Six years after the takeover of CentOS by Red Hat, they announced on 2020-12-08 that the support for CentOS Linux 8 will be discontinued at the end of 2021.
However, updates for the CentOS Linux 7 version should still be available until the end of RHEL 7 life cycle in June 2024.
Since the information online are very vague and no reliable sources can be found at the moment, we would like to point out concrete solutions on how CentOS can be replaced easily and cost-effectively.
We currently assume that the last minor release before the discontinuation of CentOS Linux 8 will still be installable.
Finally, Red Hat itself announces in a FAQ that "CentOS Linux 8 will continue to receive updates until 2021-12-31", which suggests that only outdated software without fixes will be available after that date.
CentOS is a free Linux distribution that could be used in production environments instead of RHEL. Even though it was an almost identical rebuild of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, users were usually not able to use it productively because there are no certifications and guarantees for it. Accordingly, CentOS was primarily used for developing applications in order to save costs.
Thus the question arises, "Which possibilities remain to the users?"
We would like to show you different possibilities:
- Migration to a classic RHEL subscription
- Migration to RHEL Developer solution
- Migration to other RHEL clones
- Migration to CentOS Stream
Migration to a classic RHEL subscription
Of course, users are also free to switch to normal Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscriptions.
Here you can choose between support-free and supported variants, depending on the area of use. It should be taken into account that the Entry level subscription (without support) can only be installed on physical systems.
The prices of the supported variants differ depending on the selected term and support level (standard or premium support).
Again, users simply need to create an account with Red Hat and order the required subscriptions from a Red Hat partner to gain access to the systems.
Migration to RHEL Developer solution
In order to make it easier for users to switch from CentOS to Red Hat, Red Hat is expanding its Developer Program and will allow private individuals to equip up to 16 individual systems with the Developer Subscription in the future. These systems are to be used primarily for development, but may also be used in production, as long as no more than 16 systems are in use. However, these 16 installations may only be used by private individuals and not by companies. These subscriptions do not include support from Red Hat.
Users only need to set up an account with Red Hat to gain access to the systems. Furthermore, complete development teams can be created, which was previously not possible. Red Hat promises not to use this data for sales and marketing purposes.
In addition, the systems can also be equipped with RHEL for use on Amazon AWS or Microsoft Azure via Red Hat Cloud Access.
Migration to other RHEL clones
Oracle Linux is currently available with two different kernels, one from RHEL and the "Unbreakable Kernel" from Oracle.
Further differences and deviations to RHEL and more details can be found in Oracle's changelog, and can be read via this link.
Scientific Linux is also a copy of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
However, the US research institution Fermilab has already announced in 2019 that it will not develop a follow-up to Scientific Linux 7 and will instead rely on CentOS 8.
We only mention Scientific Linux again for the sake of completeness, since there will unfortunately no longer be a current version available as an alternative.
Rocky Linux is a community operating system for enterprises, which was designed to be nearly identical (\"bug-for-bug\" compatible) with RHEL and to be an alternative after the discontinuation of CentOS.
Rocky Linux is currently led by Gregory Kurtzer, the founder of the CentOS project, and is being intensively developed by the community.
The current date for the initial release is March 31, 2021.
We will communicate exactly what Rocky Linux will look like according to the release in late March/early April.
CloudLinux Inc is currently also developing an alternative to CentOS. In the future, it will appear on the market under the name AlmaLinux and will provide a free Linux operating system developed by the community.
AlmaLinux is supposed to be a binary-compatible distribution to RHEL and will also be released at the end of March 2021.
How RockyLinux and AlmaLinux will build their clones and whether they are real alternatives will be seen at the end of March. We will report on this in detail in another blog post, and also analyze which one will be the best clone in our opinion.
Migration to CentOS Stream
CentOS Stream is a pure upstream version of RHEL. For this reason, the question of migrating to this version will rise for fewer users. Should it still be interesting for you, you will find all further details in the following CentOS blog, including a short FAQ.
Would you like to be informed about all news? Do you have questions about the migration, or you are interested in specific consulting?
Do not hesitate and contact us directly!