RHEL Subscriptions

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Hello List Members.

I was recently approached by Dell stating that I HAVE TO renew my Red Hat Subscriptions. I challenged this statement and was informed that this has always been the case and that all servers I have bought off of Dell over the years need to have current subscription!

I’ve been searching the Red Hat website to find where this is stated but can’t seem to locate this info. So, is Dell having me on?

Cheers, ak.

15 thoughts on - RHEL Subscriptions

  • Why are you searching on the Red Hat site when this is a Dell issue? It might be that the Dell support contract is tied to the condition that it only applies when you have a valid RHEL subscription. Sounds weird to me but that is the only way Dell could force you to get a new one.

    Have you asked for evidence to support that claim? (i.e. the exact text in the support contract that that demands this)


  • …or what?

    If you have an active support contract with Dell, then they might be able to make you keep current as part of that contract–you should check there and see what it says. But if you’re not going to keep that contract then they can’t make you do anything.


  • If you bought a 1 year RHEL subscription with your Dell server (or any other server) on 1/1/2012 it would expire on 1/1/2013. At this point, you are entitled to keep all software and updates that you have on this server at this time and you are no longer entitled to ongoing software updates or support. A more interesting way to illustrate this is what happens when Red Hat drops support for a particular release. If you had 20 RHEL
    subscriptions which were 10 RHEL 4 and 10 RHEL 5 on the day that Red Hat stopped supporting RHEL 4, you would be entitled to reuse those 10
    subscriptions that were on RHEL 4 machines, whether on new hardware or to rebuild the existing machines because there are no longer updates (yes, I
    am aware of ELS) available. If you called Red Hat support about your RHEL
    4 machine you wouldn’t receive support either. So, you could then reuse your subscriptions on newer versions of RHEL while keeping your old systems running but without updates or support.

    Hope this helps. Barry

  • How does Dell know what OS your are running?
    Should they know what OS you are running?
    Dell provides the hardware only?

    I am confused about this. I do not have experiences with Dell, though.

  • Here’s my take on that…

    If you don’t keep your RHEL support contract active, you will no longer be able to use yum to do online installs or updates. And, Dell will be less able to support you in whatever support contract you have with them.

    Your mileage may vary.

  • Dell sells OEM RHEL and standard (Red Hat) RHEL as a software reseller. In OEM RHEL, Dell provides all but the highest level (passing the highest level back to Red Hat ) support. In standard RHEL, they are just selling you the same thing you would buy from Red Hat. They would know when both are to expire, but ironically they are more in tune with when the standard RHEL that they sell you is set to expire.


  • The only way Dell can FORCE you to update your license is if your original purchase SAID you would maintain the subscriptions for a period of time.

    You should be able to check that and see.

    Are the servers “bought” by you or “leased” by you? If leased, they might be able to dictate the OS as well.

    If neither of those are the case (you are leasing or you agreed to maintain the OS for a period of time) then you can do whatever you want with the OS and Dell will provide hardware and not software support.

  • Does seem kinda harsh.  Maybe it’s the only way Dell can support you?  Without subscriptions/license, I don’t think yum updates will work unless you modify the repos manually.

    The only time anyone at my company ever contacted Red Hat for support was to figure out how to use the license they bought!  It didn’t take long before we dropped that nonsense and started using CentOS.

  • Joseph Spenner wrote:
    licenses? We have a lot of Dells, but we buy them without licenses, since we intend to install CentOS (though we do have one or two that we bought with the licenses, so that we can actually get upstream to fix bugs and add enhancements, such as native PIV/CAC card support…).

    However, I don’t see how they can force you to maintain the license. You can also switch over to CentOS (he says, here on the CentOS mailing list), and I can’t see that they’ll say anything. I speak to them a fair bit, but that’s about hardware, and they have zero problems when I tell them we run CentOS (given that their OMSA disks boot… CentOS ).


  • FWIW – The current iteration of redhat’s subscription seems to require you to have all systems on an up to date subscription if you want to use the OS
    – for anything on anything. At least that’s the way we’ve interpreted it. This did not use to be the case. Previous iterations said you were free to use the OS after the subscription expired.

    have no other active subscriptions”)

    “If you choose to let all your subscriptions expire and have no other active subscriptions in your organization, you retain the right to use the software, but your entire environment will no longer receive any of the subscription benefits, including:

    – The latest certified software versions.
    – Security errata or bug fixes.
    – Red Hat technical support.
    – Access to the Customer Portal.
    – Red Hat’s Open Source Assurance.”

    And from the Redhat’s global licensing appendix 1 about subscription services here:

    “1.2 Use of Software and Subscription Services: While you have subscriptions entitling you to receive Subscription Services for a Red Hat Product, you are required to purchase Subscription Services in a quantity equal to the total number of Units of that Red Hat Product (including variants or components thereof) that you deploy, install, use or execute.”

    The above are not my words, they come directly from Redhat’s subscription docs. Make of them what you will.

  • Michael Coffman wrote:
    I think you’re misinterpreting. I read it as saying that if you let your subscriptions lapse, then you can use up2date, or file bugs (other than as someuseroutthere or get technical support, etc. It does not, in any way I
    can interpret, say that you can’t keep running the systems, or, say, update them from CentOS repositories.

    Certainly, I would expect that to be the case, given the GPL.


  • It says if you let “ALL your subscriptions expire”. I read that to mean after you have no active subscriptions, you can use the software. Seems absolutely crazy, but that’s what it says. It seems more clear to me in the detailed contract version it says clearly ‘use or execute’:

    “you are required to purchase Subscription Services in a quantity equal to the total number of Units of that Red Hat Product (including variants or components thereof) that you deploy, install, use or execute.”

    Not saying this is right or whether they can even hold anyone to this, it just seems clear to me that execute means run the OS.

  • This clause is almost certainly to prevent folks from having a single subscription and then using that to update all the others in the environment. I don’t have a problem with it; we do have several hundred RHEL systems. There are alternatives though. CentOS works for many companies. Even Oracle manages to rebuild the Red Hat packages and sell support around it.

  • Right .. you CAN NOT get all the Red Hat RPMs from one RHEL subscription via RHN and use those RPMs on 20 other machines that have no RHEL RHN

    You CAN have 20 CentOS machines, getting updates from CentOS and also have licensed RHEL machines on your network with the RHEL machines getting updates from Red Hat. You can also convert RHEL machines to CentOS or CentOS machines to RHEL machines, etc.

    What you would do to convert a RHEL machine to a CentOS machine is to replace all the RHEL RPMs with CentOS RPMs … that is very easy to do
    … with CentOS-6, you can just do:

    replace the redhat-release* rpm with the CentOS-release rpm

    remove any Red Hat repos from yum

    yum upgrade


    yum reinstall *

    That would replace any Red Hat RPMs with CentOS RPMs … except the kernel which would need to be done manually.

    But if you want SLA type support for your machines, that is what RHEL is for … so buy it if you need it.