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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.

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 1 active subscription per resource running Red Hat software to take advantage of the value we provide.

With Red Hat subscriptions, there are no license or upgrade fees. And Red Hat doesn't charge additional maintenance fees, per-incident support fees, or user access fees.

Pay-as-you-need model
With traditional software licenses, you incur up-front costs and lose value over time. Red Hat’s subscription model lets you pay for the value as you are using it.
No expensive upgrades
Subscriptions take the pain out of buying software. Everything—including upgrades and updates—is provided in 1 all-inclusive price.
On-demand access
You get access to all supported versions of the software, bug fixes, proactive security updates, source code, and documentation. You also benefit from additional hardware and software certifications.
Newest innovations
Subscriptions give you access to feature enhancements, including support for new chipsets, major performance improvements, and more.
Access to experts
Access to a 24-hour global network of knowledgeable Red Hat support engineers—who work collaboratively with partner support engineers—provides in-house expertise and lets you deploy with confidence.
Intellectual property assurance
Subscriptions entitle you to the Open Source Assurance program, which helps safeguard customers developing and deploying open source solutions by providing certain assurances to customers in the event there is an intellectual property issue with Red Hat software.

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


  • Security Response Team (SRT)
  • Customer Portal
  • Knowledgebase
  • Access Labs
  • Training Curriculum

With a Red Hat subscription, you get the latest enterprise-ready software, trusted knowledge, product security, and technical support from engineers making software the open source way. A subscription delivers new value during each stage of your IT journey and empowers you to contribute to, benefit from, and push innovation with open source software.

Red Hat Customer Portal helps you maximize the value of your subscription. Through an award-winning, web-based interface, you can manage subscriptions, access downloads and knowledge for products and solutions specific to your environment, engage with Red Hat and our partners, and find technical content to learn how to get the most from your Red Hat solutions.

Maximize subscription benefits

A Red Hat subscription includes support services. 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.

Hours of coverageStandard business hours24x7 for severity 1 and 2
Support channelWeb and phoneWeb and phone
Number of casesunlimitedunlimited


Response timesInitial and ongoing responseInitial responseOngoing response
Severity 11 business hour1 hour1 hour or as agreed
Severity 24 business hours2 hours4 hours or as agreed
Severity 31 business day4 business hours8 business hours or as agreed
Severity 42 business day8 business hours2 business days or as agreed

Red Hat’s industry-leading Red Hat Product Security Team works with our customers, partners, security watchdog groups, and the global open source community to identify security vulnerabilities. As part of the customer’s subscription, Red Hat provides fixes and patches to vulnerabilities as they are tested and become available. To date, Red Hat has delivered fixes for more than 98% of critical vulnerabilities within 1 calendar day of being identified.

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

There are services and tools that can help you manage your Red Hat Enterprise Linux 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. Get the latest versions of the software, query our knowledgebase, browse product documentation, and gain access to the latest bug fixes, security errata, and feature enhancements.

Red Hat Satellite. You can get a subscription for Red Hat Satellite, which 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 manage your subscription inventory by providing fine-grained reporting on allocated and available subscriptions and their expiration dates.

Red Hat sells subscriptions in 1- and 3-year terms. Some online offerings may be charged differently.

To continue to receive environment-wide Red Hat subscription benefits, including unlimited upgrades and updates important to keeping your environment up-to-date, 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.

To renew online, the customer portal includes a subscription management tool that allows you to view and renew your subscriptions. Another online option is the Renewal Request Form.

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.