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CentOS OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

CentOS is #7 ranked solution in top Operating Systems for Business. IT Central Station users give CentOS an average rating of 8 out of 10. CentOS is most commonly compared to Oracle Linux:CentOS vs Oracle Linux. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a comms service provider, accounting for 37% of all views.
What is CentOS?

CentOS Linux provides a free and open source computing platform to anyone who wishes to use it. CentOS Linux releases are built from publicly available open source source code provided by Red Hat, Inc for Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

CentOS Buyer's Guide

Download the CentOS Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: December 2021

CentOS Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about CentOS pricing:
  • "There are no licensing fees for CentOS."
  • "It's free."
  • "There is no price or licensing required — it's open-source."
  • "It is open-source, which means it is a free product. It has a one-time deployment cost."
  • "There are no licensing costs for CentOS."

CentOS Reviews

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MA
Technical Presales Consultant/ Engineer at a wholesaler/distributor with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Relegated to a test bench, and therefore is no longer stable

Pros and Cons

  • "CentOS is very efficient and very powerful with many capabilities."
  • "I was using CentOS because it was very stable, and now it's not."

What is our primary use case?

It can be used for data centers to run the servers.

CentOS is a test bench for Red Hat. When Red Hat is testing new software, they will test it out in CentOS and Fedora. They will give it to the public, the public will complain about all the issues, then they will fix it, and include it in Red Hat.

I am not using it for the organization. However, I am using it in the business. For example, I help many clients back up Linux servers or protect Linux servers. But I am a Linux user at home, and I have been implementing products that revolve around Linux.

What is most valuable?

CentOS was one of the best Linux distributions out there. There was no community-based operating system like CentOS, except for Red Hat.

CentOS is very efficient and very powerful with many capabilities.

Anyone who has been using CentOs from the beginning of time has been using it because it has been a stable platform. Many companies have made solutions based on CentOS because it was a stable platform.

What needs improvement?

Unfortunately, Red Hat has changed the direction of the project.

The community is shocked that CentOS is no longer that stable branch, it's that development branch. 

They have now started a new project that some vendors are involved with, which is called Rocky Linux. 

Rocky Linux is a new Linux distribution that continues with what the community started with CentOS. The community now is making creating their own CentOS, because of Red Hat's decision to make this CentOS a test bench.

Most of the vendors in the market right now are making appliances, whether it be a firewall or a storage appliance, and most of them are using CentOS. Imagine the impact this will have on the vendors, on an international level, because they are relying on CentOS to be the most stable Linux distribution, and they chose the solution based on stability.

Red Hat made the decision of making CentOS a test bench, which means it will no longer be stable. Vendors will either push the new unstable update to customers, which is not something they would likely do or they would need to change to another Linux distribution.

It's a major decision for many companies to make. Because it is now a test bench many people are forced to change.

I was using CentOS because it was very stable, and now it's not. Will I use it? No. 

The main reason people use CentOS was because of its stability. Now that the stability has been compromised, no one will use it, unless they are Red Hat developers. The people who are learning Red Hat will also like it. But for us, the community, who might have been relying on CentOS as being a very stable platform, we will discard it.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using CentOS for five years.

We used version CentOS 6, and CentOS 7, but the latest one is CentOS 8.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

CentOS had proven to be very stable, but now with the updates, CentOS is not the stable operating system that it used to be. 

How are customer service and technical support?

CentOS is not supported commercially. CentOS is a community project. If you have any issue, you open the forums online, you post about it, and they solve it for you. 

Red Hat is the one that is charging for it. You can buy Red Hat and purchase support from them and they'll support you.

How was the initial setup?

If you know your way around Linux, then it is easy to install CentOS.

Most of it is the command line. There is a graphical user interface installation, but if you know CentOS, you don't want to do anything with the graphics. Instead, you will want to do everything with the command line, otherwise, you should consider Ubuntu.

What about the implementation team?

I can install any Linux on my own, with no worries.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

There are no licensing fees for CentOS. It's a DPL project, there is no licensing cost.

What other advice do I have?

CentOS, Red Hat, Oracle Linux, and Fedora all share the same binaries, they have the exact same distribution, with very minor differences. 

