CentOS 7 became generally available from July 7th. CentOS 7 is based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 which is basically a commercially supported variant to CentOS. If you do not need the enterprise support then CentOS 7 is a great alternative to RHEL 7. The main core of CentOS is based on RHEL but there will be some variations between the two as CentOS is open source therefore there can be endless amounts of software installed or modified by the community.
One major change is the default file-system. In CentOS 6 you would have likely been given the default as EXT4 but now in 7 you get a more robust file-system named XFS, this can support up to 500 terabytes! That is certainly a lot of pictures, close to one billion photos! This is a great change for CentOS since drives are just getting bigger and bigger the measly 16TB that EXT4 could hold just wasn’t going to be good enough for the future! A few more changes are listed below:
- Kernel version updated to 3.10.0
- Now Supports installations in UEFI secure boot mode
- 40G Ethernet cards are now supported!
- Precision time protocol version 2 now available
- Switch to systemd, firewalld and GRUB2
- LVM-snapshots with EXT4 and XFS
- OpenJDK-7 as the default JDK
- Support for Linux containers
Another major change that we think will be the talk of the office is that you can now upgrade from previous major versions. For instance, if you run CentOS 6.5 you will be able to upgrade to CentOS 7 without a complete reload of the operating system. However this wont work for previous versions behind CentOS 6, but this will be supported throughout the future releases so it will be much easier to upgrade your system. The actual feature is not available yet but it should be soon.
Don’t jump the gun yet though! Some people may not like the recent changes and here’s why:
- GRUB2 is not as simple to change and will need a different editing approach.
- No longer can you easily change /etc/init.d now that systemd has taken over.
- Although XFS file-system supports more memory, it is slower than EXT4 therefore not as good as EXT4 when it comes to I/O intensive things such as a database server.
- No longer can you get text log files from the system log. Now it is handled by “journalctl”.
CentOS 6 is still supported till 2020 so don’t panic. If none of the above affects you then feel free to give CentOS 7 a try and see if you like it. Even if it does affect you the OS is worth a try!
As always with new releases, bugs will be there. If you find a bug you can submit it to the CentOS bug tracker here: http://bugs.centos.org/
Unfortunately we do not provide CentOS 7 as a template on our VPS’ right now. We’re waiting for an Official OpenVZ template, as soon as we have one we’ll update this space!