Red Hat today released a beta of its Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6.9 platform, providing a preview of the next incremental update for the company's older supported release. RHEL 6 first debuted in November of 2010 and was superseded in June 2014 by RHEL 7 as the leading-edge edition of Red Hat's enterprise Linux platform.
"Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 is a fully-supported release and customers will continue to receive the same award-winning support they have received for the platform since its introduction in November 2010," Steve Almy, senior product manager, Red Hat Enterprise Linux at Red Hat, told ServerWatch.
"At this point in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 lifecycle, most of the changes tend to be bug fixes and security patches that customers have come to rely on Red Hat to provide," Almy continued.
Perhaps the biggest change in RHEL 6.9 is a new base image. Almy explained that simply put, a base image is an image that has no parent layer. The base image is also the foundation for a potential Linux container deployment.
"The Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 base image enables customers to run Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 applications in a container-based deployment on Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Server, or Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform," Almy said.
"The updated base image provided with the 6.9 beta delivers the equivalent base operating system functions from Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.9 beta for these container host environments, and allows customers to choose the appropriate deployment model for each application and Red Hat Enterprise Linux instance," continued Almy.
Transport Layer Security 1.2 Support Added in RHEL 6.9
Among the incremental new features added in the RHEL 6.9 beta is Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.2 support for all system components.
"Several modern standards such as PCI-DSS v3.1 recommend the latest TLS protocol, which is currently TLS 1.2," the RHEL 6.9 Beta release notes state. "This addition allows you to use Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 with future revisions of security standards, which may require TLS 1.2 support."
Overall, though, Almy emphasized that to match customer expectations, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.9 falls within Production Phase 2, and the primary focus for this release is stability, security, and reliability.
The leading edge of Red Hat Enterprise Linux is currently the RHEL 7.3 milestone, which was released on Nov. 3, 2016. At this point, it's not entirely clear how many Red Hat customers remain on RHEL 6.x that have yet to migrate to RHEL 7.x.
Almy noted that while Red Hat doesn't share subscription numbers publicly, a Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription allows a customer to select any supported version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux for each workload.
"As such, customers move fluidly between major versions to meet the needs of their business, allowing them to maintain applications on both Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 with the full backing of Red Hat support," Almy said.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist