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Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is #1 ranked solution in top Operating Systems for Business. IT Central Station users give Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) an average rating of 8 out of 10. Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is most commonly compared to SUSE Linux Enterprise:Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) vs SUSE Linux Enterprise. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 28% of all views.
What is Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)?

To put your enterprise in a position to win, you have to break down the barriers that hold you back. With Red Hat Enterprise Linux, a platform with unparalleled stability and flexibility, you can reallocate your resources toward meeting the next challenges instead of just maintaining the status quo.

For SAP workloads, Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP Solutions combines the reliability, scalability, and performance of Linux with technologies that meet the specific requirements of SAP workloads. It’s certified for integration with SAP S/4HANA and built on the same foundation as the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform, Red Hat Enterprise Linux.  For more information on Red Hat's portfolio of solutions for SAP workloads visit www.redhat.com/sap.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is also known as Red Hat Enterprise Linux, RHEL.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) Buyer's Guide

Download the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: November 2021

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) Customers

Travel Channel, Mohawk Industries, Hilti, Molecular Health, Exolgan, Hotelplan Group, Emory University, BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina, HCA Healthcare, Paychex, UPS, Intermountain Healthcare, Brinker International, TransUnion, Union Bank, CA Technologies

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) pricing:
  • "The licensing with Red Hat is on par with other organizations like Microsoft. We have a site license, which gives us a certain number of servers, perhaps 25,000, for the type of license that we have. That works really well for us."
  • "We are an educational institution and as such, what we pay is less than the average company."
  • "Because it is a subscription, you can go elastic. This means you can buy a year, then you can skip a year. It is not like when you buy something. You don't buy it. You are paying for the support on something, and if you don't pay for the support on something, there is no shame because there are no upfront costs. It changes the equation. However, we have such growth right now on the Linux platform that we are reusing and scavenging these licenses. From a business standpoint, not having to buy, but just having to pay for maintenance, changes a lot of the calculations."
  • "It is more expensive than other vendors in terms of pricing and licensing, but because of its stability, I have to go with it."
  • "In terms of the solution’s single subscription and install repository for all types of systems, we can have as many RHEL installations as we want because we have a specific subscription that entitles us to have as many RHEL services as we want. We pay for a subscription and with that we get RHEL and Satellite as well."
  • "RHEL is expensive."

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) Reviews

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Don Beyer
Systems Administrator at Ithaca College
Real User
Top 10
Feature-rich, good integration, stable, easy to deploy, and the security is kept up to date

Pros and Cons

  • "The feature that I like the most is that we can integrate it easily with our existing infrastructure. We found that it is much easier to deploy RHEL in our environment compared to a competing distribution like Ubuntu."
  • "The biggest thing that is crushing RHEL is documentation. Their documentation is haphazard at best. The man pages that you can use locally are pretty good, they've been fleshed out pretty well, but the documentation from Red Hat itself really needs somebody to go through it and review it."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case for RHEL is running our front-end web servers. When you visit our site, all of the front-end servers are Red Hat. The databases that are hosted are Oracle and they predominantly sit on Red Hat 7. We're trying to migrate those to version 8.

We also use it for BI.

We have a digital footprint in Azure and AWS, as well as on-premises. Things for us are very fluid. We're always changing and adapting to our environment, based on what the needs of our faculty and students are.

How has it helped my organization?

The experience depends on the user and what it is that they are doing. If somebody is a Windows user, they're not comfortable with Linux, even if it has a GUI. The graphic user interface can be off-putting to users that are familiar with Mac or Windows. It's not as fast, snappy, and showy as the Windows or Apple graphical user interface. So, those types of users for office production, probably, will not be happy with the Red Hat product line.

If on the other hand, you're a developer or you're a database administrator (DBA), it is different. My experience with my developers and my DBA is that they love Linux. It's easy for them to use. It's easy for them to deploy things like Oracle databases and web servers. Continuous development integration tools like Maven or Tomcat or any of those frameworks are already put in place.

For all of the backend tools that do the work to build the infrastructure, Red Hat really does a good job to make it easy to deploy those consistently, securely, and upgrade them in the same way. There are a lot of pluses for the developers, the DBAs, and the like. But, if you're a regular office user, Red Hat is probably not the tool or the OS that you want to use.

When using RHEL for tracking or monitoring, they do a very good job with respect to the impact on the performance of existing applications. The nice thing about Red Hat is you can get very granular with your logging. We do log aggregation, we use Elasticsearch, and we use Filebeat. These things are part of our log aggregation applications and services that run on the backend of our Red Hat boxes, and it does a very good job of that. We also add bash logging into our hardened Linux deployments, so we see everything. We want to monitor everything, and Red Hat does a really good job with that.

RHEL has given us the opportunity to accelerate the deployment of our cloud-based workloads, although because my organization is a very small college, and we don't have a lot of funds, we can't afford to have all of our workloads in the cloud. It's actually cheaper for us to run most of our applications and servers on-premises.

The workloads that we have in the cloud are typically mission-critical, like student transcripts and stuff like that. These are the types of things that we need to have backups of, which is something that Azure does with Red Hat very well. We are moving in the direction of using Red Hat in the cloud, with the caveat that we deploy only as we can afford it.

With respect to disaster recovery, Azure and Red Hat are probably one of the best pairings that you can get. It provides a lot of redundancy, it's easy to deploy, and the server support is excellent with Azure. There is also good logging, so if you do have an issue you can troubleshoot rather quickly and resolve the problem.

The integration with other Red Hat products, such as Satellite, is excellent and I haven't had any issues with it at all. Everything works very well together with all of the products that we use. For example, Ansible works very well with Satellite. We also used Salt at one time, and we used Puppet. We've moved away from those and just focused on using Ansible. All of the tools that we've used work very well with Rad Hat. The product is mature enough that there's enough support for it from all of the other vendors that run on the Red Hat platform.

What is most valuable?

There are lots of good features in this product. Because I am a system admin, I don't tend to use the GUI or end-user features. Everything that I do is executed from the command line, and this includes features like monitoring tools, such as netstat or iostat. These are the tools that are built into RHEL. Their toolboxes are good but I wouldn't consider them a great feature because there are things that they still need to work on.

The feature that I like the most is that we can integrate it easily with our existing infrastructure. We found that it is much easier to deploy RHEL in our environment compared to a competing distribution like Ubuntu. This is because we also use RHEL Satellite, which is the patching and lifecycle management application that binds all of our RHELs and allows us to push out new stuff.

Satellite is an important feature because it helps to speed up deployment. Satellite is Red Hat's solution to Windows, where the Windows equivalent would be Server Center Control Manager (SCCM), which is now Intune. Satellite is the lifecycle management application for deploying, maintaining, and upgrading your Red Hat systems, and it does a very good job of that. Satellite works in tandem with Red Hat, as you use it to deploy your server.

The main point is that Satellite makes it quick and easy to deploy, and it is also easy to automate the process. I'm the only Linux person at my organization, with the rest of the people working with Windows. Using Satellite, a Windows end-user can deploy a Red Hat server without any Linux experience.

The security updates are done very well, so I feel confident that I'm not going to get hit with ransomware or a similar problem. Their security patches are pretty up to date. Also, it's rather easy to harden a Red Hat deployment because they provide tools to help you do that.

Red Hat gives us the ability to run multiple versions of applications on a single operating system, although we only use this functionality for Java. Even then, it's specific to the underlying applications. For example, Oracle uses Java on the backend. Also, we have multiple versions of Java on some of our web servers and it does a good job.

What needs improvement?

The biggest thing that is crushing RHEL is documentation. Their documentation is haphazard at best. The man pages that you can use locally are pretty good, they've been fleshed out pretty well, but the documentation from Red Hat itself really needs somebody to go through it and review it.

The only real negative that I have with Red Hat is that you can tell that when you look at the documentation, they cut and paste documentation from the previous version. Because they update it that way, what happens is that there's nobody doing Q&A. For example, in Red Hat 7 and Red Hat 8, they changed the way they do deployments. Instead of using YUM, you use DNF but when you read the documentation for Red Hat 8, they intermix the two. This means that if you're a new Linux user, it's very difficult to distinguish between the two commands. The fact of the matter is that one is built on top of the other. DNF is backward compatible on top of YUM, and that can cause confusion with users and system administrators. However, it wouldn't be an issue if there was good documentation.

