Understanding Red Hat’s Licensing Model

Red Hat is a popular provider of enterprise level open source software solutions, including the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) operating system. Red Hat’s licensing model differs from traditional proprietary software licensing models in that it is based on open source licenses. In this technical article, we’ll explore the Red Hat licensing model in more detail.

Open Source Licenses

The Red Hat licensing model is based on open source licenses. Open source licenses provide users with the right to use, modify, and distribute the software freely, subject to certain conditions. The most commonly used open source license is the GNU General Public License (GPL). Red Hat Enterprise Linux is licensed under the GPL, as well as several other open source licenses.

Subscription Model

The Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system is available through a subscription model. A subscription provides businesses with access to updates, patches, and new releases of the operating system. The subscription model also includes access to Red Hat support services, including technical support, security updates, and access to Red Hat’s knowledge base.

As long as there is an active subscription of RHEL, all servers running RHEL require an active subscription (also known as the “all or nothing rule”). Each server may require one or multiple subscription SKUs depending on the number of sockets the physical host has. Subscriptions are stackable which means you could use 4 x 2 socket subs to cover an 8 socket device.

Support Levels

Red Hat offers several levels of support to customers based on their needs. The Basic level provides access to Red Hat’s knowledge base and customer portal. The Standard level includes access to technical support during business hours, while the Premium level provides 24×7 technical support.

Virtualization Red Hat’s licensing model for virtualization differs from its licensing model for the operating system. Red Hat charges a fee for each virtual machine (VM) that runs Red Hat Enterprise Linux, regardless of the number of physical servers. This allows businesses to run multiple VMs on a single physical server without incurring additional licensing costs.

Red Hat Satellite Red Hat Satellite is a system management solution that allows businesses to manage and automate the deployment of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Red Hat Satellite is licensed separately from the operating system, and customers can purchase subscriptions based on the number of systems they need to manage.

Conclusion Red Hat’s licensing model is based on open source licenses and offers several benefits to businesses, including access to the source code, the ability to modify and distribute the software freely, and a subscription model that includes access to updates and support. By understanding the Red Hat licensing model and support options, businesses can effectively manage their Red Hat software assets and ensure compliance with licensing agreements.

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