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Red Hat recently released its newest enterprise Linux distro, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 9.4, which introduces several features designed to streamline the management of hybrid cloud environments. While RHEL 7.9 received four more years of support, RHEL 7 Extended Life Cycle Support (ELS) is a one-time extension and may not be seen with other RHEL versions. Thus, Red Hat urges users to upgrade to RHEL 9.4. This latest version enhances management and automation capabilities while providing proactive support for building standard operating environments (SOEs) for distributed systems.

What's New in RHEL 9.4? How Does the Release Enhance Security for Enterprises?

According to Gunnar Hellekson, the VP and general manager of RHEL, "Linux is no longer just about the kernel or the command line. It's about making the platform more accessible, manageable, and responsive, especially as technology organizations scale across the hybrid cloud." The aim is to limit complexity, improve efficiency, and make the most of existing skills and tools. The latest release of RHEL introduces several new features that help achieve theseBusiness Cybersecurity goals, including:

  • Edge system roles enable users to automate operating system-level tasks such as deploying container workloads.
  • A fapolicyd system role automates allowing or denying application executions at scale, reducing the potential for human error when things go wrong.
  • A snapshot system role automates point-in-time snapshots of logical volume manager (LVM) storage volumes, speeding up backup and recovery at scale in a more repeatable and predictable manner.
  • A bootloader system role configures the kernel command line, improving the consistency and management of Linux systems at scale.
  • Under the new RHEL version, developers will appreciate new application streams with the latest versions of languages such as Python and DBMS like PostgreSQL. The general availability of RHEL 9.4 also increases support for different hardware architectures, including full support for ARM.

Security is a major concern for any IT organization. RHEL 9.4 addresses this with its zero trust architecture (ZTA) security model, which enables passwordless and multifactor authentication (MFA) with FIDO2-compliant passkeys for centrally managed users. Adding WireGuard, the high-performance Linux kernel VPN, further improves system security.

There are several implications for Linux admins, infosec professionals, internet security enthusiasts, and sysadmins. Firstly, regular updates to enterprise Linux are critical to staying current, especially with increasingly complex cloud environments. Secondly, Red Hat's features in RHEL 9.4 are designed to make the platform more efficient, reliable, and secure, resulting in a more resilient infrastructure. Thirdly, IT organizations can use the new tools provided to secure their systems better, protect against data breaches, and ensure they have control over their databases even at the edge.

Our Final Thought on RHEL 9.4

RHEL 9.4 is a significant release that provides several new solutions that improve system management and security in complex hybrid cloud environments. It also deepens integration with automation tools such as Ansible DevOps and offers greater flexibility in supporting diverse hardware architectures. The focus on security is commendable, with the addition of the zero trust architecture (ZTA) security model, WireGuard, and multifactor authentication (MFA) with FIDO2-compliant passkeys. The new features in RHEL 9.4 illustrate Red Hat's commitment to providing a high-performing, secure foundation for enterprise applications, even with the complexity of hybrid cloud environments.