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August 12, 2021

CentOS 8 EOL: Know Your Support Options

Operating Systems
Open Source

In December 2020, Red Hat unexpectedly announced a change to CentOS 8 end of life (EOL). The change, which moved the support end of life to December, 2021, shortened the expected community support lifecycle by 8 years.

For organizations using CentOS 8, that change sparked an immediate discussion about migration options, and/or alternative arrangements for CentOS 8 long term support. In this blog, we look at available support options for CentOS 8, and what the future looks like for those who want to stay on CentOS 8 beyond 2021.

The Original CentOS 8 Support Lifecycle

As Javier Perez mentioned in his recent blog on the CentOS announcement, the CentOS lifecycle specification historically followed two phases of long term support, “Full Updates,” and “Maintenance Updates.”

CentOS VersionRelease DateOriginal "Full Updates" End DateOriginal "Maintenance Updates" End Date
CentOS 8September, 201920252029

Full Updates

The “Full Updates” phase of CentOS community LTS started immediately upon release, and outlined 2-3 updates per year for 6 years following the release. These updates ranged from new hardware support to errata. After those 6 years were up, the version would then enter the “Maintenance Release” phase.

Maintenance Updates

Following the “Full Updates” phase, the “Maintenance Updates” phase provided only security errata critical bug fixes for the version. This phase would last for around 4 years, after which the version would enter end of life.

The Impact of CentOS 8 EOL

In our recent radio broadcast, Javier Perez joins industry experts to discuss the impact of the CentOS 8 changes, and potential paths forward for enterprise organizations.

 

The Updated CentOS 8 Support Lifecycle

After the announcement from the CentOS community and Red Hat, the CentOS 8 lifecycle was dramatically reduced. The “Full Updates” phase, initially planned run from 2019-2025, was changed to December of 2021. The “Maintenance Updates” phase, which was initially planned to run from 2025-2029, was eliminated entirely.

CentOS VersionRelease DateRevised "Full Updates" End DateRevised "Maintenance Updates" End Date
CentOS 8September, 2019December 31, 2021December 31, 2021

CentOS 8 Support Options

With community long term support ending for CentOS 8 in December, 2021, finding a replacement long term support option is an immediate concern for many organizations.

For some, that may mean reverting to upstream commercial vendor support via RHEL. For others, finding a 1:1 commercial support replacement will be the better option. For smaller organizations, or those with sufficient internal expertise, self-support may buy enough time for their next migration.

CentOS 8 Vendor Support

When CentOS 8 reaches community support end of life in December, CentOS users who want commercial support from Red Hat will need to migrate to a supported RHEL version.

For those who migrate or “convert” to RHEL, the most common paths are horizontal, (e.g. CentOS 8 to RHEL 8. For those undertaking a migration, RHEL advises users to book consulting services.

For many organizations who left RHEL for CentOS due to pricing concerns, a move back to RHEL may not be in the budget -- and paying Red Hat for the pleasure of getting there may upset some stomachs.

For those who need to move back to RHEL and don’t want to pay Red Hat for consultancy on the migration, OpenLogic can provide consultative guidance and migration services.

CentOS 8 Community Support

Community release support with new releases and patches, as noted above, would normally include the “Full Updates” and “Maintenance Updates”. This community release support will end in December, 2021.

Of course, the community itself isn’t going away. People who have worked on CentOS Linux in the past will still exist and will still be around.

Will they still answer questions related to CentOS Linux?

Considering many of the CentOS contributors work for Red Hat, probably not. The CentOS community is effectively moving on to CentOS Stream. Regardless, relying on un-defined community support isn’t feasible for most organizations unless they have an internal team with the expertise needed to backport or create patches and bug fixes.

CentOS 8 Commercial Technical Support

For those who want to remain on CentOS 8 beyond December of 2021, finding extended commercial technical support that provides backported patches and bug fixes is the best option.

This isn’t a permanent solution, of course. But for companies who have just performed a costly and/or time-consuming migration, performing another migration so soon may not be in the picture. For them, supporting their CentOS implementations until they can plan for a migration will be the more cost-effective, albeit temporary, solution.

Finding a CentOS 8 Commercial Support Vendor

There are a handful of companies who provide paid, extended support for CentOS 8, including OpenLogic. Finding the best option requires companies to analyze their support needs.

Companies should start their search by determining their organizational needs. That begins with answering questions like:

  • What do they want their response to look like if there’s a notable CVE with CentOS 8 in EOL?
  • How long will you need support?
  • Do you need support for more than just CentOS 8?
  • Do you need security-hardened builds?
  • Do you need the support to check a box for compliance, or do you want need experts that can actually help?

OpenLogic Support for CentOS 8

OpenLogic provides backported bug fixes and security fixes for CentOS 8, as well as 24/7/365 technical support from a team of experienced Enterprise Linux architects and engineers.

What does that mean in practice?

Our team can troubleshoot your CentOS 8 issues regardless of whether they’re in a single package, or system-wide. Additionally, our team can troubleshoot the complex interoperability issues that come with working with custom components and end of life Enterprise CentOS Linux.

How We Compare to the Competition

 

Other Support ServicesOpenLogic
Technical Support Delivered Directly by Enterprise Architects
NoYes
24/7/365 Email, Ticket, and Phone Support
NoYes
Guaranteed SLAs for Over 400 Open Source Packages
NoYes
Pressure to Migrate to an Open Source or Commercial Linux
YesNo
Over 15 Years Experience Supporting Open Source Packages
NoYes

Get Extended Long-Term Support for CentOS 8

Ready to see how OpenLogic can support your CentOS 8 implementations in end of life? Schedule a free, one-hour consultation today to see how we can help support your goals.

Schedule a Free Consultation

 

CentOS 8 FAQ

How Long Will CentOS 8 Be Supported?

CentOS 8 will reach community support end of life in December, 2021. OpenLogic offers extended support for CentOS 8 through December 31, 2026.

Is CentOS Going End of Life?

CentOS as a downstream, free, open source distribution of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, is ending with CentOS 8. CentOS Stream, a free, open source upstream, rolling release distribution, is slated to continue for the known future.

Will There Be a CentOS 9?

As of today, there won’t be a CentOS 9. CentOS Stream will be the successor to CentOS 8.

When Is CentOS 8 EOL?

CentOS 8 EOL is on December 31, 2021.

Additional Resources