Development of the Linux 3.0.x kernel, a critical building block of the latest Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7 release, has made it easier to perform live patches. What else does the release include? For starters, the new version offers uniform management tools for networking, storage, file systems and performance.
In addition to Linux container virtualization and Logical Volume Manager (LVM) Snapshots, RHEL 7 eases the maintenance process by leaving behind often challenging manual upgrades. When it comes to dynamic patching, newer kernels provide the ability to talk to more types of hardware, increasing complexity and making uptime critical.
To that end, Kpatch enables administrators to apply critical patches to the kernel without having to wait for long-running tasks to complete, users to log off or scheduled reboot windows. Now available under General Public License (GPL) v.2, Kpatch’s core module uses the kernel ftrace subsystem to enable administrators to more easily replace old functions with new ones.
Live kernel patching without rebooting removes the need for scheduling server downtime. Administrators with 24/7 infrastructures can control uptime without sacrificing access or dependability. While Red Hat has made the Kpatch code generally available through the hosting service GitHub, it’s still in active development and recommended only for the skilled and adventurous.