CentOS vs Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) comparison

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Comparison Buyer's Guide
Executive Summary
Updated on Mar 31, 2022

We performed a comparison between CentOS and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) based on our users’ reviews in four categories. After reading all of the collected data, you can find our conclusion below.

  • Ease of Deployment: CentOS users feel deployment of CentOS is very simple. There are a wizard and templates, which make deployment fast, straightforward, and super easy. RHEL users also indicate that setup and deployment is straightforward.
  • Features: CentOS users like that it is easy to use and very productive. The solution is very robust and stable. Users tell us the UI is very intuitive and also offers a command prompt option. CentOS users would like to see improved security, additional coding tools, and better integration.

    RHEL users relate that the solution is very robust and easy to manage: it just works. The RHEL GUI makes it very easy for users coming from other ecosystems to understand and implement. RHEL integrates well, is mature, stable, and performs very well. Users tell us documentation could be better, and that vulnerability assessment needs to be updated.

  • Pricing: CentOS is a community-driven free software solution. RHEL users tell us that although the pricing option can be quite expensive, it is on par with what other providers are offering. RHEL users feel the price is a good value for what they receive.
  • Service and Support: CentOS’s support is community-based. Users relate that the knowledge base is trustworthy and it is very easy to get issues resolved quickly. RHEL users tell us that although they pay for support and it can get costly, the service they receive is very good and they are satisfied.

Comparison Results: Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) finishes ahead of CentOS in this comparison. Users feel that RHEL offers better stability, control, and consistent value-added updates. Additionally, the improved integration with RHEL provides for a better TCO, allowing resources to be distributed elsewhere in the organization, further enhancing productivity and profitability.

To learn more, read our detailed CentOS vs. Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) Report (Updated: November 2022).
657,397 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Featured Review
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
"The most valuable feature of CentOS is the speed and it is very easy to use.""A valuable features of CentOS is that it's quite stable and doesn't crash often. It's also quite intuitive.""The pricing is good. We pay a minimal fee.""The solution is productive.""The most valuable feature of this solution is that it is free.""I like how you can alternate certain things and minimize admin features on there and just let it run on specific scripts. It's nice. Even if I had to put it in a container, I'd still do it. I prefer Linux over Windows any day.""Setup is straightforward. You can complete it in about 30 minutes.""Its performance is most valuable. There is a performance boost as compared to when the applications are run on Windows OS."

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"The integrated solution approach reduces our TCO tremendously because we are able to focus on innovation instead of operations.""The most valuable feature is its security. In Windows, there are risks of attacks or of data leaks because it is using .exe files, but in Red Hat's Linux-based operating system, the data is more secure.""User friendly with good compatibility.""I like its integrations. I would put it higher than any other Linux version when it comes to availability. Its integrations with different applications and solutions are the best. We work with a lot of clients that use RHEL, and we could easily and quickly integrate any cloud solution, virtualization solution, storage solution, or software with the RHEL system. It is better than the other solutions we have worked with.""The feature that I like the most is that we can integrate it easily with our existing infrastructure. We found that it is much easier to deploy RHEL in our environment compared to a competing distribution like Ubuntu.""The solution is very stable, reliable, easy to use, and has good technical support.""It is a well-established operating system. We have tried to implement almost every feature of a version in our environment, and it has been very reliable. We are not facing many production issues on a day-to-day basis. They have well-documented articles on their documentation site and a knowledge base on their website. When we need to implement anything, we are able to find information about the best practices and the solution.""Technical support is excellent."

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"As an open-source solution, there isn't much technical support.""The solution could improve by being more user-friendly.""I would like the integration to be more secure.""Continuous deployment is the only thing that can be improved.""The solution is stable, however, it could always be even more stable if possible.""The price could be better. They could add more drivers in terms of peripherals and other things. Add more drivers for the Linux specifications in the next release. Right now, they are just pushing to have more drivers for Windows instead of Linux.""The solution could improve by making the management tools better for the DevOps teams. For example, WebEX and Webstacks.""It could be more secure."

