Overview of Red Hat Subscription Management

Red Hat Subscription Management (RHSM) is the service which manages your Red Hat subscriptions and entitlements. You can access your content through RHSM using Red Hat Satellite, Subscription Asset Manager (SAM), and the award-winning Customer Portal.

RHSM replaces Red Hat Network (RHN) Hosted. Red Hat decommissioned RHN in July 2017. You can no longer access or utilize APIs through the RHN interface or update your system using RHN. If you have not migrated yet, migrate as soon as possible to continue receiving support for your systems.

Client Side

RHSM uses a client/server architecture and relies on the candlepin service for managing subscriptions. Red Hat hosts its instances of candlepin, so that they are always available. You can also deploy instances of candlepin through RHSM, Satellite 6, or SAM. Through this service, you can manage multiple systems and view all of the subscriptions attached to your account.

RHSM Features

RHSM leverages the full value of your Red Hat subscriptions, entitlements, and contracts, as well as integrates with Red Hat’s system management tools to enable flexibility in your subscription choices.

For a full list of features supported by RHSM, click here.

RHSM helps your organization achieve four primary goals:

  • Improving how subscriptions are applied
    • Maintains dual inventories of available subscriptions and registered Red Hat systems
    • System-to-subscription mapping makes it easier for you to apply appropriate subscriptions to systems
  • Lowering costs and streamlining procurement
  • Maintaining regulatory compliance by tracking subscription assignments and contract expiration
  • Simplifying IT audit-readiness by offering a central inventory of current subscriptions and systems

Through RHSM, you can:

  • Register systems using activation keys
  • View a summary of contracts and the systems and orders applied to those contracts
  • View subscription and entitlement information in one place in the user interface
  • View a summary of subscription utilization, making the renewal decision easier
  • View system compliance with RHSM on a system-by-system basis
  • Transfer subscriptions

Registration Process

RHSM uses secure certificates to improve customers’ ability to know what subscriptions they purchased, where and how those subscriptions are being used, refine how software is consumed, and improved portability of the subscription across deployments which are physical, virtual, and cloud-based.

During the installation of a Red Hat product, a product certificate is installed on the system. When that system registers to Red Hat Subscription Management, a system certificate is placed on the system, which enables you to:

  • Add product(s) to your system.
  • Attach subscription(s) to a system.
  • Receive updates


This is so confusing, my company wants to make sure we are paying for your OS, which we recognise as a quality product. This subscription/Contract Number/entitlement system you have implemented is just pants. It's almost impossible to tell if we need to buy more licences/renewals or not

Alec Keelr

+1 confusing, especially since we have some servers which dont seem to be supported for subscription model.

CONFUSING! Have contract number but no subscription number. Don't know how to proceed from here!!!!

This should probably be updated for Satellite 6 versus CloudForms 2.0.

This article is scheduled to be updated.

The article states " In addition, Red Hat Subscription Management integrates with Red Hat Satellite an advanced system and content management system (please see Red Hat Satellite for more details):"
Where is the info on 'Red Hat Satellite'????

So far my experience of RedHat Support leaves a lot to be desired.
So far the 'Support' consists of just a trail of outdated articles to previous support calls!


I apologize for the missing link, this article was written and posted before all links could be established and verified. I will be adding the link to Satellite and other links shortly as I verify them.

You are correct, there are a lot of old and inconsistent articles. As our product base increased and new subscription models were released, the tooling was changed to provide the necessary capabilities to enable our customers to know what subscriptions they have and where they are using those subscriptions. Unfortunately, to keep up with the rate of change new articles were posted, but the old articles were not always pruned or updated.

I posted my article with a limited number of links I verified. I plan to build out the subscription management story from a few anchor articles. As I work through the older content on subscription management I will be either removing, updating, or building new articles. I want the articles on subscription management to tell the proper story about the great tools Red Hat provides to help the customer manage their subscriptions.

Thank you for the effort of posting a comment; it is appreciated. I’m sorry your first impression was not good, but you should see an improvement in the subscription management articles over the next few months.

