Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.2 Goes GA

Red Hat announced the general availability (GA) of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.2 (RHEL 8.2) this week. This release of the IBM-owned organization's flagship operating system for business users continues its commitment to deliver new versions of RHEL on a six-month cadence.

Topping the list of noteworthy enhancements in this release are new intelligent management and monitoring capabilities added via updates to Red Hat Insights, a proactive operations and security-risk-management solution that comes with an RHEL subscription (versions 6.4 and higher). The Insights solution was designed to help RHEL customers identify, prioritize and resolve risks to security, performance, availability and stability before they become urgent issues.

Red Hat is selling the advantages of the Insights enhancements as especially valuable during the shutdown brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. "Now more than ever, IT teams need to be able to monitor, manage, and analyze the underlying foundations of enterprise technology stacks, regardless of size, scale, complexity, or where they reside across hybrid/multi-cloud footprints," the company stated. "Red Hat Enterprise Linux can help intelligently detect, diagnose and address potential issues before they impact production, driven by advancements in Red Hat Insights."

The list of new features and functionality that come with the Insights update includes:

  • Improved visibility into IT security, compliance postures and operational efficiencies, which helps to eliminate manual methods and improve productivity in managing large and complex environments, while enhancing security and compliance across these deployments.
  • New policies and patch services to help organizations define and monitor important internal policies and determine which Red Hat product advisories apply to RHEL instances, as well as guidance for remediation.
  • Drift service to help IT teams compare systems to baselines, providing a benchmark to guide strategies for reducing complexity and expediting troubleshooting.

"Right now, IT organizations need to do more with existing technologies in their established software stack," said Stefanie Chiras, vice president and general manager of Red Hat's RHEL group. "They need to drive operational stability and maintain service availability, frequently with remote or limited IT teams, without mortgaging their technological future. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.2 provides this and more, with proactive, intelligent monitoring capabilities and enterprise-ready container tools, enabling IT teams to support the crucial needs of today while maintaining ready to take on a cloud-native future, whenever their operations can support it."

RHEL 8.2 also comes with an updated application stream of Red Hat's container tools (supported for 24 months). And containerized versions of Skopeo and Buildah are available in a tech preview for organizations looking to build containers inside containers for additional layers of isolation and security.

The list of monitoring and performance updates in this release includes:

  • Improved resource management with Control Groups (cgroup) v2, which is designed to help limit memory usage by reserving memory and setting usage floors/limits. This helps prevent specific processes from overconsuming memory and causing system failures or slowdowns, the company said.
  • Better capabilities for optimizing performance-sensitive workloads through NUMA and sub-NUMA service policies.
  • Performance Co-Pilot (PCP) 5.0.2, which adds new collection agents for Microsoft SQL Server 2019 to help collect and analyze a wide array of SQL Server-related metrics, providing a clearer picture for database and operating system tuning, the company said.
  • Red Hat subscription watch, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) tool that enables customers to view and manage RHEL and Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform subscriptions across hybrid cloud infrastructures.

In this release, Red Hat is introducing a new tool, called Udica, designed to make it easier to create customized, container-centric SELinux security policies. When applied to a specific workload, the company says, Udica can reduce the risk that a process can "break out" of a container and cause problems across other containers or to the host itself.

The RHEL 8.2 release also introduces enhancements to the Red Hat Universal Base Image, including: OpenJDK and .NET 3.0 for expanded developer choice in building Red Hat certification-ready cloud-native applications; and improved access to the source code associated with a given image through a single command, making it easier for Red Hat partners to meet the source code requirements of open source licensing.

IBM completed its acquisition of Red Hat nearly a year ago. The $34 billion deal was the company's largest acquisition to date at the time, and one of the largest tech company acquisitions in history.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].