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Linux: RHEL and CentOS differences

What's the difference between RHEL and CentOS? Why does a big company choose RHEL over CentOS?

CentOS and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) are two of the most popular Linux distributions in the enterprise world, but they have some key differences. Both are based on the same codebase and have similar features, but there are some significant distinctions between the two that enhance them suited for different use cases.

One of the main differences between the two is that CentOS is a community-supported distribution, while RHEL is a commercially supported distribution. This means that Red Hat provides official support and updates for RHEL, while support for CentOS comes from its community of users. This can be a significant consideration for organizations that require a high level of support and reliability.

Another key difference between the two is that Red Hat provides long-term support for specific versions of RHEL. This means that organizations can use a specific version of the distribution for several years without having to worry about it becoming obsolete. This can be important for organizations that have many systems running a specific version of the operating system and do not want to have to upgrade them all at once.

Red Hat also offers additional services and tools, such as training, consulting, and certification, which can help organizations optimize their use of RHEL. This can be particularly useful for organizations that are new to Linux or that want to take full advantage of all the features that the operating system has to offer.

Finally, for regulated industries, Red Hat offers certifications for compliance with various regulations such as PCI-DSS, HIPAA, SOC2, and more. Additionally, Red Hat provides a set of security tools like SELinux, AppArmor, and others to enhance the security of the system.

Overall, while both CentOS and RHEL have a lot to offer, the choice between the two will depend on an organization's specific needs. For organizations that require a high level of support and reliability, RHEL may be the better choice. However, for organizations that are comfortable with a community-supported distribution and do not require long-term support, CentOS may be a better fit.

Top comments (1)

kumfasainan profile image
kumfasainan • Edited

Hey there! You've got a great summary of the differences between CentOS and RHEL. I remember when CentOS 7 EOL (End of Life) was announced, and it got me thinking about how important long-term support is for some organizations. I came across this article about extended lifecycle support for CentOS that highlighted some key points about the differences between the two distros. I've got a buddy who works in IT for a big company, and he's always telling me stories about the challenges they face when it comes to maintaining their servers. He mentioned that their company chose RHEL over CentOS primarily because of the official support and those certifications for compliance that you mentioned.