To prevent ordering paid subscriptions for the systems, for which they are not necessarily needed is an important step of every software asset management and compliance reporting. Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server is not an exception. When the required quantities of subscriptions are being calculated, there are some factors, which should not be overlooked since they can help to reduce the final subscriptions spend. This article focuses on some of them.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server subscriptions
There are various types of Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server subscriptions available, which differ based on:
- The length of contracts(1/3 years)
- Support level (Standard/Premium/Self-support)
- Deployment scenario (physical/virtual/high-density virtual)
- Environment (production/development/test)
- Programs (Partners – ‘Not For Resale’ subscriptions) and etc.
When calculating the pure quantity of needed subscriptions for the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server, it is important to keep in mind so-called ‘all or nothing’ rule (Appendix 1 ,,Software and Support Subscription’’ of the ,,Red Hat Enterprise Agreement’’), which we are dealing with in the Red Hat article:
According to this rule, while you are having any active subscriptions for a Red Hat product, you are required to have a number of subscriptions equal to the number of deployments of that product in your environment. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, when certain systems do not need to be covered by paid subscriptions and can be excluded from calculations.
In the following chapter, we will take a look at the mentioned exceptions, which should be taken into consideration when calculating the number of needed subscriptions for Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server.
Is “all” really all or what can be excluded from calculations?
Environment (Development/Test, Production) is an important factor when determining what subscriptions, and if at all are needed.
For production environments, according to the ‘all or nothing rule’’, the paid subscriptions are needed. An exception here is the case when Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server is used by an individual (not by a corporate account) and no support is needed. Such cases can be covered by the no-cost subscription ‘Red Hat Developer Subscription for individuals’. This subscription grants an individual user rights to deploy and use Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server on up to 16 physical or virtual nodes for any purpose including development, testing, and even production. This subscription is available self-service through the Red Hat Developer program.
When it comes to the Development/Test environment in corporations, if there is only self-support sufficient, the paid subscriptions are not needed, and the usage can be instead covered by a no-cost ‘Red Hat Developer Subscription for teams’. This subscription can be requested by Red Hat customers via Red Hat sales or partner account representative. In the picture below, you can see which activities are categorized as Development/Test and Production according to the Red Hat Enterprise agreement.
Self-supported cases in the Development/Test environment can be for a limited period of time (60 days) and covered also by no-cost ,,trial’’ subscriptions. Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server trial subscriptions are not intended for production use, and you need to wait at least 90 days since you activated the trial previously.
- Disaster Recovery
Within disaster recovery scenarios, Red Hat is differentiating between hot, warm, and cold backups. It is important to know if there are any such systems in your environment, since it can influence the cost of the subscription or its need.
- Hot backups are usually systems, which are frequently turned on and ready to move into production mode immediately. Typically failover systems in a cluster.
A subscription is still needed. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of the hot backup disaster recovery subscription is the same as the MSRP of the regular subscription.
- Warm backups are systems, which are not turned on more than every 60 days to receive backups of data from the production servers and updates from Red Hat’s Content Delivery Network (CDN). These are for example used in replication, mirroring, or log-shipping scenarios.
A subscription is still needed. However, the MSRP of the warm backup disaster recovery subscription is 50% off the MSRP of the regular subscription.
- Cold backups are systems, which are usually turned off until a disaster event occurs, or when there are performed disaster recovery procedure tests. Red Hat allows here to preload the bits as a courtesy. However, Red Hat’s CDN cannot be used to update the system until the disaster happens.
A subscription is not needed.
- Partner programs’ benefits
Red Hat partners participating in Red Hat programs have access to various benefits designed to help them to succeed in their businesses. One of them is also no-cost Red Hat products (Red Hat Not-for-Resale - NFR) subscriptions. These subscriptions are not only including Red Hat Enterprise Linux, but also other specific Red Hat products. They can be used for staff training, customer demonstrations, interoperability testing and certification, and other approved uses. NFRs may not be used in production environments.
NFR subscriptions provide access to:
- All versions, variants, and add-ons of Red Hat software have been generally released to the public. This includes also access to public betas.
- Package updates and errata links.
- Red Hat’s Customer Portal knowledge base, discussion groups, and magazines.
Subscriptions for the majority of the products are provided with the ‘self-support’. To ,,Advanced’’ and ,,Premium’’ Partners are available also ,,Supported’’ subscriptions for specific products.
Concluded Red Hat Partner programs and their benefits are therefore also an important factor to be taken into consideration when identifying the need for paid/not paid Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server subscriptions.
We have summarized some of the ’exceptions’, that can help to reduce the number of needed paid subscriptions for Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server, while still staying compliant according to the Red Hat Enterprise agreement. Hopefully, they will be beneficial for you and contribute to the optimization of your software asset management for Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server.