One of the most popular open-source solutions providers, Red Hat today announced the general availability of the first minor release of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 platform. RHEL 8.1 offers some significant enhancements in manageability, security, and performance, along with some new capabilities. Red Hat team is focussed on the hybrid cloud for this release and the engine allows complex workloads to be developed and deployed across physical, virtual, private and public cloud environments.
Stefanie Chiras, vice president, and general manager of Red Hat talked about the new release:
The hybrid cloud is fueled by a consistent, reliable and more secure foundation, and we designed Red Hat Enterprise Linux to be this bedrock for enterprise computing’s future.
Consistent release cycle
Red Hat announced the predictable release cycle they will follow in the Red Hat Summit 2019. According to that release cycle, Red Hat customers and partners know that a new minor released every 6 months and they can prepare for the new release to minimize the downtime of the critical systems.
From now on, all supported Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscriptions will include access to Red Hat Insights, Red Hat’s proactive analytics offering. Red Hat Insights has more than 1,000 rules for operating Red Hat Enterprise Linux on-premises or on public cloud services such as AWS and Microsoft Azure. And Red Hat Enterprise Linux System Roles, streamlining the process for setting up subsystems to handle specific functions, such as storage, networking, time synchronization, kdump, and SElinux is also added to the RHEL 8.1.
Security is obviously one of the most important priorities for customers. Red Hat claims that they implemented new features to harden systems, more aggressive security policies, and tools to help their customers to avoid security pitfalls in RHEL.
With the application whitelisting feature, RHEL 8.1 is limiting the applications o system can run to boost the security. RHEL 8.1 uses the RPM database and an administrator-supplied list of approved applications. So admins can add a specific application to be allowed, and deny the rest.
SELinux for Containers
With Udica, users can generate a custom policy for containers especially when the default container SELinux policy for containers is too strict or needs modifications. Udica can detect which capabilities are necessary for the container and works to create a SELinux rule that allows all these capabilities. It also supports generating policies for containers using Podman and Docker. CRI-O support is expected soon.
RHEL 8.1 also has some updates with containers. To simplify the RHEL management, RHEL 8.1 offers a new tool for container management in the web console. Also, RHEL 8.1 brings full support for rootless containers, which allows you to run containers with fewer privileges.
To help the customers to troubleshoot the system, Red Hat added the Toolbox to RHEL 8.1. Toolbox container allows fixing, without altering the overall state of the system. Red Hat also made it easier with “yum install toolbox” as a method to add this container to the system.
One of the most significant improvements in RHEL 8.1 is new options for in-place upgrades to RHEL 8.1 from RHEL 7. Now it is possible to make in-place upgrades for 64-bit ARM, pseries, and zseries architectures, along with x86_64 systems due to the GA of 8.1 support. This feature can help customers to make the necessary upgrades much faster.