Last week I went to a very interesting presentation in Melbourne by Redhat and HP about the release of RHEL 5. This does seem to be quite a step forward for RedHat and Enterprise software – and it was quite noticable that the meeting had generated a great deal of interest (the room which could only really hold 50 people was jam packed with about 70). There were some good speakers, some of whom had been shipped over from america by Redhat who seem to have some genuine experiance with RHEL out in the field with some very big clients (washington area / stock exchange). There were two areas of technology which i believe could be very important
1) GFS – The Red Hat Global File System (GFS) is a filesystem like ext3 etc but lets many servers share a file system and seemed very powerful – the idea behind it is providing support for cluster storage
2) Xen – They have fully integrated virtualization into RHEL 5, providing kernels, gui support etc. Xen supports more than linux virtualisation including support for windows XP etc. More information here http://wiki.xensource.com/xenwiki/
Using RHEL5, Clustering, GFS and Xen large amounts of processing power can be made available across multiple cluster nodes on varying hardware. Providing for example, multiple test environments without needing separate dedicated hardware or zero downtime for clients – the “servers” can be migrated live between nodes with users experiancing only a slight lag on some network requests (this was bravely demo’d at the presentation and seemed to work well).