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What's the difference between management services provided by Red Hat Network (RHN) Classic and Red Hat Customer Portal Subscription Management/RHSM?

Updated 2015-07-06T21:07:34+00:00

Introduction:

With the introduction of the subscription management services provided by the Red Hat Customer Portal several years ago, Red Hat supported two hosted technologies for registering Red Hat Enterprise Linux servers and downloading updates.

  • Red Hat Network Classic
  • Red Hat Customer Portal (providing Red Hat Subscription Management)

This overlap continued as the Red Hat Customer Portal matured to become the preferred method (enabled by default) for subscription management and downloading updates while Red Hat Network Classic was maintained to support older versions of Red Hat products.

However, with the successful launch of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 using only the Red Hat Customer Portal the following article has been updated to compare the differences between the two services to assist customers in migrating from the Red Hat Network Classic service to the Red Hat Customer Portal Subscription Management service.

Strategic/Deployment Differences:

Red Hat Network Classic
Included with a Red Hat subscription, Red Hat Network Classic provides a hosted subscription and individual system management service for a deployment.

For customers wanting expanded systems management functionality, several additional product options associated to this Classic service are available.

  • Smart Management enabled clients connected to the same RHN Classic service allowed for grouped system patching.
  • The Red Hat Satellite Proxy product serves to extend and expand RHN Classic services with on-premise secure caching of content and updates, grouped system deployment of patches, and serving as a DMZ gateway device for customer data centers.
  • The Red Hat Satellite 5 product serves as a comprehensive systems management platform including everything needed to manage system definitions, customized operating system deployments, customized layered applications, configuration management and provisioning. Red Hat Satellite provides true end-to-end systems management -- direct connection unneeded.

IMPORTANT - Red Hat Enterprise Linux versions as client systems managed by each platform:

  • Red Hat Network Classic: RHEL versions 4, 5, and 6
  • Red Hat Satellite Proxy: RHEL versions 4, 5, 6, and 7* (*Proxy 5.6+ together with Satellite 5.6+ only)
  • Red Hat Satellite: RHEL versions 4, 5, 6 and 7* (*Satellite 5.6+ only)

Red Hat Customer Portal (aka Red Hat Subscription Management)
Included with a Red Hat subscription, Red Hat Subscription Management provides a comprehensive, end-to-end hosted subscription management service via the Customer Portal.

For customers needing expanded subscription delivery capability or comprehensive systems management functionality, several additional options are available.

  • The Red Hat Subscription Asset Manager application serves as a means to the same subscription delivery services provided by Red Hat Customer Portal, but as an on-premise application. In addition to its DMZ gatewaying capability, Subscription Asset Manager can operated completely disconnected from the hosted service. This application is included (no additional fee) as part of a Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription.
  • The Red Hat Satellite 6 product is a comprehensive systems management platform including everything needed to manage system definitions, customized operating system deployments, customized layered applications, advanced configuration management and provisioning -- true end-to-end systems management -- from small to extremely large deployments.

IMPORTANT - Red Hat Enterprise Linux versions managed by each platform: versions 5.7+, 6.1+, and 7+

Comparison for migration:

Please refer to the following table for comparisons between RHN Classic and Red Hat Customer Portal Subscription Management capabilities. Note, this table may contain statements regarding future services not yet approved for implementation and does not indicate a commitment for delivery.

Additional information on migration options and deployment strategies for RHN Classic Hosted customers can be found at: Transition of Red Hat Network Classic Hosted to Red Hat Subscription Management and RHN Classic Hosted/stand-alone Proxy Customer Options for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 (RHEL 7)

Feature/Function RHN Classic Red Hat Portal
(Red Hat Subscription Management)
Red Hat Product Support
Red Hat Enterprise Linux versions supported

All current products and versions in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4

All current products and versions in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6

All current products and versions in Red Hat including Enterprise Linux 7 are supported via Red Hat Satellite 5.7

But not via RHN Classic Hosted or stand-alone Proxy)

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (5.7 and newer)

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 (6.1 and newer)

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7

Intended for future versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization versions supported All current products and versions including RHEV 2.1, 2.2, 3.0 RHEV 3.0 and newer
Red Hat Enterprise Linux Migration to RHSM support? N/A

YES, for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (5.8 and newer) - via migration tooling as described in Red Hat Subscription Management

YES, for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 (6.3 and newer) - via migration tooling as described in Red Hat Subscription Management

How to migrate a Red Hat Enterprise Linux System from RHN Classic to RHSM

Red Hat Satellite 5 YES, all versions of 5.x PARTIAL, Satellite 5 certificates can be issued from Customer Portal. Satellite 5.6 or 5.7 can be integrated with SAM 1.3+ to provide subscription status reporting
Red Hat Satellite 6 NO YES
Support for all product SKUs YES, but future product products may not be enabled for RHN Classic

YES, with a small number of exceptions

Why aren't my subscriptions available in Red Hat Subscription Management?

