In a move to reinvent the enterprise operating system, Red Hat is rolling out Enterprise Linux 7. The latest iteration of the company's flagship platform does more than lay a foundation for the open hybrid cloud
and serve enterprise workloads across converged infrastructures -- it also makes the OS more than a mere commodity.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 is built to meet modern data center demands and next-generation IT requirements, running the enterprise IT gamut from application containers to cloud services, according to the company. The new release aims to answer the heterogeneous realities of modern enterprise IT, which is seeing a convergence of servers, virtual machines, Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service.
"As the worlds of physical, virtual and cloud systems converge, Red Hat is delivering a true open hybrid cloud platform that gives both ISVs and applications a consistent runtime platform across bare metal systems, virtual machines, and public and private clouds," said Paul Cormier, president, Products and Technologies at Red Hat. "This will be essential as applications move from on-premises to the cloud."
Red Hat's pitch: Enterprise IT does not exist in a static vacuum. Technology is dynamic, rather, with new innovations emerging almost every day with promises to drive improvements in operational efficiencies and offering new ways to respond to what the company calls "radically evolving business requirements."
Red Hat is positioning Enterprise Linux 7 as a way to meet those challenges without raising costs. The operating system intends to help customers deliver new apps rapidly via secure, lightweight containers and scale infrastructure to meet big-data requirements with new and enhanced file systems.
"Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 helps to introduce newer technology, such as Linux Containers and related Docker software, to large enterprise environments along with the stability and certifications that enterprises demand," said Jay Lyman, senior analyst at 451 Research. "This is critical given the growing number of organizations mixing new technology and methodology -- such as cloud, agile and DevOps approaches -- with their existing infrastructure, processes and governance."
Red Hat has taken note of the growing requests for complex systems, on-demand services and robust security . Enterprise Linux 7 aims to give IT teams more control, more clarity and more scalability without the need to deploy specialized tools. Analysts are endorsing the new operating system.
Market research firm Forrester's Richard Fichera, for example, said: "Linux has continued to mature nicely as both a foundation for large scale-out clouds as well as a strong contender for the kind of enterprise workloads that previously were only comfortable on either RISC/UNIX systems or large Microsoft Server systems."
Meanwhile, Mark Driver, vice president and research director at Gartner , predicts that by 2015, "at least 95 percent of all mainstream IT organizations will leverage some element of [open source software] -- directly or indirectly -- within their mission-critical IT solutions."
Red Hat has systematically grown the capabilities and value proposition of Red Hat Enterprise Linux with each new release, according Al Gillen, program vice president of Servers and System Software at market research firm IDC.
"Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 is no exception, and layers features and support for Linux Containers on top of an operating system that has seen major virtualization and cloud enhancements in the past two years," he said. "The addition of cross-realm trust with Active Directory is a pragmatic move, especially given the widespread use of Active Directory as a primary identity store."