My job is pretty easy, but the documentation would really help me be able to communicate the things that I do to the rest of my team. They're all Windows people and when I go to the Red Hat documentation and tell them that we're migrating to this and we're using this tool, but the documentation is horrible, I get laughed at.

By comparison, Microsoft has its own problems with documentation, but it's a little bit more organized and it's definitely fleshed out a lot better. I commend Microsoft for its documentation. Red Hat may be the better product for the things that we do in our environment, but Microsoft has better documentation.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working with Red Hat Enterprise Linux for the past four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This is a very stable product.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In terms of scalability, you can't beat it. It's easy for me to scale up and down, especially with Satellite. I can push out 10, 100, of the same servers for the same configuration and set up with the push of a button.

On the cloud side, Azure also allows us to scale very nicely. This means that we can scale locally if we need to because we use Hyper-V for our VM management and we can spin up 10, 15, or however many servers we need, relatively easy with the push of a button, and you can do the same thing in Azure. We haven't done that in AWS.

Most of the servers that we spin up are proxies. We use a product called HAProxy, and we can deploy those proxies as needed. There are also busy periods where we need to scale. For example, when it's the time of year for students to register for classes, we'll see an increase. 

Another thing that is nice is that Azure will scale as we see more users come online. It will automatically spin up Red Hat boxes to accommodate, and then it'll bring them back down when that surge is over.

Overall, scalability is very nice, either in the cloud or on-premises. As far as setup and configuration, you can make sure that it's consistent across the board, no matter where it is deployed.

How are customer service and technical support?

I would rate their frontline support, where I submit a ticket, a seven or eight out of ten.

In terms of support that is available through their documentation, I would rate it a three out of ten.

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

Before I started working for the organization I work for now, I used a product called the FOG Project. At the time, we used Ubuntu Linux. FOG was the equivalent to Satellite and Ubuntu is the equivalent to standard Red Hat.

Comparing the two are apples and oranges. The FOG Project is not as mature as Satellite; it doesn't have the bells and whistles that Satellite does. In general, their lifecycle management tools cannot be compared. Satellite outperforms the FOG project, it's easier to deploy and easier to use.

When comparing Ubuntu and Red Hat, the big difference is that the releases for Red Hat are more stable. They do lag a little behind Ubuntu, as Ubuntu is more bleeding edge. This means that they're pushing out updates a little bit faster, but they're not clean in the sense that they may push out a patch, but then five days later, they have to push out a patch to patch the patch. This is in contrast to Red Hat, which is a little bit more consistent and a little bit more stable. What it comes down to is that Red Hat is much more stable than Ubuntu in terms of patches, updates, and upgrades.

Those are the key differences for somebody who manages that infrastructure. You want something that's easy to diagnose, troubleshoot, and put out solutions. Ubuntu may push out a patch or an update that's so bleeding edge or so out there that vendors haven't had time to come up with solutions on their own, so if it's a driver issue or something like that, with Ubuntu, you may have to wait around as a user for those kinds of solutions.

With Red Hat, they make sure that when the product goes out, that there is some Q&A, and they've done some testing. They make sure that there's compatibility with other products that depend on that particular feature, functionality, or service.

How was the initial setup?

RHEL is very easy to configure and deploy.

When we're talking about RHEL in the cloud, Azure is probably the better platform for RHEL. AWS has some licensing issues. The business end of using RHEL on AWS is not as mature or fleshed out as it is on Azure.

Incidentally, I'm not a big fan of Azure. Rather, I have most of my experience in AWS, but Azure deploys Red Hat without issue. We don't have to worry about licensing and connecting things. Everything is already bound to Azure AD, and that makes it really nice because on-premises, we have to do that manually.

For the on-premises deployment, part of the deployment package requires that we add our Red Hat servers to our local AD. But in Azure, it just does everything for you all within one PowerShell command. Ultimately, deploying Red Hat in Azure is much easier than deploying it either on-premises or on AWS.

What was our ROI?

We have seen a return on our investment. Our organization is probably going to stick with Red Hat because the licensing fees are low enough to offset the maintenance and support cost of that OS.

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

Pricing is always a critical factor for all IT departments. The cost of doing business is part of the nature of the job. If you're going to buy a bunch of Dell servers, for example, you have to take into consideration not just the licensing, but the hardware support and other things. The licensing with Red Hat is on par with other organizations like Microsoft.

We buy our licensing in bulk, meaning we buy perhaps 1,500 licenses at a time. They changed their licensing structure over the last couple of years. It used to be per system, whereas now, it's all or nothing. We don't have a subscription, as they used to offer, because they moved away from that. We have a site license, which gives us a certain number of servers, perhaps 25,000, for the type of license that we have. That works really well for us.

The way our structure is set up is that we just buy it by the tier system that they have, so if you have so many servers then you buy that tier and then you get so many licenses as part of that tier or enterprise package.

There are additional fees for using other Red Hat tools, such as Ansible Tower. We use Satellite, and it uses Ansible on the backend. However, we use the vanilla Ansible out of the box, rather than the official Red Hat Ansible Tower, simply because we can't afford the licensing for it. Satellite bundles everything together nicely in their suite of tools but we have moved away from that because of the additional cost.

This is one of the downsides to any operating system, not just Red Hat. Windows, for example, is the same way. They try to bill every organization for every license that they can by adding on different suites of tools that they charge for. A lot of organizations, especially the smaller ones, simply can't afford it, so they create workarounds instead. In our case, Ansible is freely available and we can use it without having to pay the fees for Red Hat's Ansible.

The nice thing though, is that they give you the choice. Red Hat doesn't force you to buy the entire product. They still have Ansible entwined with their Satellite product. The point is that if you want the additional features and functionality then you have to buy their Ansible Tower product, but you can still use the basic product regardless.

The fact that RHEL is open-source was a factor in us implementing it. This is an interesting time for Red Hat. The great thing about Red Hat for us was that we could use Red Hat and then we could use their free, commercial version, which is CentOS. It stands for Community Enterprise OS. Unfortunately, they are no longer going to push out CentOS and I think that 8.4 is the latest version of their free Red Hat distribution.

When we first went to Red Hat, in all the organizations I've ever worked at, being able to test things was one of the key factors. We could spin up a CentOS, implement a proof of concept and do some testing before we actually went to use the licensed Red Hat version of the same product. The real plus was that we could do testing and we could do all these things on the free version without having to eat up a license to do a proof of concept before we actually invested money moving in that direction, using that particular product or service.

Now that this ability has gone away, we are going to see how that pans out. I think Rocky Linux, they're hoping that that's going to be the next CentOS or free Red Hat. We'll see if that pans out or not but right now, it's a scary time for people that are dependent on CentOS for their free development environments, where we can just spin that up and play around. Right now, we're looking at how we're going to resolve that.

It may be that we have to eat up a license so that we can spin up a machine that we just want to do a proof of concept. This is something that we don't know yet. I don't have an answer because we simply don't have enough data to make an assessment on that.

Everything considered, having a free commercial version available, in addition to the paid product, is a big lure for us. They worked really well in tandem.

What other advice do I have?

We have approximately 14 servers running Red Hat 6 but we used Red Hat 6 all the way to Red Hat 8.

The AppStream feature is something that we have tried but on a very limited scale. We have had mixed results with it, although it looks promising. At this point, I can't say whether it is a good feature or not.

My advice for anybody considering Red Hat depends on the role of the person that is making the decision. If they're an end-user or their organization is using office productivity software, then they're probably not going to want to use it for the backend. This is because there are not a lot of users that are using Red Hat as their office productivity operating system.

If on the other hand, you're somebody that's looking for servers that just need what they call five nines or high availability, Red Hat is your solution for that. That's what I would say to anybody, any technical person that I've talked to, if you can afford it, definitely get Red Hat for your web development. Your web servers should be either Apache, or NGINX, which is their web server stuff.

Red Hat should also be used to host an Oracle database. We found that that works really well and is very competitive with Microsoft's SQL server. It's about the same cost; the Red Hat product is actually a little cheaper than Microsoft's SQL product.

Considering the cost, ease of deployment, and ease of use, Red Hat is the better product for your main infrastructure. For things that just have to be up and running, Red Hat is the product that you want to use.

