If you're considering a migration from CentOS Linux to Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), then you're probably eager to make the process as easy as possible. The good news is that somebody else (Red Hat) has already made it easy for you. In most cases, changing a system from CentOS Linux to RHEL is actually more like running some updates than a system reinstall. With this in mind, here are 4 of the easiest ways to switch from CentOS Linux to RHEL.

1. Convert2RHEL

Work smarter not harder, and let a script do the work for you. Here's how to use the convert2rhel script:

First, download Convert2RHEL or install it on your system with sudo dnf install convert2rhel

Before running the script, you must update and upgrade your system. This involves some manual labor on your part, but you know your systems better than anyone. Get your systems ready for the conversion, and then run the script:

$ convert2rhel

If you want to perform a dry run first, use the online Convert2RHEL lab to get a simulated experience.

Converting to RHEL from an unsupported distribution

Maybe you're not running CentOS Linux, but a similar distribution instead. Believe it or not, you can probably switch to RHEL nevertheless. How much manual work you have to do depends largely on the differences between what you're running and RHEL itself, but it's worth investigating. Red Hat's Knowledge Base offers guidance on switching from unsupported distributions to RHEL, and there's a complimentary conversion guide for changing from any RPM-based distribution to RHEL.

Yes, you'll likely be doing the work yourself, but you're not on your own. As always, Red Hat has plenty of instruction and guidance to help you along the way.

2. Convert from CentOS Linux using Red Hat Satellite

Mixed environments have historically been common, with some non-critical servers running CentOS Linux and the "really important" ones running RHEL. This tenuous division of prioritization is no longer necessary now that you can run RHEL on everything. If you've already got a Red Hat Satellite subscription to manage a subset of your servers, then you can use your existing Red Hat Satellite to automate convert2rhel in bulk.

3. Get help from Red Hat

Red Hat offers dedicated support for your Linux systems. If you've got the time and staff to do the conversion, but you prefer to have an experienced expert looking over your shoulder, then contact a Red Hat Technical Account Manager (TAM). A Red Hat Technical Account Manager can help you navigate unforeseen conversion issues that might arise on a complex system.

For instance, you might consider contacting Red Hat if you have important software you didn't install using dnf (for instance, a binary running out of /opt), run custom applications that must be compiled against specific versions of libraries, run several versions of the same library or application on the same system, or if you're just not sure what to expect.

4. Let Red Hat do it for you

Finally, in the event that you haven't got the staff or skills or time to perform a major conversion, then Red Hat Consulting can help. It's not just about convenience, though. Utilizing the Red Hat Consulting service means the job is getting done by the same organization that's building the technology in the first place. In terms of bringing in the experts, it doesn't get any more expert than that!

Convert with intention

Regardless of how you choose to migrate to RHEL, the important thing is to approach the process early and thoughtfully. The worst case scenario is to wait until the last minute, and then waste time and money in a scramble to get it done, potentially with unforeseen errors and mistakes. Make a plan for your conversion, audit your systems to find out what's needed, back everything up, do some tests and perform dry-runs, and then make it happen. In the end, thanks to Red Hat's unparalleled support services, you'll be glad you made the switch.