Red Hat Enterprice Linux 5.9 Has Built-In Support For Hyper-V

Yesterday, Red Hat announced general availability of RHEL 5.9.  I’m no penguin-hugger, but RHEL seems to me to be the favoured Linux in the enterprise (with cousin CentOS being the leader in the public cloud, at least in my experience). 

Me, a Microsoft-phile, blogging about Linux releases?  Yeah, I know, but this is a big one.  That’s because RHEL 5.9 has built-in support for Hyper-V.  According to Red Hat:

The following para-virtualized use cases have been tested by both Red Hat and Microsoft for joint support:

  • All fresh installations of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.9
  • Upgrades from Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.8 guests with Microsoft provided LIS version 3.4 to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.9 guests with built-in para-virtualized drivers

The following use cases are not supported by both Red Hat and Microsoft:

  • Upgrades from fully virtualized (no LIS drivers) Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.8 guests to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.9 guests with built-in para-virtualized drivers

Microsoft does occasionally release updates to the Linux Integration Services for Hyper-V (aka Hyper-V integration components for Linux).  And in my experience, Linux admins don’t upgrade their Linux installations to newer versions too often.  So there is a note from Red Hat:

Customers can continue to install and utilize the LIS drivers provided and supported by Microsoft.

That means you can upgrade the built-in Linux Integration Services to a newer version with more functionality.  Based on what we saw recently, Dynamic Memory support appears to be coming to Linux in the near future.

Red Hat does call out Hyper-V in their press release:

New Virtualization Capabilities and Flexibility in Multi-vendor Environments. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.9 enhances the operating system’s usability in multi-vendor environments by introducing Microsoft Hyper-V drivers for improved performance. This enhances the usability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 for guests in heterogenous, multi-vendor virtualized environments and provides improved flexibility and interoperability for enterprises.

This is pretty great news.  For Hyper-V newbies, this means that you don’t have to install “VMware Tools”-like add-ons to get a RHEL guest OS working intelligently and with best performance on Hyper-V.  Those add-ons are built into the OS.

What I’d like to figure out now is if we can deploy newer versions of the Linux Integration Services using the Linux support in System Center Configuration Manager 2012 SP1 Smile

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