Red Hat Virtualization Life Cycle

Overview

Red Hat Virtualization comprises two operational components:

  • Red Hat Virtualization Manager (RHV-M), which provides a centralized management platform for a virtualized environment
  • Red Hat Virtualization Hypervisor (RHV-H), which provides the hypervisor for a cluster of virtual machines

Traditionally, Red Hat has offered support services for five years for each major release of Red Hat Virtualization that includes two main Production Support phases: Full Support and Maintenance Support. After 5 years of Production Support, Red Hat Virtualization support is provided via 2 years of Extended Life Phase support, which is described later in this document.

This policy has been in effect for previously released major versions and applies until a minor release of the product is released. For example, when RHV 4 was released in August, 2016, the version 4 series then became a fully supported major version of the product. When minor version 4.1 was released in August, 2017, version 4.1 then became the fully supported product version with version 4.0 still supported for production use, but no longer receiving back ports or feature enhancements. Customers running 4.0 who require back ports or feature enhancements are encouraged to upgrade their systems to the most current version of the product.

Beginning with Red Hat Virtualization 4.2, Red Hat provides Extended Update Support (EUS) which provides customers an added 2 years of full support, for the minor version they are running. For example, customers running version 4.2 will continue to have access to new features, all fixes for a full 2 years, even with the release of version 4.3. In addition, beginning with version 4.2, Red Hat has extended the Red Hat Virtualization 4 Production Support phases for each point release to a total of 6 years, that includes 2 years of Full Support (via the availability of EUS), 2 years of Maintenance Support and 2 years of Extended Life Phase support. The policy also provides Extended Update Support (EUS) for select point releases of the product. At this time, EUS is available for Red Hat Virtualization 4.2 and is planned for 4.4 (release date is to be determined.)

Note: EUS is available only for the Hypervisor (RHV-H) and not for the Manager (RHV-M).

Details

Red Hat Virtualization Production Support services will be provided as per the Scope of Coverage policies defined for Red Hat products.

The Red Hat Virtualization Product Support Life Cycle Phases are described here:

Red Hat Product Life Cycle Phase Descriptions
Description Full Support Extended Update Support (for eligible versions) Maintenance Support Extended Life Phase Support
Access to previously released content through the Red Hat Customer Portal Yes Yes Yes Yes
Self Help through the Red Hat Customer Portal Yes Yes Yes Yes
Technical Support1 Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited, Upgrade assistance only
Asynchronous Security Errata (RHSA) Yes Yes Yes No
Asynchronous Bug Fix Errata (RHBA)2 Yes Yes Yes No
Minor Releases Yes Yes No No
Refreshed Hardware Enhancements3 Yes Yes Yes3 No
Feature Backports, Enhancements Yes Yes No No
  1. Technical Support depends on the service level included in your Red Hat Virtualization subscription agreement.
  2. Red Hat may choose, as an intermediate measure, to address serious issues that have an impact to customer business with a hotfix, while a Red Hat Bug Fix Advisory is created and verified.
  3. Native Hardware Enablement (in Full Support phase) is provided by backporting hardware drivers, etc., to the relevant version of the Red Hat Virtualization Hypervisor. During Maintenance Phase, it is limited to hardware enablement that does not require substantial software changes.

Life Cycle Dates

The Red Hat Virtualization Product Support Life Cycle dates are described here:

Release General Availability End Full/EUS Support End Maintenance Support / Product Retirement End Extended Life Phase/Extended Life Support
Red Hat Virtualization 4 August, 2016 April, 2021 (EUS for select minor versions, details below) April, 2023 (through minor version 4.3) April, 2025 (through minor version 4.3)
Red Hat Virtualization 4.1 April, 2017 May, 2018 (entered Maintenance with 4.2 minor release; EUS not available) May, 2020 May, 2022
Red Hat Virtualization 4.2 (2 yr EUS) May, 2018 May, 2020 (Fully supported with EUS) May, 2022 May, 2024
Red Hat Virtualization 4.3 April, 2019 April, 2021 (Fully supported until next minor version. EUS not available.) April, 2023 April, 2025
Red Hat Virtualization 4.4 (Planned) TBA 2 years from GA (EUS available) 4 years from GA 6 years from GA

Red Hat Virtualization Life Cycle

Full Support Phase:

NOTE: Beginning with Red Hat Virtualization 4.2, Extended Update Support (EUS) is available for select minor versions of the product only. Refer to the previous Life Cycle dates for the specific minor versions that provide EUS as an option.