I can't be strong enough in my opinion that Red Hat does what it does very well for the mundane tasks of infrastructure. For instance, when it comes to web servers, no other OS does a better job than Red Hat for web servers or databases. Similarly, it does a very good job for proxies. For things that just need to run and have very little human interaction, Red Hat's your solution. If you're looking for something that's for an office, such as for accounting, then Red Hat is not the solution to choose.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Hybrid Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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JonathanShilling
System Analyst II at a energy/utilities company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 5
Has a standard file system layout so it's easy to navigate

Pros and Cons

  • "I like the fact that most of the system configuration is Namespace so it's easy to get to and easy to configure, and most of it still uses text documents. Not all of it's a menu-driven-type entry. I also like the fact that it's a very standard file system layout so it's easy to navigate."
  • "I'd like to see more of NCurses type menu systems in some instances. We're dealing with SUSE Enterprise Linux, they have an NCurses menu system. It's a menu system. It will write there. Even some of the higher-end Unix systems like AIX have some inner menu system where all the configuration tools are right there so your administrator doesn't have to jump through multiple directories to configure files if needed. I like the simplicity of Red Hat because it's pretty easy but having an NCurses menu when you have to get something done quickly would be nice."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is to develop the servers and production. It's pretty standard usage. We have some Docker running but I haven't been involved in those environments very often. It's a standard server on minimal load and we're not using a full load with our GUI interface.

We have multiple applications running on both Windows and RHEL. The database systems are mostly MySQL. There's some Oracle but most of it is MySQL. Dealing with Red Hat is pretty straightforward. I haven't run into issues with it. 

When we were running multiple versions of Java, if patches came out for both versions, we would apply the patches for both versions and usually, that could be downloaded. It was pretty simple to update those. Those are systems-supported patches. With the specific application patches, it's a little different. Normally the application administrators take care of those themselves.

If Red Hat's system is set up right, it improves the speed and performance reliability of our hardware because it doesn't use as many resources as a Windows system.

What is most valuable?

I like the fact that most of the system configuration is Namespace so it's easy to get to and easy to configure, and most of it still uses text documents. Not all of it's a menu-driven-type entry. I also like the fact that it's a very standard file system layout so it's easy to navigate.

In some instances, it provides features that help speed development. In other instances, it's standard amongst most Linux groups. You can download the main features. The file system is always a big difference. You go from a Debian-based system to Red Hat, so the file system layout is a little bit different. User-based files are located versus system-based files. RHEL keeps everything in one area and segregates it. It makes it easier to go between different organizations and still have the same policies and structure. I do like the new package manager.

It's all text-based, all command line, whereas the minimal load does not have a GUI on it. If you're used to using Windows core servers, it wouldn't be that big of a deal, but going from a Windows GUI-based system to an RHEL command-line-based system is a learning curve for most Windows administrators. A lot of strictly Windows administrators don't even want to look at a command line from Red Hat because the commands are so different from what they're used to. There is a learning curve between the two major platforms.

The application and user experience are usually pretty consistent, but that really depends on the application developer. If they're developing an application, it'll be consistent costs on infrastructure. That's not an issue between the different platforms. User experience is based on how the application developer built it. They're not all in-house and so they developed across a consistent platform. They keep everything pretty simple from the user perspective.

It enables us to deploy current applications and merging workloads across physical hardware and VMs. Virtualization and physical hardware stay consistent. Going to the cloud depends on the platform we use but it'll mostly be consistent as well. The RHEL distribution has been implemented pretty well amongst most of our cloud providers. It's pretty standard now, whether we go to Rackspace, Amazon, Azure, or even Microsoft supporting RHEL distribution. You can go to a Microsoft Azure cloud and have a Red Hat Enterprise Linux system running there. The user would probably never notice it.

For Red Hat, the bare metal and virtualized environments are pretty reliable. The only thing I don't like about Red Hat is that every time you do an update, there are patches every month and you have to reboot the system. Fortunately, it's a single reboot versus Microsoft, which likes multiple reboots, but still, you have to reboot the system. You have to reboot the server. The newer updates have kernel patches involved in them. To implement that new kernel, you have to reboot the system, and Red Hat's best policy and best practices are to reboot the system after patching.

I used the AppStream feature a couple of times. Not a whole lot because a lot of our environment is specific to what we deploy. Normally I would just deploy the bare system, adding features requested by the application administrator, and they'll download the rest of the things that they need.

We have used the tracing and monitoring tools in certain instances but not consistently. We use them for troubleshooting but not every day. We use other third-party software to monitor the system logs and alert on the issues. They will run tracing analysis of the systems. The reason we don't always use it is because of the number of servers I have to deal with and the low band power.

Automation is however you set it up. As for running a cloud-based solution, a lot of it would be automated. Going from prior experience, dealing with it before coming to this company, we did a lot of cloud deployment and it's pretty consistent and reliable and you could automate it pretty easily. 

RHEL accelerated the deployment of cloud-based workloads in my previous experiences. Compared to no other solution at all, it's obviously a vast improvement. You have to worry about Windows. As soon as you bring the server up, it requires numerous patches and it'll take several reboots unless you have an image that is very patched and deployable there. Even then, every month you get new patches. Red Hat patches a lot faster than Windows and requires a single reboot. The speed of deployment is a hazard. It's almost twice as fast deploying an RHEL solution as it is a Windows solution.

What needs improvement?

I'd like to see more of NCurses type menu systems in some instances. We're dealing with SUSE Enterprise Linux, they have an NCurses menu system. It's a menu system. Even some of the higher-end Unix systems like AIX have some inner menu system where all the configuration tools are right there so your administrator doesn't have to jump through multiple directories to configure files if needed. I like the simplicity of Red Hat because it's pretty easy but having an NCurses menu when you have to get something done quickly would be nice.

For how long have I used the solution?

I started using Red Hat back in 1996. I've been using it for at least 20 years, off and on. I was hired as a Linux administrator for RHEL 6, 7, and 8, and then I changed my job positions. I'm not actively using RHEL right now.

Unfortunately, we're moving away from RHEL to Oracle Enterprise Linux in the next couple of months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

RHEL is a very stable product. It's been around for a long time now. It's been stable since they brought it out as an enterprise environment. It's usually not the bleeding edge of Linux. That just means it has more stability in the packaging and the repositories. They keep the bleeding edge updates and things out of it most of the time, which means if you have new features that you want to implement, you have to do some finagling to get those features in place. But it does mean the system's more stable, for the most part.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's very scalable. I haven't seen any issues with the scalability of Red Hat. I've used it in environments where we have a few hundred people to a couple of thousand people. I've never seen any issues with scalability. It's one of the big sell points of RHEL. It's as scalable as Unix.

There are around 500 developers who use it. Web-facing interfaces, it's in the thousands.

If you're using a small environment with no more than around 100 to 200 servers, one or two people can handle most of the RHEL stuff pretty quickly.

If it's a larger environment, then you're looking at staff upwards from six to 15, depending on the environment the product's being used for.

There is a system administrator to perform the initial deployment of a server to the maintenance of the server. Then there are the application developers who develop the application, write the applications, and just manage applications. In our environment, we currently have sysadmins who manage the systems. My job is to manage the actual operating system itself. Then, you have application developers, who develop applications for user-facing systems. The application managers manage those applications, not only the developed applications.

It's being used pretty extensively. It's 1,100 to 1,200 servers on one site. 

We're using at least 85-90% of the features of RHEL but we don't really use Ansible that extensively. Red Hat Satellite server we're using as a primary repository in one site. Based on RHEL, we use most of these features.

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

We are switching to another solution mainly because a number of databases in use are based on that system. They want to expand that database and some other products that come with switching from RHEL to LEL. That's the main reason. As I understand it, the licensing isn't that different with a more centralized approach, so convenience is a large factor.

We switched to RHEL from AIX because of the developer and the cost. AIX is usually implemented on specific hardware. IBM owned the hardware. So the cost for running AIX is a lot more expensive than running an RHEL solution, which can be run on virtual systems as well as physical systems. And x86 servers are a lot cheaper than a power system.

Open-source was also a factor in our decision to switch to RHEL. Open-source has allowed a lot of development in areas, more ingenuity, innovation, and products than other constricted OSs. My opinion is that when you're dealing with open-source, you have people who are more likely to innovate and create new things. It's easier to develop an open-source platform than it is to use a closed source platform because then you can't get to the APIs, you can't do anything in the system if you want to change things in the system to make your product more available to people.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was pretty straightforward. I've even set servers up at home on a pretty regular basis. I have my own lab, so I've deployed it and it's pretty straightforward. With RHEL, the setup is nice because you get a GUI, so any Windows-based user is going to be familiar with the GUI and know what to look at. They can deploy software as needed, right there from the menu. From a TextBase, you can script it to where all you have to do is run a script and it'll deploy the server quickly. It's pretty straightforward.

