Most organizations that use Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) today are running a mix of Red Hat-provided and third-party software on their RHEL systems. Red Hat-provided software is accessed through RHEL content delivery systems, which offer software that is supported and maintained by Red Hat itself.  

Things get a little more complicated with software that isn’t included with RHEL. This software can come from a variety of sources, including upstream software distribution systems (such as the community-run Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (EPEL) repository), programming language runtime software repositories (such as the Python Package Index), or commercial software vendors such as Cloudera, IBM, InterSystems, F5 Networks, Microsoft or SAP.

When software comes from official Red Hat repositories, you know it’s designed to work with RHEL. But when it comes from a software partner, the best way to avoid potential unpleasant surprises is to rely on software certified for RHEL, listed in the Red Hat Ecosystem Catalog

The RHEL section of the catalog lists commercial software partners that have certified their software with Red Hat as well as some foundational workload partners (like Microsoft and SAP) where Red Hat actively tests their software, looking at performance and stability. 

Traditional software products are listed as container-based products. Categories of certified software available include:

  • Application delivery
  • Blog & CMS
  • Business process management
  • Business software
  • Collaboration/groupware/messaging
  • Data storage
  • Dev tools
  • DevOps
  • Developer tools
  • IT & management tools
  • Management
  • Monitoring
  • Networking
  • OS & platforms
  • Policy enforcement
  • Security

What are the requirements for RHEL software certification?  

When your software vendor goes through certification, their software is known to interoperate with the RHEL platform, in a more secure manner, using best practices. For example, with traditional package certifications, tests verify that key RHEL kernel components and system libraries (such as glibc, libcrypto and libssl) are not overwritten by vendor-supplied software. 

Your software vendor is also able to deliver an application as a Red Hat-Certified Container Image for RHEL. Container-based applications are supported on RHEL through the Podman container management tool. As a Red Hat software partner, your software vendor is able to add their custom software components, along with content available through the standard RHEL package repositories, to any of the standard Red Hat Universal Base Image (UBI) containers offered by Red Hat.  

Before your software vendor lists their container in the catalog, they run a Red Hat container validation test to help verify that the Red Hat-supplied software components you're going to use in your environment aren't exposed to known vulnerabilities. Once the application container is loaded into the catalog, Red Hat regularly checks for security issues identified in Red Hat-provided components of that container using a four-point scale (Low, Moderate, Important and Critical). The scoring system provides a prioritized risk assessment to help you understand and schedule moving to newer versions of the containers once your software supplier makes them available.

In addition, as part of certification, collaborative support agreements are put in place between Red Hat and the software vendor through TSANet, an organization which provides infrastructure that helps accelerate the resolution of multivendor support issues.

To see if your current commercial software vendors are certified, check out the Red Hat Ecosystem Catalog. If they aren’t listed in the catalog or don’t support the release of RHEL that you’re running, you can request that Red Hat work with your software vendor to support RHEL.

About the author

Louis Imershein is a Product Manager at Red Hat focussed on Microsoft SQL Server and database workloads. He is responsible for working with Microsoft and Red Hat engineering to ensure that SQL Server performance, management, and security is optimized for Red Hat platforms. For more than 30 years, Louis has worked in technical support, engineering, software architecture, and product management on a wide range of OS, management, security, and storage software projects. Louis joined Red Hat as part of the acquisition of Permabit Technology Corporation, where he was VP of Product.

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