During the Full Support Phase, qualified Critical and Important Security Advisories (RHSAs) and Urgent and selected High Priority Bug Fix Advisories (RHBAs) may be released as they become available. Other errata advisories, such as Red Hat Enhancement Advisories (RHEAs), may be delivered as appropriate.

If available, new or improved hardware enablement, may be provided at the discretion of Red Hat and are generally provided in minor releases. Hardware enablement that does not require substantial software changes may be provided independently from minor releases at Red Hat’s discretion.

For any minor release made available during this phase, the available and qualified errata advisories (RHSAs, RHBAs, and RHEAs) will be cumulatively included with the contents of previously released product updates. This means that if a customer is running an older version of the product and reports a bug, that bug will be fixed in the latest version of the software and a customer may need to upgrade in order to take advantage of that fix.

Maintenance Support Phase:

During the Maintenance Support Phase, at minimum Critical impact Security Advisories (RHSAs) and selected Urgent Priority Bug Fix Advisories (RHBAs) may be released at Red Hat’s discretion as they become available. Other errata advisories may be delivered as appropriate.

If available, hardware enhancements that does not require substantial software changes may be provided at the discretion of Red Hat and are generally provided in minor releases. New software functionality is not available.

Extended Life Phase (ELP)

During the Extended Life Phase, a Red Hat Virtualization Manager 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 Virtualization 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 Virtualization at any time.

Support for Extended Life Phase is provided only for the latest minor release of the product (example 4.1.z where z stands for the latest version).

Upgrade Policy for Major Releases:

Red Hat will provide a supported upgrade path between major releases for Red Hat Virtualization Manager. Upgrades will be supported between the latest minor release of previous version to the most current version of the next higher major release. In these cases, the upgrade process will be limited to support upgrading from the latest minor release of the previous version to the new major version.

For Example:

    Upgrading from Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.6.z to Red Hat Virtualization 4.0 is supported, with z representing the most current version of the version 3 series of minor releases.
    Upgrade from Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.5 to Red Hat Virtualization 4.0 is not supported. In order to achieve this upgrade, the customer should first upgrade to Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.6.z, before the upgrade to Red Hat Virtualization 4.0.

Upgrade from Beta / Pre-release or Upstream releases to a fully supported release is not supported.

Upgrade Policy for Minor Releases:

Beginning with Red Hat Virtualization 4.2, the cumulative life-cycle of a Red Hat Virtualization release is 72 months. With this in mind, customers are expected to update to new minor and z-stream releases as and when they become available. Accelerated and hot fixes will not be provided for issues that have been previously fixed in a subsequent release; customers are expected and encouraged to keep their systems current and upgraded to the latest version of product to keep up to date on all patches and fixes.

In circumstances where the reported issue is not fixed in the current shipping release, the customer is still expected to upgrade their systems to the latest release (n) or in some exceptional cases, the immediate previous release (n-1). This is to ensure that any accelerated or hot fixes are developed and verified against the latest or the immediate previous release.

Security Updates:

Throughout the support lifecycle, qualified security issues of Critical or Important impact, as well as select mission-critical bugs, will be addressed by updated packages. For more information on how the impact of security issues is assessed, please refer to Issue Severity Classification.

Delivery of Red Hat Virtualization Advisories:

Software changes to Red Hat Virtualization are delivered through individual updates known as errata advisories. These advisories are delivered through the Red Hat Customer Portal or through other authorized portals. Errata advisories can be released individually on an as-needed basis or aggregated and distributed 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 Virtualization major release. For example, a Red Hat Virtualization 4 RHSA will be applied cumulatively to the latest Red Hat Virtualization 4 version and patch set.

