Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) Room for Improvement

Don Beyer - PeerSpot reviewer
Systems Administrator at Ithaca College

The biggest thing that is crushing RHEL is documentation. Their documentation is haphazard at best. The man pages that you can use locally are pretty good, they've been fleshed out pretty well, but the documentation from Red Hat itself really needs somebody to go through it and review it.

The only real negative that I have with Red Hat is that you can tell that when you look at the documentation, they cut and paste documentation from the previous version. Because they update it that way, what happens is that there's nobody doing Q&A. For example, in Red Hat 7 and Red Hat 8, they changed the way they do deployments. Instead of using YUM, you use DNF but when you read the documentation for Red Hat 8, they intermix the two. This means that if you're a new Linux user, it's very difficult to distinguish between the two commands. The fact of the matter is that one is built on top of the other. DNF is backward compatible on top of YUM, and that can cause confusion with users and system administrators. However, it wouldn't be an issue if there was good documentation.

My job is pretty easy, but the documentation would really help me be able to communicate the things that I do to the rest of my team. They're all Windows people and when I go to the Red Hat documentation and tell them that we're migrating to this and we're using this tool, but the documentation is horrible, I get laughed at.

By comparison, Microsoft has its own problems with documentation, but it's a little bit more organized and it's definitely fleshed out a lot better. I commend Microsoft for its documentation. Red Hat may be the better product for the things that we do in our environment, but Microsoft has better documentation.

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JonathanShilling - PeerSpot reviewer
System Analyst II at a energy/utilities company with 1,001-5,000 employees

I'd like to see more of NCurses type menu systems in some instances. We're dealing with SUSE Enterprise Linux, they have an NCurses menu system. It's a menu system. Even some of the higher-end Unix systems like AIX have some inner menu system where all the configuration tools are right there so your administrator doesn't have to jump through multiple directories to configure files if needed. I like the simplicity of Red Hat because it's pretty easy but having an NCurses menu when you have to get something done quickly would be nice.

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Analyste principal - AIX et Linux at a hospitality company with 5,001-10,000 employees

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."

We are not loving our servers anymore. If we need them, we create them. When we don't need them, we delete them. That is what they are. They are just commodities. They are just a transient product.

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Buyer's Guide
Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)
November 2022
Learn what your peers think about Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2022.
657,397 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Erik Widholm - PeerSpot reviewer
Sr. Enterprise Engineer at a transportation company with 10,001+ employees

It is a bit on the pricier side. However, due to the stability and support that they provide to my management and me, we really don't see a reason to choose another way to go. Red Hat offers excellent support in a sphere where it is difficult to find good support.

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Paul Monroe - PeerSpot reviewer
CTO at Standard Bank International

There needs to be a broader understanding of the RHEL suite's nuances like how the versioning works and implementing it on various kinds of infrastructure in use across the development landscape. There needs to be more training and education. It's difficult when you have a roadmap to deal with, but it is possible. 

Large application vendors may not have certified RHEL, or they have certified an older version. Most of the large application vendors are unfamiliar with the versioning that RHEL introduced, which I strongly support. They will support a given sub-version up to a point, not realizing that the sub-versions are essentially additive. 

This can be a real frustration when you try to deploy modern infrastructure. It allows tremendous flexibility because we can try things out across the cloud, virtual, and physical, but that's not always where the issue is. It's a matter of educating the engineers and developers on our side or enterprise vendors on the other. 

The licensing could also be simplified. While it makes sense from a theoretical perspective, it's a challenge to explain to the procurement team. Those with some technical expertise can understand how our licensing model works. However, it's still tricky because Red Hat is so different from traditional operating systems. It's another barrier when I'm trying to deploy it in an enterprise environment.

In terms of feature requests, I would point out that our company tends not to operate on the bleeding edge for obvious reasons. We look at what has already been released to define our roadmaps. There's nothing in particular that I would say needs to be included. However, I would like to see Arm playing a more prominent role in the cloud infrastructure and enterprise physical data center spaces. Red Hat supports this, but I haven't seen a clear roadmap for how that support should evolve within the Red Hat operating system environment. 

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Dinesh  Jaisankar - PeerSpot reviewer
Senior Information Technology System Analyst at National center of meterology

Their support service can be improved. They are able to help us, but in some cases, there is a delay in getting a root cause analysis from their side for Severity One cases.

