• Syed Waqqas Mohsin

​Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server Subscription Model

Updated: Jul 17

Today’s complex infrastructure environments built from combinations of physical, virtual, and cloud deployments require a purchasing model that provides choice and flexibility. The Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server subscription model lets you choose the basis on which you purchase, stack subscriptions to streamline purchasing, and move subscriptions from physical to virtual to cloud and back to adapt to changing requirements.

Socket-pair for each Physical Node or Two Virtual Nodes

As a Red Hat customer, you have the choice of purchasing your Red Hat Enterprise Linux products on either a physical or virtual basis. If you are deploying Red Hat Enterprise Linux on physical hardware, your subscriptions are based on the number of socket-pairs in the systems used. This model is best for provisioning to physical hardware or as virtual instances in the cloud. If you are deploying Red Hat Enterprise Linux in a virtual environment, your subscriptions are based on the number of virtual instance-pairs running the product. This model is best for low- and medium-density virtual environments.

The subscriptions that follow this model are:

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server.

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server Entry Level, Self-support.

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux Add-Ons.

Virtual Deployment Subscriptions

Red Hat also offers a subscription model that allows you to run an unlimited number of Red Hat Enterprise Linux virtual instances and is best for high-density virtual environments. This subscription model is offered on a physical socket-pair basis.

The subscriptions that follow the unlimited guest model are:

  • Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure.

  • Red Hat OpenStack® Platform.

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux for Virtual Datacenters.

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux Add-Ons.


Stacking gives you the flexibility to aggregate Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscriptions to accommodate any size physical server. The base Red Hat Enterprise Linux model includes entitlements for two sockets, which is all you need for a 2-socket server. If you have a 4-socket server, you would need two Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscriptions. For an 8-socket machine, you would need four subscriptions, and so forth. In this way, your Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscriptions can “stack” to scale to any size system. Moreover, as your physical infrastructure changes, you can adjust your subscriptions to match your infrastructure. You can replace two 2-socket systems with a 4-socket system and vice versa without increasing the number of subscriptions. Of course, you would need to assign the Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription to the new system.


Subscription repurposing gives you another degree of flexibility. It lets you change a physical 2-socket Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription into a 2-virtual-instance subscription without contacting Red Hat to adjust your terms. Repurposing virtual instance-pairs as physical socket-pairs is also possible. This allows you to convert your infrastructure from physical to virtual and have your Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscriptions convert along with you. The ability to repurpose between physical and virtual deployment applies to Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server and its add-ons.

Benefits of Red Hat Enterprise Linux Subscriptions

Open Source Enterprise Software

A Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription provides access to the latest enterprise-ready Linux innovation built from a controlled supply chain of open source software, including continuous delivery of patches and upgrades at no additional cost. In addition, your subscription provides access to Red Hat Enterprise Linux in multiple public cloud environments. Adopting Red Hat Enterprise Linux ensures that you have a platform that is engineered and certified to work with the rest of Red Hat’s portfolio.

Emerging Open Source Technologies

Because Red Hat is a trusted adviser and leading contributor to open source communities, we have the insight to identify emerging technologies and the resources to evolve them into enterprise-ready solutions to meet future IT needs.

Integrated Analytics with Remediation, Management, and Automation

To ensure that your Red Hat Enterprise Linux environment is operating optimally, your Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription includes access to Red Hat Insights. Insights is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering that collects analytics about your environment and helps IT teams proactively identify and remediate security threats, performance bottlenecks, and misconfigurations that could affect availability and stability. Your Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription supports subscription add-ons such as Red Hat Smart Management and Red Hat Ansible® Automation Platform.

Life-cycle Support and Flexibility

A Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription offers at least 10 years of continuous support and patches for major versions with the commitment to preserve application and kernel interface compatibility with every minor update. It offers the flexibility for you to adopt the version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux that fits your requirements and lets you upgrade on your schedule.

Support and Expertise

In addition to phone and online incident support, your Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription gives you access to an award-winning knowledge-centered support system, which includes access to reference architectures, documentation, videos, and collaborative discussions with Red Hat experts. Above and beyond support and sharing best practices, the Red Hat Customer Portal delivers information about ongoing security vulnerabilities and the critical steps it takes to mitigate their impact.

Security Resources

A Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription funds a dedicated team of engineers who monitor, identify, and proactively notify customers of risks. The Red Hat security team remediates these vulnerabilities by creating, testing, and delivering security patches to all versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux in their supported life cycles. Additionally, Red Hat security engineers are responsible for overseeing that Red Hat Enterprise Linux and other offerings are certified and comply with government and commercial security standards.

Visibility and Influence Over Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Red Hat’s reputation as a leader and major contributor in the open source community enables Red Hat to advocate for the implementation of customer requirements in upstream projects. Because Red Hat Enterprise Linux is based on these upstream projects, subscribers can influence the Red Hat Enterprise Linux roadmap.

Customer Needs in Open Source Projects

Red Hat advocates for your needs through leadership and major contributions to the open source community. Your Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription funds continuous support of upstream projects to advocate for customer and partner requirements so that they can be implemented as future product features in Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Partnership with Hardware, Software, and Cloud Providers

A Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription funds the resources needed to integrate Red Hat Enterprise Linux with our large certified hardware ecosystem, which provides a stable and high-performance platform for certified enterprise software applications. The subscription also funds the engineering necessary for Red Hat Enterprise Linux to run on and integrate with all major certified cloud providers.

Your Security Needs

Red Hat is trusted by security standards groups and can be your advocate within community, government, and industry associations. Red Hat also partners with a variety of security teams from other organizations and can gain access to vulnerability information before it is public..

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