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"The solution is moving away from CentOS and there are growing pains from the customer's perspective.""I would mostly like to see improvement around corporate messaging. When Red Hat 8 came out, and Red Hat decided to change, it inverted the relationship between Red Hat and CentOS. This caused my customers who had a CentOS to RHEL development to production workflow quite a bit of heartburn that several of them are still working out. A lot of that probably could have been avoided through better messaging.""Red Hat's standard deployment is with Satellite and Kickstart, but we're looking at other options to help speed it along. We do have a mix of bare metal and virtualized servers and it's easier to spin up in the virtualized world versus bare metal. That's why we're looking at some options outside of Red Hat, for the bare metal.""There are some things that we've seen from RHEL that have given us a little bit of consternation. Their IdM product could be improved greatly. It would be great if they had some type of application built in that would let you do whitelisting for applications. On the government side, for zero trust, that's becoming very important. We're currently using a third-party solution, and it's tough to get it to match up because anytime the kernel changes, you have to match the software to the kernel.""Linux overall needs improvement. They cannot go much beyond what Linus Torvalds's kernel implementation can do. I come from AIX, and there were very cool things in AIX that I am missing dearly, e.g., being able to support not only adding, but also reducing memory and number of processors. That is not supported on Linux right now, and it is the same for the mainstream file systems supported by Red Hat. There is no way of reducing a file system or logical volume. Whereas, in AIX, it was a shoo-in. These are the little things where we can say, "Ah, we are missing AIX for that."""I'm also using IBM AIX, which supports a tool called Smitty. You just put Smitty, and you can do anything. At the backend, the command will run automatically. It is not exactly like a GUI, but you just give the input and it will give you the output. That is something that Red Hat should work on. That would be an added advantage with Red Hat.""Support for older versions of the operating system could be improved. If people can't afford to upgrade, or if they have servers that are outdated, they need to be able to provide back-field support for those.""I would like Insight to include some features from OpenSCAP, which they offer for compliance services. I played with it a little bit, but haven't gotten the updated setup to get that. It creates excellent documentation."

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Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "There are no licensing costs for CentOS."
  • "It is open-source, which means it is a free product. It has a one-time deployment cost."
  • "There is no license required for this solution."
  • "There is no price or licensing required — it's open-source."
  • "There are no licensing fees. CentOS is a free solution."
  • "There are no licensing fees for CentOS."
  • "We are using a subscription-based license option for CentOS."
  • "CentOS is a free solution."
  • More CentOS Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "Red Hat Linux is inexpensive. Linux solutions are generally inexpensive."
  • "RHEL is expensive."
  • "Because it is a subscription, you can go elastic. This means you can buy a year, then you can skip a year. It is not like when you buy something. You don't buy it. You are paying for the support on something, and if you don't pay for the support on something, there is no shame because there are no upfront costs. It changes the equation. However, we have such growth right now on the Linux platform that we are reusing and scavenging these licenses. From a business standpoint, not having to buy, but just having to pay for maintenance, changes a lot of the calculations."
  • "We have a site license on a yearly basis. Generally, we're okay with its price, but everything could be cheaper."
  • "The licensing with Red Hat is on par with other organizations like Microsoft. We have a site license, which gives us a certain number of servers, perhaps 25,000, for the type of license that we have. That works really well for us."
  • "We are an educational institution and as such, what we pay is less than the average company."
  • "It is more expensive than other vendors in terms of pricing and licensing, but because of its stability, I have to go with it."
  • "If you don't buy the Red Hat subscription, you don't get technical support, and you don't have all the updates. To have everything working like a charm, the cost that you pay for it is worth it. In Bolivia, we don't have the best internet connection. Therefore, we have a local service with all the packages, repositories, etc. We manage them locally, and because we have a subscription, we can update them. So, we have local repositories with all the packages and other things to make it easy for us to update all the servers. Without the Red Hat subscription, we cannot update anything."
  • More Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    Questions from the Community
    Top Answer:Red Hat Enterprise Linux is fantastic. It is an inexpensive solution that has excellent security, performance, and stability, and also lots of features. I specifically like that the solution has… more »
    Top Answer:The most valuable feature is that it is compatible with RedHat.
    Top Answer:The integrated solution approach reduces our TCO tremendously because we are able to focus on innovation instead of operations.
    Top Answer:RHEL is a great place to go. They have a great thing that is not very well-known, which is called the Learning Subscription, which is a one-year all-you-can-drink access to all of their online… more »
    Top Answer:Linux overall needs improvement. They cannot go much beyond what Linus Torvalds's kernel implementation can do. I come from AIX, and there were very cool things in AIX that I am missing dearly, e.g… more »
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    Also Known As
    Red Hat Enterprise Linux, RHEL
    Learn More