The vulnerability assessment part should also be improved. We do a lot of patching regularly. They try to fix an issue very quickly, and we also end up facing bugs that are not properly documented. When releasing the general availability for a particular solution, they need to do a lot more work on their side.

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Infrastructure Engineer at a tech vendor with 10,001+ employees

Its user interface could be better for people who want to use the GUI. They can provide a better user interface with more features. Storage works perfectly fine. Of course, continuous improvements should be made all the time, but it isn't at all lacking when it comes to storage and other features.

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ShanAhmed - PeerSpot reviewer
Virtualization Specialist with 501-1,000 employees

Windows operating system is used everywhere. You will find it everywhere, and every user is able to use Windows. If a user is using an operating system from the start, it becomes easier for them to use it when they come to a professional environment. That's an area in which I believe they need to put in extra effort, especially for the students. Currently, for their final projects, most students use Windows, and this is an area where Red Hat needs to put in an effort. They need to give some training to the students so that when they come to the professional environment, they're already used to it. It would then become easier for them to use it in a professional environment.

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.

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Cloud Architect at a government with 201-500 employees

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. If we get a critical vulnerability on a kernel, we have to roll out the new kernel but then our third-party software isn't cooperating, and it starts breaking down the system. So, it would be great if Red Hat could integrate that type of functionality into the product so that when a new kernel comes out, it includes the updated software to do whitelisting and blacklisting of applications and processes.

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Joerg Kastning - PeerSpot reviewer
Systems Administrator at a educational organization with 10,001+ employees

RHEL's feature for managing multiple versions of packages is getting better. In earlier versions, when I think about the Red Hat software collections, it was sometimes pretty hard to set them up and use them on a daily basis. With AppStreams, it got easier. What could still be improved is the lifecycle information about AppStream versions. Usually, when doing a major release, I have 10 years of support divided in different support phases, but a lot of applications from the AppStream repository have a completely different lifecycle so you need to check it separately. For example, a certain node.js version will be at the end of support in 10 months. I must make a note to update to a new version before it reaches the end of support. It would be awesome if the end of support date of the application streams would follow a stricter lifecycle with aligning end dates.

The Authselect tool needs improvement. This tool is used to connect your system to an identity provider or directory service, e.g., openLDAP. There is documentation and descriptions. While there are a few use cases and examples described, it is sometimes hard to use these tools to set up the configuration that we need for our specific environment. I would like it if there was more general information about the tool, not just describing a use case. For example, here is how to do it and how to connect to some kind of openLDAP service as well as more information about when you need to configure certificate services and mutual authentication. There is room for improvement, but it is more room for improvement in the documentation area than the RHEL system itself.

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RicardoURQUIDI - PeerSpot reviewer
CEO at a tech services company with 1-10 employees

I would like training to be added to the subscription. It would be useful for when you have to train yourself or get a certification. There are many things that we are not using because we don't know how to use them. Having training included in the subscription would help us in learning more things and utilizing the full power of the solution.

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CTO at a tech services company with 11-50 employees

Network virtualization resources could be better. When you have any kind of trouble with network virtualization, such as with OVS, which is like a switch in a virtual environment, it takes many hours to find what is happening. Other vendors, such as VMware, and even other Linux implementations for network virtualization have better resources. It is much easier to escalate, and there is better documentation.

I don't use Ceph, which is their software-defined storage, because they don't have the best price. It doesn't make sense when you compare it in terms of the hardware cost, better performance, and better capabilities. That's my main complaint at any meeting with Red Hat. I want to use Red Hat Ceph, but it costs so much money.

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Consultant at a tech services company with 1-10 employees

Red Hat can be tricky at times, but all operating systems are. The moves to systemd and NetworkManager haven't made the product more user-friendly. The network management they had before was easier and somewhat more reliable than NetworkManager, which Red Hat forces us to use now.

That may just be my personal preference because I've been working on Red Hat for so long. It's something new that doesn't do exactly what it used to do, so it's probably more of an old person's complaint.

The firewall controls can also be somewhat challenging in terms of automation. An application may use a different setup, so you need to consider that if you want to automate installations. 

