Red Hat Enterprise Linux Life Cycle
OverviewRed Hat offers subscription services for each major release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux throughout four life-cycle phases—called Production 1, 2, and 3, and an Extended Life Phase.
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux versions 5, 6, and 7 each deliver 10 years of support, unless otherwise noted, in Production Phases 1, 2, and 3 followed by an Extended Life Phase. In addition, for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 and 6, customers may purchase annual Add-on subscriptions called Extended Life-cycle Support (ELS) to extend limited subscription services beyond Phase 3.
|Extended Life-cycle Support
|Production 1 (~ 5 ½ years)||Production 2 ( 1 year)||Production 3 (~ 3 ½ years)||Extended Life Phase (Ongoing)|
|Year 1||Year 2||Year 3||Year 4||Year 5||Year 6||Year 7||Year 8||Year 9||Year 10||Year 11+|
* The life-cycle time spans and dates are subject to adjustment.
**ELS only offered on RHEL 5 and RHEL 6.
DetailsSoftware changes to Red Hat Enterprise Linux are delivered via individual updates known as errata advisories through the Red Hat Customer Portaliii or other authorized portals. Errata advisories can be released individually on an as-needed basis or aggregated as a minor release. Errata advisories may contain security fixes (Red Hat Security Advisories or RHSAs), bug fixes (Red Hat Bug Fix Advisories or RHBAs), or feature enhancements (Red Hat Enhancement Advisories or RHEAs). All errata advisories are tested and qualified against the respective, active Red Hat Enterprise Linux major release. (For example, a Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 RHSA will be applied cumulatively to the latest Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 version and patch set.) All released errata advisories remain accessible to active subscribers for the entire Red Hat Enterprise Linux life cycle. Within each major release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, any errata advisory (including one released as part of a minor release) will be applied cumulatively to the latest release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, including any patch sets. During the life cycle of a major Red Hat Enterprise Linux release, Red Hat makes commercially reasonable efforts to maintain binary compatibility for the core runtime environment across all minor releases and errata advisories. If necessary, Red Hat may make exceptions to this compatibility goal for Critical impact security or other significant issues. Furthermore, major releases of Red Hat Enterprise Linux contain a limited set of backward-compatible libraries included in previous major releases to allow for the easy migration of applications. Typically, Red Hat applies changes in such a way as to minimize the amount of change and to maintain binary compatibility. Exceptions may apply for controlled package re-bases under certain circumstances. The binary compatibility goal is extended to Red Hat Enterprise Linux for use in an application container. However, this is not extended to Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host or application containers that may run on top of the host since both may include packages or package versions not shipped as part of the latest version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Additional details can be found in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux: Application Compatibility Guide. The following table details the subscription services, including support and software maintenance, performed during each phase of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux life cycle:
|Description||Production 1||Production 2||Production 3||Extended Life Phase7||Extended Life Cycle Support (ELS) Add-On8||Extended Update Support (EUS) Add-On8|
|Access to Previously Released Content through the Red Hat Customer Portal||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Self-help through the Red Hat Customer Portal||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Asynchronous Security Errata (RHSA)10 11||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes8||Yes8|
|Asynchronous Bug Fix Errata (RHBA)2 11||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Refreshed Hardware Enablement3||Native||Limited4 Native||Using Virtualization||Using Virtualization||Using Virtualization||Using Virtualization|
|Updated Installation Images||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No||No|
- Technical Support access depends on the Service Level included in your Red Hat Enterprise Linux Subscription.
- Red Hat may choose, as a temporary measure, to address those catastrophic issues with a significant customer business impact with a Hotfix while the Bug Fix errata advisory (RHBA) is being created.
- Native hardware enablement is provided by backporting hardware drivers, etc., to the relevant version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Hardware enablement using virtualization is achieved by running an earlier version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux as a virtual guest on a newer version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. See the Virtualization description below for details. NOTE: Hardware certification (including the associated hardware limits) applies to the version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux that is being used as the host.
- Native hardware enablement in the Production 2 Phase is limited to hardware enablement that does not require substantial software changes. See the Production 2 description below for details.
