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Red Hat Enterprise Linux migration process

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Migrating to the latest version of Red Hat® Enterprise Linux®—whether upgrading your existing subscription or migrating from a completely different Linux distro or operating system (OS)—is supported by 3 different Red Hat solutions:

  • A software tool that upgrades existing Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscriptions

  • A software tool that migrates CentOS or Oracle Linux distributions

  • A hands-on program to help you migrate from a non-Linux OS, like Unix or other non-Linux systems.

These migration tools and programs automate many inventory and remediation steps associated with upgrading your subscription or migrating from another Linux distro. While our consultants and services teams have teamed up with certified partners to operationalize migrations from non-Linux OSs.

Migration: A TL;DR

  • Use the Leapp command line utility in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 to upgrade to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8. 
  • Use the Convert2RHEL command line utility in CentOS Linux and Oracle Linux to migrate to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8
  • Request a discovery session to refactor from a non-Linux distribution to Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Running Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 (or earlier) isn’t a bad thing—there’s just a lot you’re missing out on. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8, allows you to take full advantage of all the latest security, automation, performance, cloud, and edge capabilities.

We developed the Leapp command line utility to help reduce the risk associated with upgrading from Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 to 8—and to reduce a system administrator’s scope of work at the beginning and end of the upgrade process. It helps reduce human errors and makes OS version control less stressful than yesterday’s major OS upgrades.

Leapp keeps sys admins from checking every workload, configuration, and application for compatibility issues, because it automatically highlights potential incompatibilities. Leapp even suggests how to fix them—like how an app should be reconfigured or which hardware driver to install. The actual upgrade is performed in-place with limited downtime or latency. Configuration, customization, and preferences are preserved.

Staying true to our open source ethos, Leapp is a self-service utility. You can download and run it by yourself. But our team of Red Hat consultants is also available to help you prepare for, run, and check your migration. Or—if you’re upgrading from Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 or earlier—follow these steps to prepare your OS for the Leapp utility.

We built the downloadable Convert2RHEL command line utility to help you migrate from CentOS Linux or Oracle Linux to Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The utility automatically identifies and replaces RPM packages from your original Linux distribution (like the Linux kernel) with Red Hat Enterprise Linux equivalents.

Once you have rebooted the system into the Red Hat Enterprise Linux environment, you can build a list of unchanged custom or third-party packages (those without a Red Hat Enterprise Linux equivalent) and validate them on the newly converted system.

As with the other migration utility, you can download and run Convert2RHEL by yourself or with help from Red Hat Consulting.

Migrating from a non-Linux system (like from Unix to Linux) or from a legacy version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (version 6 or earlier) is an exercise in investigation. Red Hat Consulting, Red Hat Partners, and Red Hat Training and Certification form the foundation of our OS refactoring program that’s based in investigation and problem solving.

  • Red Hat Consulting will help compile lists of existing packages, modules, and applications, as well as any third-party or custom software. We’ll look for anything written in formal languages (like Java), shell scripts (like bash), or scripting languages (like Python), and determine what Red Hat Enterprise Linux natively supports and what workloads need to be modified.
  • Red Hat Partners bring certified hardware, software, clouds, and services to your migration—helping you update any legacy hardware tied to Unix systems and create a more flexible, modern hybrid cloud infrastructure. This provides system architects with thousands of certified hardware and software solutions for Red Hat Enterprise Linux— including SAP, Microsoft SQL, and many IBM products.
  • Red Hat Training and Certification provides tutorials on how to take full advantage of the Linux command line and Kernel processes. We can help system administrators and developers understand the power associated with full source code access, and how to contribute to upstream open source communities.

Keep reading


What is Linux?

Linux is an open source operating system that is made up of the kernel, the base component of the OS, and the tools, apps, and services bundled along with it.


What is SELinux?

Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux) is a security architecture for Linux® systems that allows administrators to have more control over who can access the system.


What is the Linux kernel?

The Linux kernel is the main component of a Linux operating system (OS) and is the core interface between a computer’s hardware and its processes.