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Fedora 16 Provides Improved Virtualization, Cloud Computing Support

Fedora, the free, open-source Linux operating system distribution from the Fedora Project, has been updated to version 16. Fedora is sponsored by Red Hat.

Fedora 16 offers a range of enhancements to its virtualization and cloud computing capabilities, along with numerous package upgrades and usability improvements.

Fedora 16 is designed to make large deployments easier because of the improvements it has made to virtual networking. Another new virtualization enhancement is the updated guest inspection tool called Virt-manager, which enables read-only access to the guest file systems, applications, and Windows registry. Virtualization security is also augmented by the ability to lock virtual disks so they cannot be accessed by multiple virtual machines simultaneously.

Fedora 16 includes two infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) platforms for cloud computing, Aeolus and OpenStack. Aeolus consists of a Web-based interface and tools for managing separate cloud instances. OpenStack provides services for implementing and managing a cloud computing and storage infrastructure. While Aeolus and OpenStack are both IaaS platforms, Aeolus is intended for managing cross-cloud deployments, whereas OpenStack is geared towards building public and private clouds.

Additional cloud computing tools included in Fedora 16 are Pacemaker-cloud, which provides application service high availability for cloud environments, and HekaFS, a cloud-ready version of GlusterFS. HekaFS extends the file system to provide stronger authentication and authorization, encryption, and multi-tenancy.

Key new features in Fedora 16 include:

  • GNOME 3.2 and KDE 4.7 desktop environments;
  • Perl 5.14;
  • GCC Python plugins to extend GCC with Python 2 and 3 without the need to deal with the C internals of GCC;
  • D2, the newest version of the D systems programming language;
  • GRUB2, which provides improved configuration options and support for non-x86 CPU architectures;
  • New system account ID numbering, which starts user IDs at 1,000 to provide more room for system accounts, is designed to make it easier for administrators to avoid running services as root, and improve interoperability with other Linux distributions that also start user IDs at 1,000;
  • Chrony, which provides network time protocol (NTP) client and server pieces that are more tolerant of unstable clocks and Internet connections that are not always on;
  • Use of the ext4 driver to mount ext2 and ext3 file systems, which reduces the size of the kernel code;
  • Improved virtualization tools; and
  • Additional cloud computing tools.

The Fedora operating system is available for free. For more information or to download the distribution, visit the Fedora Project.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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