    CentOS Linux provides a free and open source computing platform to anyone who wishes to use it. CentOS Linux releases are built from publicly available open source source code provided by Red Hat, Inc for Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

    To put your enterprise in a position to win, you have to break down the barriers that hold you back. With Red Hat Enterprise Linux, a platform with unparalleled stability and flexibility, you can reallocate your resources toward meeting the next challenges instead of just maintaining the status quo.

    For SAP workloads, Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP Solutions combines the reliability, scalability, and performance of Linux with technologies that meet the specific requirements of SAP workloads. It’s certified for integration with SAP S/4HANA and built on the same foundation as the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform, Red Hat Enterprise Linux.  For more information on Red Hat's portfolio of solutions for SAP workloads visit www.redhat.com/sap.

    Learn more about CentOS
    Learn more about Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)
    Sample Customers
    Information Not Available
    Travel Channel, Mohawk Industries, Hilti, Molecular Health, Exolgan, Hotelplan Group, Emory University, BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina, HCA Healthcare, Paychex, UPS, Intermountain Healthcare, Brinker International, TransUnion, Union Bank, CA Technologies
    Top Industries
    Computer Software Company15%
    Financial Services Firm15%
    Comms Service Provider25%
    Computer Software Company16%
    Manufacturing Company7%
    Computer Software Company14%
    Financial Services Firm11%
    Comms Service Provider9%
    Computer Software Company16%
    Comms Service Provider13%
    Financial Services Firm8%
    Company Size
    Small Business38%
    Midsize Enterprise28%
    Large Enterprise34%
    Small Business22%
    Midsize Enterprise16%
    Large Enterprise62%
    Small Business29%
    Midsize Enterprise15%
    Large Enterprise56%
    Small Business18%
    Midsize Enterprise15%
    Large Enterprise67%
    Buyer's Guide
    CentOS vs. Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)
    November 2022
    Find out what your peers are saying about CentOS vs. Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and other solutions. Updated: November 2022.
    657,397 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    CentOS is ranked 7th in Operating Systems (OS) for Business with 44 reviews while Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is ranked 1st in Operating Systems (OS) for Business with 44 reviews. CentOS is rated 8.2, while Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is rated 8.8. The top reviewer of CentOS writes "Relegated to a test bench, and therefore is no longer stable". On the other hand, the top reviewer of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) writes "Feature-rich, good integration, stable, easy to deploy, and the security is kept up to date". CentOS is most compared with Oracle Linux, Ubuntu Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise, openSUSE Leap and Windows Server, whereas Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is most compared with Windows Server, Ubuntu Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise, Oracle Linux and Oracle Solaris. See our CentOS vs. Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) report.

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    We monitor all Operating Systems (OS) for Business reviews to prevent fraudulent reviews and keep review quality high. We do not post reviews by company employees or direct competitors. We validate each review for authenticity via cross-reference with LinkedIn, and personal follow-up with the reviewer when necessary.