The ultimate goal of subscription management is to allow administrators to identify the relationship between their systems and the subscriptions used by those systems. This can be done from two different perspectives: from the perspective of the local system looking externally to potential subscriptions and from the perspective of the primary account, looking down at the total infrastructure of systems and all subscriptions.
The Red Hat Subscription Manager GUI and CLI are both local clients which manage only the local machine. These tools are somewhat limited in their view; they only disclose information (such as available subscriptions) from the perspective of that one system, so expired and depleted subscriptions or subscriptions for other architectures are not displayed.
Customer Portal Subscription Management is a global tool which is intended to give complete, account-wide views into subscriptions and systems. It shows all subscriptions and all systems for the entire account. Customer Portal Subscription Management can perform many of the tasks of the on-premise tools, like registering systems, attaching subscriptions, and viewing system facts and UUID. It can also manage the subscriptions themselves, such as viewing contract information and renewing subscriptions — a task not possible in the local clients.
Customer Portal Subscription Management provides two different perspectives on subscriptions:
Customer Portal Subscription Management establishes the relationship between the infrastructure (servers) and the subscriptions; Customer Portal Subscription Management is an inventory tool that manages systems and attaches existing subscriptions. Customer Portal Subscription Management also intuitively connects with subscription procurement, which allows administrators to buy and renew subscriptions for the account.
The overview page in Subscription Management summarizes the total number of systems and other units, by type, in the inventory. It also shows the numbers of systems that are managed under Subscription Management and the number managed under RHN Classic.
Customer Portal Subscription Management gives a global view of all systems and units, of all types, for an account, which is crucial for planning and effectively attaching subscriptions. However, it does not provide any insight into what products are installed on a system and whether subscriptions are attached for those products. To track subscriptions for installed software, you must use the local Red Hat Subscription Manager tools.
Figure 4. Customer Portal Subscription Management Overview Page
3.2. Subscription Utilization
Administrators need to have a sense of all of the subscriptions, altogether, regardless of whether they match the architecture or installed products on any of the systems in inventory. The Customer Portal provides three ways of looking at subscriptions, with slightly different perspectives:
All subscriptions that are active and attached (total counts)
All available subscriptions that can be used by systems in Customer Portal Subscription Management
Subscriptions in Customer Portal Subscription Management that match a specific system's architecture, socket count, installed products, or other characteristics
In the Subscriptions Overview page has a link to the utilization summary. The Subscription Utilization page gives the current count for every active subscription for the entire account, and a total count of every used subscription, regardless of whether it is used in RHN Classic or Customer Portal Subscription Management. These numbers are updated whenever the subscription count changes in the subscription management service.
The total counts are broken down by type first, and then the number of subscriptions of that type per subscription management service.
Figure 5. Total Counts of Subscriptions for All Subscription Services
3.3. Managing Expired and Expiring Subscriptions
The top of the subscription overview page gives three simple, clear numbers related to subscriptions: how many are active, how many will expire within 120 days, and how many have expired in the past 30 days (and are eligible for renewal).
These are total numbers for the entire account. It does not matter how many subscriptions are attached, how many systems there are, and whether the subscription is registered with Customer Portal Subscription Management, RHN Classic, or a subscription management application.
Figure 6. Subscription Overview
Clicking on any of the numbers opens the tab in the subscription inventory for that category of subscriptions.
active subscriptions goes to the Active tab.
subscriptions expiring in the next 120 days goes to the Available for Renewal tab.
recently expired subscriptions goes to the Recently Expired tab.
The tab lists the subscription names, contract numbers, and start/end dates to make it easier to track and manage subscriptions.
Figure 7. Recently Expired Tab
Clicking the name of any subscription in the Available for Renewal or Recently Expired tabs opens the details page for that contract, with renewal information. If the subscription was purchased directly from Red Hat, then it can renewed through that page; if it was purchased from a vendor, then there is contact and ordering information supplied.
Figure 8. (Expired) Product Renewal Information
3.4. Resolving Over-Utilizing Subscriptions
Red Hat does not restrict how you attach subscriptions — which means that you run the risk of attaching more subscriptions than you actually have purchased.
Attaching more subscriptions than you have is the same as running systems without subscriptions.
Along with potentially violating your service contract, this situation can also run afoul of regulations and industry standards — including Sarbanes-Oxley, PCI-DSS, and SAS-70 — that require appropriate licenses for all software in an IT infrastructure.
If you have over-used subscriptions, then the Utilization area in the Overview page shows a bright yellow warning. The Utilization page then shows the subscription counts per type, with a bright yellow bar and a negative number indicating how many subscriptions are over-used for any given type.
Figure 9. Overutilizing Subscriptions
There is no automatic remediation and Red Hat does not make assumptions or rules about what systems or subscriptions should be changed. That is entirely at the discretion of the administrator. Clicking the Total value opens up a list of registered systems or units. Administrators can then edit system entries and attach and remove subscriptions manually.
Figure 10. Reviewing Systems
You must have org admin permissions to be able to see the Review Registrations page. Even then, you will only be able to view systems to which you have access — not necessarily every system within the account.