Personally, I wouldn't be able to speak to the installation. Having a single point is always a benefit because then you don't have to jump around multiple points to download software and to deploy your solution. The only thing about it is with Docker, a lot of times you have to go out to the Docker site to download the newest versions.

If you're running Satellite, it's even easier because all your current patches are downloaded. The iOS is already there and a lot of time is it's a straight script that you can deploy quickly. The single-point install is a good thing.

Depending on what you're running it on and what kind of equipment you're running, it can take anywhere between 20 minutes to an hour. That depends on the equipment.

What about the implementation team?

They had Unix admins on site. They were implemented to bring in the Red Hat environment because of the similarity between Unix and Red Hat.

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

If you implement Ansible, that's an additional cost. If you implement Satellite, that's an additional cost to your licensing. However, the amount of licensing if you license 100 servers is actually cheaper per server than licensing 50 or 25.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

The first one that comes to mind as a real competitor would be SUSE. It's built-in Germany. Ubuntu is a commendable product but I don't find it as reliable or as easy to administer as I do RHEL. A lot of developers like it because it's really easy. It's more geared towards a home-user environment than it is a corporate environment. The support factor for RHEL is good. If you need to call tech support, it's there.

What other advice do I have?

I have used Satellite and Ansible in other environments. Satellite integrates very well. It's built by Red Hat, so it integrates thoroughly and it allows a single point of download for all patches and any software deployments you have. You can automate server builds, if you do it right, and make things a lot easier.

Ansible can tie into Satellite and RHEL fairly easily. It allows you to build multiple types of deployments for multiple solutions, and allows a playbook-type deal. You develop a playbook and send it out and it builds a server for the user. Done.

It would speed up deployment and make it easier to manage. If you had a developer who needed to throw up a box real quick to check something, he could run a playbook, throw up a server and rather quickly do what he needed to do. Then dismiss the server and all resource reviews return back to the YUM. If it was hardware, it would be a little bit different, but if we run a virtualization environment, they return all resources back to the host. So it made matching servers and deployment a lot simpler and less work on the operations environment.

The best advice I could give is if you're going from a Windows environment to an RHEL environment, there's a learning curve that is going to be a factor during implementation management and basic administration. Your company would probably need to hire new people just to support an RHEL environment. Between SUSE and RHEL, the number of people who know SUSE very well in the US is not as high as it is in Europe. RHEL has become more of a global OS than SUSE, though they're both comparable. I would advise looking at what you need it to do and then make sure you have the infrastructure, people, and manpower to support it.

There's a huge number of resources out there. You have sites geared specifically for RHEL administration. I believe IT Central Station has some resources on its site as well. There are Usenet groups and different forums. TechRepublic has a large number of resources as well. There are numerous resources out there to ease the learning curve.

There are a lot of things I've learned over the years using RHEL. Running it as a virtual design environment where you can run multiple servers on a single hardware piece makes it a lot more cost-effective and you don't have the resource depletion as you would have with Windows. Unfortunately, Windows is a resource hog. RHEL can be set up to run very minimally, with virtually no overhead other than the applications you're using to service users. 

I would rate it a nine out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
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Bruce Young
Senior Systems Engineer at a university with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Easy to configure securely, robust with low maintenance requirements, good speed and performance

Pros and Cons

  • "This is a very robust product that doesn't require a lot of handling. It just works."
  • "The price is something that can be improved, as they are still being undercut."

What is our primary use case?

We use a combination of Red Hat and Oracle Linux in different parts of the organization. We have a cluster, where RHEL is running. The instances are both virtualized and real, depending on which part of the cluster you're utilizing. They are set up as either RAC or single instance, depending on what we are trying to achieve in terms of performance.

We have PeopleSoft systems that are all deployed on Red Hat. We also use it for deploying simple websites. PostgreSQL is running on the systems, along with a frontend that was created by the developers. We also use it for DNS fallback authentication.

We have quite a few Windows systems, as well, and some of the applications that we used to run on Linux have now been migrated to Windows.

We have a mixed environment, although, in the cluster, our deployment is primarily on-premises. There are some deployments into different cloud providers, depending on the service that we're looking for. However, when we head into the cloud, we tend to go to Product as a Service rather than Infrastructure as a Service or the like. This means that we're less concerned about the underlying operating system and we try to avoid interacting with it as much as possible. So, it is just virtualization in this case.

How has it helped my organization?

We rely on RHEL for stability, control, and reliable updates. There may be other Linux variants that work as well or better but we're quite happy with this solution.

We try very hard to ensure that everything is working irrespective of what it's running on, in terms of the operating system and middleware, including what database is running. RHEL helps maintain consistency of application and user experience, regardless of the underlying infrastructure, simply by not being part of the problem.

RHEL enables us to deploy applications across bare metal servers and virtualized environments, and it's an area where everything seems to be working okay. It is reliable and there is nothing that is causing us grief at the moment. The only ones causing us trouble are the applications that we're customizing, although that is nothing at the operating system level.

What is most valuable?

You can set up the security services quite quickly, which we found very useful in our context because we're a highly public organization and we need to ensure that we've got things patched as quickly as possible.

This is a very robust product that doesn't require a lot of handling. It just works. It doesn't really matter whether we've got Apache components on it or anything else. It'll run.

We have used RHEL's monitoring tools, albeit very rarely. The last time we used this feature, we were trying to track down a problem with one of our LDAP services and we were not getting any useful response back from support for that service. Ultimately, we were able to track the issue to a particular character in a user's surname.

There is nothing to work on in terms of speed and performance.

For how long have I used the solution?

We started using Red Hat Linux approximately 15 years ago.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Overall, the stability is very good.

The most recent stuff that's been a little bit kinky was in the release of version 8. They were looking to change things around with how the product is built, so it just took us a while before we started using it.

I think we waited until version 8.1 was out and then we were fine. It was a case of us letting that version settle a little bit, as opposed to version 6 and version 7, which we went straight to once released.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability-wise, it suits the needs of our organization and we haven't tried to do anything more than that. When we had multinode, Oracle RAC systems, we had a four-node RAC, each of them had four CPUs and 64 gigs of RAM, and they were all running one database. Performance was not an issue with the database.

This is one of those systems that people can use without knowing it, in a web context. Pretty much all of our research staff and students are using it, at least to a degree, even if it's just for storage management. From their perspective, if you ask them what they're using then it's just a Windows share, but in reality, it's RHEL. There are between 30,000 and 50,000 users in this category, and the majority of them wouldn't even know it was Red Hat.

We've got a fairly straightforward Red Hat implementation but the users do a variety of jobs. Some of the work that we do is implementation integration, so there are no specific users per see. It's just about migrating data and files, depending on what we need. The people that use it in this capacity are academic staff, finance staff, libraries, IT staff, students, and researchers. It is also used by systems engineers, senior systems engineers, the senior security person, my manager, and his boss. There is also a deputy director and the director.

We're probably not going to increase our usage by any level of significance. At the same time, we're probably not going to decrease in any great rush either. We're in a phase where we're looking at what can be put into cloud systems, and we are targeting Product as a Service in that space rather than infrastructure.

Essentially, we're looking to move away from managing operating systems when we put stuff in the cloud, but we still have hundreds of servers, just in one of our locations. The majority of them have no plans to move at this stage, so our installed base is fairly stable.

How are customer service and support?

Primarily, we haven't had to use technical support and I can't recall the last time we actually had to log a call with them. It's a really good situation to be in.

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

It's an interesting situation because we use Oracle Enterprise Linux primarily. It is really not very different from RHEL because it's just recompiled and they resend it. We use RHEL on one of our clusters, which has about 300 nodes in it and is used in research. In short, we use both Oracle Linux and Red Hat Linux, but the reality is that nothing much is different between the two of them.

We initially implemented Red Hat and we consolidated everything to Oracle Linux because it was cheaper from a support standpoint. That was when Red Hat Enterprise Linux version 4 was out. I think that version 5 had only just been released and we switched to Oracle, which is the same thing anyway.

