rhn_register fails for vmware and hyper-v guests with "Red Hat Enterprise Linux as a Virtual Guest" subscription

Solution Verified - Updated -


  • Vmware ESX server, Microsoft Hyper-V server or Hitachi Virtage
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 guest (Issue appears on 5.3 and lower, fixed in >=5.4)
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 guest (Issue appears on 4.7 and lower, fixed in >=4.8)
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 guest (Issue appears on 3.8 and lower, fixed in 3.9)
  • One of these SKUs ("Red Hat Enterprise Linux as a Virtual Guest")  
    • MCT1851
    • MCT1852
    • MCT1853
    • MCT1854
    • MCT1862
    • MCT1863
    • MCT1864
    • MCT1865
    • MCT1890


  • rhn_register fails for vmware and hyper-v guests with "Red Hat Enterprise Linux as a Virtual Guest"
  • Virtual system is consuming physical entitlement.


This issue should be fixed in the current version. If you encounter this issue, make sure you are running at least RHEL 5.4, RHEL 4.8, or RHEL 3.9 on the guest. If not, you will need to update.

If you are still getting this issue with the latest version, you likely don't have all of the updates. You will need to update the following packages to make this work:

  • rhnlib
  • rhn-setup
  • rhn-client-tools
  • dmidecode
  • python-dmidecode
  • hal
  • yum (or up2date)

  • +dependencies

Root Cause

  • RHN cannot tell that RHEL (Versions 5.3, 4.7, 3.8 and below) is running as a virtual guest on VMware, Hyper-V or Hitachi and thus does not know to request flex entitlements. Since the SKU has only flex entitlements, rhn_register attempts to grab regular entitlements and fails if none are available.

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What does failure look like? An error message on the client system?

The solution proposed above suggested updating packages to resolve the issue. The issue is that you can't register properly with RHN, so you can't update packages in the usual manner. A bit of a catch-22. A full solution should include instructions on how to update those packages if you can't register with RHN properly.

When I register my system which is a VM on VMWare, it tries to consume a physical license and fails, so I am assuming the issue above is what I am experiencing, even though I am running RHEL6.