With the beta release of the next version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), Red Hat is setting the stage for making it easier for DevOps teams to consume emerging operating system services without having to upgrade their entire operating system.
The beta release of RHEL 8 adds an Application Streams capability designed to make it possible to leverage userspace more flexibly, as modules running in userspace now can be updated more quickly than the core operating system.
Matt Micene, the technical product marketing manager for RHEL 8, said it’s also now possible for multiple versions of the same package—for example, an interpreted language or a database—to be made available via an application stream. That means different DevOps teams will be able to more easily work with different versions of various classes of technologies without having to wait for the next upgrade of the operating system, he said.
As part of that focus on flexibility, Red Hat is also moving to make it easier for organizations that have embraced microservices based on containers to build applications. Open source tools such as Buildah for container building, Podman for running containers and Skopeo for sharing and finding containers are now fully supported in the operating system. Red Hat is also extending support for container networking using IPVLAN, which enables containers nested in virtual machines (VMs) to access networking hosts. There’s also a new TCP/IP stack with Bottleneck Bandwidth and Round-trip propagation time (BBR) congestion control. As organizations increasingly adopt containers, many of them are starting to make operating systems decisions based on which platform has the most containerized optimized services built in.
Other capabilities being added include support for OpenSSL 1.1.1 and TLS 1.3 along with Systemwide Cryptographic Policies; a Stratis file management system for dealing with lots of volumes; a Composer tool for building custom images that can deployed on hybrid clouds; support for the Yum 4 packager; and a new web console for managing the RHEL environment that presents administrators the same user interface experience regardless of their experience.
Micene said Red Hat is trying to strike a balance between stability and IT agility. There are plenty of organizations that still prefer to upgrade their operating systems at very well-defined intervals. But there are also an increasing number of organizations that want to be able to take advantage of the latest IT innovations without having to wait for an operating system upgrade. Many of those organizations increasingly view IT as being core to their ability to compete, he said.
Over time most organizations will develop a more schizophrenic approach to IT. There will be some application workloads where stability trumps all other requirements. At the other end of the scale, innovation will be the most prized attribute. To one degree or another, every workload is going to fall along a spectrum between those two extremes. The challenge is defining the right mix of DevOps processes to serve the needs of every and any workloads regardless of its attributes.