How enterprise open source subscriptions deliver business value


According to a recent Red Hat report, The state of enterprise open source, 69% of IT leaders said that open source software plays a strategic role in their enterprise. Most agree that the innovation and security of enterprise open source are some of the top benefits, in addition to the cost savings. However, many respondents still have concerns about the security of unmanaged open source code found across the web or brought in through dependencies. IT leaders need a trusted open source software provider so that they can capture open source innovation—while retaining the stability and reliability of enterprise software. 

Red Hat® subscriptions meet that need. A Red Hat subscription offers production-ready code, lifecycle management, software interoperability, and access to experts who can help you run your business. Customers can also use the intuitive, information-rich Red Hat Customer Portal to access tools and resources. In addition, IT groups can build their expertise by using the Red Hat Knowledgebase to find resources and product documentation and participate in the open source community. A subscription provides an ongoing relationship with Red Hat that delivers business value and helps customers thrive. 

Features and benefits of a Red Hat subscription

Why should you purchase a subscription from Red Hat? This document outlines the features and benefits of a Red Hat subscription, including: 

  • Stable open source technology, organized and optimized for enterprise use. 
  • Security and accountability from a trusted advisor. 
  • Knowledge and influence in open source communities to pursue innovation and development. 
  • Access to technical support, documentation, and tools. 
  • Flexibility with compatible, vendor-agnostic solutions, and longer life cycles. 
  • Partnership with Red Hat from proof of concept (POC) to deployment and beyond. 
  • Broad ecosystem of partners, including original equipment manufacturers (OEM), channel, hardware, software, cloud certification (CCSP), and more.

Stable open source technology, organized and optimized for enterprise use 

Red Hat helps you standardize and streamline your software resources so you can grow and transform your business instead of spending time managing relationships. Red Hat advocates for your technology needs with communities and partners so you can focus resources and budget on new products. We refine open source innovation so that your technology is stable for production environments.

A Red Hat subscription includes a set of assurances that contribute to your success, including: 

  • Product upgrades: Unlike proprietary software licenses, Red Hat subscriptions apply to the entire life cycle of the product through all its versions. Customers are entitled to unlimited upgrades, but they are never forced to upgrade. This approach ensures that customers are in control of the timing of upgrades. 
  • Quality testing: The Red Hat Quality Assurance team works closely with our Product Development teams and provides the final engineering check before Red Hat open source products are released to our customers and partners. The program includes acceptance, functionality, regression, integration, and performance testing to achieve the high quality that characterizes  Red Hat products. 
  • Legal protection: The Red Hat Open Source Assurance program provides a level of protection from legal harm for customers who develop and deploy open source solutions. The program includes assurances for customers purchasing subscriptions to Red Hat Enterprise Linux®, Red Hat Middleware, and other Red Hat subscription products.

Security and accountability from a trusted advisor 

Red Hat develops software in collaboration with customers from a range of industries, including government and financial services. We use this valuable feedback to build rigorous security protocols into our software. Red Hat’s unique subscription model gives customers access to a dedicated team of experts who support our technology 24×7.

Red Hat product security 

Red Hat’s stable code is backed by a dedicated team of engineers who monitor, identify, and address risks to protect our customers’ data from meaningful security concerns. If a vulnerability occurs, customers can rely on the clear, calm, and accurate advice from the Product Security team to help them quickly assess the risk to their environment and minimize impact to their business.

Red Hat data security 

Red Hat is committed to protecting customer data and privacy. The Trust Red Hat page consolidates our data security information—including product security, regulations, policy, and privacy—all in one place.

Knowledge and influence in open source communities to pursue innovation and development 

As a major contributor to numerous open source projects, Red Hat is an established leader in the open source community. One of the key benefits of a Red Hat subscription is customer access to  Red Hat’s internal knowledge of open source projects, so customers can continue to grow their understanding of Red Hat products and open source software in general. 

Because of the unique position Red Hat occupies in the open source community, our subscribers can participate in and influence technology and industry innovation. Customer feedback and requests for enhancements are funneled directly into the Red Hat engineering organization and integrated into upstream projects as required.

Red Hat’s community expertise also helps to resolve security issues. Red Hat engineers have played an important role in several high-profile vulnerabilities, posting articles with information about the exploit and recommending remediation activities. Red Hat also contributed security fixes for upstream projects that were ultimately adopted by the entire open source community, including the upstream developers themselves.

Access to technical support, documentation, and tools 

Technical support is a key aspect of Red Hat’s customer engagement philosophy. The Red Hat Customer Portal is the hub for technical support, providing access to Red Hat subscription resources and offerings a convenient way to manage and renew subscriptions. 

With a premium Red Hat subscription, customers have 24×7 unlimited access to our global network of experienced, motivated, and knowledgeable technical support engineers via phone or the Customer Portal. Red Hat customers are not required to reproduce or justify an issue to receive technical support from a support engineer. And customers do not have to have an issue already identified to benefit from a Red Hat subscription—the goal is to avoid issues by guiding customers through planning, deployment, and operation. In addition, a Red Hat subscription includes service-level agreements with response times from two business days to one hour.


When things go wrong in a production software environment, the ability to access the right information quickly can be the difference between a fast return to normal operations and a costly outage. Red Hat provides its subscribers with a wealth of relevant, accurate knowledge that can be quickly and efficiently accessed via the Red Hat Knowledgebase. 

The Red Hat Knowledgebase is an organic resource, continually growing as Red Hat develops content in response to specific customer requests. Customers can quickly locate articles, solutions, and product documentation relevant to their problem. System architects can browse detailed technical case studies that Red Hat engineers have designed, tested, and benchmarked. 

