Red Hat introduces Extended Update Support
Red Hat is offering its users another approach to support with the Extended Update Support program announced today.
Red Hat already supports its enterprise releases for 7 years, but that doesn't mean that any given release is static for 7 years. Red Hat issues incremental updates (like the recent Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3 update) for hardware, feature and security updates which makes sense to me but apparently it can cause problems for some users.
"We had a set of customers who asked us to come up with a way
for them to standardize on one version of Enterprise Linux for the
longest period possible while preserving maximum stability and data
security," Red Hat states in a blog posting. "These customers want to synchronize new hardware roll out,
application stack updates and operating-system upgrades at the same
time instead of having to do them independently."
optional Extended Update Support offering means that Red Hat customers will be able to standardize on one
Enterprise Linux environment for 18 months.
"Extended Update Support reduces risk and increases a customer's service levels by allowing them to run their critical systems undisturbed for longer periods of time."
It's an interesting idea - and one that certainly makes sense for certain environments. It's also another way Red Hat can make more money and further differentiate its Enterprise offerings from its community offerings. Fedora Linux releases are supported for a relatively shorter period of time (current release +1) and the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Clone CentOS only mimicks what Red Hat makes publicly available.
I suspect that Extended Update Support will help to further relieve any doubts from enterprise buyers minds that Linux (in particular here Red Hat) is ready to meet the demands of large enterprise buyers.