With Red Hat Linux 6.1, Red Hat has plunged headlong into the enterprise space. The latest version of Red Hat Linux offers an intuitive graphical installer, which makes setup and configuration easier for first-time users. It also supports network and systems management standards, including Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) and Wired for Management 2.0. Also, this release has an automated system update utility that promises to eliminate the IT headaches of keeping up with system and security patches.
Version 6.1 is by far the most user-friendly release of Red Hat Linux, and the management enhancements make it a strong contender for the enterprise OS space.
Red Hat Linux 6.1 is a perfect choice for a robust intranet or Internet server on which to run your company's application and Web servers. By avoiding the messy licensing terms and outrageous costs of other network OSes, you can deploy an enterprise-level server environment without breaking your budget.
In addition, by deploying an open and dependable OS such as Red Hat Linux 6.1, you can greatly reduce costly downtime in mission-critical applications. And, with the systems management features in Version 6.1, you can easily integrate Linux into your existing environment at a minimal cost, making Red Hat Linux 6.1 a winner in any multiplatform enterprise.
Other recent Linux releases include Caldera OpenLinux 2.3, Macmillan Complete Linux O/S 6.5, and TurboLinux 4.0. Each distribution offers a unique blend of Linux software options and kernel level, but Red Hat Linux 6.1 has the best mix of features and enterprise-level support.
If you are using an earlier version of Red Hat Linux or a different distribution somewhere in your environment, moving to Red Hat Linux 6.1 is a no-brainer. It offers extensive system-administration enhancements for large implementations that will save your IT staff time and money in the long run.
If this is your first deployment of Linux, Red Hat 6.1 will smooth the transition with its new ease-of-use enhancements, extensive installation support options, and integration into existing environments.
The wide range of installation and ongoing support options Version 6.1 offers will also make the move to Linux an easy one. Because the Professional edition includes secure-server support and six CDs full of server and desktop applications, getting your company's Internet or intranet site up and running will be painless.
Version 6.1's new graphical installer offers some welcome improvements. It is not only more attractive and easier to use than the text installer, but it also offers more options for installation type. In my testing, I chose the Server option to set up a Red Hat Linux 6.1 server and was walked through the appropriate options for servers.
Other installation options include GNOME workstation, which sets up the GNOME graphical environment; KDE workstation, for those who prefer the KDE graphical user interface; and a Custom option for developers who want to install all of the packages included on the Red Hat Linux 6.1 CD. But if you don't want to use the graphical installer, the old text-setup option is still available at start-up.
I was also impressed with the Red Hat Update Agent application, which automatically retrieves and manages software and security updates from the central Red Hat update Web site. It allows you to keep your Red Hat Linux 6.1 systems running in tip-top shape without having to surf the Internet daily, searching for patches and updates.
Also key to Red Hat Linux 6.1's management enhancements is support for the Preboot Execution Environment (PXE) 2.0 technology, which is part of Wired for Management Baseline 2.0. This allows for the seamless installation and configuration of server and client machines across the LAN or WAN.
In addition, LDAP support is integrated into the 6.1 release. This can save thousands of dollars in IT staff time by allowing user and network service information from a wide range of products and platforms to be managed from a central repository. It also provides the infrastructure necessary for deploying a wide range of LDAP-enabled products without having to duplicate the work of setting up and managing user-account information.
Extensive applications bundles
Also important is the inclusion of Sun's StarOffice 5.1a suite, a multi-platform office productivity suite available for Linux, Windows, OS/2, and Solaris. If you standardise on StarOffice, this makes Red Hat Linux 6.1 an attractive choice for users' desktops. StarOffice 5.1a includes a word processor and spreadsheet, database, e-mail, graphics, and Web publishing applications.
In the Deluxe and Professional editions, Red Hat ships two applications and tools CDs. The Workstation Bonus Pack offers a wide range of software for desktop system users of Red Hat Linux 6.1. The PowerTools application CD includes application-server software and database-integration tools that enhance the capabilities of both server and desktop implementations. If you purchase the Professional edition, you'll also receive three Server Bonus Pack CDs that provide applications and tools for installing Red Hat Linux 6.1 as an intranet or Internet server.
In addition to extensive online documentation, Red Hat also provides an Installation Guide, Getting Started Guide, and Reference Guide. These printed manuals can make installation and support of Red Hat 6.1 systems a less formidable task if your IT staff is new to Linux.
The Standard edition provides a basic level of support, including 90 days of e-mail support and 30 days of priority online support access for $60. This package also includes the two OS CD-ROMs and StarOffice 5.1a.
The Deluxe edition includes the two application CDs and adds 30 days of phone installation support, as well as increasing the priority online support to 180 days, for $139.
Additional support packages can be purchased directly from Red Hat, ranging from per-incident support to around-the-clock support with varying prices for these services.
For companies looking to deploy Linux in their environment, Red Hat Linux 6.1 offers a great combination of ease of installation and administration with excellent support options. And with the newly added LDAP and Wired for Management enhancements, Red Hat Linux 6.1 finally makes integration into an existing enterprise a reality for Linux.
The newest release of the Red Hat Linux OS combines an optimised graphical installer, easy software updates and security fixes, and excellent management capabilities. These new features make Red Hat Linux 6.1 a must-have solution for today's demanding enterprise environments.the bottom lineRed Hat Linux 6.1Summary: Version 6.1's new features, including an intuitive graphical installer and more management tools, make this Linux OS a contender for the enterprise space.
Business Case: Support for Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) lets Red Hat servers easily integrate into existing infrastructure, saving time while offering better functionality for users. The update feature ensures that all of the latest updates will be automatically applied, reducing downtime and enhancing system security.
New graphical installer makes setup a breeze Wired for Management support enhances remote management Full LDAP integration Excellent documentation and support offeringsCons:
Minimal Universal Serial Bus support
Platforms: Intel-compatible hardware, 16MB of RAM minimum; Alpha and Sparc versions to be released soon.
Price: $60, Standard edition; $139, Deluxe edition.
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