CentOS started as a community project, a community enterprise operating system. It's basically free Red Hat. Red Hat was rebranded and called CentOS and released to the public.

I have had a really good experience with CentOS 6 or CentOS 7, but I have abandoned CentOS completely since Red Hat has made its position of CentOS very clear. CentOS now is discontinued. 

Red Hat is releasing CentOS Stream, which is new. Before, what used to be the situation? Red Hat would release the Red Hat Linux distribution online version six, for example, at the same time, Red Hat would release CentOS 6. Red Hat and CentOS 6 had no differences, except the fact that with Red Hat you can actually get a support contract, whereas, with CentOS 6, you cannot get a support contract. 

CentOS and Red Hat are the same. There's no difference between CentOS and Red Hat.

There used to be no difference between CentOS and Red Hat, but now CentOS is like Fedora.

There's no difference, it's just a test bench, with the latest updates, but it is not as stable as it is before.

Now, there was something called Fedora. Fedora is a Linux-based distribution. Usually, you have the latest updates, the brand new technologies, everything is in the Fedora, but it's not stable. Fedora is not stable.

Red Hat is the one controlling CentOS. Whenever Red Hat would release a version, they would release the same CentOS to the public. The only difference was that CentOS is supported by the community, and Red Hat is supported by Red Hat, the enterprise by the business. They used to have a test bench, which is Fedora. Fedora is a distribution based both on Red Hat or CentOS, but packages are very up to date, which is not stable. Now, Red Hat made a decision to stop CentOS and make something new called CentOS Stream. This CentOS Stream is just like Fedora.

It's not as stable as Red Hat. Before Red Hat was releasing a free version and a paid version. Both the free and the paid were the exact, same, they were identical, there were no differences. 

It has the same stability and the same everything. Now, CentOS is a test bench in which Red Hat releases the newest and latest code so that they can try it out on the community, to ensure that it is fine before they include it in Red Hat. CentOS is like Fedora. Good for testing, not for production, and not for servers.

For the time being, I would not recommend this solution to others. 

At one time CentOS was definitely a nine out of ten, but now with these recent updates, I would rate CentOS a zero out of ten. Imagine if you would create something for a specific purpose, but then in the middle, you would change it and make it the exact opposite. That would make any person who chose it, hate it.

I am very frustrated with the way the CentOS project has gone. I would rate it a Zero out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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GD
Lead Solutions Architect - International Projects at a media company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Lightweight, powerful, and stable

Pros and Cons

  • "The pricing is good. We pay a minimal fee."
  • "The solution is stable, however, it could always be even more stable if possible."

How has it helped my organization?

We just see it as an operating system to run our applications. We're in the media industry and we make a lot of TV programs and OTT items. We have developed backend applications that make, let's say, 10 locations happen or make OTT happen.

Everything is running on CentOS due to the fact that it's lightweight. It's not a huge overhead. It's not like Windows eating up a lot of CPU resources. 

What is most valuable?

The performance in the past, the open-source approach, has been great. 

It helps us with our internal applications for very low pricing.

All our applications internally have been running on CentOS since 2006 when I joined the company so we have been developing on things like that.

We use the solution due to the fact that it's a lightweight, powerful, stable OS. It's being used for a lot of different use cases. 

The stability is very good.

The pricing is good. We pay a minimal fee.

What needs improvement?

Often, the solution doesn't scale as you expect.

I cannot recall if there are features that need improvement or if there's anything that should be added.

For me, it just has to perform and carry our application. I don't really care about how the user interface looks like as we don't use the user interface. We have an application running on it and that needs to be stable and that's the only thing. Therefore, we have no issues with the solution and don't feel it's missing anything.

The solution is stable, however, it could always be even more stable if possible.

CentOS recently announced some changes. I'm not sure what they will be, however, we look forward to seeing what they come out with. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for about ten to 12 years or so. It's been a very long time.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable. The reason that we have standardized the usage of CentOS is the stability. It has proven to us to be very stable compared to other options. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I'm running around 1,400 CentOS VMs at the moment.

In terms of scalability, of course, things don't scale always as you want, however, it's a powerful solution.

