Benefits of migrating CentOS Linux to Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Choosing the right Linux distribution for your business

As one of the world’s most popular operating systems, Linux® provides an ideal platform for modern, innovative IT. Still, your choice of Linux distribution can have a significant impact on the efficiency, performance, security, and cost of your IT environment — and your business. 

Organizations that use CentOS Linux — a freely available, community-supported Linux distribution — currently face a choice. The CentOS Project will discontinue updates and releases of CentOS Linux between 2021 and 2024. As a result, CentOS Linux users must migrate to a new operating system to continue receiving updates, patches, and new features. While implementing a new operating system may seem tedious, it also presents an opportunity to reassess your organization’s needs and choose a platform that will better support your business now and in the future.

A consistent, intelligent operating foundation for modern IT and enterprise hybrid cloud deployments, Red Hat® Enterprise Linux delivers optimal benefits for your organization. Because CentOS Linux is derived from Red Hat Enterprise Linux sources, you can continue to use many of the same techniques and elements while gaining more features, tools, support, and value.

This overview discusses key benefits of migrating to Red Hat Enterprise Linux from CentOS Linux.

If you’re ready to try Red Hat Enterprise Linux, sign up for a free trial today.

Take advantage of enterprise open source features

While CentOS Linux is derived from Red Hat Enterprise Linux sources, it is not the same operating system and does not offer the same enterprise features. As a result, you likely spend more time and effort on common tasks like resource provisioning, platform management, software integration, IT security, and regulatory compliance.

Moving to Red Hat Enterprise Linux gives you direct access to the latest enterprise-ready Linux innovation certified for use with Red Hat’s portfolio of software, automation, and management technologies, including Red Hat Smart ManagementRed Hat Ansible® Automation PlatformRed Hat OpenStack® Platform, and Red Hat OpenShift®. Cross-product integration, certification with a large ecosystem of partner products, and a choice of architectures and versions improve interoperability across your environment. Intense testing and hardening and a controlled, trusted software supply chain allow you to foster innovation without compromising reliability. 

Red Hat builds collaborative relationships with customers to ensure that your needs and requirements are incorporated into Red Hat products. Your subscription gives you advanced visibility into new features and influence over development so you can plan ahead for new technology investments and adoption. Red Hat also identifies important emerging technologies and works to develop them into enterprise open source solutions that meet future IT needs. As a result, you can try these technologies in a safer, more controlled manner.

The business value of Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Compared to organizations that use unpaid alternatives like CentOS Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux users experience:


lower three-year cost of operations.1


more efficient IT infrastructure teams.1


faster development life cycles.1


less unplanned downtime.1

Streamline administration with integrated management tools

CentOS Linux does not include advanced management or remediation tools, so you probably manage these systems manually or with other in-house administration tools.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux integrates with Red Hat’s advanced management and automation tools to ease environment administration. All Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscriptions include Red Hat Insights, a Software-as-a-Service (SasS) offering that collects analytics about your environment to proactively identify and fix issues. Red Hat Insights delivers continuous vulnerability alerts and targeted guidance to help you maximize uptime and avoid emergencies due to security issues, noncompliant settings, unpatched systems, and configuration drift. And you can deploy Red Hat Smart Management and Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform to more efficiently manage your systems at scale. In fact, compared to organizations that use unpaid, unsupported Linux distributions like CentOS Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux users experience 32% more efficient IT infrastructure teams and require 21% fewer physical servers to run the same workloads, adding up to 16% lower three-year operational costs.1 

Gain consistency and certainty over with Red Hat Enterprise Linux extended life-cycle support

CentOS Linux featured limited life cycle options and shorter release life cycles, forcing you to update and upgrade your systems more frequently. You may also have experienced delayed security patches, bug fixes, and releases, leaving your systems — and business — vulnerable for longer.

A Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription offers flexible, stable, and security-focused life cycle options to support your business requirements, including an Extended Lifecycle Support (ELS) add-on. You can choose from multiple supported versions, upgrade on your schedule, and adopt new features as you need them.

Up to 10 years of updates and support for major releases, two years of updates and support for minor releases, and binary compatibility between releases lets you plan for long-term success. Red Hat also provides in-place upgrade tools to help you migrate to newer versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux more easily. Plus, ongoing, rapid access to advanced security features, patches, and guidance helps you protect your business. Red Hat delivers errata releases approximately every six weeks and provides immediate hotfix patches for high-priority, severity 1 bugs to Red Hat customers.

Red Hat’s enterprise-grade support and expertise

The CentOS Project does not offer commercial support for CentOS users, so you must handle all platform support issues in-house, requiring more time and staff to operate.

