Red-Hat-Linux-6 END OF MAINTENANCE support I ENDS November 2020, Prepare to migrate to a supported version of RHEL

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Prepare now

I shall be rewriting this within the next week for clarity, brevity.

NOTE: RHEL 6.10 End of Maintenance Support I = Nov 30, 2020

  • BE AWARE that **you CAN still buy Extended support, however, why not go to a supported version? But if you have to, it is there.
  • Please see relevant comments from both Thomas Jones and also Red Hatter Jamie Bainbridge

See this link by Jamie Bainbridge of Red Hat:

This reminder is a shameless borrow of this post from the CentOS forums

Red-Hat-Linux-VERSION-6.10 is reaching the end of Maintenance Support I on Nov 30, 2020

If you are running RHEL 6.9 or below, that is not even supported unless you purchase Extended Support.

This post was shamelessly borrowed from the CentOS forums

Don't delay, get migrating today

Please note that CentOS 6 now has less than one year of the end of Maintenance Support I left before Maintenance Support I ends, and the only way to acquire updates after November 2020 is through extended support. The countdown has begun and you should plan to either upgrade/replace your systems with a supported Operating System, or buy extended support or decommission your CentOS 6 machines before that date.

It should be noted that, unlike RHEL, there is no extended support option for CentOS. Once RHEL 6 exceeds Maintenance Support I at the end of November 2020, there will be no further updates for CentOS 6 at all.

IMPORTANT QUOTE
"Any subscriber to ELS is entitled to the source code for the packages which are distributed to them. The SRPMs are available via the Customer Portal, via the yum package manager, or via Satellite/Proxy/etc download of the ELS channel. Theoretically, someone could get the RHEL ELS package source and rebuild it without branding just like CentOS do, with the aim of providing an "even longer life" repo for CentOS. However, nobody in the EL community has done this afaik."

Those using CentOS 6 and requiring more than 1 year of the end of Maintenance Support I are encouraged to investigate the RH extended support program although that will require a migration to RHEL 6 as it does not apply to CentOS 6.

Regards,
RJ

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Responses

Here is some useful information in light of support and product end-of-life.

Evaluate the server's role. Prepare a plan to migrate services off of RHEL 6 to a current supported version of RHEL.

  • This also applies of course to other non-supported versions of RHEL such as RHEL 5 which reached end of life a while back.
  • Evaluate the following: Storage, services, data, databases, users, configurations, SSL certificates AND KEYS.
  • Evaluate SAN storage, Raid Arrays, Third Party Software migration
  • Evaluate how to instantiate the product of your research in the above steps in a currently supported version of Red Hat
  • Acquire funding, additional developers, make a plan present it to your leadership if required, include timeline, an action plan, a timeframe for downtime and plan it soundly
  • Execute the plan.
  • HIGHLY RECOMMEND building a separate system and migrate to the new one. At minimum, do a clean fresh install. We do not recommend doing an in-place upgrade from one major release to another, even if it is considered possible.
  • If someone does use the method to upgrade an existing server from one major release to another, have a solid action plan to test it with "P to V" (physical to virtual, i.e. VMware or other virtualization) FIRST. --- Recommend having an action plan if this form of upgrade fails so you are not left with a service failure. PLEASE PLAN AHEAD.

Regards,
RJ

Hi RJ,

Thank you very much for posting this important information. Very good idea to raise these concerns, hope it helps customers
to accelerate their preparations to move to RHEL 7, or even better, to RHEL 8 as soon as possible - the earlier, the better ... :)

Regards,
Christian

Oh RJ, one thing : You say "Red Hat Linux ..." You sure ? I thought Red Hat Linux was replaced by RHEL "some time" ago. :D :D :D

Hope you don't mind the joke ... :)

We all need more levity in our lives Christian! Thanks :)

Absolutely ... agreed, RJ ! :)

To offer a clarification here, our RHEL product is on a different lifecycle to the CentOS open source project. Just because CentOS 6 is End Of Life does not mean RHEL6 is EOL. Quite the opposite actually. Even RHEL4 is not EOL yet :)

RHEL6 ends its "Maintenance Support" development phase on Nov 30 2020, and enters what we call the "Extended Life Phase" (ELP).