The Dutch organization where I work has eight people on the payroll, however, we are not the users. We are the people building the backend and we have hundreds of thousands of people using the applications running on the data center. The people that watch OTT or watch television make use of parts of the installation.

How are customer service and technical support?

I'm not on the operational side of the business and therefore have never been in touch with technical support. I cannot speak to how helpful or responsive they are.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We are using Ubuntu, CentOS, and also Red Hat. It really depends on the applications. If we buy applications or we use applications from vendors, if they say it has to run on Red Hat we'll run Red Hat. If they say it better runs on CentOS, it will run on CentOS. We have all the different file systems as we run applications that we buy or rent from vendors that make the applications.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is fairly straightforward. We have been using it for a long time it's an automatic deployment and has templates. People just have to click on the template being installed in the background. It's an automated process in VMware.

The end-user can go to the portal and they can just select which type of machine they want to have and which CentOS release is being deployed. It's a matter of minutes until they can log in.

What about the implementation team?

A company really doesn't need outside assistance. It's fairly automated and simple to manage. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The pricing is very reasonable. From what I understand, we pay a minimal fee, if we pay anything at all.

What other advice do I have?

We use different versions of the solution. It's a mixture depending on the application. Some applications are not upgraded by vendors and therefore we are using old versions. We try to stay with our own applications on the latest and greatest, however, generally, it's a mixture.

I'd rate the solution at a nine out of ten.

I'd recommend the solution to other organizations.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Learn what your peers think about CentOS. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: December 2021.
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D6B8
District Technology at a educational organization with 1,001-5,000 employees
User
Top 5
It allows us to freely use and test open-source technologies and solutions

Pros and Cons

  • "It has minimal updates compared to other distributions."
  • "They could build more options into the wizard."

What is our primary use case?

We use CentOS whenever we can to help bridge services or to add another layer to our infrastructure. We currently use CentOS for monitoring orientated tasks, but it has been our chosen distribution for our enterprise for a few years.

How has it helped my organization?

It allows us to freely use and test open-source technologies and solutions. Without it we wouldn't have a server monitoring system, log management system, or many other services that we depend on.

What is most valuable?

It has minimal updates compared to other distributions. We like the idea of long-term support. CentOS gives us a peace of mind when it comes to updates. It's also a bonus that most of our vendor supported hardware/software is built with CentOS under the hood, allowing us to stay in the Fedora ecosystem.

What needs improvement?

You're getting what you expect (a linux distro). The wizard has gotten better through the years, so maybe they could build more options into the wizard. However, we have scripts that we deploy to overcome this.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to six years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I don't believe an update has broken anything in our environment. It's very stable and that's the reason CentOS was chosen.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Yes and no. In regards to the OS itself, there aren't any scalability issues. We have run into issues with other applications but that's not the fault of CentOS, rather, it is the application that would need to be revised.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We've used Ubuntu in the past for various systems and projects, and once in a while, a vendor uses it for their platform. We don't care for the more aggressive updates, and we usually don't need the most updated packages.

How was the initial setup?

Straightforward. We deploy with the minimal options, and the wizard is very easy to navigate to help install it. We also have a script that we run to make this process much easier.

What about the implementation team?

In-house for anything related to CentOS.

What was our ROI?

We don't track ROI.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

You can pay for the support if you purchase Red Hat. We don't have the need for that just yet, and CentOS satisfies our needs when needed (assuming we can support it in-house).

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

When it comes to Linux, we've tried the Debian route before. Trying both Debian and Ubuntu, we settled on CentOS once we noticed that the enterprise market was going in that direction. It proved to be a wise choice.

What other advice do I have?

If you had to choose a Linux distribution for enterprise grade stability, then this would be the logical choice. If you want latest features and fast deployment of updates, then you might want to take a look at Ubuntu.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
BB
Senior Unix System Administrator at a manufacturing company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Easy to install and manage

Pros and Cons

  • "It's easy to install."
  • "Updates are going to a streaming version."

What is our primary use case?

We have very varied, different uses. Mostly it's an appliance for applications.

How has it helped my organization?

