Red Hat Enterprise Linux

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Red Hat
Enterprise Linux

by Faulkner Staff

Docid: 00018630

Publication Date: 2203

Report Type: PRODUCT


Red Hat’s Enterprise Linux (RHEL) offering is a leading Linux operating
system, often regarded as a top open-source option for the workplace. RHEL
is available in both Desktop and Server editions, and offers desktop
virtualization and interoperability with Microsoft Windows and other
proprietary software. RHEL is also available across different hardware
architectures, hypervisors, and clouds, notably in the areas of scientific
computing, IBM POWER, System z, SAP Business Applications, and network
satellite. This report profiles RHEL and its core capabilities.

Report Contents:


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Red Hat is a provider of open-source Linux software; its Red Hat
Enterprise Linux (RHEL) operating systems are fully functioning software
platforms for demanding computing environments in the commercial market.


Related Faulkner Reports
Linux Enterprise Market
Linux Operating Systems Tutorial

The first version of RHEL originally came to market as Red Hat Linux
Advanced Server. In 2003, it was rebranded RHEL Advanced Platform (AS).
Today, RHEL is available in both Server Edition and Desktop Edition, with
variants of each for meeting specific customer needs and both including
Linux applications for enterprise computing. These systems sit atop
hardware from leading OEMs. RHEL is available in server versions for x86,
x86-84, Itanium, PowerPC, and IBM System z. Desktop versions include x86
and x86-84.


Name: Red Hat
1801 Varsity Drive
Raleigh NC 27606
Phone: (919) 754-3700
Fax: (919) 754-3701
Type of Vendor: Linux Software and Support
Founded: 1993
Service Areas: Global
Stock Symbol: RHAT (Nasdaq)

Red Hat Enterprise Linux version 8 was launched in May 2019. Based on Fedora 28, upstream Linux
kernel 4.18, and GNOME 3.28, the new version has improved security,
management and container features, and support for the Trusted Platform
Module (TPM) 2.0 specification for security authentication. Version 8.5
was released in November 2021. Key features include:

  • Container Improvements – RHEL 8.5 adds tooling to bring flexibility and reduce friction in running Podman in a wider range of environments.
    • Containerized Podman – The RHEL 8 Podman container image can help unlock
      the usage of Podman in cloud CI/CD systems, on WSL2 on Windows, under Docker
      Desktop on macOS, and on RHEL 6, 7 and 8. The Podman container image can be
      used to help develop and run other container images.
    • Verify container image signatures by default – Out of the box, RHEL 8.5
      will check container image signatures to verify that they are, in fact, from Red
      Hat and haven’t been tampered with or manipulated.
    • Native OverlayFS as a Rootless container user – RHEL 8.5 offers better
      performance when building and running rootless containers, with native support for
  • Deployment Improvements – Other features add simplicity to managing and deploying RHEL, including
    tools to automate manual tasks, standardize deployment at scale, and simplify the day-to-day administration
    of their systems.

    • Enhanced web console performance metrics – Can help identify problems with CPU, disk, or network
      performance by adding enhanced metrics. In addition, users can more easily export metrics to a Grafana
    • Ansible module for hardware management – With RHEL 8.5, Ansible can manage settings of Intelligent
      Platform Management Interface (IPMI) for power state of a system and boot order of devices.
    • System roles for VPN and Postfix – Users can reduce the time it takes to set up VPN and Postfix using
      system roles.
  • Security and Compliance Improvements – RHEL 8.5 has a number of features to assist in managing
    security and compliance when deploying new systems or managing existing infrastructure.

    • Kernel live patching on all Red Hat Enterprise Linux minor releases – Kernel live
      patching is now available for RHEL minor releases with the ability to access kernel live patches
      for a six month period after a specific kernel is released. This allows more flexibility to
      maintain security on RHEL systems by applying critical and important security patches without
    • Kernel live patching management via web console – Kernel live patching can be managed from
      within the RHEL web console to reduce the complexity of performing critical maintenance. This
      new capability provides a simplified interface for applying kernel updates without having to
    • Enhanced System Security Services Daemon (SSSD) logging – Access is now provided to
      enhanced SSSD user authentication logs, including details such as time to complete, errors,
      authentication flow, and configuration. This includes search capabilities so administrators
      can more easily analyze performance or configuration issues within the user authentication
    • Network Time Security (NTS) for the Network Time Protocol (NTP) – The NTS standard
      provides cryptographic authentication of NTP servers, helping to prevent
      man-in-the-middle attacks that might compromise critical time-keeping
  • Microsoft SQL Server Enhancements – Customers running Microsoft SQL Server on RHEL will
    see a number of enhancements to help configure, manage, and operate RHEL more efficiently.

    • RHEL System Role for Microsoft SQL Server – Administrators and DBAs can more quickly
      install, configure, and tune SQL Server in an automated fashion.
    • The SQL Server Assessment API for Red Hat Insights – Provides an optimal user
      experience for system and database administrators by delivering information from Microsoft’s
      SQL Server assessment API. It also provides best practices from Microsoft to evaluate the
      configuration of SQL Server and grants users with remediation capabilities for issues discovered
      via the API.

