Marketing/F11 rhpress blog

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This is a draft of two entries for the Red Hat Press Blog

Interoperability

Interoperability is all the buzz these days. With it comes the promise of seamless integration of an otherwise disconnected and disjointed mass of servers. You don't want conflict, especially not with your infrastructure. At the Fedora Project, where we work to present the latest technology wrapped up in an easy to use Linux product, we feel your pain. We are diligently working on technologies which enhance, improve and advance interoperability. And with the release of Fedora 11 on May 26th come some interesting new interoperability related features.

Microsoft Exchange has become a staple in many IT environments. Its groupware features make it popular amongst many organazations both small and large. And yet it has been almost impossible to use its full functionality through an open source client -- until now. Exchange utilizes a proprietary protocol, the Messaging Application Programming Interface or MAPI, developed by Microsoft to provide its features. OpenChange is the first Open Source implementation of the MAPI protocol.

OpenChange aims to provide a portable Open Source implementation of these Microsoft Exchange and Exchange Server protocols. The OpenChange implementation provides a client-side library which can be used in existing messaging clients to offer native compatibility with Exchange. Using the "libmapi" library, OpenChange allows clients such as Thunderbird, Evolution, KMail, and other open source applications to utilize the full range of MAPI functionality including messaging, shared calendars, contact databases, public folders, notes and tasks. All applications can now start speaking the same language, regardless of platform.

In order to enable OpenChange and libmapi to function properly, parts of Samba 4, the open source software suite for interoperability with Microsoft network resources, have begun to enter the Fedora release. Samba is the software that allows Linux hosts to use services such as Windows File and Printer Sharing, authentication and authorization functionality, and name resolution. Samba 4 promises to greatly enhance this baseline functionality by adding full Active Directory logon and administration support, built-in LDAP and Kerberos servers, a generic security subsystem, and better scalability. "Some parts of Samba 4 are reaching stability and we included those libraries that enable other projects like OpenChange. However, most of these libraries are still subject to change but they are heading toward stability, and we closely collaborate with upstream in the stabilization effort" said Simo Sorce, a Red Hat Engineer and Samba Upstream Developer.

Fedora gives customers of Red Hat Enterprise Linux an opportunity to sneak a peek at upcoming technology that may be slated for inclusion in RHEL. Feel free to download a copy of Fedora 11 on May 26th at get.fedoraproject.org and check it out. Your infrastructure will thank you.

Virtualization

Virtualization is a rapidly changing technology where advancements and enhancements are being made every day in many key areas. The Fedora Project, as always is on the cutting edge, and with the upcoming Fedora 11 release, is set to showcase recent changes to virtualization technology that focus in on management, performance and security. Let’s take a closer look at what’s coming in Fedora 11 and preview technologies that may appear in upcoming releases of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Fedora 11 brings a slew of new features and a redesign of 'virt-manager', an end-to-end desktop UI for managing virtual machines, to help you get your work done easily and more effectively. 'virt-manager’ lets you focus more on managing your virtual machines and less on the backend, no matter what type of virtualization technology you are using. The new features include a new VM creation wizard, improved support for host-to-host migration of VMs, an interface for physical device assignment for existing VMs which more easily helps allocate physical resources tied to VMs, and an upgraded statistics display that shows fine grained disk and network I/O stats. Managing VNC authentication to connect to VMs is also improved through the use of SASL, in combination with existing TLS encryption support, which allows clients to securely connect to remote VMs. You can learn more about 'virt-manager' at http://virt-manager.et.redhat.com/.

Also in the upcoming Fedora 11, we get a sneak peak at some functional improvements that aim to set the performance bar higher as well. For instance, the generic machine emulator QEMU can now use the kernel's support for the Kernel Virtual Machine (KVM), providing higher levels of performance. Additionally, the kvm and qemu packages will now be unified into one package set under the qemu subsystem. A merge of the two code bases is underway upstream, and the Fedora package maintainers are merging the packages as well. This reduces the maintenance costs and allow Red Hat to provide better support when these changes land in Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Finally, starting in Fedora 11, you'll see how integration of SELinux with the virtualization stack via sVirt provides enhanced security. sVirt brings SELinux-based Mandatory Access Control to guest virtual machines. Virtual machines can now be run more effectively isolated from the host and one another, making it harder for security flaws to be exploited in the hypervisor by malicious guests. You can read more about sVirt here: http://selinuxproject.org/page/SVirt

Fedora 11 continues to blaze the trail when it comes to showcasing the future of virtualization technology, and offers a compelling glimpse into the security, performance, and stability of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux of tomorrow. To check out KVM, QEMU, Virt Manager or any other of Fedora's cutting edge virtualization technologies download a copy of Fedora 11 from http://get.fedoraproject.org.