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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Red Hat Linux OS Update: Up to 256 Titanium Chips

Red Hat has shipped a fresh version of its high-end Linux operating system that pushes support for large x86 systems much higher.
Customers can now run Red Hat Enterprise Linux on Opteron and Xeon servers with up to 64 logical CPUs. The same processor count now applies for IBM's Power chips too. The small club of Itanium processor users already had the luxury of running Red Hat across 64-processor boxes.

Looking ahead, Red Hat has even more ambitious high-end plans. The OS update includes a preview package for running Linux across up to 256 Itanium chips and up to 128 Power chips. These figures apply to logical CPUs as well, so core counts will affect the total number of chips supported.

What else is in this update?

- Availability of a full set of updated installable CD ISO
with OS package updates and install-time support for
new hardware.

- Availability of updated Extras ISO images with third
party package updates.

Hardware support enhancements:
Improved support for larger system configurations with up to 64 logical CPUs on AMD64 and EM64T 64 bit platforms through a new "largesmp" kernel variant depending on hardware certification.
Up to 64 logical CPUs on PPC (and IA64 carried forward
from Update 2) with the existing "smp" kernel variant
depending on hardware certification.
Technology preview for support of very large system
configurations on IA64 (up to 256 logical CPUs) and PPC (up
to 128 logical CPUs).

** NOTE: These are the certification limits Red Hat is
currently aiming at depending on partner and customer
testing feedback. Theoretical limits referenced in the
Kernel notes might be higher.
Independent of any technology preview or theoretical
limit, the actual supported system configuration limits
that depend on real partner hardware to be certified
are documented on the Red Hat website at

IA64 multi-core support
Driver updates including
cciss, hangcheck-timer, ipmi_devintf, ipmi_msghandler,
ipmi_poweroff, ipmi_si, ipmi_watchdog, mptbase, e1000, ixgb,
tg3, aacraid, ahci, ata_piix, iscsi_sfnet, libata, qla2100,
qla2200, qla2300, qla2322, qla2xxx, qla6312, sata_nv,
sata_promise, sata_svw, sata_sx4, sata_vsc, cifs

Driver additions including
bnx2, dell_rbu, ib_mthca, megaraid_sas, qla2400, typhoon

Security enhancements:
Execshield updates
Begin use of gcc FORTIFY_SOURCE build option in some
package updates
SELinux policy updates
Updated kernel key management support

System tools enhancements:
SystemTap dynamic system instrumentation tool enhancements
including technology preview for broader hardware architecture
Kernel crash dump analysis tool enhancements
Technology preview of the Frysk execution analysis framework,
for more information visit
Updated OpenIPMI support

Storage enhancements:
Improvements to autofs / automount
Device-mapper snapshot and multipath I/O improvements
Support for 4GB-versions of Fibre Channel HBAs
NFS access control lists, asynchronous I/O

Networking enhancements:
Technology preview of Infiniband support via the OpenIB stack

Updated third-party Java packages on the Extras CD

Security updates, bug fixes, and feature enhancements to
numerous system packages

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