    Overall, RHEL is available across many different hardware architectures,
    hypervisors, and clouds, including:

    • Desktop – Focused on security and deploy-ability.
    • Sever – For mission-critical computing.
    • For Scientific Computing – Scientific
      high-performance computing environments.
    • For IBM POWER – To reduce operations and development
    • For IBM System z – Brings Linux applications to the
      mainframe for managing Linux workloads.
    • For SAP Business Applications – Fully supported SAP
      environment in a single package.
    • Red Hat Network Satellite – Manages multiple servers
      as one.

RHEL products – in combination with other Red Hat technology such as
JBoss middleware – provide a “no risk” path to open source, Red Hat
claims. Red Hat’s open source development provides an open source
ecosystem of certified hardware and software. JBoss enterprise middleware
includes: Application Platform, Messaging, Web Platform, Web Server,
Portal Platform, SOA Platform, Data Services Platform, Business Rules
Management System, Developer Studio Portfolio Edition, JBoss Operations
Network, and Web Framework Kit.

Table 1 looks in greater detail at RHEL products and add-ons.

Table 1. RHEL Products, Add-Ons
Product Description Features
RHEL Desktop Secure RHEL foundation
with applications and features from the open-source community.
  • Security – Layered defense against external
    and internal threats, including:

    • Common flaw protection
    • SELinux security
    • Smart card authentication support
  • Remote Updates – Grouping, deploying, and
    provisioning for up to 10,000 desktop systems.
  • Interoperability – With Microsoft formats.
  • Productivity Applications – For creating,
    viewing, and editing Microsoft-formatted documents or e-mail
RHEL Server For the enterprise data
center, supporting major hardware platforms and commercial and
custom applications.
  • Efficiency – Including:
    • Optimized for scalable, multi-cored systems
    • Manages system complexity
    • Reduces data bottlenecks
    • Reduces power consumption
    • End-to-end data integrity
  • Resource Management – Sets policies by
    process, application, and guests, to match network, memory,
    and CPU use to business needs and SLAs.
  • Security – Complete security stack, from
    network firewall control to secure containers for application
  • Application Development
    • Includes the LAMP stack and scripting languages such as
      PHP, TurboGears, Eclipse IDE, and debugging and tuning
    • Extended caching for scaling as necessary
  • Virtualization – In the kernel, offering
    system management, security tools, and administrator
Atomic Host Designed to run Linux
  • Footprint – Minimal footprint operating
  • Weight – lightweight.
  • Configurability – Modular capabilities.
  • Containers – Extends container portability
    across open hybrid cloud infrastructure.
HPC for Scientific
For deploying clusters of
systems to tackle missions for the scientific HPC user.
  • Streamlined Deployment – Slim, customized
  • Multi-core Affinity and Enablement
    Detects and optimizes hardware configuration.
  • Cluster Validation – With monitoring.
  • Extended I/O Performance – Migrates data
    into and out of a HPC cluster.
For IBM POWER Standardizes on RHEL
across an x8x, POWER, or mainframe system.
  • POWER 7 Support – Includes LPAR hardware
  • PowerVM Support – Low-overhead for
  • Large Linux Ecosystem – Application binary
    interface and application programming interface (API)
    compatibility to deploy thousands of open-source and
    commercial applications, including those originally developed
    on other platforms.
For IBM System z Brings Linux applications
to the mainframe, delivering management for Linux workloads.
  • 24×7 Online – Extends z10 Enterprise Class
    or z10 Business Class servers to run the RHEL.
  • Integrated Facility for Linux – For
    processors, memory, and I/O connectivity, plus z/VM
For SAP Business
Includes the infrastructure
software stack for operation of SAP applications.
  • Transaction-Based Applications – Such as
    SAP Business Applications in both physical and virtual
  • Collaborative Engineering – Full-time
    engineering presence, on-site at SAP, to bolster the ongoing
    working relationship between the SAP Linux Lab and Red Hat
    product development.
  • Designed-In Security – Includes:
    • SELinux Support
    • Memory Based Attack Protection
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP HANA –
    for performance and optimized for HANA.
Red Hat Network Satellite Systems management platform
for the growing Linux infrastructure.
  • Centralized Tool – For updating software,
    ensuring security fixes and configuration files are applied,
    tracking Linux system performance, and managing a Linux
    infrastructure lifecycle.
  • Secure, Remote Administration – With
    capabilities for:

    • Grouping systems together, for administration
    • Automating manual tasks
    • Flexible delivery architectures, including Satellite,
      Proxy, or Hosted
    • Developing role-based administration policies
Real Time Designed for
deadline-oriented application and time-sensitive workloads.
  • Compatibility–Full application
    compatibility with Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
  • Facilitates scheduling and performance gains.
Add-Ons For tailoring an application
environment, with workload extensions for particular computing
  • High-Performance Network – Delivers
    performance of exotic interconnects over Ethernet.
  • Resilient Storage – File system
    capabilities for improving resiliency to system failure.
  • Smart Management – Manages RHEL systems.
  • High Availability – 24×7 services
    availability by eliminating single points of failure.
  • Load Balancer – Redundancy for Web serving,
    databases, networking, and storage.
  • Scalable File System – Uses the XFS file
    system to support up to 100-TB file systems.


