Policies and guidelines

Red Hat subscription model FAQ

Get answers to common questions about the Red Hat® subscription model, how subscriptions are used in customer environments, and why managing your subscription is important. See how Red Hat subscriptions provide everything you need to run your systems reliably and securely.

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Understand the Red Hat subscription model

The Red Hat subscription model has been in place for more than 2 decades--influenced by extensive customer feedback. A Red Hat subscription allows customers to download Red Hat tested and certified enterprise software. It also provides access to the guidance, stability, and security to confidently deploy these products, even in the most-critical environments.

An active Red Hat subscription gives you continuous access to Red Hat software as it’s developed by Red Hat and its partners. Simply maintain one active subscription per resource running Red Hat software to take advantage of the value we provide.

A Red Hat subscription offers production-ready code, life-cycle management, software interoperability, and access to experts and tools that help you run your business. With a Red Hat subscription, you benefit from:

  • Stable open source technology, organized and optimized for enterprise use
  • Security and accountability from a trusted advisor
  • Knowledge and influence in open source communities to pursue innovation and development
  • Access to technical support, documentation, and tools
  • Flexibility for your plans with compatible, vendor-agnostic solutions, and longer life cycles
  • Partnership with Red Hat from proof of concept (POC) to deployment and beyond
  • A broad ecosystem of partners

An active Red Hat subscription provides everything needed to run your systems—including mission-critical systems—reliably and securely. More than software, it's access to a community of experts, knowledge resources, security updates, and support tools you can't get anywhere else.

Ongoing delivery

  • Patches
  • Bug fixes
  • Updates
  • Upgrades

Technical support

  • 24/7 availability
  • Unlimited Incidents
  • Specialty-based routing
  • Multi-vendor case ownership
  • Multi-Channel


  • Hardware certifications
  • Software certifications
  • Cloud Provider certifications
  • Software assurance


  • Red Hat Product Security
  • Red Hat Customer Portal
  • Knowledgebase
  • Customer Portal Labs
  • Training Curriculum

The award-winning Red Hat Customer Portal helps you maximize the value of your subscription. You can manage subscriptions, access downloads and knowledge for products and solutions specific to your environment, engage with the Red Hat community and our partners, and find technical content to help you get the most from your Red Hat solutions.

Maximize subscription benefits

A Red Hat subscription includes support. When you purchase a subscription, you choose a level of support services to cover specific use cases and environments. Available support levels include premium, standard, and self-support (available only in certain regions and on Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server Entry Level). Subscriptions also include support for development. For those looking for an additional level of support, Red Hat has support service offerings that can be added on top of subscriptions, such as Technical Account Management

Standard Premium
Hours of coverage Standard business hours 24x7 for severity 1 and 2
Support channel Web and phone Web and phone
Number of cases unlimited unlimited


Response times Initial and ongoing response Initial response Ongoing response
Severity 1 1 business hour 1 hour 1 hour or as agreed
Severity 2 4 business hours 2 hours 4 hours or as agreed
Severity 3 1 business day 4 business hours 8 business hours or as agreed
Severity 4 2 business day 8 business hours 2 business days or as agreed

Red Hat offers a tested, supported portfolio of stable open source infrastructure. Red Hat’s products are backed by a dedicated Product Security team that monitors, identifies, and addresses risks affecting our products and works closely with upstream projects. We worry about the meaningful security flaws, giving customers peace of mind.

Yes, Red Hat products are provided on a per-instance or per-installation subscription basis, which gives customers access to all subscription benefits during the subscription term. This means that while customers have an active subscription for a Red Hat product, they must maintain subscriptions for each and every instance or installation of Red Hat software being used in their environment.

Our business model measures the value provided by counting the number of resources installed with or executing a Red Hat software or product and applying a subscription fee to each instance. By maintaining this one-to-one active relationship with Red Hat, customers are able to distribute the benefits throughout their entire organization.

Yes, the Red Hat Enterprise Agreement governs the Red Hat products and services, whether you purchase directly from Red Hat or indirectly through a Red Hat partner.

Red Hat products are provided on a per-instance or per-installation subscription basis, which provides continued access to all subscription benefits during the subscription term.

Some environments may require more of these benefits, some less. So, Red Hat measures the full value of a customer's subscriptions by counting the number of instances or installations of Red Hat software a customer has.

Yes, customers are free to purchase additional technical support for the Red Hat products in their environment. However, as long as a customer has active Red Hat subscriptions, they are still required to maintain a subscription for each instance of Red Hat Enterprise product in the environment. Having third-party technical support will not release a customer of any obligation to purchase Red Hat subscriptions for all of the installations or instances when you have any relevant active Red Hat subscriptions for the environment.

You can refer to the subscription guides for Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat JBoss Middleware, and other Red Hat products. Or contact a Red Hat business partner or Red Hat representative.

Manage your subscriptions

Red Hat provides several tools to help you manage your Red Hat subscriptions, each addressing different use cases.

Red Hat Customer Portal: Systems, whether physical or virtual, can be registered and connected with the Red Hat Customer Portal. RHSM provides status, inventory, organization, and reporting on Red Hat subscriptions via a hosted web interface on the Red Hat Customer Portal, an on-premise application (Satellite), or in the client.  RHSM on the Customer Portal is available to all customers at no additional cost.

Red Hat Satellite: Available through a subscription, Red Hat Satellite provides patch management, provisioning, configuration management, and monitoring capabilities that ensure Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems are properly secured, operating efficiently, and in compliance with various standards. It also helps you centrally manage your subscription usage, maintain accurate inventory and utilize information, and report on your subscription consumption.

Red Hat sells term-based subscriptions, typically sold in one- and three-year terms. Some online offerings may be charged differently.

To continue to receive environment-wide Red Hat subscription benefits, including unlimited upgrades and updates crucial to keeping your systems secure,  all instances or installations of Red Hat software must have a subscription.

Customers are contacted in advance of subscription expiration via email and/or by a representative. Additionally, customers may reach out to their representative to discuss renewal and changes in their environments that may impact subscription usage.


Renewal method is dependent on how the subscription was originally purchased. For details on methods of purchase/renewal, visit our Subscription Renewal Guide.

If all of your subscriptions expire and you have no other active subscriptions in your organization, you retain the right to use the software under the applicable license terms. However, your entire environment will no longer receive any of the subscription benefits, including:

  • The latest certified software versions.
  • Security errata and bug fixes.
  • Red Hat technical support.
  • Access to the award-winning Customer Portal.
  • Red Hat's Open Source Assurance.

Appendix 1 of the Red Hat Enterprise Agreement details subscription types, units of measure, and use cases and clarifies many other subscription-related topics. Red Hat customers may also contact their representative.