Red Hat delivers enterprise-grade support resources and tools to keep your business running. Technical expertise, guidance, and knowledge — including collaboration with specialty teams by phone or chat — are available 24x7. Red Hat also offers personalized guidance and planning services to help you achieve your business outcomes faster. As a result, you can spend less time solving support issues and refocus staff on more strategic tasks. Red Hat Enterprise Linux users experience 81% less unplanned downtime than organizations that use unpaid Linux distributions.1 

Save time and effort with Red Hat Insights

Included with your Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription, Red Hat Insights helps you reduce the time spent on common management tasks:


less time to detect known operational risks2


less time to detect security vulnerabilities2


less time to detect configuration drift2

Red Hat Enterprise Linux security resources and integrated tools

CentOS Linux does not include advanced security management tools, carries no governmental or public security certifications, and does not inherit any Red Hat Enterprise Linux certifications. As a result, maintaining security and compliance is more difficult and time consuming for CentOS LInux users.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux provides built-in security features, security certifications, and simpler ways to maintain compliance. A dedicated security team, scanning and remediation software, and ongoing access to new resources help you ensure continuous compliance. Automated security tools, regular updates and patch releases, and accessible expertise safeguard your environment. Security standards certification lets you use Red Hat Enterprise Linux across use cases with confidence. All active Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscriptions also include access to live kernel patches for critical and important Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs) at no extra cost. Plus, Red Hat Insights lets you create Secure Content Automation Protocol (SCAP) policies and quickly scan systems for compliance. With Red Hat Enterprise Linux, you can perform security updates 39% faster, identify security vulnerabilities and risks 65% faster, and respond to vulnerabilities and risks 21% faster, all with 56% less staff time required to manage security.1 

Finally, Red Hat advocates for your needs in security standards forums and industry groups. Work within the security community ensures that security standards are interoperable with existing Red Hat infrastructure and across platforms.

Gain more choice with a certified partner ecosystem

The CentOS Project does not foster a partner ecosystem, giving you fewer choices for third-party products. Consequently, you have to integrate and certify third-party hardware and software yourself, requiring more time and effort.

Red Hat partners with leading hardware, software, and cloud vendors to give you more choice, innovation, and stability. We foster a large certified partner ecosystem — with more than 3,000 hardware configurations and 4,500 applications from hundreds of vendors — so you can choose your preferred products and platforms, knowing they will work reliably with Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Given this, you can likely continue to use the third-party products and tools you already have with Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Run Red Hat Enterprise Linux on AWS, Azure, and other cloud environments

97% of organizations use public cloud services.3 CentOS Linux is available on many public clouds, but you might have to integrate services and provide support yourself.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux is certified for use with all major cloud providers, including Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, and Alibaba Cloud. It provides a consistent experience regardless of where you deploy, allowing you to create truly open hybrid cloud environments. Red Hat Cloud Access allows you to use your Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscriptions in your cloud of choice and move them as needs change. You can also deploy Red Hat Enterprise Linux on demand through many Red Hat Certified Cloud and Service Provider (CCSP) marketplaces.

Certify for security

Certification to stringent security standards — including Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2, Common Criteria (CC), and Secure Technical Implementation Guidelines (STIG) — lets you use Red Hat Enterprise Linux across industries and situations without compromising security.

Join the Red Hat Developer community

The Red Hat Developer program gives you access to software, guidance, and easy-to-use Red Hat technologies for building your next-generation applications. Take advantage of a complete portfolio of application development products and tools for creating enterprise software built on microservices, containers, and cloud.

Learn more and sign up at

Accelerate development with built-in tools and capabilities

Many organizations choose CentOS Linux for development use and move their applications to a supported Linux distribution for production. Differences between the two Linux distributions can lead to instabilities and issues that require additional development time to address.

With a developer-focused design, Red Hat Enterprise Linux includes key capabilities to give you a faster, simpler path from development to production. Streamlined access to high-quality open source development tools and support for a wide range of popular languages, frameworks, and databases gives you the resources you need to quickly deliver the valuable applications your business requires. Consistency across infrastructures allows you to write an application once and run it on any footprint. Accordingly, organizations that use Red Hat Enterprise Linux speed application development life cycles by 35% to develop 68% more new applications and 79% more new features annually.1

Red Hat also offers developer-specific resources, programs, and subscriptions to help you develop on Red Hat Enterprise Linux more easily and cost-effectively. These programs provide a way to standardize on a single operating system from development to production and gain the benefits of consistency throughout your application life cycles. Read more about new low-cost and no-cost subscription programs on the CentOS Linux migration webpage.

Migration options for moving from CentOS Linux to Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Red Hat offers several migration paths and programs to ease your migration to Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Red Hat’s Convert2RHEL tool lets you simply and quickly convert your CentOS Linux systems directly into Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems. Convert2RHEL minimizes the need for costly redeployment projects and reduces administrative burden by maintaining existing operating system customizations, configurations, and preferences during the conversion. 

You can also engage Red Hat Consulting to help accelerate your migration. Red Hat experts bring proven knowledge and experience to your migration project to help you identify and convert key applications and workloads and mentor your team to continue confidently afterward.

Learn more

The discontinuation of CentOS Linux provides an opportunity to move to an operating system that better supports your current and future business needs. Red Hat Enterprise Linux delivers an intelligent, production-grade operating foundation for modern IT environments. 

Choose your path forward at

  1. IDC White Paper, sponsored by Red Hat. "The Business Value of Red Hat Solutions Compared to Unpaid Alternatives," April 2021. Document #US47607721.

  2. Principled Technologies, sponsored by Red Hat. “Save administrator time and effort by activating Red Hat Insights to automate monitoring,” September 2020.

  3. Flexera. “Flexera 2021 State of the Cloud Report,” April 2021.

Key CentOS Linux end-of-life dates

The CentOS Project will discontinue updates and releases of CentOS Linux between 2021 and 2024: