• 01/30/2004
    6:00 AM
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Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3.0

A multitude of enhancements make Red Hat Linux Enterprise 3.0 a natural for the data center, but licensing and support issues could hinder widespread adoption.

Thus the operating system had difficulty scaling to thousands of simultaneous threads, and Java-based applications requiring threading support were near impossible to deploy. NPTL was initially available in the 2.5 development seed of the Linux kernel, so distributions can incorporate back into the 2.4 source or use the 2.6 kernel.

Our tests revealed that RHEL 3.0 also delivers better storage management, including more robust drivers. We were happy to see support for SATA (Serial ATA)--we expect these faster disk drives to become more common as hardware vendors better integrate SATA devices. RHEL does not contain drivers for iSCSI disks because the driver does not meet the ratified specifications. Red Hat says it hopes to release an update to 3.0 that will contain this support.

REHL Support Options at a Glance

click to enlarge

We also were pleased to find that Logical Volume Management, authored by Sistina Software, has been incorporated into RHEL 3.0. This is a big plus for companies that require logical volumes. RHEL also supports software RAID for higher availability and reliability on hardware that does not natively support RAID configurations.

License and Registration, Please

But there is a catch (you knew there had to be one): Red Hat's purchase model--based on RHEL version, per server, per architecture, per support level per year--will be daunting to manage in large installations. Because customers are unlikely to install RHEL on all nodes all at once--instead accumulating an environment over many years to meet the demands of their businesses--purchasing agents could be renewing RHEL licenses and support every month.

Red Hat needs to ease this support burden by offering yearly support contracts that are renewable based on the server's classification and allow midyear purchases to co-terminate with a customer's existing support contract.

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