Chapter 2. Preparing to register RHEL systems

As you and other members of your Red Hat organization begin purchasing multiple subscriptions, installing software, and registering systems, the tasks required to manage these subscriptions across system deployments in physical, virtual, and cloud environments can become increasingly complex. Red Hat provides additional process and tooling options beyond the system registration tools to help with these tasks.

If your organization is an established Red Hat customer, review your current tooling to ensure that you are taking advantage of the latest subscription experience. If your organization is a new Red Hat customer, some of this tooling is built in as your default subscription experience. Other tooling is optional, but recommended, to help you manage your environment.

  • Review information about Red Hat accounts, so that your subscriptions and systems are associated with the correct accounts for your use cases.
  • Review information about simple content access, so that you can enable the simplified “register and run” subscription experience that removes the need for complex system-level subscription attachment.
  • Review information about the subscriptions service, so that you can use that service to gain an account-level view of current and historical subscription usage.
  • Review information about system purpose attributes and values, so that you can match your subscriptions with use case information that enriches subscriptions service data and helps you understand subscription utilization across your account.

2.1. Your Red Hat account

To register your Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) systems and access the content associated with your subscriptions, you must log in to Red Hat with an account that is associated with those subscriptions.

A Red Hat account is used to identify and authenticate you to Red Hat. It provides you with access to Red Hat applications and services, purchasing capabilities, communities, support, information, and other benefits.

Red Hat accounts are available in two different types:

  • A corporate account that enables a set of users, such as system administrators, purchasing agents, IT management, and so on, to centrally purchase subscriptions and administer systems within a corporation or within a corporate organizational structure such as a function or division.
  • A personal account that is for a single user to purchase their own subscriptions and administer their own systems.

If you meet any of the following criteria, you already have a Red Hat account:

  • You are part of a Red Hat corporate account and organization for your company, and an Organization Administrator has already created a Red Hat account for you within that organization.
  • You have previously purchased a Red Hat subscription.
  • You have already visited the Hybrid Cloud Console web page or other Red Hat web pages to create an account.

It is possible that you could have both a corporate and a personal account, and that you use each for different purposes. It is also possible that you are unsure which type of account to use to register systems and install subscriptions, or even if you have an account. However, if your company is using Red Hat software to power enterprise-level solutions, it is likely that it has one or more corporate accounts and organizations to acquire and manage that software.

If you need more information about Red Hat accounts and how they should be used to register systems, you should first discuss your options with internal contacts in your company before proceeding with Red Hat account creation. If you have additional questions, contact Red Hat customer service for assistance.

Additional resources

2.2. Simple content access enablement

Simple content access provides an improved subscription experience that removes many of the time-consuming and complex business processes associated with the older Red Hat entitlement-driven enforcement model. The simple content access tool removes the need to use an entitlement to attach a subscription to a system before you can access Red Hat subscription content on that system.

In the entitlement-based subscription model, an entitlement is one of a predefined number of allowances that is used during the registration process to assign, or attach, a subscription to a system. The entitlement-based subscription model is now deprecated and is superseded by the access-based subscription model of simple content access. In the access-based subscription model, access to subscription content is provided by the existence of a valid subscription and registration of the system.


The entitlement-based subscription model is no longer the default subscription mode, is currently deprecated, and will be retired in the future. Red Hat accounts that are still using the entitlement-based subscription model should begin working with their Red Hat account team, such as a technical account manager (TAM) or solution architect (SA), to answer questions or prepare for migration to simple content access.

By using simple content access, you can more easily consume subscription content and reduce the complexity of your subscription management workflow. Instead, if you have access to a valid subscription, you can register a system and then consume the subscription content on that system, in a process that is commonly referred to as the “register and run” experience.

  • If your organization uses the subscription management capabilities of Red Hat Subscription Management to manage your systems and subscriptions, an Organization Administrator for your Red Hat account can enable simple content access from Red Hat Subscription Management in the Red Hat Customer Portal. As of 15 July 2022, simple content access is enabled by default for all new Red Hat accounts.
  • If your organization uses Red Hat Satellite version 6.12 or earlier, a Satellite administrator can enable simple content access from the manifests management tool that is available in Red Hat Hybrid Cloud Console. The manifest can then be used to apply simple content access at the Satellite organization level. For newly created manifests, simple content access is enabled by default.
  • If your organization uses Red Hat Satellite version 6.13, a Satellite administrator can enable simple content access in the web user interface for Satellite. For newly created Satellite organizations, simple content access is enabled by default. Although currently you can still change the setting of the applied manifest in the Hybrid Cloud Console, the setting on the Satellite organization always overrides the setting on the manifest.

