Red Hat Container Support Policy

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This document describes how Red Hat provides support for different combinations of containers and associated technology.

This support policy is specific to the technologies shipped with Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host, and does not cover the OpenShift Container Platform. For more information on OpenShift's support policy, see the OpenShift Enterprise Support Policy.

Support Policy Overview

Red Hat provides a complete software stack for customers to run a container infrastructure in a fully supported manner:

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) as the base operating system
  • Red Hat-provided docker packages as the container engine
  • Red Hat-built container images based on RHEL

Customers may add specific Red Hat packages to the Red Hat-built container images to extend functionality.  Customers then have a fully tested container deployment stack for applications.

By engineering, testing, delivering and supporting a complete stack, Red Hat ensures our customers can use this technology with confidence today and over the committed lifecycle.

Simplified view of the container stack

RHEL/RHEL Atomic Host provides the foundation for a container engine and a container image. All packages and applications then rest on the top of that foundation.

This image shows the levels of support as a stack. The levels are numbered 1, 2, 3, and 4.

How Red Hat Supports Your Stack

If a customer uses non-Red Hat container technology, Red Hat provides support for our software from the base level (RHEL and RHEL Atomic Host) up through the container stack to the point where you introduce non-Red Hat software. The following table gives more details about what Red Hat does and does not support.

If a customer has these Red Hat components . . . And these non-Red Hat components . . . Red Hat supports . . .

  • RHEL or RHEL Atomic Host
A non-Red Hat-provided container engine
Example: Upstream docker
  • The base operating system only
  • Not the container engine, the containers, or the applications running on those containers

  • RHEL or RHEL Atomic Host
  • a Red Hat-provided container engine
A non-Red Hat-provided container image
  • The base operating system and the container engine only
  • Not the containers run on the Red Hat-provided container engine and not  the applications

Red Hat will ensure that the container engine is launching the container as it is supposed to. But support does not extend into operations of the non-Red Hat container itself.

  • RHEL or RHEL Atomic Host
  • a Red Hat-provided container engine
  • a Red Hat-provided container image1

All applications running inside the container image
  • The base operating system, container engine, and container only
  • Not the applications running inside the container.

Vendors for third-party application components in the container should support their own components. Red Hat will collaborate with these vendors through Red Hat container certification.

  • RHEL or RHEL Atomic Host
  • a Red Hat-provided container engine
  • a Red Hat-provided container image1
  • applications running inside the container

The entire stack2

How Red Hat Supports Your Container Images

Red Hat provides several base images to customers.  Red Hat has built, tested and fully supports the use of these container images.  Red Hat also provides tooling to allow customers to modify these base images.

How Red Hat Supports Customer Modifications

This table provides examples of customer modifications that Red Hat does and does not support.

If a customer makes these changes . . . Then Red Hat has this policy . . .
Installs additional packages to a running container. Red Hat supports the installation of individual packages shipped by Red Hat from a customer entitled software channel.
Rebuilds base images, either by adding or removing packages from a customer entitled Red Hat channel. Red Hat supports these modified base images and Red Hat packages contained in the image.
Red Hat may request a copy of the dockerfile to understand how an image was built. In general, adding or removing packages should follow normal rpm and yum conventions.
Installs or configures other Red Hat products into a container base image Red Hat does not support this activity.

Wherever possible, Red Hat strives to build, test and distribute its products in a containerized format.  Review the documentation of a Red Hat product to understand possible deployment configurations, including containerization.

  1. A comprehensive list of Red Hat-provided image can be found in the Red Hat Container Catalog. You must review the image information to understand whether the image is provided by Red Hat.

  2. Red Hat will support containers running a single service, or containers using systemd as the entrypoint for managing multiple services (only supported when using docker >= 1.10.3)

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