Red Hat, SUSE update their enterprise Linux OSes

Both companies add features aimed at extending use for businesses

Linux vendors Red Hat and Novell's SUSE division Wednesday unveiled updates for their enterprise Linux operating systems, adding new capabilities and hardware support in between the next major releases of their products.

Red Hat introduced its latest operating system update, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5.2, which includes enhancements in virtualization capabilities, updates for user desktops, encryption and security improvements, while SUSE announced the availability of its Service Pack 2 for SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 operating systems.

Red Hat's update comes 15 months after the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5, which was a major operating system upgrade in March of last year. Version 5.2 now supports the use of up to 64 CPUs and 512GB of memory in one system to run larger-scale virtualized servers, which is up from the current maximum physical limit of eight CPUs, said Daniel Riek, the product manager for RHEL. Also new is virtualization support for NUMA (Non-Uniform Memory Access)-based architectures, as well as features that deliver reduced power consumption, according to Red Hat.

Also in RHEL 5.2 is certification and support for use with IBM's new high-performance cell blade systems.

For users, RHEL 5.2 offers enhanced support for the laptop suspend, hibernate and resume features, as well as updated graphics drivers and the latest versions of a wide range of open source desktop applications, including OpenOffice 2.3 and Firefox 3, according to Red Hat.

SUSE's Service Pack 2 includes a subscription management tool to help make it easier for system administrators to securely manage their SUSE Linux software updates in a centralized deployment while adhering to their corporate firewall policies and regulatory compliance requirements, according to SUSE. The tool will enable administrators to distribute the updates at the same time for all desktop, server or point-of-sale systems that are running Service Pack 2, rather than having to run them separately for each system.

The service pack also includes virtualization improvements, such as support for fully virtualized Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2003, as well as the live migration of Windows Server guests across physical machines. Updates have also been made to the YaST management toolset, such as first-boot enhancements and network module support for new devices.

Network management improvements include support for IPv6, while desktop improvements include better interoperability with Microsoft Windows and Office via local NTFS file system support. Also featured is improved integration with Microsoft Active Directory and an upgrade to 2.4 Novell Edition.

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Todd R. Weiss

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