Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) version 7 is set to be released in the second half of 2013, Red Hat announced yesterday, as the open source organisation also celebrated the 10th anniversary of its enterprise OS.

Red Hat aims to release a major new version of its OS every three years, and updates about every six months, according to Jim Totten, vice president and general manager at Red Hat's Platform business unit.

"While we are not at a place where we are making announcements, our general target is the second half of 2013 to see RHEL 7 enter the marketplace," Totten said.

Red Hat is keeping details of the release close to its chest, but Totten said the OS will have improvements across its more than 2,000 packages and that key focus areas are supporting new hardware, file systems, security and performance, he said.

In the next year or so Red Hat will start talking more about the details.

More is known about an update that's due before then, version 6.3. For example, it will include a new tool called Virt-P2V, which allows IT staff to convert physical Windows or Red Hat Enterprise Linux implementations directly into virtual machines, and then be deployed as KVM guests inside Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Version 6.3 is being beta tested and is expected to ship in mid to late June.

The arrival of Red Hat's enterprise OS and the subscription business model 10 years ago, combined with Wall Street banks embracing Linux for their systems, were instrumental in getting Red Hat and Linux where they are today.

RHEL will continue to play an important role, including forming the basis of open hybrid clouds, where applications can easily be moved between on-premise and public cloud environments with consistent development and management tools, Red Hat said.

Also, while Unix use continues to decline, there remain about one million servers running various flavours of that OS, which creates great opportunity for Red Hat, according to Totten.