All released errata advisories remain accessible to active subscribers for the entire Red Hat Virtualization life cycle. Within each major release of Red Hat Virtualization any errata advisory (including one released as part of a minor release) will be applied cumulatively to the latest release of Red Hat Virtualization, including any patch sets for advisories released after the version currently used by the customer.

Red Hat actively develops only the last major version’s minor release (for example a bug found in Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.6 or Red Hat Virtualization 4.0 after the release of Red Hat Virtualization 4.1 could only be fixed in an errata to a 4.1.z release). Errata advisories or hotfixes for earlier releases are provided at the discretion of Red Hat to address critical impact security issues with a significant customer business impact.

During the life cycle of a major 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 issues or other significant issues.

Red Hat Virtualization Manager Compatibility

Red Hat Virtualization uses the concept of Compatibility Level to describe the functionality and compatibility of the virtual environment.

Each minor version of Red Hat Virtualization delivers a new Compatibility Level based on the minor version number. Each release of Red Hat Virtualization Manager supports at least the current and previous minor release Compatibility Level.

The following table outlines the Data Center/Cluster Compatibility levels supported by Red Hat Virtualization Manager.

Red Hat Virtualization Manager Compatibility Matrix
RHV Release Release Date RHVH Supported Compatibility Levels
2.1 November 3rd, 2009 2.1
2.2 June 23rd, 2010 2.2, 2.1
3.0 January 18th, 2012 3.0, 2.2
3.1 December 5th, 2012 3.1, 3.0
3.2 June 11th, 2013 3.2, 3.1, 3.0
3.3 January 21st, 2014 3.3, 3.2, 3.1, 3.0
3.4 June 16th, 2014 3.4, 3.3, 3.2, 3.1, 3.0
3.5 Februrary 11th, 2015 3.5, 3.4, 3.3
3.6 March 9th, 2016 3.6, 3.5, 3.4
4.0 August, 2016 4.0, 3.6
4.1 April 18th, 2017 4.1, 4.0, 3.6
4.2 May 15th, 2018 4.2, 4.1, 4.0, 3.6
4.3 May 8th, 2019 4.3, 4.2, 4.1
  • Red Hat Virtualization Manager (RHV-M) needs to have a cluster with a cluster level that is not higher than the oldest RHV-H host version in the cluster.
  • Red Hat Virtualization Tested Configurations

    Red Hat highly recommends the use of tested configurations. The Package Manifest, accessible in the documentation section of the Red Hat customer portal, contains a list of tested packages. We highly recommend that production Red Hat Virtualization environments use tested configurations unless otherwise advised by Red Hat Support.

    Red Hat Hypervisor Upgrade and Support Policy

    Red Hat will provide a supported upgrade path for all hypervisors within the same major release. Upgrading hypervisors from one major release to another major release is not supported. Red Hat will attempt to provide migration paths between major releases at its discretion.

    The following table outlines the compatibility levels supported by the Red Hat Virtualization Hypervisor and by the corresponding Red Hat Enterprise Linux release with the appropriate management agent installed.

    Red Hat Virtualization Hypervisor
    Red Hat Virtualization Hypervisor Red Hat Enterprise Linux Release Supported RHVH Compatibility Levels
    RHEV-H 3.6 7.3 3.6, 3.5
    RHEV-H 3.6* 7.3 EUS* 3.6, 3.5
    RHVH 4.0 7.3 4.0, 3.6
    RHVH 4.1 7.5 4.1, 4.0, 3.6
    RHVH 4.2 7.5, 7.6 4.2, 4.1, 4.0, 3.6
    RHVH 4.3 7.6, 7.7^ 4.3, 4.2, 4.1

    ^ Supported with RHV 4.3.5 and above only.

    * Red Hat Virtualization 3.6 Extended Lifecycle Support only