With almost a third of all servers running Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL, the final release of the RHEL 7 platform is a big deal. Of course, as the IBM-Red Hat acquisition shows, Red Hat is not just about Linux anymore, it’s all about supporting the cloud. This last RHEL release, RHEL 7.7 underlines this with its built-in hybrid and multicloud support.
But, first, let’s go over RHEL 7.7’s Linux foundation. From here on out, RHEL 7.7 moves to Maintenance Phase I within the RHEL 10-year lifecycle. Maintenance Phase I emphasizes maintaining infrastructure stability and reliability for production systems. Future minor releases will be all about security and stability patches. If you want new features, you should look at RHEL 8.
When you want to make that move, Red Hat offers migration tools, including in-place upgrades, to shift from RHEL 7.x to RHEL 8. You don’t need to feel pushed. You’ll be able to run RHEL 7 until 2024.
You may not need to reboot your RHEL 7.7 instance between now and then. It introduces live patching Linux kernel support. You can use this to apply kernel updates to remediate Critical or Important Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs).
RHEL 7.7’s most important updates are support for the latest generation of enterprise hardware and remediation for the recently disclosed ZombieLoad vulnerabilities. Unfortunately, RHEL can’t do anything about the underlying Intel chip problems. That means your processors will still run slower on many jobs. On the other hand, that’s true of all operating systems.
The latest RHEL 7 also includes network stack performance enhancements. With this release, you can offload virtual switching operations to network interface card (NIC) hardware. What that means for you is, if you’re using virtual switching and network function virtualization (NFV), you’ll see better network performance on cloud and container platforms such as Red Hat OpenStack Platform and Red Hat OpenShift.
RHEL 7.7 users can also use Red Hat’s new predictive problem shooter: Red Hat Insights. This uses a software-as-a-service (SaaS)-based predictive analytics approach to spot, assess, and mitigate potential problems to their systems before they can cause trouble.
For developers, RHEL 7.7 comes with Python 3.6 interpreter, and the pip and setup tools utilities. Previously, Python 3 versions were available only as a part of Red Hat Software Collections. Looking ahead, Python 3 is RHEL 8’s default Python. In other words, if you’re still running Python 2 programs, it’s time to start migrating to Python 3.
Moving on to the cloud, RHEL 7.7 Red Hat Image Builder is now supported. This feature, which is also in RHEL 8, enables you to easily create custom RHEL system images for cloud and virtualization platforms such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), VMware vSphere, and OpenStack.
To help cloud-native developers, RHEL 7.7 includes full support for Red Hat’s distributed-container toolkit — buildah, podman, and skopeo — on RHEL workstations. After building on the desktop, programmers can use Red Hat Universal Base Image to build, run, and manage containerized applications across the hybrid cloud.
As Stefanie Chiras, RHEL VP and general manager, said in a statement: “As the hybrid cloud takes hold as a preferred production environment for mission-critical workloads, maintaining stability and consistency across all IT footprints is key.”
RHEL 7.7 is available now for current Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscribers via the Red Hat Customer Portal. Check it out. You’ll be glad you did.