Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5 - what's new?

It's a few months since RHEL 5.5 was released (march, 2010). Despite this, I would like to point out the major changes and additions compared to the previous release RHEL 5.4. So what's new:
  • Kickstart installation - it is possible to exclude package groups in the same way like single packages.
  • KVM guests and Cluster Suite - management of KVM based virtual guests with Cluster Suite is supported.
  • SPICE - RHEL 5.5 includes components of Simple Protocol for Independent Computing Environments which is competitor for VMware's PCoIP or Citrix's HDX.
  • PCI passthrough - physical PCI devices attached to virtual guests are working better.
  • Huge page support - it is extended to virtual guests with libvirt.
  • Windows 7 support - new samba3x packages supporting Windows 7 are included.
For more details read the RHEL 5.5 official release notes.

Friday, July 30, 2010

VMware Workstation 7.1 enhancements

I have decided to update my current VMware workstation 7.0.1 installation I have on my desktop to the latest available release 7.1. Further follows a quick comparison of the most interesting features and enhancements between these two releases:
  • WS7.1 officially support many latest versions of well-known Linux distros like RHEL/Debian/Ubuntu
  • WS7.1 supports OVF1.1 via ovftool which is part of the installer
  • WS7.1 has higher limits for guest's vCPUs - from 4 to 8 and guest's virtual disk - from 950GB to 2TB
  • WS7.1 is capable of automatic downloads and updates of WMware Tools
Eventually, I would like to remember what new features VMware Workstation 7.0 came with:
  • 32GB of guest's virtual RAM
  • cross-platform license serial numbers
  • pause running guest instead of suspending it or even powering it off
  • import of Windows XP mode virtual machine
  • GUI editor for virtual networks
  • support for Windows 7 as guests
  • support ESX hypervisor running as guest
That's not everything at all. The official release notes for VMware Workstation 7.1 and 7.0 are more comprehensive.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

SLES 11 SP1 released

I have decided to write a brief summary of new features and enhancements which are available with the first service pack of Novell's SLES 11. I need to know the major differences between GA and SP1 release during my every day work and perhaps, it will help you in the same way like me. The original post about SLES11 GA is here. So, what's new?
  • it is based on GNU/Linux kernel 2.6.32
  • it provides web based YaST for remote management called WebYaST
  • UEFI booting (useful with disks larger as 2TB) is supported on AMD64/Intel64 now
  • it includes many driver updates (e.g., QLogic/Emulex HBAs, Broadcom NICs)
  • it includes new XEN 4.0
  • KVM hypervisor is now fully supported, good news
  • it fully supports the latest enterprise Intel XEON 5600 and 5700 processors which are able to greatly improve performance of XEN hypervisor by decreasing latency of VMs
  • finally, it contains all the latest security and bug fixes available since the release of GA
It seems there weren't so many changes included in SP1 but I think XEN 4.0 or KVM support from Novell is enough to move our GA installations to SP1. With XEN 4.0, we are able to benefit from these nifty features:
  • fault tolerance
  • memory overcommitment
  • USB paravirtualization and VGA pass-through
  • live snapshots and clones
  • 64 vCPUs per VM
  • 1TB RAM per XEN host
Now, it depends how fast and how successfully Novell will be able to implement and adjust these features into their management tools like YaST.

For more comprehensive contents about SLES11 SP1, check the oficial release notes at www.novell.com.