It's required for some of the applications we have. In order to run those applications, we have to have CentOS.

What is most valuable?

It's easy to install.

What needs improvement?

They're changing how they're working, and I really enjoy the easy updates. Now they're going to a streaming version, which I don't like. We want to control the updates manually. We have an application that we don't want to be updated without our knowledge.

If you want to do something special on install, you can. But when they have 68 questions about how you want to install, you answer each one of them. A very simple, default install would be nice.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using CentOS for more than 12 months.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is extremely scalable. We have about 200 people using it at this point, mostly engineers or database guys.

We'll probably have a minor increase in usage, but not a huge increase in how many nodes we'll have.

How are customer service and support?

CentOS has no technical support. You just look it up if you have a problem.

Red Hat is the paid version of Linux. They take out all the Red Hat stuff and make CentOS Linux with no support. But a lot of people use it, and a lot of people post. So if you have a problem, you just look online and it's fine.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I did use Red Hat a long time ago, and I switched because they couldn't seem to decide how they wanted to charge for their service. I was perfectly happy to just pay them, but it would range by huge amounts. I couldn't maintain that.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is in between straightforward and complex. It could be easier. There are too many options, and I'd like a lot less.

What about the implementation team?

Deployment takes a half-hour, and we did it in-house. One person, myself, takes care of deployment and maintenance.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

There are zero licensing costs for the solution. 

There are admin costs. We run it on VMware, so there has to be VMware cost.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

There were a few other options, but CentOS is heavily used and that helps.

What other advice do I have?

Just be aware of the changes they're about to make, which is from the regular updates to streaming. That's major.

I would rate the solution nine out of ten. It's easy to install, it's easy to manage, it's free.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Santosh Kurakula
Group DWH and BI Senior Manager at Virgin Mobile Middle East and Africa
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
All of the features of Red Hat without the subscription fee

Pros and Cons

  • "It has all the features of Red Hat, but you don't have to pay for the subscription."
  • "Integration with other platforms could be improved."

What is our primary use case?

We use CentOS in conjunction with our applications and databases.

What is most valuable?

It's free — it's an open-source solution. It has all the features of Red Hat, but you don't have to pay for the subscription. Otherwise, it's pretty much the same as Red Hat Linux. It uses all of the same repositories, the only difference is that it's open-source.

What needs improvement?

Integration with other platforms could be improved. There should also be more repositories. There are ways to get data from the repositories, but it could be enhanced.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using CentOS since 2019.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Version 7 is stable — not the recent versions; I believe they have some issues. We are using a stable version as of now. We haven't faced any issues so far.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

CentOS is scalable.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have contacted their support, but it's not commercial technical support. On their website, there are blogs and other users that help. They have a large community that can answer most questions.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Before CentOS, we used Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The reason why we approached CentOS is that it has the same flavor, but there is no subscription. Earlier, we were paying for Red Hat Linux on a yearly subscription. In order to minimize the cost, especially for some of the applications, it didn't make sense to pay on a yearly basis. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is not very straightforward — it's intermediate. Linux is not an easy thing to install. If you don't have the knowledge, it can be a little difficult.

I believe there is a desktop version available that has a UI but we haven't tried it. That might be a little easier to install; but since it's on a server, we needed to use the command prompt.

What about the implementation team?

We installed it ourselves.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

There is no price or licensing required — it's open-source. 

What other advice do I have?

Overall, on a scale from one to ten, I would give this solution a rating of nine. 

I would definitely recommend this solution to others. Not the desktop version — I don't have experience with it. On a server level, I would definitely recommend it.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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VaibhavPathrikar
Technial Lead at a manufacturing company with 1-10 employees
Real User
Low memory consumption, many options for user access customization, and top-notch scalability

Pros and Cons

  • "The user access level is most valuable. When you do administration with CentOS, the number of customizations that you can do for each user is higher than other solutions. It is very customizable."
  • "The YUM install manager can be improved. It is below average as compared to the other install managers. This is the only major problem that I see with CentOS. They should reduce dependency on the YUM manager."

What is our primary use case?

It can be used for setting up virtual spaces and the development environment. We have CentOS VPS.

What is most valuable?