The subscriptions service and simple content access are designed to work together to simplify and streamline the overall subscription experience. By removing the need to attach subscriptions at the system level, simple content access reduces complexity and saves time when you are adding, removing, and renewing subscriptions. By offering visibility into subscription usage, the subscriptions service eliminates manual subscription management and enables account-wide governance of your subscriptions.

Additional resources

2.3. Subscriptions service enablement

The subscriptions service in the Red Hat Hybrid Cloud Console is a dashboard-based, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) application that enables you to view subscription usage in your Red Hat account. It provides a visual representation of that usage over time across your hybrid infrastructure, including physical and virtual technology deployments; on-premise and cloud environments; and cluster, instance, and workload use cases.

From the subscriptions service dashboard, you have an account-level view of current and historical subscription usage, along with the remaining capacity for growth and scaling. You also have a view of the subscriptions that are in use in the account and of the systems or other entities that are using those subscriptions. The account-level view of the subscriptions service dashboard can be shared within an organization among procurement personnel, system administrators, IT administrators, and operators for collaborative management of subscriptions, from purchasing and renewals to deployment decisions.

The subscriptions service and simple content access are designed to work together to simplify and streamline the overall subscription experience. By removing the need to attach subscriptions at the system level, simple content access reduces complexity and saves time when you are adding, removing, and renewing subscriptions. By offering visibility into subscription usage, the subscriptions service eliminates manual subscription management and enables account-wide governance of your subscriptions.

If your organization is not already using the subscriptions service, some steps are required to begin using it.

  • Activating the subscriptions service

    You must activate the subscriptions service for the organization so that the service can begin collecting and displaying data. Activation can be either manual or automated if certain types of subscription purchases are made. If the subscriptions service is not active, any user in the organization can activate it. After activation, it can take up to 24 hours for certain types of data to begin appearing in the subscriptions service.

  • Setting up the data collection tools

    The subscriptions service relies on data that is collected from several other tools that act as data sources. To report Red Hat Enterprise Linux usage, the subscriptions service can use data from the subscription management tools of Red Hat Subscription Management, from Red Hat Satellite, and from Red Hat Insights. You can use one or all of these tools for data collection, according to needs of your IT environment. In addition, data collection related to host-guest mappings requires data from the virt-who tool and the Satellite inventory upload plugin.

Additional resources

2.4. System purpose configuration

When you begin deploying subscriptions, it is important for the different personas in your organization to understand how and where those subscriptions are being used. Operations personas, including IT administrators and system administrators, need to build and manage systems to run specific workloads. Procurement personas need to manage purchases by balancing the account’s subscription footprint with current and future business needs.

The setting of use case data on a Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) system to record its intended use is done through a set of attributes that are collectively known as system purpose.


System purpose attributes might be known by a different name in other Red Hat products. Collectively, they can also be known as subscription attributes.

System purpose attributes include the following types of information:

  • Technical use case information, such as workload information
  • Business use case information, such as the IT environment, which determines the scope of support needed for that environment
  • Operational use case information, such as the service level

The following default values are available for each RHEL system purpose attribute:

  • Role (technical use case)

    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server
    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux Workstation
    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux Compute Node
  • Usage (business use case)

    • Production
    • Development/Test
    • Disaster Recovery
  • Service Level Agreement (operational use case)

    • Premium
    • Standard
    • Self-Support

These system purpose attribute values help operators guide workloads to the correct systems and help procurement personnel filter and analyze system usage in tools such as the subscriptions service to make more informed purchasing decisions.

You can set system purpose values during multiple phases of the system life cycle, enabling your organization to set these values at the most appropriate point in your process. You can set system purpose values at build time, when you are creating installable images for your subscription content, at connection time, during installation and registration tasks, or at runtime, when you begin using the content. For example:

  • During activation key creation
  • During image creation by configuring an image builder image with an embedded activation key that has includes system purpose values
  • During a GUI installation when using the Connect to Red Hat options to register your system
  • During a Kickstart installation when using the syspurpose Kickstart command
  • After installation using the subscription-manager command-line interface tool

Additional resources