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Chapter 5. How to select the right data collection tool

To display data about your subscription usage, the subscriptions service requires a data collection tool to obtain that data. The various data collection tools each have distinguishing characteristics that determine their effectiveness in a particular type of environment.

It is possible that the demands of your environment require more than one of the data collection tools to be running. When more than one data collection tool is supplying data to the services in the Cloud Services platform, the tools that process this data are able to analyze and deduplicate the information from the various data collection tools into standardized facts, or canonical facts.

The following information can help you determine the best data collection tool or tools for your environment.

5.1. Red Hat Insights

Insights as a data collection tool is ideal for the always-connected customer. If you fit this profile, you are interested in using Insights not only as a data collection tool, but also as a solution that provides analytic, threat identification, remediation, and reporting capabilities.

With the inclusion of Insights with every Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription beginning with version 8, and with the availability of Red Hat Insights for Red Hat OpenShift in April 2021, the use of Insights as your data collection tool becomes even more convenient.

However, using Insights as the data collection tool is not ideal if the Insights agent cannot connect directly to the website or if Red Hat Satellite cannot be used as a proxy for that connection. In addition, it cannot be used as the sole solution if hypervisor host-guest mapping is required for virtual data centers (VDCs) or similar virtualized environments. In that case, Insights must be used in conjunction with Satellite.

5.2. Red Hat Subscription Management

Red Hat Subscription Management is an ideal data collection tool for the connected customer who uses the Subscription Manager agent to send data to Red Hat Subscription Management on the Red Hat Customer Portal.

For customers that are using the subscriptions service, Red Hat Subscription Management automatically synchronizes its data with the Cloud Services platform tools. Therefore, in situations where Red Hat Subscription Management is in use, or required, such as with RHEL 7 or later, it is being used as a data collection tool.

5.3. Red Hat Satellite

The use of Satellite as the data collection tool is useful for customers who have specific needs in their environment that either inhibit or prohibit the use of the Insights agent or the Subscription Manager agent for data collection.

For example, you might be able to connect to the Cloud Services platform directly, but you might find the connection and maintenance of a per-organization Satellite installation is more convenient than the per-system installation of Insights. The use of Satellite also enables you to inspect the information that is being sent to the Cloud Services platform on an organization-wide basis instead of a system-only basis.

As another example, your Satellite installation might not be able to connect directly to the Cloud Services platform because you are running Satellite from a disconnected network. In that case, you must export the Satellite reports to a connected system and then upload that data to the Cloud Services platform. To do this, you must use a minimum of Satellite 6.7 or later (versions that are under full support). You must also install the Satellite inventory upload plugin on your Satellite server.

Finally, you might have a need to view the subscriptions service results for RHEL usage from a virtual data center (VDC) subscription or similar virtualized environments. To do so, you must obtain accurate hypervisor host-guest mapping information as part of the data that is collected for analysis. This type of data collection requires the use of Satellite in combination with the Satellite inventory upload plugin and the virt-who tool.

5.4. Red Hat OpenShift monitoring stack and other tools for Red Hat OpenShift data collection

The data collection for Red Hat OpenShift usage is dependent on several tools, including tools developed by the Red Hat OpenShift development team. One tool is Red Hat OpenShift Cluster Manager. Another set of tools is known as the monitoring stack. This set of tools is based on the open source Prometheus project and its ecosystem, and includes Prometheus, Telemetry, Thanos, Observatorium, and others.

The subscriptions service is designed to work with customers who use Red Hat OpenShift 4.1 and later products in connected environments. For the Red Hat OpenShift version 4.1 and later products that the subscriptions service can track, Red Hat OpenShift Cluster Manager and the monitoring stack tools are used to gather and process cluster data before sending it to Red Hat Subscription Management. Red Hat Subscription Management provides the relevant usage data to the Cloud Services platform tools such as inventory and the subscriptions service.

Customers with disconnected environments can use the Red Hat OpenShift data collection tools by manually creating each cluster in Red Hat OpenShift Cluster Manager. This workaround enables customers with disconnected environments to simulate an account-level view of their Red Hat OpenShift usage. For example, an organization with disconnected clusters distributed across several departments might find this workaround useful.

For Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform version 3.11, data collection is dependent on an older, RHEL based reporting model. Therefore, data collection is dependent upon the connection of the RHEL nodes to one of the RHEL data collection tools, such as Insights, Red Hat Subscription Management, or Satellite.

5.5. Red Hat OpenShift monitoring stack and other tools for Red Hat Cloud Services data collection

The Red Hat Cloud Services portfolio includes managed services that rely on Red Hat infrastructure. Part of that infrastructure is the monitoring stack tools that, among other jobs, supply data about subscription usage to the subscriptions service. No additional user action is necessary to set up these data collection tools for the following managed services:

  • Red Hat OpenShift Streams for Apache Kafka with a pay-as-you-go On-Demand subscription

Additional resources

  • For additional help with decisions on which data collection tool or tools to use, see the Red Hat Subscription Watch Helper. This Red Hat Customer Portal Labs application is available at The application guides you through a series of questions to determine the data collection tools that are the best fit for your environment.
  • For additional information about registering version 4.1 disconnected clusters in Red Hat OpenShift Cluster Manager, see the chapter about cluster subscriptions and registration in the Managing Clusters guide.