oracle software, was claimed by Oracle last year to be more than 75 percent faster than a RHEL kernel in OLTP performance, and 200 percent faster than Infiniband messaging.The kernel was also said to provide optimizations for large NUMA (Non-Uniform Memory Access) servers, plus improved power management and energy efficiency.
Both the CentOS and Oracle Linux releases are based on a RHEL 6.2 upgrade that introduced some fairly significant performance and scalability enhancements, especially on multicore platforms. Improvements were said to have been applied to resource management, high availability, storage and file system, and identity management components.
As an indication of its improved scalability on multicore systems, the release scored an all-time-high 22,000 users on the SAP SD benchmark, according to Red Hat.
In addition, RHEL 6.2's new Transmit Packet Steering (XPS) technology, which lets administrators pre-assign a CPU to handle network transmission requests, can improve network throughput by up to 30 percent, says Red Hat. The new release also offers file system enhancements that reduce read-write times and boost overall system utilization, claims the company.
Red Hat launches RHEL 5.8 beta
Red Hat continues to update its RHEL 5.x platform for long lifecycle customers, as well as the more cutting edge 6.x line. On Dec. 16, the company announced a beta version of RHEL 5.8. The new version offers a wide variety of updates and new hardware support, and provides a special focus on power, security management, and virtualization enhancements, says Red Hat.
RHEL 5.8 highlights are said to include a power management Quality of Service (QoS) feature that provides automatic power management at the device level for managing latency and throughput. Other power-related novelties include new "iotop" I/O monitoring functionality, improved support for IP over Infiniband (IPoIB) adapters, as well as PCI Express 3.0 support, says Red Hat.
In security management, RHEL 5.8's support for OpenSCAP (Open Security Content Automation Protocol) is now said to be compliant with the SCAP 1.1 (Security Content Automation Protocol) specification from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Virtualization improvements are said to include various KVM and Xen enhancements such as faster KVM guest boot times. There's also an improved "spice-client" package, which adds support for Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.0 and RHEL 6.2 hosts, enabling access to virtual machines over a WAN connection in addition to a LAN.
Red Hat keeps rolling in 3Q earnings report
On Dec. 19, Red Hat released its fiscal 3Q 2011 earnings, showing another quarter of positive earnings. Profits rose to $38.2 million, or $0.19 per share, up from $26 million, or $0.13 per share, in 3Q 2010, according to Bloomberg.
Despite this 47 percent increase in net income, which was buoyed by increasing RHEL subscriptions, Red Hat shares fell, says the story. The current quarter fell slightly short of Wall Street expectations, and traders were reacting to the fact that the enterprise Linux market leader issued weaker-than-expected guidance for the fourth quarter, according to the story.
Oracle Enterprise Linux 6.2 is now available now in free and licensed versions. More information may be found in the Oracle Linux 6.2 release notes.
RHEL 5.8 is now available in beta form to Red Hat customers, says the company. More information may be found in these RHEL 5.8 release notes.
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