The last time the research cluster was updated, it switched from the IRIX operating system to Red Hat on HP. They weren't necessarily going to implement Red Hat but we had to make sure that everything was licensed correctly, and that's how it came into play. Since it is not using our Oracle license, but it's already bought and paid for, we have not consolidated it. We could consolidate again but it doesn't make a lot of difference in terms of what we do on a day-to-day basis. It runs the same and it operates the same.

We were running version 7 of Red Hat on the cluster and we have versions 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 running in the Oracle Linux space. The applications running on version 4 will only run on that version, and there are only two of those left. We have three instances of version 5, about 30 running on version 6. We are trying to reduce this number and we had more than 60 running on version 6 a few months ago. The fact that this is going down is nice.

Versions 7 and 8 are still supported, so the specific version is not a concern.

Prior to using Linux, we used Digital's TruCluster. However, after Digital was bought by HP, they discontinued the product.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was fairly straightforward. We put in the satellite server and then ran the config on each of the nodes to tell them where it was. After that, the updates were happening and there wasn't anything else to be done.

We did not use a formal approach for our implementation and deployment. It was probably more haphazard than structured.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented it in-house.

We have four people that support it, although they do not work on it full-time. For example, the person who works on it most consistently also does work in the networking and firewall space, as well as identity management. We have more support staff for Windows within our environment.

The most recent change we made is a flag that had to be set on the kernel for some of the machines. Setting the flag means that you can patch it without having to reboot. This wasn't particularly problematic, although we had to make sure that it was in place because we now have patching occurring on a monthly basis.

In general, there is not much to do in terms of maintenance. The biggest drama has come from organizing upgrades to the application side that sits on top, rather than the operating system itself.

What was our ROI?

We've had some done ROI analysis over the years and it's always interesting when you read them. When you consider the initial implementation and you couple that with what we did with Oracle, we saved about $500,000 USD on purchasing all of the different parts by going with Red Hat.

This is significant as well because we still had the same capability with the hardware.

We've had similar kinds of examples thrown at us over the years, but primarily that's when comparing HP-UX and other vendor-closed products.

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

The price is something that can be improved, as they are still being undercut.

We are an educational institution and as such, what we pay is less than the average company. There are no costs in addition to the standard licensing fees.

Red Hat's single subscription and install repository for all types of systems is something that we're quite interested in because it's simpler and easy to manage hundreds of virtual machines. However, from a pricing standpoint, it's part of the problem because it's what Red Hat utilizes to explain why they cost more.

The Oracle licensing of support for the same Red Hat product is cheaper, and it's cheaper to the level of significance that it makes it worthwhile. We have spoken with the salespeople at Red Hat about it, and they have said that there was nothing they could do.

It's starting to become a question mark over the patching with version eight. We might be changing, but we're unlikely to be changing from Red Hat. It's more a case of who's running our support, be it Oracle or Red Hat. However, we would need to look at the numbers next time we renew, which is not until next year.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Prior to choosing RHEL, we looked at a number of different things. We conducted a fairly large scan of product offerings and our analysis included cost, availability, and support. It took us about three months to go through the process and Red Hat was successful.

The fact that Red Hat is open-source was a consideration, but it wasn't necessarily a winning ticket at the time. We came from a closed source product that we were very happy with but when we were looking at the alternative closed source options, none of them were even close in terms of product offering. Also, they were actually more expensive. So, when looking at the open-source with support opportunity that we were presented with from Red Hat, it was very much a cheaper option that also brought with it a lot of reliability. That is why we chose it.

What other advice do I have?

RHEL provides features that help to speed deployment, although we don't use their tools. We use tools from a third party.

My advice for anybody who is looking into implementing RHEL is to make sure that it is going to work for you. Ensure that it supports all of the products that you need it to support once you've actually assessed all of those things. It is a quality product, there's no doubt about that. Once you have made that assessment, I would say, "Great, go for it."

In summary, this is one of the products that works well and does what we need.

I would rate this solution a nine 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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LM
Analyste principal - AIX et Linux at a hospitality company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Top 5
The integrated solution approach reduces our TCO tremendously because we are able to focus on innovation instead of operations

Pros and Cons

  • "The integrated solution approach reduces our TCO tremendously because we are able to focus on innovation instead of operations."
  • "Linux overall needs improvement. They cannot go much beyond what Linus Torvalds's kernel implementation can do. I come from AIX, and there were very cool things in AIX that I am missing dearly, e.g., being able to support not only adding, but also reducing memory and number of processors. That is not supported on Linux right now, and it is the same for the mainstream file systems supported by Red Hat. There is no way of reducing a file system or logical volume. Whereas, in AIX, it was a shoo-in. These are the little things where we can say, "Ah, we are missing AIX for that.""

What is our primary use case?

It started mostly with websites and open source environments overall for development. Now, we are moving into business applications as we are migrating our ERP, which is a cp -r tree, to Linux. We are also migrating the database of SAP to SAP HANA on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. 

We use RHEL versions 7 and 8. There is a bit of version 6 still lying around, but we are working on eradicating that. It is mostly RHEL Standard subscriptions, but there are a few Premium subscriptions, depending on how critical the applications are.

How has it helped my organization?

It has fulfilled all the promises or goals of different projects, not just because our internal team is strong, but also because our external partner is strong.

What is most valuable?

Satellite is an optional system which provides for extensive deployment and patch management. That is quite valuable.

We use Red Hat Enterprise Linux's tracing and monitoring tools. You don't leave them on all the time, as far as tracing is concerned. When you are sick and go to the doctor, that is when you use it, e.g., when an application is sick or things are really unexplainable. It gives you a good wealth of information. In regards to monitoring, we are using them to a point. We are using Insights and Insight Sender as well as the Performance Co-Pilot (PCP), which is more something we look at once in a while. 

Other Red Hat products integrate with Red Hat Enterprise Linux very well. In fact, they integrate with pretty much everything around the universe. We are doing API calls without even knowing what an API is, i.e., towards VMware vCenter as well as Centreon. There are certain individuals who use it for free without subscription and support for Ansible in our Telco group with great success.

What needs improvement?

Linux overall needs improvement. They cannot go much beyond what Linus Torvalds's kernel implementation can do. I come from AIX, and there were very cool things in AIX that I am missing dearly, e.g., being able to support not only adding, but also reducing memory and number of processors. That is not supported on Linux right now, and it is the same for the mainstream file systems supported by Red Hat. There is no way of reducing a file system or logical volume. Whereas, in AIX, it was a shoo-in. These are the little things where we can say, "Ah, we are missing AIX for that."

We are not loving our servers anymore. If we need them, we create them. When we don't need them, we delete them. That is what they are. They are just commodities. They are just a transient product.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using it for nine years, since 2012.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability has been very good. However, there is a learning curve. We were running huge in-memory databases, about 2.5 terabytes of RAM, which is SAP HANA. Then, we were getting really weird problems, so we asked the app guys 20,000 times to open a ticket because we were seeing all kinds of weird timeouts and things like that on the OS side. We were saying, "It's the app. It takes forever." Finally, they said, "Oh yeah, we use a back-level thing that is buggy and creates a problem." It took us six months and four people to get that from the app guys. We were ready to kill them. That was not good. Whatever you put on Linux, make sure that you have somebody supporting it who is not dumb, or on any platform for that matter.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is six terabytes. That is what we're doing. We are printing HANA servers on that scale, which are more in the 2.5 terabyte range. However, we had to create one for the migration initiative on the VMware, which was six terabytes with 112 cores. It worked, and that was it. It also works with bare-metal, but you have to be aware there are challenges in regards to drivers and things.

How are customer service and technical support?

RHEL provides features that help our speed deployment. For example, for SAP HANA, they have full-fledged support for failover clustering using Red Hat HA, which is a solution to create a vintage approach of failover clustering. They do provide extensive support for value-adds for ERP solutions.

They also provide value left, right, and center. Whenever we have a problem, they are always there. We have used both their professional services as well as their Technical Account Manager (TAM) services, which is a premium service to manage the different challenges that we have had within our business. They have always come through for us, and it is a great organization overall.

Their support is wonderful. They will go beyond what is supposed to be supported. For example, we had a ransomware attack. They went 20 times above what we were expecting of them, using software provided by them on a pro bono basis, meaning take it and do whatever you want with it, but it was not ours. That was a nice surprise. So, whenever we have needed them, they did not come with a bill. They came with support, listening, and solutions. That is what we expect of a partner, and that is what they are: a partner.

