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Working with the Red Hat Insights API

Check out these instructions on how to remove a non-existing host from
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An editor's note was added to this end article on September 23, 2019 with a technical update.

Since the announcement at Red Hat Summit 2019, Red Hat Insights is now included in Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) subscriptions. What many users don‘t know is that when one wants to remove a host from Insights, it has to be done via the command line  interface by running the command sudo insights-client --unregister. Removing it by using the Insights web interface on is not sufficient.

But what do you do when a host doesn‘t exist anymore and is still listed there? Sometimes it‘s necessary to access the Red Hat Insights API, which is the case when a system has been deleted before having been unregistered from For this purpose, it is useful to have a container, since using one allows you to remove the non-existing host from This container can run on any other system; for example, on a CentOS server, a Fedora workstation, or on another Red Hat Enterprise Linux host.

Why a container? Well, a container is a dedicated process which runs isolated from the host system in a "sandbox." Why is this important and relevant? In order to access your account, you have to provide your credentials which are considered sensitive data. Running commands from within a container provides you with enhanced security, and this means that the credentials are not visible to other users outside of the container.

Now, how do you do this? You will need to install podman if it’s not already installed. It makes sense to install the accompanying Red Hat container tools buildah and skopeo as well. These additional tools are useful for specific tasks, such as building container images and managing container registries.

Run the following command on Fedora or on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 (for CentOS 7 or RHEL 7, dnf has to be replaced with yum):

$ sudo dnf install buildah podman skopeo

Once you have these tools installed, sign in to

$ sudo podman login --username <username> --password <password>

Pull the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 Universal Base Image (UBI):

$ sudo podman pull

Create and start the insights container:

$ sudo podman run --name insights --privileged -it /usr/bin/bash

Install perl-JSON-PP and clean dnf and the cache:

# dnf install perl-JSON-PP
# dnf clean all
# rm -r /var/cache/dnf

Get information about the registered hosts:

# curl -k --user <username> | json_pp > hosts.json

You are getting asked for your Red Hat Login password at this point.

Check for the host <id> of the host you want to remove:

# cat hosts.json

Delete the "non-existing" operating system:

# curl -k --user <username> -X "DELETE"<id>

You are getting asked for your Red Hat Login password at this point.

Now you're done and can leave the insights container:

# exit

Want to use the container again? Here you go:

$ sudo podman start insights
$ sudo podman attach insights


Using the method described in this article is currently the only way to remove a non-existing host from when the system has been deleted before having been unregistered there by running the command sudo insights-client --unregister.

Editor's note: With the latest dashboard, there is an additional method for removing systems which are registered to Red Hat Insights and no longer in use.  Click the Inventory tab, then find and select the host.  On the right side, find the collapsed menu (three dots) and select delete.  The method described in this blog will work, but this is an additional method that some may find easier. 

Screenshot on how to delete an unused host

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Topics:   Insights  
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Christian Labisch

I am running the latest editions of CentOS, Fedora, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux server and workstation operating systems on physical and virtual machines (VM). More about me

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