The user access level is most valuable. When you do administration with CentOS, the number of customizations that you can do for each user is higher than other solutions. It is very customizable.

Its memory consumption is much lower than any other OS.

What needs improvement?

The YUM install manager can be improved. It is below average as compared to the other install managers. This is the only major problem that I see with CentOS. They should reduce dependency on the YUM manager.

They can improve the help for features. It has so many features, but there is no help. They should provide more information and tutorials. Currently, because of the lack of knowledge or availability of resources, features are getting underutilized.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using CentOS for around two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is quite stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is one of the top-notch products in terms of scalability. For scalability, many premium features are available.

Currently, we have around 12 to 15 users. We have plans to increase its usage.

How are customer service and technical support?

We don't have much experience with their technical support.

How was the initial setup?

Its installation was quite straightforward. There is not much in terms of the setup cost. It was quite straightforward, and it happened quite quickly. From scratch, it took around one and a half hours.

What about the implementation team?

I installed it myself. For its deployment and maintenance, we don't have any technical team. We are able to manage with less than one person per month. We have a manager who manages it.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It is open-source, which means it is a free product. It has a one-time deployment cost.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I evaluated Red Hat.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend this solution to others. I would rate CentOS a nine out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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DC
Consultant at a educational organization with 11-50 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Stable, easy to set up, and free to use

Pros and Cons

  • "The product is free to use."
  • "Previous versions were unstable."

What is our primary use case?

The solution has many types of use cases. 

What is most valuable?

The configuration is very good. It is very easy to configure any application, et cetera.

The current version is stable.

The initial implementation is straightforward. 

The product is free to use.

What needs improvement?

Previous versions were unstable. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for close to four years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is stable in its current form. This wasn't always the case. In earlier versions, it wasn't as stable as it is now. Currently, there are no bugs or glitches and it doesn't crash or freeze. However, you do occasionally do still get some unstable packages.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is only really scalable if you handle on-premises versions. However, you can scale it up and down as you need. 

We have close to 300 users using the product right now. 

How are customer service and technical support?

I've never had to use technical support as everything is pretty straightforward. I can't speak to how helpful or responsive they are. 

How was the initial setup?

The installation is very straightforward. It's not overly complex or difficult. A company shouldn't have too much trouble handling it. 

The deployment is very quick. It's up and running in a matter of minutes. 

What about the implementation team?

I've always handled the implementations myself. I've never used a consultant or integrator. It's easy to handle in-house. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

This product is free to use. It's great for companies with small budgets.

What other advice do I have?

I have a hybrid setup. On the cloud, I'm using version 7.5. On-premise I'm on 8.3.

I'd rate the solution at a nine out of ten. If it was more reliable in terms of dealing with stability, it would be excellent. 

I'd recommend the solution to other users and companies.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Hybrid Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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FE
Senior System Engineer at a computer software company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Top 5
Cost-effective and easy to install, but it will no longer be compatible with Red Hat Linux

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable feature is that it is compatible with RedHat."
  • "In the future, CentOS will no longer be compatible with Red Hat."

What is our primary use case?

Most of the time, I use CentOS for deploying Tomcat to run web applications. I use it to run Docker, as well.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is that it is compatible with RedHat. 

What needs improvement?

In the future, CentOS will no longer be compatible with Red Hat. I would prefer that it remains compatible because when it changes, we will no longer be using it.

What is missing from this product is a real file system like CFS. Having a modern file system is important and in CentOS 7, btrfs was supported. However, in version 8 it has been removed. I don't understand why and I think that it was a very bad move and a very customer-unfriendly thing to do.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working with CentOS for a few years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

CentOS is quite stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In the company, we have approximately 800 people who are using it. Beyond that, a lot of our customers are using it, as well.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have never been in contact with technical support. We manage it ourselves.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

For as long as I have been with the company, they have been using CentOS.

How was the initial setup?

The installation is mostly straightforward. We have automated it.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

There are no licensing costs for CentOS.

What other advice do I have?

At this point, because of the announcement that it will no longer be compatible with Red Hat in the future, I do not recommend this product.

I would rate this solution a seven out of ten. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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