Red Hat Extends RHEL Life Cycle from 7 to 10 Years

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2012-02-01 Print this article Print

Red Hat announces that it has extended the life cycle of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5 and 6 from seven to 10 years to give users more flexibility in long-term operating system deployments.

Red Hat announced it has extended the production life cycle of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 and 6 from seven to 10 years in response to enterprise customer demand.

With this move, enterprise customers now have additional deployment alternatives for their Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system implementations as they plan the future of their strategic IT deployments, Red Hat said in a Jan. 31 press release on the extension.

"Enterprise customers require flexibility when planning strategic, long-term technology deployments," said Jim Totton, vice president and general manager of the Platform Business Unit of Red Hat, in a statement. "Many of our customers have come to realize that standardizing on Red Hat Enterprise Linux improves efficiency and helps lower costs. With a ten-year life cycle, customers now have additional choices when planning their Red Hat Enterprise Linux deployment and overall IT strategy. We are pleased that customers are looking far into the future with Red Hat." 

For some IT environments, upgrading to a new version of an operating system requires detailed advance planning, Red Hat officials said. Red Hat extended the Red Hat Enterprise Linux life cycle so customers can remain on their current version longer.

For many years, enterprises have chosen Red Hat as their strategic operating system provider because of the functionality and product stability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, the company said. This, coupled with support and the broad ecosystem of certified hardware platforms and ISV applications from Red Hat partners, makes it highly suitable for long-term deployments, Red Hat said. With the new Red Hat Enterprise Linux life cycle, customers will benefit from continued feature enhancements while Red Hat's ABI and API compatibility leverages their application investments, company officials added.

Red Hat offers services for each major release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux throughout four life cycle phases: Production 1, 2 and 3, and an Extended Life Phase. Details of the phases can be found on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Life Cycle page.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 and 6 are offered with 10 years of Production Phase support, followed by a three-year Extended Life Phase. The Red Hat Enterprise Linux life cycle phases are designed to reduce the level of change within each major release over time and make release availability and content more predictable, the company said.

Moreover, a breakdown of the Red Hat Enterprise Lifecycle policies said:

"Software changes to Red Hat Enterprise Linux are delivered via individual updates known as errata advisories through the Red Hat Customer Portal or other authorized portals. Errata advisories can be released individually on an as-needed basis or aggregated as a minor release. Errata advisories may contain security fixes (Red Hat Security Advisories or RHSAs), bug fixes (Red Hat Bug Fix Advisories or RHBAs), or feature enhancements (Red Hat Enhancement Advisories or RHEAs). All errata advisories are tested and qualified against the respective, active Red Hat Enterprise Linux major release. (For example, a Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 RHSA will be applied cumulatively to the latest Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 version and patch set.) All released errata advisories remain accessible to active subscribers for the entire Red Hat Enterprise Linux life cycle. Within each major release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, any errata advisory (including one released as part of a minor release) will be applied cumulatively to the latest release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, including any patch sets.

"During the life cycle of a major release, Red Hat makes commercially reasonable efforts to maintain binary compatibility for the core runtime environment across all minor releases and errata advisories ..." 


Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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