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We have been running RHEL5.3 a little over a few weeks on our grid environment. The upgrade is not smooth if you are wanting to do a rolling upgrade of a cluster environment. You can’t. The cluster node you upgrade will not rejoin the cluster due to the newer version of openais – AFTER a reboot. The work around is downgrade openais before rebooting into the new kernel.

Ok. So what are our thoughts? I think for most people, there will be little noticeable difference – which is good in my opinion. Evolution, not revolution for an enterprise OS. There are however some nice additional features in 5.3 which we are benefiting from as well as the bug fixes and resolved issues.

GFS2 – probably the most significant feature of RHEL5.3 for our environment presently. If you are still running GFS, the gfs2_convert utility will convert to GFS2 for you. Nice.

The cluster suite enhancements will also be beneficial to us. It is hard to say at the moment if we have really noticed any difference. The stability of our cluster has been good since the upgrade. Long may that continue. The same can be said about the virtualization enhancements and bug fixes.

dstat is included in RHEL5.3 also – which is a welcomed addition

Some other good stuff worth looking at which is now part of RHEL5 :

  • Block device encryption & eCryptfs for the paranoid.
  • FCoE
  • Explicit active-passive failover (ALUA) mode using dm-multipath on EMC Clariion storage is now available. 
  • ext4
  • Stateless linux
  • clvm mirroring

As we progress I will no doubt update my thoughts and experiences on RHEL5.3 and it’s bundled software. But for now, like I said, on the surface – no major difference in the environment in which we run it. I suspect however, looking at the desktop and drivers / utilities, the desktop experience should be enhanced dramatically. AIGLX is included as is better support for wireless devices.

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