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RHEL is marketed toward businesses and industry clients. Its products
were developed to be deployed in a number of environments, including
standalone – or “bare metal” – systems, virtualized systems, SaaS
environments, and appliances.

Red Hat tailors its offering to meet specific business needs, as detailed
in Table 2.

Table 2. Red Hat Enterprise Linux Applications
Business Area Applications
Vertical Industry Customers in vertical industries such
as education, financial, government, telecommunications, oil and
gas, and healthcare.
Medium and Large Enterprise Large enterprises use RHEL to underpin
their computing environments. RHEL has been tested in enterprise
settings to ensure its stability, reliability, and security.
Business Needs Red Hat provides Enterprise Linux
applications and maintains alliances to meet business needs. Red
Hat addresses these needs with the following initiatives and
product areas:

  • Business Intelligence
  • SAP / Red Hat Global Alliance
  • Security and Identity Management
  • Service-oriented Architecture (SOA)
  • Small Business and Home Office
  • Symantec / Red Hat Global Alliance


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Over time, Red Hat has helped transform Linux from a hobbyist platform
into a respected option in the corporate world. As organizations and users
become more familiar with open source, many are turning to RHEL to
underpin their computing environments.

Table 3 looks at some of RHEL’s specifications, by architecture.

Table 3. RHEL Architecture Specs
Architecture CPU Memory Storage Support Network Support Subscription Ad-Ons
x86 32 16GB FC, FCoE, iSCSI, NAS, SATA, SAS, and
10M / 100M / 1G / 10G Ethernet,
High availability, resilient storage,
scalable file system, load balancer, smart management,
high-performance network, and extended update support.
x86_64 128 / 4,096 2TB / 64TB FC, FCoE, iSCSI, NAS, SATA, SAS, and
10M / 100M / 1G / 10G Ethernet,
High availability, resilient storage,
scalable file system, load balancer, smart management,
high-performance network, and extended update support.
Power 128 2TB FC, FCoE, iSCSI, NAS, SATA, SAS, and
10M / 100M / 1G / 10G Ethernet,
High availability, resilient storage,
scalable file system, load balancer, smart management,
high-performance network, and extended update support.
System z 64 3TB FC, FCoE, iSCSI, NAS, SATA, SAS, and
10M / 100M / 1G / 10G Ethernet,
High availability, resilient storage,
scalable file system, load balancer, smart management,
high-performance network, and extended update support.


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RHEL products are available on an annual subscription basis with one year
of maintenance and support services, priced in tiered options. At its Web
site, Red Hat offers Self-Support resources such as a
knowledge base of FAQs and Linux implementation tips, white papers,
hardware compatibility guides, and support forums, as well as a mirror of
the Linux Documentation Project. Red Hat also provides consulting services
– both Standard Support and Premium Support
– for project assessment, planning and design, development and validation,
and deployment and operations.


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When purchasing support services, RHEL software is freely downloadable
from Red Hat’s Web site. Red Hat also sells its products through direct
sales and a network of certified VARs, distribution partners, OEMs, custom
applications providers, and systems integrators. In addition, hardware
manufacturers such as IBM, HP, and Dell sell it bundled with their
proprietary systems. Red Hat asks that interested, potential customers
contact its sales staff by filling out a

Table 4 looks at select RHEL pricing.

Table 4. RHEL Cost Considerations
(All support subscriptions for one year)
RHEL Entry Level 2 sockets, Self-support subscription $349
2 sockets, with Smart Management, self-
support subscription
RHEL Server for 32/64-bit
2 Sockets with 1 physical or 2 virtual
nodes, standard support
— with Premium
2 Sockets, 1 physical or 2 virtual
nodes with Smart Management, standard support
–Premium subscription, includes
Extended Update Support
RHEL Server for
2 Sockets with Standard
— with Premium Support $4,300
Four Sockets with Standard
— with Premium Support $8,600
RHEL for
Virtual Datacenters
2 sockets, unlimited
virtual, no physical, standard support
–Premium subscription $3,999
2 sockets, unlimited
virtual, no physical, with Smart Management, standard support
–Premium subscription (1 year),
includes Smart Management


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RHEL competes with server OSs from Oracle and VMware, plus IBM’s system z
OS and the Microsoft Windows Server family, as well as UNIX and Linux. For
desktop OSs, Red Hat’s top competitors include Microsoft’s ubiquitous
Windows OS, Oracle Solaris, Apple Mac OS X (even though it is not as
direct a competitor as it only works on Apple-based hardware), IBM AIX,
HP-UX, and Linux desktop competitors such as Novell SUSE Linux, and
Xandros Desktop.

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