You can't easily port an application to another operating system unless it's CentOS or Fedora. It's not portable if you want to port it to something like Windows except for Java and containers. Unless it's another Red Hat, CentOS, or Fedora, the application itself isn't portable if it's installed on a thick virtual or physical machine even. It's not easily portable because you must recompile the application or make changes.

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IT Systems Engineer

My biggest issue right now is Red Hat Consulting and trying to use some of their services to help get us going. Technically, they're good, but we seem to have issues with scheduling.

Also, we initially deployed it with Red Hat Satellite. We're now moving more to automation using Terraform within VMware, to automate the clone and then follow up with Ansible to configure. 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. We'd like something that we can use to build a server a lot faster, as well as address network latency issues.

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Thomas H Jones II - PeerSpot reviewer
Senior Cloud Engineer at a consultancy with 51-200 employees

It is great for the stuff that Red Hat either owns outright or is the lead on the upstream product. When it comes to third-party tools, it can be a little iffy. Some of the database solutions and data governance solutions that I have had to implement on Red Hat have not been fun.

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. 

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Cloud and Infrastructure Architecture at a comms service provider with 10,001+ employees

I would like to see improvements made to the subscriptions and management of them.

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Prateek Agarwal - PeerSpot reviewer
Manager at NISG

I would like to see additional features, including automation and the introduction of AI/ML-based tools within Red Hat to handle manual tasks that humans are required to do. 

Also, sometimes updates are very frequent, meaning the day after one, you get another. It can be quite annoying when you're trying to do your job.

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Joint Director at a government with 501-1,000 employees

Being an advocate of open source technologies I always wished that Red Hat subscription/ support should be offered free of cost. Having said that, I understand the economics involved in running large enterprise like Red Hat; support cost is one area that can be improved. They should offer it at reduced prices.

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John Lemay - PeerSpot reviewer
Principal Systems Engineer at Greenway Health

There is potential for improvement when it comes to ease of use. It has become easier to use over the years but could be better still. Linux, in general, has never been a simple solution. It's usually a more complex solution than something like Windows. If there is a downside, it's that it is more complex than some of the other solutions.

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Jude Cadet - PeerSpot reviewer
Sr. Systems Engineer at Fiserv

In the past and with older versions, you couldn't expand the root file system without rebooting the server or restarting the operating system. That is something that they have actually corrected now, which is great. They corrected that issue somewhere around RHEL 7. 

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Sr. Designer Data at a comms service provider with 11-50 employees

An area for improvement in RHEL has to do with security policies. I know they are doing something about this in RHEL 9, but I haven't worked with that version yet. When it comes to security policies in RHEL 8, it is a bit behind. It would be better if we could just enforce a certain security policy such as CIS Level 1. That was not available, out-of-the-box, in RHEL 8.

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Infosec IT specialist at a government with 10,001+ employees

A completely new setup should not be required when upgrading to a new version of the solution. For example, moving from RHEL 7.7 to RHEL 9 requires us to go through every minor version upgrade as well as RHEL 8. We do not have the ability to patch as quickly as we would like, but there are pathways. We got on 6.8 this year and migrated to 6.11 where we are trying to work on the automation portions of deployment. Before, we had variations of versions 7.2, 7.3, and 7.5 in our environment. We have not yet been able to use the supported versions that we are accustomed to with our applications. We are now on 7.9.1 and are trying to implement the minor upgrade versions in our environment. We have not yet experienced a healthy environment or the joy of using RHEL because we keep encountering issues and problems.

There are issues when upgrading or integrating with previous applications or systems such as Satellite, vRA, SaaS, or OpenShift. This is extremely, extremely important because a lot of our infrastructure is on RHEL. We need to have someone onsite to adjudicate our infrastructure's most important applications, when we would rather be able to patch them in a timely manner without having the whole world assist us. 

The solution should be more user-friendly so we better understand how to scale. It is not that we shun professional services, but there is a major knowledge gap in our understanding of the solution. 

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Senior Software Engineer at a tech services company with 201-500 employees

The solution is moving away from CentOS and there are growing pains from the customer's perspective. It was purchased by IBM and they are for profit which everyone understands. There is a huge shake up right now because customers who run CentOS do not know what to do with all their systems. One of the reasons CentOS is used for government offices is its security feature that does not change because it occurs after route. The solution placed CentOS in the middle so government customers do not trust it. The way the rollout occurred caused a lot of mistrust with Red Hat. 

