The Long-Term Outlook for CentOS 7 Support
With the December 8, 2020 simultaneous announcement by the CentOS project and Red Hat that they were switching focus to CentOS Stream and updating the end-of-life (EOL) for CentOS 8 at the end of 2021 (a shocking 8 years ahead of the stated end of life), many have questioned the impact to CentOS 7 support.
In this blog, we discuss the impact of the CentOS EOL announcement, look at the current options for organizations seeking support for CentOS 7, and discuss the long-term support outlook for those using this popular Enterprise Linux distribution.
The Current CentOS 7 Support Lifecycle
The announced EOL for CentOS 8 has no impact to CentOS 7. The CentOS project continues to publish updates until the set end of Maintenance Support set for June 30, 2024. This CentOS 7 EOL date is set to complete its full 10-year life cycle.
Start Planning Your Move From CentOS 7
Whether you need to stay on CentOS 7 beyond community end of life, help choosing a solid migration path for your business, or technical support for your current CentOS 7 deployments, our Enterprise Linux experts can help.
CentOS 7 Support Lifecycle Overview
Support End of Life
Support Via OpenLogic
June 30, 2024
OpenLogic Enterprise Linux LTS available until December, 2029
Is CentOS 7 Still Supported?
Yes, CentOS 7 is currently the only supported CentOS version: CentOS Linux 7 continues to receive community updates and security patches until June 2024.
CentOS Linux 7 has gone through several phases in its lifecycle though, and it is currently in the “Maintenance Support 2” phase where only what the CentOS maintainers and Red Hat consider to be critical bug and high-severity security vulnerabilities are addressed via a patch release.
CentOS 7 will remain in this phase until it reaches EOL. The phase began in August 2020 and took CentOS 7 out of “Maintenance Phase 1” which, along with General Availability, is where most of the changes, including minor releases, occur.
On-Demand Webinar: Planning for CentOS 7 EOL
CentOS 7 EOL Date
CentOS Linux 7 will reach end of life on June 30, 2024, the same date that RHEL 7 enters the next vendor support phase: RHEL 7 Extended Lifecycle Support. After this date, CentOS 7 will no longer receive any security updates or bug fixes.
Will the CentOS 7 Support EOL Date Change?
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With less than a year to reach EOL we don’t expect any date changes. It is always possible that open source community make changes to their development life cycles, but given that it aligns with Red Hat Enterprise Linux release, we don’t expect any more changes.
CentOS 7 Support Options
With CentOS 7 being current, there are several support options, including 1) community self-support where in public forums users can ask community members for assistance, 2) acquiring the upstream product, RHEL, through Red Hat, paying for the software and technical support, and 3) enterprise-grade community open source support by OpenLogic.
Upstream Vendor Support for CentOS 7
Red Hat supports CentOS 7 through bug reports filed against RHEL 7 in Bugzilla.
Bugs filed in Bugzilla don’t always get the attention that many of us think that they should receive, but at least the problem is documented for others encountering the same problem.
Should your issue be addressed by Red Hat, there’s no quick turnaround — unless it is something they consider high priority. Often solutions (links to upstream patches, directly submitted patches, etc.) take months to be included in a RHEL release. If the version of RHEL that you filed the bug against is no longer the current minor release, you may find the ticket gets closed without resolution.
That said, it is good to be able to reference a Bugzilla issue when reporting the issue through other support channels.
You can also submit issues at the CentOS project but, it must be specific to CentOS and not RHEL.
Upstream Maintainer Support for CentOS 7
Sometimes the fastest way to get an issue resolved with a package is to take the issue directly to the programmers who maintain the original package that Red Hat includes with RHEL.
If the problem is not present in the version(s) that the maintainers publish, probably due to a configuration or code change implemented by Red Hat, the upstream folks will likely reject your support request.
When the problem is present in the original code, most projects want to hear about the issue directly. The people responsible for the projects often have a reputation to uphold, even if it’s only the reputation of the project and not for themselves.
The upside to upstream support is that issues can usually be resolved faster than the upstream vendor support option, provided that the project is being actively developed. The downside is that Red Hat is not likely to incorporate a fix from the package upstream in a future update or release any time soon unless they rebase the package on a newer version.
Community Support for CentOS 7
Another support channel is Community support, aka peer support. This method can be hit or miss because it is the equivalent of casting your question out to a large group of people without knowing the background of the respondents or the quality of the response that you reel back to shore.
Community support can be obtained through mailing lists, chat/IRC servers, or online groups.
If the problem is commonly encountered or you happen to catch the eye of someone who knows exactly what is wrong, or at least how to troubleshoot the issue properly, community support can be a wonderful option.
On the other hand, an uncommon (or never-seen-before) issue can result in little (or no) response, delayed responses, wrong responses, or accidental misinformation.
The people responding to community support requests often have a genuine desire to help you, but they have no real investment into resolving your problem.
Commercial Support for CentOS 7
Purchasing RHEL is not support on CentOS, it’s buying an equivalent commercially- supported Linux distribution.
RHEL subscriptions include commercial support with response time commitments via Service Level Agreements (SLAs). Red Hat does not offer technical support for CentOS 7, only for RHEL 7.
This is where 3rd party commercial support for CentOS 7 from OpenLogic can be an excellent option.
OpenLogic Support for CentOS 7
OpenLogic provides technical support, unbiased vendor-neutral guidance and long-term support (LTS) for CentOS. OpenLogic’s team of expert architects and engineers can provide support for CentOS 6, 7, and 8, whether it is a problem with one package, the entire system, or interoperability with other open source packages.
How it Works
The CentOS 7 LTS offering (patches for high-severity CVEs) starts when CentOS 7 reaches EOL on June 30, 2024. What OpenLogic offers today is full Gold-Level OpenLogic Technical Support, where organizations can contact OpenLogic for any questions, support issues, or consultations about their CentOS deployments and migration. Even if they never need support, it’s a good opportunity to consult with our experts. OpenLogic currently offer LTS (patches) for CentOS 6 and 8, and those patches are available in the same private repository for convenience.
Organizations can start integration with their repos/mirrors/package management systems. Sometimes opening firewalls and setting up external enterprise connectivity takes time. The OpenLogic offering includes access to the patches for CentOS 6 and 8 and the latest version of CentOS 7.
There are many reasons to run CentOS Linux 7, and the fear of being left without supportable infrastructure should not be a reason to avoid CentOS 7.
OpenLogic’s CentOS EOL offering includes technical support, unbiased guidance, and post-EOL patches for5+ years. It allows organizations to migrate to other Linux distribution on their own timeline, confidently, and with peace of mind for users, customers, and all stakeholders.
Get Long-Term Support From Our Experts
OpenLogic will continue to support CentOS 7 after EOL through our “Enterprise Linux Support – Enhanced LTS” offering, regardless of the actual EOL date. With our “ELS – Enhanced LTS”, OpenLogic will support your CentOS 7 systems for up to 5 additional years so you don’t have to worry about your support requests being shrugged off by the upstream or community simply because the version of CentOS is no longer current.
- Datasheet - Enterprise Linux Support
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- On-Demand Webinar - Discussing the Future for CentOS
- Blog - CentOS Stream Pre-Flight Checklist
- White Paper - Decision Maker's Guide to Enterprise Linux