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Audience: Self Learners - Experts
Last Updated: 8/29/2012 5:14:05 PM
**All times are EST**





Red Hat Enterprise Linux

By Erik Rodriguez

This article provides information about Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Red Hat Enterprise Linux is widely used on web servers, and other mission-critical applications in networking.


History

Red Hat (Nasdaq: RHAT) is one of the original distributions of Linux. Their success has largely been attributed to the continued efforts to improve functionality and stability. Red Hat Linux is currently the most popular platform for web servers. Previous version of Red Hat Linux were dis-continued. The last "free" version of Red Hat Linux was version 9, which is no longer supported. Free versions of Red Hat Linux are distributed under the Fedora Core Project. Official RHEL software is a paid product which provides entitlements to the Red Hat Network. For more info on the RHN, see this article.

Red Hat Enterprise Products

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) has become a popular choice for servers of all kinds. There are several key aspects that make RHEL superior over other distributions of Linux.
  • Stable Builds
  • Scalable Hardware Support
  • Cluster and Load Balancing Support
  • Longer Release Dates and Support
  • Enhanced Remote Management
RHEL uses an 18 month release cycle. This means 12 months of development and 6 months of testing. RHEL release candidates are put through rigorous testing in various environments.



Multiple hardware versions are also available to include x86, SPARC (from sun), and even the 390 (from IBM). Some enterprise organizations may be using high-end super computers or mainframes. Special enhancements are provided to support multi-core CPUs, CPUs of unique architecture and large amounts of memory.

RHEL supports the use IP load balancing to distribute the load across multiple servers. This utility, called Piranha, is mostly used in web farms or high traffic web environments. RHEL also can be used with a cluster manager to provide high availability using clustering technology.

Release dates are longer compared to other versions of Linux. RHEL version releases are every 12-18 months, ensuring hardware support by vendors and other 3rd party participants. Each version of RHEL is also supported for 5 years after the release dates.

Remote management via the Red Hat Network allows system administrators to easily manage a server or group of servers running RHEL. Among many features, the RHN allows for scheduling of system reboots, installation of packages, and automatic application of errata and bug fixes. Each server reports to the RHN to "check in." Any system that don't checking with a 24-hour window will be reported via e-mail to the server administrator. This allows systems administrators to easily deploy new software packages across many servers.

Cost

There are several different versions RHEL, and each has a different cost associated with it. Price vary depending on the level of support needed (1 business day, 24x7, etc) and the hardware used.

Why RHEL?

RHEL is a good choice for organizations that need guaranteed support for mission-critical operations. Support is provided directly from the vendor and if they can't support it who would? If you want something that is free (no support) but runs on the same code, try CentOS. It is built directly from the RHEL source code.


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