- Software enhancements are additions of new functionality beyond correcting defects or enabling previously existing functionality on a new hardware generation.
- Major releases are the primary vehicle for significant software enhancements, although low-impact software enhancement may also be delivered in minor releases.
- See the Extended Life Phase description below.
- Extended Update Support (EUS) and Extended Life-cycle Support (ELS) are available as optional add-ons. See the EUS and ELS descriptions below.
- For existing installations only. See details below for other limitations.
- See the Issue Severity Classification page for security severity classifications.
- All errata provided at Red Hat's discretion.
Production 1 Phaseiv:During the Production 1 Phase, qualified Critical and Important Security errata advisories (RHSAs) and Urgent and Selected High Priority Bug Fix errata advisories (RHBAs) may be released as they become available. Other errata advisories may be delivered as appropriate. If available, new or improved hardware enablement and select enhanced software functionality may be provided at the discretion of Red Hat, generally in minor releases. Hardware enablement that does not require substantial software changes may be provided independent from minor releases at Red Hat's discretion. Minor releases will also include available and qualified errata advisories (RHSAs, RHBAs, and RHEAs). Minor releases are cumulative and include the contents of previously released updates. The focus for minor releases during this phase lies on resolving defects of medium or higher priority. Updated installation images will be provided for minor releases during the Production 1 Phase.
Extended Update SupportviiRed Hat offers the Extended Update Support (EUS) Add-On to a Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription as well as Update Services for SAP Solutions on a Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP Solutions subscription for those customers who wish to standardize on a specific minor release for an extended period of time. The EUS Add-On and the Update Services for SAP Solutions allows customers the flexibility to decide when to take advantage of new Red Hat Enterprise Linux features, including new hardware enablement. Under a Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription, all available RHSAs and RHBAs are provided for the current active minor release until the availability of the next minor release. By contrast, EUS and Update Services for SAP Solutions deliver—for a specific minor release—an independent, extended stream of those Critical impact RHSAs and selected Urgent Priority RHBAs that are available after that specific minor release and in parallel to subsequent minor releases. For EUS and Update Services for SAP Solutions subscribers, Red Hat generally will continue to proactively provide Critical impact RHSAs independent of customer requests if and when available. See the list of packages included here. In the following example, the EUS stream associated with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.1, which was released in May 2011, will be populated until May 2013 with selected Critical impact RHSAs and selected Urgent Priority RHBAs that become available.
|Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6||6.1||6.2||6.3||6.4||6.5||6.6||6.7||6.8|
Extended Update Support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.1
* The life-cycle dates are subject to adjustment. In Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4, EUS was available for the following minor releases:
- 4.5 (ends January 31, 2009)
- 4.7 (ends August 31st, 2011)
- 5.2 (ends March 31, 2010)
- 5.3 (ends November 30, 2010)
- 5.4 (ends July 31, 2011)
- 5.6 (ends July 31, 2013)
- 5.9 (ends March 31, 2015)
- 6.0 (ends November 30, 2012)
- 6.1 (ends May 31, 2013)
- 6.2 (ends January 7, 2014)
- 6.3 (ends June 30, 2014)
- 6.4 (ends March 3, 2015)
- 6.5 (ends November 30, 2015)
- 6.6 (ends October 31, 2016)
- 6.7 (ends December 31, 2018)
- 7.1 (ends March 31, 2017)
- 7.2 (ends November 30, 2017)
- 7.3 (ends November 30, 2018)
- 7.4 (ends August 31, 2019)
- 7.2 (ends November 30, 2019)
- 7.3 (ends November 30, 2020)
Production 2 Phasev:During the Production 2 Phase, qualified Critical and Important Security errata advisories (RHSAs) and Urgent Priority Bug Fix errata advisories (RHBAs) may be released as they become available. Other errata advisories may be delivered as appropriate. If available, hardware enablement that does not require substantial software changes may be provided at the discretion of Red Hat, generally in minor releases. New software functionality is not available during this phase. Minor releases will also include all available and qualified errata. Minor releases are cumulative and thus include the contents of previously released minor releases and errata advisories, including those from Production 1 Phase. The focus for minor releases during this phase lies on resolving urgent- or high-priority bugs. Updated installation images will be provided at Red Hat's discretion for minor releases during the Production 2 Phase only if required because of installer changes.