The SELinux is great but the Amazon security features cause issues. For example, we run RHEL and CentOS on AWS but they control the cloud and do not give us access to security features. We have to go through multiple layers to deploy an instance. Something that could be controlled with a firewall or blocking ports is now controlled by security groups inside AWS that we cannot access. 

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Nicolae - PeerSpot reviewer
System and Solutions Architect at a computer software company with 11-50 employees

The Cockpit interface needs improvement with more features. The information for implementing Red Hat Cluster could be also improved. And there could also be better performance monitoring.

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Sherwin Lee - PeerSpot reviewer
Senior System Engineer at a tech services company with 1-10 employees

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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Dan Shaver - PeerSpot reviewer
Sr. Automation Architect at a healthcare company

I don't see anything that needs improvement with RHEL itself, but there is room for improvement of the support infrastructure for it. The management and updates to Satellite, which is the support update, have been cumbersome at best, including releases and changes to a release. Communication on how that will work going forward has not been great.

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System engineer at a government with 10,001+ employees

This solution could be improved if it was easier to set up and run in cloud environments. It can also be costly to manage a large OpenShift environment.

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Allan E Cano - PeerSpot reviewer
Sr IT Solution Architect at a wholesaler/distributor with 10,001+ employees

The cost could be lowered. We don't use RHEL in the cloud because Ubuntu is cheaper. Ubuntu factors support costs into the license when you're running it in the cloud, and it's a fraction of the cost of what RHEL is. I'm also not sure if RHEL supports open-source products. If they do, they don't advertise it. Adding stuff like Apache and other open-source tools like Tomcat to their support portfolio would help.

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Team Lead at Wipro Limited

The licensing model is kind of a mess. It works, however, it could be streamlined. For example, just how they apply the licenses to servers and the solution seems like a mess, at least from my end of it.

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SergioVelez - PeerSpot reviewer
Master Software Engineer / Manager at a consultancy with 10,001+ employees

The accessibility to the resources could be more widespread. We have to put a lot of effort into finding indigenous information on the site.  For example, the license information is convoluted. This information should be easier for customers to access.

In an upcoming release, they could improve by having more focused security.

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Ifham Shahid - PeerSpot reviewer
Associate Engineer at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees

Their pricing and documentation can be improved. They need to have developer variance that's more developer-friendly and less costly. They have a free developer version, but that's very limited in terms of features from RHEL. They also need to build their own open source community.

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Linux Administrator at a tech services company with 51-200 employees

It is mostly better than other solutions. However, it is sometimes difficult for disaster recovery, so we have to plan accordingly.

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Cybersecurity Engineer at a computer software company with 10,001+ employees

Since it's based off Fedora, I don't like the DNF package manager. 

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Information technology specialist at USDA

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.

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Senior Systems Admin at a government with 501-1,000 employees

Sometimes the solution deletes our archives or other features that were useful to us. We would like users to be surveyed before items are removed or be provided with a better explanation as to why removals occur. 

For example, some file system patches were recently removed but replacement patches do not cover all features. 

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Senior Software Engineer at a government with 10,001+ employees

The operating system might not be able to handle big scientific problems which require a highly parallel system and symmetric multi-processor to run logic streams simultaneously. 

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Bassel Nasreldin - PeerSpot reviewer
Digital Solutions Architect at AppsPro

Most of the complaints people have about this solution revolve around security. It's not easy to increase that. 

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System admin at a tech vendor with 10,001+ employees

When there is down time from a system admin perspective, this solution could improve how they communicate why this down time is happening. 

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IT Manager at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees

It could be a bit more user-friendly. It could also be cheaper.

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Program Analyst at a government with 10,001+ employees

The cost of this solution could be improved. 

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Security Engineer at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees

The cost of this solution could be improved. 

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Md.Jasim Uddin - PeerSpot reviewer
Assistant Manager at Cosmopolitan Communications Limited

Although the security features are good, I'd like to see more added in the security sphere.

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Buyer's Guide
Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)
November 2022
Learn what your peers think about Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2022.
657,397 professionals have used our research since 2012.