During the extended life phase, security and bugfix errata are no longer provided, and technical support is "limited" to usage/config questions and to existing installs where we already know the problem. If a customer encounters a problem we haven't seen before, then we invite them to reproduce on a newer RHEL major version which is not in the ELP such as RHEL8.

There is also a paid add-on product called "Extended Lifecycle Support" (ELS) which adds back a few features during the ELP, such as security and bugfix errata meeting a (very) limited criteria, and troubleshooting of production-affecting issues which we haven't seen before.

As provided above, these are documented on the RHEL lifecycle page: https://access.redhat.com/support/policy/updates/errata

Whilst RHEL6 isn't "End of Life", it definitely isn't getting a high level of support or software repairs so definitely should be evaluated for replacement to a newer RHEL version wherever feasible.

All of that is fine and good ...but doesn't help you if you've previously been deploying RHEL via a cloud-subscription (e.g. RHUI on AWS or Azure).

Ah, I'm not familiar with the details of those. Is the RHEL supported by the cloud vendor who has a separate support lifecycle?

Red Hat partners with CSPs to provide a VM template. Each of those templates are bound to a CSP-specific repository-service that uses Red Hat's Red Hat Update Infrastructure service. While I suppose it's possible that Red Hat could provide an EUS channel, I have my doubts that Red Hat would bother with providing an EUS channel. Generally speaking, RHUI's available channels are pretty freaking spare (e.g., can't subscribe to the RHN channel that contains gluster).

Ah I see. That's not my strength area at all, but I guess the solution would be to roll ones own image which contains the ELS updates and subscribes to the RHN channels, which does then negate some of the advantage of a cloud-provided RHEL image. Though it's not like an ELS release gets many updates anyway.

One uses RHUI for a couple reasons:

  • Saves the cost and effort of dealing with licensing, as the entitlements are baked in and paid on an hourly-basis as part of your CSP billing
  • Saves the cost an effort of running your own Satellite type service
  • Saves having to manage entitlements associated with use of RHN or Satellite (and, especially, entitlement recoveries when replacing instances)
  • Saves on the over-buying problem when you implement a demand-scaled architecture (why pay for 24/7/365 worth of entitlements across two dozen systems when you might only run five systems on that term with the rest being "on demand")

That said, I imagine most entities running RHEL in the cloud (vice CentOS or even wholly-different distributions) and using RHUI to support it are less effected by EOL dates since they're probably deployed a dynamic enough solution that ability to (relatively easily) move from one OS-version to the next is sort of "baked in" to their design.

...I just happen to interact with entities that wanted the ease of a RHUI-type solution, even if they're not really well-oriented to making that jump from RHEL6 to RHEL7 or RHEL8.

And I still have AWS tenants that are whining at our team (and AWS support) about things like RHEL6 not working properly on Nitro.

Jamie, Thomas,

I altered the original post. I added clarification for Red Hat's end of Maintenance I and suggested that people read both of your inputs above.

I feel obligated to state here, while I'm a member of the Red Hat Accelerator's group, I am not an employee of Red Hat, and the views are my own. See the official link I placed (just now) in the original post that leads to Red Hat regarding Red Hat's Maintenance Support and so forth. Visit CentOS for CentOS.

REGARDLESS, BE PREPARED AND HAVE AN ACTION PLAN AND ATTEMPT TO PLAN TO TRANSITION SERVERS TO SOMETHING SUPPORTED

Regards,
RJ

Jamie, Thomas,

Let me know if I missed something or need to edit this further. I'll revisit it tomorrow when I'm not in a rush.

Regards,
RJ

All good, the more people who are considering the RHEL lifecycle, the better we all are :)

This comment is incorrect though:

Red Hat will no longer publish source packages for RHEL 6 at this time so CentOS is forced to stop updates.

Any subscriber to ELS is entitled to the source code for the packages which are distributed to them. The SRPMs are available via the Customer Portal, via the yum package manager, or via Satellite/Proxy/etc download of the ELS channel.

Theoretically, someone could get the RHEL ELS package source and rebuild it without branding just like CentOS do, with the aim of providing an "even longer life" repo for CentOS. However, nobody in the EL community has done this afaik.

Jamie, thanks

I made the edit.

Regards,
RJ

Cool, and thank you for bringing this topic up for discussion :)