Red Hat Previews Enterprise Linux 4.5

Though Red Hat is poised to roll out its much-anticipated Red Hat
Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5 release shortly, work still continues on previous versions
of RHEL.

This week Red Hat rolled out a beta release of its fifth update to RHEL 4
officially tagged Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.5, providing users with a small
taste of the virtualization that is to come in RHEL 5.

RHEL 4.5 is the first update for RHEL 4 to include Xen paravitualized
kernels. Xen is the open
source virtualization effort
that Red Hat has already included in its
Fedora community Linux releases and is part of Novell’s SUSE Linux
Enterprise 10 release as well.

The virtualization offered in the 4.5 release isn’t the full, robust offering
that will be in RHEL 5, but it will help existing RHEL users to migrate to RHEL
5 when available.

“The virtualization in 4.5 is to let it be a paravirtualized guest on RHEL
5,” Joel Berman, product management director for RHEL explained to “That means that RHEL 4.5 will allow any RHEL 4 customers to quickly run on RHEL 5.0 with the high performance that comes from paravirtualization and without requiring any special hardware.”

RHEL 5, which is currently at the Beta 2 phase, is expected to include virtualization management as well
as fully baking virtualization capabilities as an integrated part of the
platform. Red Hat has not officially declared when the RHEL 5 release will
be made though it is expected that it will happen sometime in the next three
to six weeks.

Though the timing of the 4.5 beta release is close to the expected RHEL 5
release, the key focus of RHEL 4.5 is not to serve as a preview for
RHEL 5, but rather is part of Red Hat’s regular update mechanism for
maintaining releases.

RHEL 4 was first
over two years ago in 2004. It is Red Hat’s stated policy to
provide enterprise support for up to seven years on releases.

In addition to the new virtualization feature, update five includes a long
list of updated packages that fix bugs and security issues for RHEL 4. The
final release of update 4.5 is expected sometime after March 21, 2007.

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