Thanks again,
Dan Lah

Sharutils (which contains uuencode utility) was moved out of the standard install and into another place.
Getting systems mapped to that location is obfuscated by all the stale links. I appreciate having a better idea
of which systems are associated with which licenses (new subscription management), but tbe new look lacks the system by system review (packages and so on) that I NEED to maintain awareness of my fleets state. I am staying on the classic management until I see some value on the Subscription Management side. Please support our attempt to keep our systems in a compliant state.

Do my clients which are registered directly with my local Satellite server need to use subscription management? I've browsed through several articles and it is not clear if clients which are registered with Satellite server 5.4.1 will use subscription manager.

A Red Hat Enterprise Linux system can be registered to a single (for lack of a better term) management platform. Red Hat Network Classic, Red Hat Satellite, Subscription Asset Manager (SAM), & Red Hat Subscription Management are each unique platforms; choose any (and only) one. For your systems which are connected to your Satellite 5.4.1 instance, you do not use subscription-manager tooling. (Just the 'classic' RHN tools [rhn_register, rhnreg_ks & rhn-channel]).

With that being said, if you are looking for a means to properly (and accurately) govern subscription usage, Satellite 5.6 includes integration with Subscription Asset Manger (SAM) [1]. This integration occurs at the server layer, so your clients will still leverage existing tools, but you can get a better view of subscription consumption.

[1] - https://access.redhat.com/site/documentation/en-US/Red_Hat_Satellite/5.6/html/Installation_Guide/sect-Installation_Guide-Entitlements-Enhanced_Entitlements_Reporting.html

This is a horrible system. You got rid of a very useful feature -- the ability to manage configuration files, packages, kickstarts, and other settings across the whole organization -- to replace it with something that does far less, and does it poorly. Subscription Management is a terrible product. I have a ticket in with you guys where you promised me that you wouldn't let RHN Classic go away until all of the provisioning aspects of it were replaced in RHSM. But you've blocked Classic from RHEL7 systems, and have not included those missing features. I'm now forced to build and run the provisioning system myself.

So as has been typical of RedHat over the last several years, I'm paying you more money so that I can get far less. Why?

CentOS, here we come.

There is HUGE misunderstanding here. Subscription Manager and Satellite 6 are both built off the upstream Katello project.

Subscription Manager is a free tool which comes with all RHEL subscriptions. It is meant to track entitlements for small environments or in conjunction with Satellite 5.X for larger environments. It is only meant to track subscriptions.

Satellite 6 tracks subscriptions and has all of the other functionality that you mention, and WAY more.

Also, RHN Classic tooling was NOT removed from RHEL 7. I am running RHEL 7 with Satellite 5.6 right now, though RHEL7 cannot currently be connnect to rhn.redhat.com.

You just said two conflicting things. You said that RHN Classic wasn't removed, and supported that by saying that you were using a different product, Satellite. The email bulletin that I received linking to this article specifically stated in banners all across the top that RHN Classic is not an option for RHEL7. Please clarify this, because one of you is wrong, and your example doesn't help your case.

A little clarity is needed here. For those of us who've been around a while, 'Classic' means a couple of things, so it is a bit of an overloaded term.

  • RHN Classic a.k.a (rhn.redhat.com)
  • The tooling (rhnreg_ks, rhn_register, etc) used to interact with systems based on Classic, of which Satellite 5.x is a close family member.

You are correct in your statement that RHEL7 cannot be used with RHN Classic. What Scott was saying is that RHEL7 can be used with Satellite 5.x on-premise. However, this isn't the deployment model that you are using.

@Keith, my apologies on the miscommunication. Rich is completely right, I have changed my post to clarify that the tooling is supported. You are correct in that RHN Classic Hosted is not supported.

RHN Classic is a methodology for registration and a hosted platform...

There is also a huge problem while having mixed 2 socket and 4 socket subscriptions. In RHEV, virtual machines with 1 cpu, has no longer valid subscritpion when you migrate it from 2 socket to 4 socket machine. SAM and subscription mechanizm needs a revolutionary step forward. Now it's useless.

