The latest release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7 offers a range of new features, from Linux container virtualization to Logical Volume Manager (LVM) snapshots. For organizations and end users committed to enterprise Linux, one appealing change is the in-place upgrade. In regards to upkeep of RHEL, major maintenance windows generally occur every three to four years, with minor updates during the interim. Now with the new in-place upgrade, organizations can significantly ease the maintenance process.
In the past, all major upgrades—the whole number versions, for example RHEL 5 to RHEL 6—required a fresh install. Red Hat recommended full rebuilds and paying attention to configuration settings along the way. Often, certain layered products, third-party, or ISV applications would need to be manually upgraded to ensure proper functioning. Typical problems related to the occasional version mismatch between the i386 and x86_64 architectures.
Currently, for end users transitioning from RHEL 6.5, a pre-upgrade assistant package defines what can be upgraded in-place and what must be performed manually. Available via the Red Hat Customer Portal, the upgrade report lists the pre-modified configuration files and identifies current user-modified files. It also recommends files and settings that should be manually checked. These features enable administrators to examine configuration changes and make final decisions on completing an upgrade.
With the RHEL 7 in-place upgrade, administrators gain better insight into overall system improvements. Moreover, this new capability simplifies configuration and administration by offering uniform management tools for networking, storage, file systems, and performance.