Red Hat Increases Service Levels and Reduces Costs for Customers with Extended Update Support

December 18, 2008

by RHEL5 Team

Today we are introducing a new software maintenance service for our customers called Extended Update Support. Extended Update Support allows a customer with a large mission-critical deployment to reduce server administration and management costs by standardizing on a single update release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux for up to 18 months – all while preserving stability and data security.

Here’s how we handle software maintenance:
Each major version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux version 5) is supported for seven years. During this lifecycle, critical security fixes and production-stopping bug fixes are released as asynchronous advisories. In addition, Red Hat releases updates (such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.1 or 5.2) about twice per year. These releases contain a roll-up of all the important bug fixes and security patches released prior to the update. But more importantly, the releases contain new hardware enablement along with selected new or enhanced software features.

This update cycle allows our customers to take full advantage of the latest new hardware as it becomes available. Our policy is to deliver the latest technology as soon as we have made sure it is enterprise-ready. We try to strike a good balance between providing up-to-date hardware enablement (along with an effective development and QA cycle) and the customer’s ability to consume the content we release.

However, we had a set of customers who asked us to come up with a way for them to standardize on one version of Enterprise Linux for the longest period possible while preserving maximum stability and data security. These customers want to synchronize new hardware roll out, application stack updates and operating-system upgrades at the same time instead of having to do them independently.

What some customers have found is that every time they introduce hardware or software updates in their environment, they incur two costs.

First, they have to re-validate all of the software stacks running on the affected operating system on the specific hardware. They do this to make sure that everything will run smoothly with the update and to guard against breaking anything when they release the update into production.

Second, whenever they introduce change into their datacenter, they have to disturb running production systems. This introduces risk and could affect service levels, especially for mission-critical systems, as the change may cause the running system to have performance problems, or worse, go down.

Red Hat helps to solve this problem with today’s announcement of Extended Update Support. Right now, the industry norm is that customers can standardize on a particular minor version for a period between 6-9 months and in a few cases 12 months. This period is the time between minor releases or service packs (the term used by other operating systems). With the optional Extended Update Support, customers can standardize on one Enterprise Linux environment for approximately 18 months. This is 2-3 times the industry average.

With Extended Update Support, customers are offered two valuable benefits:

  • Extended Update Support can save customers time and money by offering the opportunity to reduce the amount of testing and revalidation that they have to perform annually on their software stacks.
  • Extended Update Support reduces risk and increases a customer’s service levels by allowing them to run their critical systems undisturbed for longer periods of time.

To start, Extended Update Support is for sale today to any of our customers globally with 100 or more Enterprise Linux subscriptions. Customers can purchase it directly from Red Hat or through our channel partners.

For more information or to purchase Extended Update Support, contact your Red Hat sales representative or authorized Red Hat reseller.

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