Powering IT’s future while preserving the present: Introducing Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta

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by Stefanie Chiras

Linux containers, Kubernetes, artificial intelligence, blockchain and too many other technical breakthroughs to list all share a common component - Linux, the same workhorse that has driven mission-critical, production systems for nearly two decades. Today, we’re offering a vision of a Linux foundation to power the innovations that can extend and transform business IT well into the future: Meet Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta.

Enterprise IT is evolving at a pace faster today than at any other point in history. This reality necessitates a common foundation that can span every footprint, from the datacenter to multiple public clouds, enabling organizations to meet every workload requirement and deliver any app, everywhere.

With Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta, we worked to deliver a shared foundation for both the emerging and current worlds of enterprise IT. The next generation of the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform helps fuel digital transformation strategies across the hybrid cloud, where organizations use innovations like Linux containers and Kubernetes to deliver differentiated products and services. At the same time, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta enables IT teams to optimize and extract added value from existing technology investments, helping to bridge demands for innovation with stability and productivity.

In the four years since Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 redefined the operating system, the IT world has changed dramatically and Red Hat Enterprise Linux has evolved with it. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta once again sets a bar for how the operating system can enable IT innovation. While Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta features hundreds of improvements and dozens of new features, several key capabilities are designed to help the platform drive digital transformation and fuel hybrid cloud adoption without disrupting existing production systems.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta introduces the concept of Application Streams to deliver userspace packages more simply and with greater flexibility. Userspace components can now update more quickly than core operating system packages and without having to wait for the next major version of the operating system. Multiple versions of the same package, for example, an interpreted language or a database, can also be made available for installation via an application stream. This helps to deliver greater agility and user-customized versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux without impacting the underlying stability of the platform or specific deployments.

Beyond a refined core architecture, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta also enhances:

Networking
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta supports more efficient Linux networking in containers through IPVLAN, connecting containers nested in virtual machines (VMs) to networking hosts with a minimal impact on throughput and latency. It also includes a new TCP/IP stack with Bandwidth and Round-trip propagation time (BBR) congestion control, which enables higher performance, minimized latency and decreased packet loss for Internet-connected services like streaming video or hosted storage.

Security
As with all versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux before it, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta brings hardened code and security fixes to enterprise users, along with the backing of Red Hat’s overall software security expertise. With Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta, our aim is to deliver a more secure by default operating system foundation across the hybrid cloud.

OpenSSL 1.1.1 and TLS 1.3 are both supported in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta, enabling server applications on the platform to use the latest standards for cryptographic protection of customer data. System-wide Cryptographic Policies are also included, making it easier to manage cryptographic compliance from a single prompt without the need to modify and tune specific applications.

Linux containers
Red Hat set a standard when we introduced enterprise support for Linux containers in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7. Now, Linux containers have become a critical component of digital transformation, offering a roadmap for more portable and flexible enterprise applications, and Red Hat remains at the forefront of this shift with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta.

Red Hat’s lightweight, open standards-based container toolkit is now fully supported and included with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8. Built with enterprise IT security needs in mind, Buildah (container building), Podman (running containers) and Skopeo(sharing/finding containers) help developers find, run, build and share containerized applications more quickly and efficiently, thanks to the distributed and daemonless nature of the tools.

Systems management
The growth of Linux in corporate datacenters requires management and, frequently, new systems administrators are faced with managing complex system footprints or performing difficult tasks that are outside of their comfort zones. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta aims to make it easier on systems administrators of all experience levels with several quality of life improvements, starting with a single and consistent user control panel through the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Web Console. This provides a simplified interface to more easily manage Red Hat Enterprise Linux servers locally and remotely, including virtual machines.

Composer makes it easier for both new and experienced Red Hat Enterprise Linux users to build and deploy custom images across the hybrid cloud - from physical and virtualized environments to private and public cloud instances. Using a straightforward graphical interface, Composer simplifies access to packages as well as the process for assembling deployable images. This means that users can more readily create Red Hat Enterprise Linux-based images, from minimal footprint to specifically optimized, for a variety of deployment models, including virtual machines and cloud environments.

Yum 4, the next generation of the Yum package manager in Red Hat Enterprise Linux, delivers faster performance, fewer installed dependencies and more choices of package versions to meet specific workload requirements.

File systems and storage
New to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta is Stratis, a volume-managing file system for more sophisticated data management. Stratis abstracts away the complexities inherent to data management via an API, enabling these capabilities without requiring systems administrators to understand the underlying nuances, delivering a faster and more efficient file system.

File System Snapshots provide for a faster way of conducting file-level tasks, like cloning virtual machines, while saving space by consuming new storage only when data changes. Support for LUKSv2 to encrypt on-disk data combined with Network-Bound Disk Encryption (NBDE) for more robust data security and more simplified access to encrypted data.

Test the future
We don’t just want to tell you what makes Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta a foundation for the future of IT. We want you to experience it. Current customers are invited and encouraged to test Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Beta for themselves to see how they can deploy applications with more flexibility, more confidence and more control. Developers can also see the future of the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform through the Red Hat Developer Program. If you are new to Red Hat Enterprise Linux, please visit the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Public Beta download site and view the README file for instructions on how to download and install the software.

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