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2. Red Hat Subscription Manager and the Subscription Service

Effective software and infrastructure management requires a mechanism to handle the software inventory — both the type of products and the number of systems that the software is installed on. In parallel with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.7, Red Hat is introducing a new subscription service which provides oversight for the software subscriptions for an organization and a more effective content delivery system.
On local systems, the new Red Hat Subscription Manager offers both GUI and command-line tools to manage the local system and its allocated subscriptions. A better method to handle subscriptions will help our customers allocate their subscriptions more effectively and will make installing and updating Red Hat products much simpler.
In Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.6 and older, subscriptions were based on access to channels and were assigned to an organization as a whole. Starting in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.7, subscriptions are based on installed products and are assigned to systems individually. This provides clear and delineated control over the products used by and subscribed to by a specific system.
As part of the new subscription structure, the Customer Portal provides two paths to manage subscriptions: Certificate-based Red Hat Network, which uses the new subscription service, and RHN Classic, which uses the traditional channels. Systems must be managed either by the new Certificate-based Red Hat Network or by RHN Classic, but not both.
If a system was previously managed by RHN Classic, there is no direct, supported migration path from RHN Classic to Certificate-based Red Hat Network.


The Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.7 Deployment Guide contains further information on managing subscriptions.
The Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.1 Installation Guide contains further information on the registration and subscription process during firstboot and kickstart.