Solution Engine 

The Red Hat Customer Portal’s Solution Engine connects customers to the right information by using a combination of keyword search, expert curation, and automation to match customer problems statements with solutions in our Knowledgebase. The result is a highly relevant list of Knowledgebase articles and solutions, product documentation, and labs. The self-service tool helps customers resolve issues quickly and efficiently on their own, reducing the need to open a support case.

Red Hat Customer Portal Labs 

In the course of resolving issues, Red Hat engineers frequently develop custom tools to diagnose issues and identify security problems. Red Hat makes many of these tools available via Red Hat Customer Portal Labs. Tools address a wide range of needs, such as configuration, deployment, troubleshooting, security, and more.

Case management 

Customers can open support cases in several ways—from the Red Hat Customer Portal, directly within Red Hat products with Red Hat Access, or by phone through their local support center. Once a case is opened, it is assigned to a specialized team of product-specific technical experts. Red Hat support teams collaborate cross-functionally with product engineering and product security. If the issue is known, customers are directed to the appropriate content residing in the Red Hat Knowledgebase within the portal. Otherwise, Red Hat identifies and documents the resolution, adds the information to the Knowledgebase, and shares it with the Red Hat community. 

The Red Hat Customer Portal provides a convenient way to track activity on open cases and to look back at closed cases when needed.

Ownership of multivendor cases 

The most difficult issues to resolve are those that affect products from two or more vendors. Unlike other vendors, Red Hat takes ownership of any issue that involves one of our products. Red Hat engineers rely on their own extensive knowledge of open source products, as well as relationships with other vendors and the open source community, to find a solution that encompasses all of the relevant products.

Flexibility with compatible, vendor-agnostic solutions, and longer life cycles 

Red Hat customers benefit from the largest commercial partner ecosystem of certified, third-party solutions that are fully supported on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The designation “Certified by Red Hat” identifies products and services that are tested, supported, and certified to perform with Red Hat technologies. 

As part of our certification program, we maintain a robust list of certified application programming interfaces (APIs). Software changes quickly, making it challenging for application developers to deploy across a variety of software releases. Red Hat ensures that previously developed applications will be compatible with both current and future versions. Red Hat certifies software to reduce compatibility issues. Red Hat offers three kinds of certifications: 

  • Certified hardware ensures that Red Hat solutions are running on tested, verified, and  supported hardware. 
  • Certified software identifies third-party software solutions tested specifically on the  Red Hat platform. 
  • Certified cloud providers offer trusted clouds where customers can run applications on  Red Hat technologies. 

Unlike proprietary software licenses, Red Hat subscriptions are not tied to a specific version, but cover the entire life cycle of the product. With a Red Hat subscription, customers can upgrade to any supported version of Red Hat software and deploy the software on physical, virtual, or cloudbased servers. By maintaining active Red Hat subscriptions, customers have access to all supported versions in both binary and source form, including all enterprise product documentation, security updates, and bug fixes. 

Red Hat product life cycles are generally three, five, or seven years, with extended life support available for up to 10 years. Committed, longer life cycles mean more choice and flexibility, reduced cost and risk, and easier planning.

Partnership with Red Hat from proof of concept (POC) to deployment and beyond 

You have a partner throughout your open source journey. We will work with you to understand your needs, and will help you maximize your Red Hat technology to meet your business goals. Our helpful tools, training, and subject-matter experts will support you every step of the way—from adopting new solutions to managing your infrastructure. 

Supporting customers for more than two decades, Red Hat knows that an effective subscription program must deliver a consistently excellent experience to make customers successful with our products. The feedback we receive, whether through chat sessions, social media, or other sources, is taken seriously. For example, we received a request from several customers to allow direct feedback on product documentation. In response, we developed a tool that lets customers insert contextual in-line comments directly within documentation. Red Hat publishes improvements made based on customer feedback on the You Asked, We Acted page, so that customers can see how their feedback improves the Red Hat experience.

Broad ecosystem of partners: original equipment manufacturers (OEM), channel, hardware, software, cloud certification (CCSP), and more 

As more organizations depend on open source software for critical applications, demand is increasing for industrial-strength platforms and experienced integrators with a deep knowledge of these technologies. As part of the Red Hat ecosystem, Red Hat customers are connected to other customers, Red Hat partners, and the open source community. Customers often require solutions that go beyond the capabilities of a single vendor, and they rely on each vendor’s complementary strengths to minimize costs, maximize efficiency, and avoid proprietary lock-in. 

Red Hat works with a global ecosystem of partners to ensure that our shared customers have access to innovative, cost-effective solutions that are valuable and responsive to their business needs. Our partners run the gamut from Fortune 100 companies to independent software vendors. Red Hat’s strong partner relationships facilitate open communication and collaboration that result in Red Hat product releases that are based on a combination of customer and partner requirements. These products are rigorously tested by Red Hat and our partners and are included in high-touch betas with customers that demand the tightest possible integration of the hardware and operating system features.

Subscription details 

Customers purchase Red Hat subscriptions directly from Red Hat or from an authorized Red Hat business partner. Red Hat also works with thousands of system integrators, independent software vendors, and independent hardware vendors to build, optimize, sell, and deliver complete solutions to customers. Some of these partners, including authorized original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), are also authorized to provide frontline support. 

Red Hat products are provided on a per-instance or per-installation subscription basis, which gives customers access to all subscription benefits during the subscription term. Red Hat measures the full value of subscriptions by counting the number of instances or installations of Red Hat software that the customer uses. Customers must maintain an active subscription for every instance or installation of Red Hat software being used in their environment.