FAQ – Red Hat Certified Hypervisor Platforms

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Red Hat has made customers successful for more than a decade by pioneering the process of making innovative open source technologies enterprise-ready and supportable under mission-critical SLA's, beginning with Red Hat Enterprise Linux more than 12 years ago. Customers are never locked into our offerings, since everything we do is 100% open source, and the nature of open source is such that users can deploy and run it anywhere they choose. To meet our customers' stringent mission-critical requirements in a cost-effective manner, and balance the nearly infinite combination of operating systems, hypervisors, cloud platforms, Red Hat fully certifies and supports many specific Red Hat Enterprise Linux footprints on its own and other vendors' platforms.

Q. What are the footprints that Red Hat certifies and supports?

A. Red Hat Enterprise Linux comes in many different product footprints:

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux for “bare metal” servers.
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux running as a guest on hypervisors from us (Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization), as well as from two major partners (Microsoft and VMware).
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux running in a certified public cloud like Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud Platform.
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform with our OpenStack distribution and KVM integrated into one platform and optimized for a private cloud environment.

This is also what our ecosystem of partner products certify to. With this platform, because of the deep architectural integration of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, KVM and OpenStack, this is our supported OpenStack distribution.

Q. Wouldn't broadening what you support benefit customers?

A. When we say that something is fully supported, we’re committed to protecting the customer experience and ensuring quality, security, and supportability – top to bottom – for the duration of the committed lifecycle. Today, we invest millions of dollars to validate and support each version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, on each of the complex footprints noted above, across support lifecycles as long as 13 years. That validation and assurance for customers is our highest priority, and brings customers peace of mind and offers the enterprise-readiness and supportability our customers require. Where we support our products on other vendors' platforms or vice versa, this is a prerequisite. Consequently, we require mutual support agreements, and prioritize based on market share to maximize the number of customers we can serve.

Q. Are Red Hat Enterprise Linux guests certified and supported on other vendors' OpenStack implementations?

A. Red Hat Enterprise Linux guests are certified to hypervisor platforms, not to OpenStack per se. OpenStack is a control layer that manages multiple hypervisors. Red Hat fully supports the pairing of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and our OpenStack offering in the form of Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform. This is delivered as a tight coupled, fully engineered solution due to dependencies in security, networking, and other features, and to ensure the best customer experience.
In addition, Red Hat formally supports Red Hat Enterprise Linux guests on hypervisors that we have formal, credible, enterprise-level joint engineering and support arrangements with, including competitors such as VMware and Microsoft today. For example, we fully support Red Hat Enterprise Linux as a guest on VMware ESXi hypervisors when part of an OpenStack deployment.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux guests are also fully supported on Amazon and Google public clouds.

Q. What happens when a customer deploys Red Hat Enterprise Linux on a non-certified hypervisor?

A. While this is an unsupported configuration, the longstanding practice of our Global Support Services team has been to work with customers to diagnose the root cause, and when that root cause is the result of an unsupported hardware or software component, we help the customer connect to the provider for support and get back to a working state. Red Hat has sophisticated, proven mechanisms for certifying supportable hardware and software, and we encourage customers to work within supported configurations for optimum customer experience. This is a big part of the subscription value that customers pay Red Hat for, along with automatically distributing patches to Red Hat Enterprise Linux customers. This provides the highest level of assurance that patches work, are secure, and don't create unwanted side effects.
Read the Red Hat Global Support Services policy about handling third-party software, drivers and/or uncertified hardware/hypervisors here.

Q. What is your criteria for certifying and supporting other hypervisors?

A. As we have already done with VMware and Microsoft, our criteria is wide-scale enterprise customer adoption, and investment in joint technology development, integration, and support. In the future, if and when a major enterprise software vendor’s hypervisor gains wide-scale customer production adoption, and the vendor is willing to work with us on joint technology development, integration and support, we would work to certify Red Hat Enterprise Linux guests on that platform. Today, there is a flurry of activity around commercial OpenStack offerings, with a proliferation of variants and corresponding hypervisors, but limited production adoption to- date. Attempting or claiming an intent to certify and support this growing diversity of OpenStack product landscape, with its almost infinite matrix of support combinations, doesn't allow the enterprise-class testing and tracking we are committed to, and frankly would be irresponsible. This is why our criteria includes wide customer adoption and a joint engineering and support relationship with the vendor.

Q. Does Red Hat support other operating system guests on its platforms?

A. Yes. In the case of Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform, we support other guest operating systems on our embedded KVM, based on the providers' ability to provide mission-critical support in partnership with us. Under this model, we support guests today including Windows and SUSE Linux, since both have large software development and support organizations, as well as support relationships with us. The same is true for those guests on our Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization platform, which also includes our KVM implementation.

Q. Are you contemplating adding more supported guest operating systems in the future?

A. Yes. Today we have a tiered guest support model, based on the degree to which the guest provider has partnered with us to provide mutual support. Windows and SUSE Linux guests are supported platforms as a result of our joint support relationships. We are open to working with any guest provider that is willing to collaborate with us and invest in the mutual certification and mission-critical support that our customers expect from us.


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