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

I, for one, was managing AIX, which is a legacy Unix, as my core competency. I still do because we haven't completed the migration. 

RHEL is a value-add right now. As we are migrating more payloads to containers, we are putting less Linux forethought into these container-hosting servers. You just shove your containers on top of them with your orchestrations. This may reduce our need to manage RHEL like a bunch of containers. That changes the business. 

We were paying for premium SUSE support for an initial pilot of SAP HANA on the IBM POWER platform. We were stuck between an IBM organization telling us, "Go to SUSE for your support," and the SUSE organization saying, "Go to IBM for your support." So, we told them both to go away. 

We are so glad that we haven't mixed the Red Hat and IBM more, because SUSE and IBM don't mix, and we were mixing them. That was prior to the merger with Red Hat. In regards to IBM's ownership of Red Hat, we are a bit wary, but we think that IBM will have the wisdom not to mess it up, but we will see. There is a risk.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is as straightforward as it can get for anyone who knows what they are talking about. It does require technical knowledge, because that's what it is: a technical solution. It is not something that I would give to my mother. Contrary to other people's perception of, "My mom had a problem with her Windows. Oh, put her on Linux." Yeah, no thanks. Give her a tablet, please. Tablets are pretty cool for non-techies, and even for techies to a certain extent. 

For the migration from AIX, Ansible has been our savior. You do need somebody who knows Ansible, then it is more about printing your servers. So, you press on the print button, then you give it to the apps guys, but you do have to know what you are trying to aim for so the guy who is creating the Ansible Playbook codes exactly what is required with the right variables. After that, it is just a question of shoving that into production. It is pretty wonderful.

What was our ROI?

We do get a return on investment with this solution in regards to a comparative cost of ownership of going with the niche solution of IBM AIX systems and hardware. There is a tremendous difference in cost. It is about tenfold.

The integrated solution approach reduces our TCO tremendously because we are able to focus on innovation instead of operations.

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

RHEL is a great place to go. They have a great thing that is not very well-known, which is called the Learning Subscription, which is a one-year all-you-can-drink access to all of their online self-paced courses as well as their certifications. While it is a premium to have the certifications as well, it is very cool to have that because you end up as a Red Hat certified engineer in a hurry. It is good to have the training because then you are fully versed in doing the Red Hat approach to the equation, which is a no-nonsense approach.

Because it is a subscription, you can go elastic. This means you can buy a year, then you can skip a year. It is not like when you buy something. You don't buy it. You are paying for the support on something, and if you don't pay for the support on something, there is no shame because there are no upfront costs. It changes the equation. However, we have such growth right now on the Linux platform that we are reusing and scavenging these licenses. From a business standpoint, not having to buy, but just having to pay for maintenance, changes a lot of the calculations.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We tried SUSE on the IBM POWER platform, and it was a very lonely place to be in. That was for SAP HANA migration. We are glad that we decided to be mainstream with leveraging what we already had at Red Hat Linux (over a few dead bodies now). We also leveraged the Intel x86 platform, which is very mainstream. 

We are not using the Red Hat Virtualization product. We are using VMware just so we can conform to the corporate portfolio.

Our RHEL alerting and operation dashboard is not our route one right now. We have been using Centreon, which is derived from the Nagios approach, for about seven years.

With AIX, we couldn't get a single software open source to run. It was like a write-off, except for reducing a file system or logical volume in Linux.

What other advice do I have?

We are a bunch of techies here. RHEL is not managed by end users. We don't really mind the GUIs, because the first thing that we do is stop using them. We are using Ansible, which is now part of RHEL, and that can automate the living heck out of everything. For now, we are not using the Power approach, but we may in the future. We are doing a business case for that, as it would be an easy sell for some communities and the use cases are not techie-to-techies.

There is a cloud, but we have very little infrastructure as a service in the cloud right now. 

It delivers to the targeted audiences. Could Red Hat Enterprise Linux be used in all types of other scenarios? Most likely. They have an embedded version for microcontrollers, i.e., things that you put into your jewelry or light switches. However, this is not what they're aiming for.

I would rate RHEL as a nine and a half (out of 10), but I will round that up to 10.

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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Dinesh  Jaisankar
Senior Information Technology System Analyst at National center of meterology
Real User
Top 20
Runs our whole production workload, easy to manage and troubleshoot, and very stable

Pros and Cons

  • "It is a well-established operating system. We have tried to implement almost every feature of a version in our environment, and it has been very reliable. We are not facing many production issues on a day-to-day basis. They have well-documented articles on their documentation site and a knowledge base on their website. When we need to implement anything, we are able to find information about the best practices and the solution."
  • "The vulnerability assessment part should also be improved. We do a lot of patching regularly. They try to fix an issue very quickly, and we also end up facing bugs that are not properly documented. When releasing the general availability for a particular solution, they need to do a lot more work on their side."

What is our primary use case?

It is used for our production system. We are running multiple web servers and multiple databases on RHEL operating system platform. We are also running some of our OpenShift containers on it. We have a lot of applications that are running on RHEL versions 5, 6, 7, and 8 in our environment, but the maximum number of applications are running on RHEL 7 and 8. 

How has it helped my organization?

RHEL provides features that help speed up our deployment. We are using OpenShift to speed up our container implementation and container orchestration.

It is good in terms of consistency of application and user experience. It works consistently regardless of the underlying infrastructure. For the features we are using, we are getting the output according to what they have mentioned in the portfolio. We are not facing any unpredictable issues. It has a predictive analysis feature for troubleshooting. It uses AI and ML algorithms to give us the issues that will eventually come if something prolongs. If we are managing our environment very well and are following the best practices, our end-users also don't face any issues, which improves their user experience.

We use RHEL's tracing and monitoring tools. They have given a lot of metrics, and we do use these tools to trace our application. They provide a lot of benchmarks and metrics if we are planning to do a tech refresh or if we are planning to migrate any solution. So, we use them to calculate, and then we do the documentation.

Its integrations are very reliable. We have a Satellite Server for patching, and we are using Ansible for configuration management. We have a lot of API integrations with the RHEL for third-party integrations. We do a lot of testing before integrating the third-party services into RHEL. We first try them out in the Test environment, and then we deploy them on the Dev environment, and after that, we move them to the Production environment.

What is most valuable?

It is easy to manage. It is also easy to troubleshoot. The subscription and the support from the RHEL are also good.

It is a well-established operating system. We have tried to implement almost every feature of a version in our environment, and it has been very reliable. We are not facing many production issues on a day-to-day basis. They have well-documented articles on their documentation site and a knowledge base on their website. When we need to implement anything, we are able to find information about the best practices and the solution.

What needs improvement?

Their support service can be improved. They are able to help us, but in some cases, there is a delay in getting a root cause analysis from their side for Severity One cases.

The vulnerability assessment part should also be improved. We do a lot of patching regularly. They try to fix an issue very quickly, and we also end up facing bugs that are not properly documented. When releasing the general availability for a particular solution, they need to do a lot more work on their side.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this solution for more than eight years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Its stability is awesome when compared to other products. We have multiple Unix flavors running in the environment, but we are running production workloads only on RHEL. Previously, we were running the production load on other Unix flavors, but we had a lot of production issues. That's why we migrated the whole production workload to RHEL.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is according to each product. They have predefined scalability ratios. It works fine according to that ratio. We are able to scale applications and databases. It is easy. Before deploying an application, we check the scalability of each product, and we plan accordingly. So, there are no issues. It is easy.

We have Oracle Databases with 30 to 40 terabytes database size running on RHEL. We also have some HPC systems running on RHEL. We are running a workload of around 250 terabytes on RHEL, and we are planning to extend our environment and increase its usage.

How are customer service and support?

Their support is good, but there are some delays in giving a root cause analysis for critical Severity One or S1 cases. I would rate them an eight out of 10.

How was the initial setup?

It is straightforward. It is not much complex. Previously, we used to do everything manually. Now, we have multiple scripts and multiple tools that make it easy to deploy.

The first deployment took a few months because we were new to RHEL. We had to do a lot of homework from our side as well as on the product side, so it took us a few months to implement it. Now, we are well-familiar with the product. We know how the product works, so we plan accordingly, and we are able to finish according to a deadline.

