Not every enterprise updates to the latest version of new software from Linux vendor Red Hat, but that doesn't mean they can't be updated.
Red Hat's flagship offering is Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 (RHEL), which was first released back in November of 2010. The company's previous flagship release was Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5, which is still being actively updated.
Ron Pacheco, Senior Director of Product Management at Red Hat, explained to ServerWatch that the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Product Life Cycle is divided into three Production Phases.
Pacheco noted that Production Phase 1 is where features are added to the release. This Phase runs approximately 5 and a half years.
"RHEL 5. 9 is the last minor release in Production Phase 1 so, yes, RHEL 5. 9 is the last minor release where we introduce new features for this mission-critical product," Pacheco said.
One of the key areas of improvement with RHEL 5.9 is new hardware enablement so that RHEL will be supported and can run on the latest Intel and AMD chips as well as server vendor systems. Hardware enablement is a key component for Red Hat active update for the RHEL 6.x platform as well.
"The hardware support will be very close between RHEL 5 and 6," Pacheco said. "This allows our customers to not have to worry about hardware as they plan their migration to RHEL 6, where the feature set used by the hardware is even greater."
One of the new features Red Hat recently landed in the RHEL 6.3 release that debuted in June was an improved SystemTap. SystemTap is s Linux tool for monitoring information about a system.
"Red Hat feels it's important to provide its customers with the tools necessary to manage, monitor and tune their production environments," Pacheco said. "SystemTap is one of those tools, so we elected to deliver expanded support for our RHEL 5 customers."
Pacheco added that having similar toolsets on RHEL 5 and 6 makes it easier for customers to plan their RHEL 6 migration and deployment.
RHEL 5.9 is currently in beta release. Pacheco said that assuming the beta phase goes well, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5. 9's official release is planned for later this calendar year.