Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.7 adds OpenSCAP
With all the excitementaround Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.1 last week, it's important to remember that most RHEL users are still likely on RHEL 5.
RHEL 5 debuted in March of 2007 and has been updated with 6 incremental updates over the last four years. The last major update, RHEL 5.6 came out in January of 2011.
With RHEL 6.x now in market, I would have guessed that RHEL 5 at this point would be just about bug, stability and driver updates, but that's not the case. Red Hat is still adding FEATURES to this distro.
In RHEL 5.7, which is now in Beta, Red Hat is adding support for OpenSCAP which is a big win for security. OpenSCAP is an open source implementation of the Security Content
Automation Protocol (SCAP) framework for creating a standardized
approach for maintaining secure systems.
Red Hat's Fedora community Linux distro has included OpenSCAP since the Fedora 14 release in October of 2010. Typically it takes longer for a Fedora technology to land in RHEL, but OpenSCAP is just one of those things that makes so much sense (and clearly is already enterprise ready) that Red Hat is electing to get it into RHEL now -- at least in beta.
RHEL 5.7 also provides improved capabilities for the Xen Hypervisor, which is not something that Red Hat has continued into RHEL 6.
According to the release notes for RHEL 5.7:
The performance of Xen guests in 32-bit domains is improved.
The maximum amount of disks that can be attached to a Xen guest has been increased from 100 to 256.
The time needed to boot Xen guests is reduced.
Xen guests now support up to 4 serial ports.
xz compression support is now available in Xen pygrub.
All good news for RHEL 5.x users that intend for whatever reason to stick with the platform instead of moving to RHEL 6. That's not to say that RHEL 6.x isn't more robust overall, but hey big mission critical systems aren't things that are easily migrated from one version to another.