RHEL has accelerated the deployment of cloud-based workloads. We also work with a local partner of RHEL, and they give us professional services. They do have some customized tools for partner deployment, and their professional services team is able to help us to accelerate all the workloads to the public cloud by using those tools. This acceleration time depends upon the workload size and whether we are going for a normal Infrastructure-as-a-Service or Platform-as-a-Service. It also depends on how we are migrating our monolithic application to the microservices application.

What about the implementation team?

We are a local government organization. We have an account manager from RHEL, and we also have a local system integrator and a local partner. They are providing us local help for our requirements.

For purchases or subscriptions, we don't have any issues. We have multiple subscriptions for multiple products. Our local Red Hat partner takes care of all requirements. We just send the requests to them, and they take care of all subscription-related things for us. The whole process is streamlined.

What was our ROI?

We have been using it for a lot of years. Our business is happy with its total cost of ownership and its return on investment.

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

It is more expensive than other vendors in terms of pricing and licensing, but because of its stability, I have to go with it.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

In terms of the operating system features, scalability, and stability, RHEL is better than other Unix flavors.

We do a lot of technical evaluation before migrating or implementing a new application or solution. For example, we evaluated Docker, Kubernetes, and OpenShift. We went for OpenShift because RHEL had the support for it. For patch management, we are using Red Hat Satellite Server. We used some other third-party tools such as ManageEngine, and we also did manual patching. As compared to others, Red Hat Satellite Server is much better.

What other advice do I have?

It is very stable, and you can easily run a lot of production workload on RHEL. Red Hat products are well established. They have been around for many years. Red Hat is dealing with multiple products and applications and is constantly doing research to develop new products according to industry trends. With RHEL, you can get an end-to-end solution with their multiple products, which is something not available through other vendors. 

Red Hat's open-source approach was a factor when choosing RHEL. We are utilizing a lot of open-source solutions in our Test and Dev environment before going into production. We are able to get a lot of information in the open-source community, and we also have local community support in our region.

Its newer versions enable us to deploy current applications and emerging workloads across bare-metal, virtualized, hybrid cloud, and multi-cloud environments, but the older versions are not supporting these features. They have included more features in the newer versions to integrate and merge with other applications that are on-premises, in the cloud, or in a hybrid cloud setup. In the older versions, we faced some issues in moving some of the applications from on-premises to the cloud, but in the newer versions, it is very easy to move or merge to the cloud. The applications that we have deployed across these environments are very reliable, except for the bare-metal. They are not much reliable if we are using a bare-metal solution on-prem. For virtualization, we are not using the native RHEL virtualization. We have VMware for virtualization, and it is okay in terms of directly deploying some of the applications to the public cloud. It is quite reliable.

It doesn't simplify adoption for non-Linux users. For non-Linux users, it is somewhat difficult to manage this solution or have this solution. However, as compared to other Unix platforms, RHEL is okay.

We are not using RHEL to run multiple versions of the same application or database on a specific operating system. In a specific operating system, we are running an application according to our end-user features requirements. We go through a lot of documentation and do multiple PoCs for deploying an application on the RHEL platform. We have a lot of user acceptance test procedures for each application in terms of how we have to do benchmarking and what are our requirements. So, we are managing with an individual operating system and not using the whole centralized solution.

We use automation tools to move to the cloud. When we are planning to move to the cloud, we do multiple cloud assessments for which we have third-party tools as well as in-built RHEL tools. Each vendor has a different way of migration and automation for moving the on-prem workload to the cloud workload. Each vendor gives you different tools, and we follow the best practices given by them while moving the on-premises workload to the cloud.

I would rate RHEL an eight out of 10.

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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Fredrik Lehtonen
Systems Analyst at Intraservice/City of G̦teborg
Real User
Top 5
Allows us to offer our customers an easier way to get a WordPress site or to have POSTGRES or Tomcat installations

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution has features that simplify adoption for non-Linux users. There is an interface that you can activate on RHEL systems, and on other Linux systems as well, so that you will get a graphical user interface instead of just a shell. It's easier for an administrator who is used to only working on Windows."
  • "Sometimes they don't have new versions for applications like Apache or PHP. I understand it's because they have to have support for them, so they can't have the latest version all the time, but that's the main thing I see that could be improved."

What is our primary use case?

We use it for 

  • some of our websites
  • one of our main applications for the City of Gothenburg
  • automation 
  • the underlying operating system for our GitLab server.

How has it helped my organization?

We have many different databases running on RHEL. Among them we have MySQL and POSTGRES and they all run great on RHEL 7 and on RHEL 8.

Using this solution, we can offer our customers an easier way to get a WordPress site, and they can have POSTGRES and Tomcat installations, and these run smoother on Linux than they do on Windows.

We also use both Ansible and Satellite from Red Hat. They are integrated with RHEL and they work like a charm. The integration works great. We use Satellite for patching our RHEL servers and we use Ansible to automate the patching and deployment of config files. That means we don't have to worry that much about the patching. If we want to deploy the same config file to 100 systems, we just run the playbook with Ansible and it's done. We don't have to run it on 100 servers.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable thing for us is the support that we get from Red Hat for the product. One of our most important applications here in the City of Gothenburg runs on RHEL, so if something happens, we have a partner to get support from.

The solution has features that simplify adoption for non-Linux users. There is an interface that you can activate on RHEL systems, and on other Linux systems as well, so that you will get a graphical user interface instead of just a shell. It's easier for an administrator who is used to only working on Windows.

In terms of the deployment and management interfaces for non-Linux users and Linux beginners, for me it was quite easy to get on with Linux and RHEL. And if you're not using the Cockpit, or graphical interface, then it's a bit harder because then you have to type in everything and you don't get any visual guides. On the RHEL systems that we have, we haven't been using the desktop environment; we only just use the shell environment. But using Cockpit is much easier because then you get a visual, graphical interface.

What needs improvement?

Sometimes they don't have new versions for applications like Apache or PHP. I understand it's because they have to have support for them, so they can't have the latest version all the time, but that's the main thing I see that could be improved.

So when you use RHEL and you want to install, let's say, Apache or PHP, you do a "dnf install php" and you get a specific version that Red Hat releases. But that isn't the latest version that PHP has released, because Red Hat has to make sure that they can support it. The compatibility with the latest version of Apache or PHP lags because RHEL does not release updates of the latest versions.

It's the same with the kernel. Sometimes they are a bit behind in the kernel version. That's the same issue. They have to test it and support it for so many years so that's why they are a bit behind on the kernel as well.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using Red Hat Linux (RHEL) for more than 10 years. We are using versions 6, 7, and 8.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's a really stable operating system. It has a lifetime of about ten years per version. It's not like other Linux systems where the lifetime is about five years. It's stable and it runs for a long time so you don't have to change the operating system that often.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's easy to scale up and scale out.

Of the people using our RHEL systems, some are system administrators and some of them are just consuming power or memory or CPU from the server. They only have websites and they don't come into contact with the underlying operating system.

RHEL accounts for about 10 to 15 percent of our servers. Our usage increases all the time.

The solution also enables you to deploy current applications and emerging workloads across bare-metal, virtualized, hybrid cloud, and multi cloud environments. We only use on-premise in our infrastructure, but you can have it on bare-metal or on cloud or multi cloud. For us, it's been running great. It's reliable.

How are customer service and technical support?

Red Hat's technical support has been quite good. Sometimes the lead times are a bit long because most of the support is in India, it seems, so there is a time difference. But if we need to get a higher level of support, we can just bump up the priority. So that's really good. We will get help faster.

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

I don't think our company had a similar solution before RHEL, although that was back before I started with the company. The company started with RHEL because they wanted to have support.

Red Hat, as a company, is a big contributor to the open-source community. That's another one of the reasons that we want to use RHEL the product.

How was the initial setup?

The setup was quite straightforward. It was a bit harder with the latest version, but that was because of our VMware version.

For us, deployment takes about 15 to 20 minutes. Most of the time we get someone who orders it. They want to have a website and they need a server and we will spin up a RHEL server for them in our VMware infrastructure.

For deployment and maintenance there are two of us in the company. I'm one of them, in my role as a systems analyst, and my colleague is an IT strategist, although he mainly works as a system admin as well.

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

In terms of the solution’s single subscription and install repository for all types of systems, we can have as many RHEL installations as we want because we have a specific subscription that entitles us to have as many RHEL services as we want. We pay for a subscription and with that we get RHEL and Satellite as well.