Subscription Management Support
Default Client for installation method

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (5.7 and older)

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 (6.1 and older)

All Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 (6.3 and later)

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (5.9 and later)

future versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Content Basis for Client

RHN Classic
rhn-channel command
[Red Hat Enterprise Linux ] What is the command "rhn-channel" and how to use it?

Red Hat Subscription Manager
subscription-manager command to register and add subscriptions
Command line utilities for Client yum update

(Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 and later),

up2date

(Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4)

yum update
System registration rhn_register, rhnreg_ks

subscription-manager register

How to register and subscribe a system to the Red Hat Customer Portal using Red Hat Subscription-Manager

Activation keys YES, with Smart Management subscriptions

YES, via Red Hat Subscription Asset Manager (SAM), Red Hat Satellite 6, and now also [Red Hat Customer Portal](https://access.redhat.com/management/activation_keys)

List subscriptions available to apply to installed system on Client N/A subscription-manager list --available
Force list all subscriptions on Client N/A subscription-manager list --available --all
Why can't I see available subscriptions for my system in Red Hat Subscription Management?
Smart autosubscribe a subscription N/A

subscription-manager register --autosubscribe

How do I subscribe to a channel in Red Hat Subscription Management?

Graphical user interface utilities for Client System -> Administration -> RHN Registration System -> Administration -> Red Hat Subscription Manager
Package update utility

/usr/bin/yum

System -> Administration -> Add/Remove Software

/usr/bin/yum

System -> Administration -> Add/Remove Software

Yum plugin support yum-rhn-plugin (provides rhnplugin.conf) subscription-manager (provides subscription-manager.conf and product-id.conf)
Web-based administration tool for customers YES, http://rhn.redhat.com YES, http://access.redhat.com/management
Support for updating content through Content Delivery Network YES YES
Email errata notifications YES

YES

How do I get errata notifications from Red Hat Subscription Management?

Support for IP-Based Firewall Rules

YES

How to enable/disable Location Aware Updates with RHN Classic?

YES

How do I disable Location Aware Updates with Red Hat Subscription Management?

Support for sosreport diagnostics logging YES YES
Optional and Supplementary Channels available?

YES, but off by default

Many devel packages are not available in Red Hat Enterprise Linux

YES, but off by default

How to access Optional and Supplementary channels, and -devel packages using Red Hat Subscription Manager (RHSM)?

Support for subscription status

PARTIAL, Red Hat Satellite 5.6 or 5.7 can be integrated with Red Hat SAM 1.3+ for subscription status

YES

Support for subscription consumption reports

PARTIAL, Red Hat Satellite 5.6 or 5.7 can be integrated with Red Hat SAM 1.3 for subscription status

YES, via Red Hat Subscription Asset Manager

FUTURE, via Red Hat Satellite 6

System Management Support
Support for Smart Management Red Hat Enterprise Linux Add-On YES YES, with Red Hat Satellite 6
Support for machine provisioning and monitoring YES, with Smart Management subscriptions YES, via Red Hat Satellite 6 provisioning feature
Content Management Support
Content Download GUI

YES

YES

Support for remote updating YES, with Smart Management subscriptions

NO

Support for offline updating YES, via Red Hat Satellite 5

FUTURE, via Red Hat Subscription Asset Manager

YES, via Red Hat Satellite 6

Support for proxied updating YES, via Red Hat Satellite Proxy 5 YES, via Red Hat Subscription Asset Manager (SAM) and Red Hat Satellite 6 Capsule Server

References

  1. Benefits of Red Hat Subscriptions
  2. Benefits of Red Hat Subscription Management
  3. Overview of Red Hat Subscription Management
  4. Red Hat Subscription Management Guide
  5. RHN Classic Hosted/stand-alone Proxy Customer Options for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 (RHEL 7)
  6. Red Hat Satellite 5.7 documentation