As for usefull things, Red Hat is commercial company after all, and primary target is profit. So they sell Satelite with puppet. SAM is just anything so they can tell they gieve you a tool to manage your subscrptions. Usefull thing is you have one point going out to internet.

There are challenges with Subscription Management, but they are actively being worked on.

Per Peter Drucker, Red Hat's goal is to create value for customers and to innovate Open Source community [1]. Profit is an effect, not the goal.

[1] Peter Drucker

If that were true (the profit goal), you would not have changed your support pricing to be massively more expensive.


I apologize that the content of this article on Red Hat Subscription Management (RHSM) does not seem to properly relay the intent of the changes we have made within the tools. You may find the following article better serves your questions and concerns:  https://access.redhat.com/site/articles/790533

The intent is not to get rid of any useful features, but to extend the tools to support all the products Red Hat has to offer and the scale of our customer base (small to large).  One powerful aspect of the RHSM tools was to provide full end-to-end capability in subscription management, an area where customer surveys indicated we did not provide enough support for them to control how and where they were using their subscriptions.  

To continue dialog on the functionality and tools provided by Red Hat Subscription Management, please take advantage of the discussion area available for Subscription Management (https://access.redhat.com/site/discussions/959863).

Also, if you’d like, you can send me your case number so I can review.

Thank you for the effort to comment on the information we have provided on RHSM and I look forward to your contributions in the discussion area.

Thanks for your efforts,
Dan Lah

Well, we are quickly approaching the point at which you will yank RHN and replace it with nothing, despite my ticket saying that you won't let that happen. I'm guessing we're about to get screwed.

Have gone through this so many times... its still confusing.

confusing... surely red hat is making extra bucks using this method. People can't track software license easily buying another one is easier..

I must concurr with the many, this model of managemnt is not friendly and adds confusion to the already subscription policies.

As quoted above "Red Hat's goal is to create value for customers and to innovate Open Source community" if this is true, why do we have an annul licence fee! An extremely high one at that.

I still don't understand whether the functionality of the RHN Classic system is anywhere to be found in the subscription-manager model. It was nice to be able to go to the classic system and see all my servers and see whether they needed an update or not. I can't find any article or post that tells me anything about something similar in the subscription manager. Do I really have to go system by system and see whether it needs updating or not?

They've removed that functionality. They want you to do that yourself with your own local Satellite / Spacewalk server. But of course, you still pay the same. So as I stated last year up above, we are now paying more to get less and being told that it's a better value for us.

Seriously, RedHat, nobody likes this.


For RHN to RHSM migration, please use the Access link for RHN Transition:

And specifically for RHN to RHSM Feature Comparison:

The Subscription Tools provided with a subscription (Customer Portal and SAM) were designed to provide more capabilities in the subscription area to support Red Hat's addition of products and combinations of product.

However, with the announcement of the transition to Red Hat Subscription Management tools we are assessing the feature-by-feature comparison between RHN Subscription Tools and the Tools offered thru Red Hat Subscription Management and will be updating the above articles shortly. We want to have a migration plan and options for every RHN Tools user.

I apologize that the information has been slow to develop and that has lead to frustration., but over the next few weeks, the migration plans should become clearer and the functionality/comparison will be better documented.

Dan Lah

In RHN classic, is there a mapping of what you purchase (subscriptions), to what you need (entitlements) posted anywhere in the portal? I've asked many times and nobody has been able to point me to it.

Without that, it is all guesswork to know what to purchase.


I have a question regarding system management with RHSM. Which options / tools replace the RHN classic system management that displays all systems including Errata and Packages to be installed (and provides the scheduler System Set Manager etc) when registering with RHSM? I could not find any comparable tool for a RHSM registered system in the RH portal.
I read about katello and foreman which do appear to provide such a tool but the RH SAM appears to be solely designed for subscription management - did I understand that correct?
RHSM actually appears to be the way to go for us as we always try to figure out which license is assigned to which system. But the central administration is also essential for us.


How to you get to any of the dashboard pages referenced in the article, contact sales. That's bull. RHN worked beautifully and now you're forcing this on us.

Will Mrepo support RHSM. If yes how?