The best thing to do is to go to developers.redhat.com and get free subscriptions for RHEL products, so you can try them out and see how they work before you go ahead and purchase or subscribe.

As far as I know, there are no costs in addition to the standard licensing fees.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We have Ubuntu, CentOS, and other types of Linux versions. The main difference between these products and RHEL is the support that we get from Red Hat. RHEL is also more capable and more stable and it is more of a well-tested operating system before it gets released.

What other advice do I have?

Try the product out. If you decide to purchase a subscription, don't be afraid to submit a ticket or a support case to Red Hat, because that's why you pay for a subscription. It took us a  long time before we started to open support cases, because we thought, "Ah, we can fix this ourselves." But now we use the support system quite often and it works quite well.

One of the things I've learned from using RHEL is that there are applications that work so much better on Linux than they do on Windows.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
UM
Joint Director at a government with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Enables us to deploy current applications and emerging workloads across all virtualized hybrid cloud and multi-cloud environments

Pros and Cons

  • "The best system I've ever used is Red Hat, in terms of its ability and consistency of the operating system. Other than that, the vast majority of applications that I had, you can deploy Red Hat with the support of the vast majority of applications. We don't have many issues with the OS, the support is very good."
  • "I'm not sure how the support is being changed in terms of needing to pay for it. That's an area that can be improved. They should offer support without charging users for it."

What is our primary use case?

We use RHEL for database servers, a few of them run Oracle servers, and we are also using it for some of the network and infrastructure services.

How has it helped my organization?

The best operating system I've ever used is Red Hat, in terms of its ability and consistency of the operating system. Other than that, the vast majority of applications that I had, I could deploy those on Red Hat without much effort as it supported a vast majority of applications. I never faced any major issues with the OS, the support is also very good.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are:

  • The stability and reliability of the OS itself
  • Being open-source and leading the open-source market trends/ technologies
  • The wide variety of applications we can deploy on Red Hat
  • Their support 

I am a big fan of the OS and the user experience. They're very good. The OS is very stable and very good in performance as well.

RHEL enables us to deploy current applications and emerging workloads across all virtualized hybrid cloud and multi-cloud environments. It is one of the most stable OS that are available. 

We use RHEL to run multiple versions of the same applications and databases on a specific operating system. We have several deployments of database and a few of them are running on a bit older versions of Red Hat and some of them are running on newer versions. We are running different versions on different platforms. The management aspect is also very good, especially when we need updates on the different packages from the RH support network, management is easy.

We also use the tracing and monitoring tools to monitor OS as well as applications running on RHEL platform. The OpenShift is also a big plus through which you can manage and deploy enterprise-ready containerized workloads.

What needs improvement?

Being an advocate of open source technologies I always wished that Red Hat subscription/ support should be offered free of cost. Having said that, I understand the economics involved in running large enterprise like Red Hat; support cost is one area that can be improved. They should offer it at reduced prices.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using RHEL since the start of my technical career, which was around the mid of 2003. So it's been almost 18+ years. I started using RH when it was version 7.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability has always been a plus for RHEL. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is excellent. With the introduction of hybrid and multi-cloud support, one can scale up as well as scale out his workloads pretty easily. We usually scale up our traditional workloads when we need more resources i.e., during peak seasons. 

Four people in my team are responsible for deployment and support of Linux based workloads. 

We have around 300 virtual machines (VMs) and roughly 20% of them are running on Linux environment.

How are customer service and support?

Whenever I open a case, I believe the support team will be able to solve my problem. They are very good at it. The documentation RHEL provides is also very good. Almost all the time, I get a solution to my problem. :)

How would you rate customer service and support?

Positive

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

We are using other flavors of Linux OSes, that include Oracle Enterprise Linux (OEL) and CentOS, both of which are binary compatible with RHEL. We are also using a couple of other Linux flavors like Ubuntu and OpenSUSE.

How was the initial setup?

RHEL provides features that help speed our deployment. Installing on a physical server takes more time than installing it onto a virtual machine (VM).

Because of absence of local support in our part of the region, we did find some difficulties in the initial deployments with hardware vendors/ partners when we started in 2003. The local partners didn't have much knowledge of Linux environments at that time, and the support for hardware was also a bit tricky. The deployment took a couple of days until we got support from the hardware manufacturer.

Nowadays, it's very good. I managed to get good support from the hardware vendors after that incident.

We have our own deployment plans for the operating systems that include some baseline configurations and security checklists.

What about the implementation team?

We usually deploy in-house as we have a trained team. Occasionally, little help is sought from the vendor teams, some of them have skilled professionals.

What was our ROI?

RHEL offers an efficient, cost-effective and reliable OS environment for enterprise-level environments. Similarly cost of running operations and the scalability factors make RHEL a good choice for providing a better ROI. The feature set it offers, support for a variety of applications, ease of deployment, and an excellent level of support all result in a good ROI. 

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

I believe for an enterprise-level operating system and the feature set RHEL offers, it's like any other enterprise platform cost. The introduction of OpenShift is also a big plus in terms of deployment and management of container based workloads. Red Hat as mentioned earlier can improve a bit on support/ subscription costs.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We had been using a couple of Red Hat variants for some scientific experiments that included Scientific Linux CERN (SLC) and Scientific Linux (SL), which were a confidence booster for choosing and deploying RHEL for production workloads.

What other advice do I have?

Since I started with version RH 7, I believe the GUI is quite close to any other GUI operating system. There have always been a variety of tools and features that attract a non-Linux user.  As already mentioned, RHEL has been a pioneer in open-source technologies; it continued to evolve with changing market needs, that has been a big success for them.

I would definitely advise choosing RHEL if you need stability, scalability, and reliability of the OS platform. I would be a big advocate for the use of Red Hat to any new person who wants to deploy his production workloads, on-prem or on cloud on a Linux environment.

I would rate it a nine out of ten. It's near perfect. 

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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Ifham Shahid
Associate Engineer at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 5
A Linux distribution solution with good customer support

Pros and Cons

  • "Customer support is valuable."
  • "Their pricing and documentation can be improved."

What is our primary use case?

We deploy front-end and back-end software applications on RHEL, and it's our app server. Most of our app servers and our production servers are on RHEL. They're running on RHEL, and that's why they are profiting from it. I2C is the issuer in the processing payment industry. Basically, we do the issuer processing for credit cards, and all the bank magic that happens when you swipe a credit card is handled by us. We're also using RHEL servers for processing debit card payments.

What is most valuable?

Customer support is valuable. Because most of the Linux distros are open-source, most of them don't have customer support. RHEL isn't open-source, and that's why I prefer it more than other distros.

What needs improvement?

Their pricing and documentation can be improved. They need to have developer variance that's more developer-friendly and less costly. They have a free developer version, but that's very limited in terms of features from RHEL. They also need to build their own open-source community.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using RHEL for about four months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

RHEL is very stable. Unlike Kali-Linux or Solaris, RHEL solutions are very stable. We have licensed projects, and they must be stable to provide all customers with instructions. They're stable, compared to other Linux options too.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's very scalable. When you're using the right machine and the right settings or right parameters, it's highly scalable

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support from their customer service team is very good. They give responses unlike other Linux distros, and I think RHEL has better customer support.

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

My current company was using Solaris before. I was using Core Linux for three to four years. From Ubuntu, I shifted to RHEL and Solaris because I changed companies and jobs. We are using RHEL and Solaris in my current job, and I had to shift to these operating systems.

I have used the Ubuntu Linux base, I have used Kali-Linux and Debian. Of all those Linux systems, I think RHEL is much better, but I find Ubuntu much easier to use than RHEL.

Ubuntu is Debian-based, and Red Hat is, I think VM based. Another difference is open-source systems have less support. Still, the community of Ubuntu is very strong and answers your query very promptly. But Red Hat is a certified, licensed product, and customer support from them is very good.

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

RHEL is expensive. The servers or cloud images are quite expensive. But I guess the client groups they target can afford that kind of a license. If you're a small business owner or a student and want to shift to RHEL, you must spend a lot of dollars. The developer version of RHEL has minimal functionality, but it's given away for free.

What other advice do I have?

I would tell potential customers that they should go for the latest releases. If they want to buy it, they should get a developer account from RHEL first and use that dev account before buying it. They might have some hands-on experience before spending too much money on Red Hat.

On a scale from one to ten, I would give Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) an eight.

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