Determining which subscription number corresponds to which system in Red Hat Subscription Management

Solution Verified - Updated -


  • Red Hat Satellite
  • Red Hat Subscription Management
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.6 and below
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.0


  • I don't understand how subscriptions work in RHSM. How do I know which of my subscriptions corresponds to which system registered in RHSM?
  • If a server registered on RHSM will be replaced, how can we switch the subscription to the new server ?
  • Why did a system registered with RHSM suddenly get unentitled?
  • What is the rule for unentitling a system if there are not enough entitlements available?


  • The subscription numbers (sometimes referred to as installation or registration numbers) associated with a purchase are not tied to specific systems in RHSM. Instead, the subscription numbers correspond to the number of entitlements in the account, regardless of which system is using those entitlements.1

  • Your Red Hat account will support as many systems as you have active entitlements for. If a contract is not renewed and an entitlement lapses, a system will be dropped. This is done on a first-in, last-out basis. In other words, the last system registered in Red Hat will lose its base entitlement first if an entitlement expires.

  • For example, if you have three server subscriptions and two desktop subscriptions, and one server subscription expires, then the last server system that has been registered would lose its base channel.

  • Note: The scenario of a system losing its entitlement is applicable only when there are no available entitlements of that type under the account. For example, if you have three server subscriptions but you have registered only two systems, then you have an available entitlement slot. If one of the subscriptions were to lapse then the previously registered two systems would not be affected, as there would still be one available slot.

What do I do if a system in Red Hat loses its entitlement?
  • If a system loses its entitlement in Red Hat, you have two options in order to continue using Red Hat services with that system:

    1. Contact Red Hat sales and renew the expired entitlement
    2. Delete a system in Red Hat that has an active entitlement, and then re-register the system that has lost its base channel or entitlement
  • Because an entitlement is not applied to a specific system, but rather to an account, you have flexibility in managing which systems are currently using your active RHSM entitlements.

  • For more information, please contact the Red Hat Inc. Customer Service Team.


  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.7 beta and later releases
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.1 beta and later releases

  1. These releases can use our new model, called  Red Hat Subscription Management, which keeps track of specific subscriptions assigned to specific computers using x.509 certificates.
    More information can be found here: Overview of Subscription Management ↩︎

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This is a totally ridiculous way of doing things.  I manage machines for several different groups.  I need to know who a subscription belongs to. When it expires, it should be their machine that looses entitlement, not some essentially random other box.  Sure, I could come in here and fix it assuming I keep my own records of which

entitlement goes with which box and when they expire. But that is something RHN should do for me and makes me waste a lot more time than I should on license management.  Which is the primary reason I go with CentOS rather than buy RHEL5 on the vast majority of our machines.  It is not the cost.  It is the hassle.

nmrroot is totally right about this.  This is a retarded way to do things.  It makes keeping your systems uptodate a real pain in the ass if you have anything other than a token 2 or 3 boxen.  This was surely cooked up by an accountant that doens't know anything about IT.  So.. you in there... at RH... how about an answer to this?  Can you explain the reasoning behind NOT fixing a license to a specific box?  Why not make it an option?

I only have 4 machines to manage and this still sucks. Had to re-install on one of them now I am totally clueless as to which subscription/installation number is available when re-registering it. Ugh.

I agree - I only use this because I have to. Non intuitive and confusing. Would avoid if possible.

Two to four boxes suck to manage. I have dozens. It's a nightmare! Fix this RedHat!!!

Actually, it has been fixed as of RHEL 5.7 and RHEL 6.1 with the introduction of RHN Certificate-Based Subscription Management. This kbase needs to be updated.

in the mean time please see the following links:

Great! We're giving Oracle the boot because they SUCK so bad. Now it appears as if we may have stepped from one steaming pile into another. I hope RedHat proves me wrong.

And BTW - how come the document ID isn't listed in the document or in the summary list when searching on documents?? Oh - ok, I'll click on all of them until I think I've found the right one. Pleeeeeeeeease!

When I try to open I get :
Access denied
You are not authorized to access this page.

This is not helping !

So if the number of entitlements is account based how can you tell how many you have?

I have found a page unde Classic Management entitlements that shows I have 50 available update entitlements from my 7 subscriptions (2 x RHEL Dev Support Enterprise, 2 x 1-year Unsupported Partner Evaluation Red Hat Enterprise Linux, 2 x 1-year Unsupported Red Hat Ready Partner Subscription, 1 x Red Hat Management Serviced System) .
But 2 of these subscriptions are about to expire, how many entitlements will I have then ?
Is there a way of telling how many entitlements each subscription provides ?

Alec Keeler

You can go into the subscription page and click on your subscription that is about to expire, on the info, you'll see the "Utilization" part, with your Total entitlements.

Entitlements are grouped by contract number, so "similar" entitlements, will always be distinct.

Easier way for me, is just to install a machine, register, go to RHN, and choose the correct entitlement at that time.

i manage about 60 servers at this point,and would like to have some way to align pre5.7 boxes. I would like to push my customers from their 5.earlier, but they wont move.

So, instead of stating "This is done on a first-in, last-out basis. In other words, the last system registered in RHN will lose its base entitlement first if an entitlement expires" one could say it is handled like a stack??? This may be an even a tighter specification.

It would be a good idea to first explain what a base channel is before going on to stating "you will loose your base channel". At least give a pointer to a definition. Same for base entitlement.

Dear Red Hat, please consider rewriting this to cover current-day editions of Linux, and to address the comments of others here,