Red Hat Enterprise Linux and its Relationship With Fedora
RHEL was first released in 2000, after the discontinuation of Red Hat Linux. With the new version came a new pricing model and also Fedora Linux, a free, community-supported Linux distribution that functions as the upstream source of RHEL.
RHEL uses a much more conservative release cycle than Fedora. New features are typically first made available to Fedora users and don’t make it to RHEL until they are polished. While both RHEL and Fedora can be used for commercial purposes, only RHEL receives commercial support.
“Developers and Linux enthusiasts flock to Fedora for the latest features and the opportunity to directly collaborate with Red Hat engineering,” explains Red Hat on its website. “Banks, stock exchanges, hospitals, and businesses that run the world’s leading websites choose Red Hat Enterprise Linux for the platform’s performance, stability, and security, which lets them implement mature and well-organized IT infrastructures across the enterprise.”
Variants of Red Hat Enterprise Linux
RHEL is available in multiple variants, each targeting a different group of users, offering a unique assortment of features, and including a certain level of customer support.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server: Deployable on a physical system, in the cloud, or as a guest on the most widely available hypervisors, Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server is an easy-to-administer, simple-to-control operating system with multiple subscription options and several optional add-ons.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux for Virtual Datacenters: This variant of RHEL is designed to support the deployment of unlimited guests in dense virtualized environments on Microsoft HyperV, VMware, Red Hat Virtualization, Openshift Virtualization, and other supported hypervisors.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux Workstation: Including all the capabilities and apps from Red Hat Enterprise Linux Desktop, plus development tools for provisioning and administration, Red Hat Enterprise Linux Workstation targets advanced Linux users working on more powerful systems, such as graphic designers, animators, and scientists.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux Developer Suite: Intended for development purposes only, Red Hat Enterprise Linux Developer Suite is a self-supported Linux distribution and includes all Red Hat Enterprise Linux Add-Ons, Red Hat Software Collections, and the Red Hat Developer Toolset.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux Developer Workstation: Designed specifically to meet the needs of software developers, Red Hat Enterprise Linux Developer Workstation includes all the features of Red Hat Enterprise Linux Developer Suite with unlimited incident reports and 2-business-day or 4-business-hour responses.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux for IBM Power Little Endian: With this version of RHEL, it’s possible to run the distribution with support for POWER8 on IBM Power Systems based on little-endian—ideal for scaling out big data and supporting cloud deployments.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux Pricing
Now that we introduced the dominant variants of RHEL, it’s time to take a closer look at their pricing:
Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server
Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server subscriptions are split into three tiers. As its name suggests, the Self-Support tier doesn’t include any customer support. For this reason alone, it’s not intended for use in production environments. Another reason for not deploying it in production is the lack of virtualization support.
The Standard tier includes customer support provided via web and phone during standard business hours for all support cases. Weekends and local public holidays are excluded.
Finally, the Premium tier includes around-the-clock support for severity 1 and 2 cases and standard customer support for severity 3 and 4 cases (weekends and local public holidays not included).
|Self-Support (1 year)||$349|
|Standard (1 year)||$799|
|Premium (1 year)||$1,299|
- Smart Management (from $699)
- High Availability ($399)
- Resilient Storage ($799)
- Extended Update Support ($249)
Red Hat Enterprise Linux for Virtual Datacenters
Red Hat Enterprise Linux for Virtual Datacenters doesn’t offer a self-supported subscription plan. Instead, customers can choose between only Standard and Premium subscription tiers.
|Standard (1 year)||$2,499|
|Premium (1 year)||$3,999|
- Smart Management (from $1,225)
- High Availability ($1,245)
- Resilient Storage ($2,495)
- Extended Update Support ($775)
Red Hat Enterprise Linux Workstation
Premium customer support isn’t available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux Workstation. Regardless of if you go the Self-Supported route or choose to purchase Standard customer support, your subscription will always include one Physical entitlement for the bare metal workstation and one guest entitlement for a virtual machine running on the same workstation.
|Self-support (1 year)|
|Standard (1 year)|
Red Hat Enterprise Linux Developer Suite
Red Hat Enterprise Linux Developer Suite is marketed as a self-supported Linux distribution, so there’s no option to purchase Standard or Premium customer support for it from Red Hat.
|Self-support (1 year)|
Red Hat Enterprise Linux Developer Workstation
Red Hat Enterprise Linux Developer Workstation is for developers who want customer support, and there are two subscription tiers to choose from. The more affordable one includes an unlimited number of incidents and a 2-business-day response service level agreement, while the more expensive one includes an unlimited number of incidents and a 4-business-hour response service level agreement.
|Professional (1 year)|
|Enterprise (1 year)|
Red Hat Enterprise Linux for IBM Power Little Endian
This RHEL subscription is available either with Standard customer support (all support cases are covered during standard business hours) or Premium customer support (severity 1 and 2 cases are covered 24×7, while severity 3 and 4 cases are covered only during standard business hours).
|Standard (1 year)|
|Premium (1 year)|
Choosing the Right RHEL Subscription
The Red Hat subscription packaging model allows customers to select the right subscription for their needs, stack subscriptions to streamline purchasing, and move subscriptions from physical to virtual to cloud. For physical hardware deployments, subscriptions are based on the number of socket pairs in the systems used. For virtual deployments, subscriptions are based on the number of virtual instance pairs used.
Let’s say you want to deploy Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server on a 2-socket server. In that case, you need to purchase a single subscription, which starts at $349. The same goes for 2 physical servers with 1 socket each.
However, 2 physical servers with 2 sockets each require 2 subscriptions ($698 in total with self-support), 4 physical servers with 2 sockets each require 4 subscriptions ($1,396 in total with self-support), and so on.
The self-support subscription includes access to software updates, the Red Hat Knowledgebase, and technical content on the Red Hat Customer Portal. It does not include phone or web support from Red Hat.
The standard subscription adds unlimited web and phone requests during standard business hours with a response time of one hour for problems that severely impact the use of the software in a production environment (Severity 1) and 2 hours for problems in which the software is functioning, but its use in a production environment is severely reduced (Severity 2).
The premium subscription introduces 24×7 coverage for Severity 1 and Severity 2 problems, making it great for mission-critical workloads.
With so many variants of Red Hat Enterprise Linux to choose from, it’s no wonder that even those who have been with this popular Linux distribution are often not sure just how much they should expect to pay. We hope that this article has made things clearer and helped you unravel Red Hat’s pricing structure.