Production 3 Phasevi:During the Production 3 Phase, Critical impact Security Advisories (RHSAs) and selected Urgent Priority Bug Fix Advisories (RHBAs) may be released as they become available. Other errata advisories may be delivered as appropriate. New functionality and new hardware enablement are not planned for availability in the Production 3 Phase. Minor releases with updated installation images may be made available in this Phase.
Extended Life Phase and Extended Life-cycle Support Add-On:During the Extended Life Phase, a Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription provides continued access to previously released content on the Red Hat Customer Portal, as well as other content such as documentation and the Red Hat Knowledgebase. Advice for migrating to currently supported Red Hat Enterprise Linux versions may also be provided. For versions of products in the Extended Life Phase, Red Hat will provide limited ongoing technical support. No bug fixes, security fixes, hardware enablement or root-cause analysis will be available during this phase, and support will be provided on existing installations only. Red Hat reserves the right to terminate the ongoing support in the Extended Life Phase for a particular version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux at any time. Extended Life-cycle Support (ELS) is an optional Add-On subscription for certain Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscriptions. Available during the Extended Life Phase for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5, the ELS Add-On delivers certain critical-impact security fixes and selected urgent priority bug fixes and troubleshooting for the last minor release. For Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5, the ELS Add-On covers the IBM z Systems and the x86 architecture, both 32-bit and 64-bit variants with the exception of the Itanium architecture. For Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, the ELS Add-On covers the IBM z Systems and the x86 architecture, both 32-bit and 64-bit variants. Add-Ons are not covered by ELS. For guidance on how to best modernize your Red Hat infrastructure with a solution that meets your business needs, contact Red Hat Consulting. See the list of packages included in ELS here.
VirtualizationVirtualization provides hardware abstraction for guest operating systems. Abstraction allows a guest that is running an older version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux that does not support the latest server hardware to be easily deployed on a virtualization host that does. In this way, a Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 guest can be hosted by Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 on a latest-generation processor. Red Hat intends to support those versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux that are still within the Production or Extended Life Phase when run as virtualized guests on later versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The Red Hat Enterprise Linux virtualization support matrix provides details on the supported combinations of operating systems, versions, and hardware architectures.
- During the life of Red Hat Enterprise Linux version 7, Red Hat only offers subscription services for each release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host, Red Hat Enterprise Linux for ARM and Red Hat Enterprise Linux for Power LE (POWER9) for Production Phase 1 (and not Phase 2 or 3) support followed by an Extended Life Phase.
- Extended Update Support (EUS) will not be available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux for ARM, or Red Hat Enterprise Linux for Power LE (POWER9)
Life-cycle DatesAll future dates mentioned for "End of Production 1" and "End of Production 2" are close approximations, non definitive, and subject to change.
|Version||General Availability||End of Production 1||End of Production 2||End of Production 3 (End of Production Phase)||End of Extended Life-cycle Support||End of Extended Life Phase||Last Minor Release|
|3||October 23, 2003||July 20, 2006||June 30, 2007||October 31, 2010||January 30, 2014||January 30, 2014|
|4||February 14, 2005||March 31, 2009||February 16, 2011||February 29, 2012||March 31, 2017||Ongoing||4.9|
|5||March 15, 2007||January 8, 2013||January 31, 2014||March 31, 2017||November 30, 2020||Ongoing||5.11|
|6||November 10, 2010||May 10, 2016||May 10, 2017||November 30, 2020||June 30, 2024||Ongoing|
|7||June 10, 2014||~Q4 of 2019||~Q4 of 2020||June 30, 2024||N/A||Ongoing|
|7 (ARM)||November 13, 2017||November 30, 2020||N/A||N/A||N/A||Ongoing|
|7 (POWER9)||November 13, 2017||November 30, 2020||N/A||N/A||N/A||Ongoing|