Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced the availability of the fifth update to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 platform, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5. Adding features designed to operate across physical, virtual and cloud deployments, the update offers enhanced virtualization and interoperability capabilities combined with support for important new hardware platforms. As with all Red Hat updates, application compatibility and certification with the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 platform is fully maintained, meaning the broad portfolio of certified applications for Red Hat Enterprise Linux applies to the new update. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5 is available to subscribing customers via Red Hat Network today.

In addition to overall platform enhancements and bug fixes, this update provides support for new platforms being delivered by several Red Hat partners, including AMD, Dell, HP, IBM and Intel. Newly supported platforms include Intel Nehalem EX, AMD Opteron (TM) 6000 Series (formerly codenamed “Magny Cours”) and IBM Power 7. This allows Red Hat customers to take advantage of some of the industry’s most powerful new servers.

“Red Hat Enterprise Linux and AMD platforms together provide our customers with compelling datacenter reliability and flexibility,” said Margaret Lewis, director, Software Solutions Marketing at AMD (NYSE: AMD). “The latest technology enhancements in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5 combined with our new 8- and 12-Core AMD Opteron 6000 Series platforms offer customers improved performance while still maintaining low power consumption, helping to lower total cost of ownership.”

“Through the combination of Dell PowerEdge servers and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, customers are offered a scalable, high-performance, affordable solution,” said Sally Stevens, vice president of Enterprise Platform Marketing at Dell. “New technology advancements in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5, coupled with Dell’s 11th generation of servers, give users a robust platform for running their mission-critical applications on an industry-standard x86 architecture.”

“IBM’s new eX5 hardware combined with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5 brings new levels of flexibility and scalability to the enterprise, particularly with the additional memory capabilities of the new platform,” said Jean Staten Healy, head of IBM’s Linux strategy.  “eX5 together with Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization provide a powerful technology foundation for today’s mission-critical infrastructures.”

“With today’s delivery of new technologies from both Red Hat and Intel, we are continuing to help define the datacenter of the future,” said Doug Fisher, vice president of the Software and Services Group and general manager of the Systems Software Division at Intel Corporation. “The combination of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and the Intel® Xeon® processor 7500 and 5600 series delivers powerful performance, energy efficiency, scalability and reliability across physical and virtual systems that brings new opportunities for our joint customers.”

In the fourth update to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 platform, delivered in September 2009, Red Hat introduced the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) hypervisor alongside the Xen hypervisor. Today’s Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5 update provides a number of virtualization enhancements. Support for the large memory systems of new servers allows a larger number of virtual machines to be deployed on each physical server. With greater guest density customers have an opportunity to achieve higher levels of consolidation and reduce costs. Huge page support is now automatic and extended to virtual guests, improving the performance of memory-intensive applications. Support for Single Root I/O Virtualization (SR-IOV) offers virtual guests an improved ability to share PCI hardware resources and more efficient access I/O devices. As a result, Red Hat Enterprise Linux is one of the first operating systems designed to be capable of hosting a virtual guest that can saturate a 10 Gigabit Ethernet. Further I/O optimizations, which enable easier device reassignment, can help improve flexibility when migrating virtual guests across physical systems. In combination, these enhancements aim to allow large-scale, I/O bound, enterprise applications to be readily virtualized.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5 also offers Microsoft Windows 7 interoperability enhancements and extends Active Directory integration, allowing improved user and group mapping, while simplifying filesystem management across platforms.

“We believe that Red Hat Enterprise Linux continues to drive the evolution of the operating platform forward with new technology that delivers performance, reliability, scalability and affordability results for our customers,” said Tim Burke, vice president, Engineering, Platform Engineering at Red Hat. “Red Hat Enterprise Linux provides a powerful foundation for physical, virtual and cloud deployments, and for many, continues to be the platform of choice for their most demanding mission-critical workloads.”

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