CentOS alternative AlmaLinux gets commercial support

Like CentOS, before Red Hat transformed it, AlmaLinux will still be available for free, but if you need Linux support, its parent company CloudLinux will be there for you.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

For many years, CentOS Linux was beloved by Linux-savvy system administrators because they could use it and get all the goodness of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) without paying for support, unless they really, really needed help. Now CloudLinux is recreating the same model to support its RHEL clone, AlmaLinux.

AlmaLinux was officially released on March 30.  It's a binary compatible fork of RHEL 8.3. Looking ahead, AlmaLinux will seek to keep step-in-step with future RHEL releases. RHEL 8.x, CentOS 8.x, and Oracle Linux 8.x migration instructions are available today.  

CentOS, of course, remains available. But it's now an entirely different take on RHEL. Instead of being an RHEL clone, the new model CentOS Stream is a developer release, which tracks just ahead of a current RHEL version.  

CloudLinux is offering multi-tiered support for the AlmaLinux OS. This includes regular patches and updates for Linux kernel and core packages, patch delivery service-level agreements (SLA)s, and 24/7 incident support.

The AlmaLinux community already offers some of these elements, such as Linux kernel and core package patches and updates. But, for businesses, there's a critical difference between relying upon the kindness of a community and a solid support contract. 

Besides the usual business Linux support services, CloudLinux will also offer a premium support tier for enterprises that require enhanced services. For example, if you need hands-on support for your AlmaLinux datacenter, it will be available. In addition, if you want to build commercial products and services based on AlmaLinux, CloudLinux can be there to help you.

Like its upstream distribution -- and main competition -- RHEL, CloudLinux will offer ten years of support for AlmaLinux. Since many CentOS former customers were all about long-term stability, this makes it very attractive. 

While CloudLinux probably had this plan in mind all along, there's also been a demand for it. Jack Aboutboul, AlmaLinux Community Manager, said, "Since launch, we've received tremendous interest and support from both the community as well as many commercial vendors, many of whom have begun using AlmaLinux OS for some pretty amazing use cases. Our thriving community has supported each other since day one which led to rapid adoption amongst organizations and requests for commercial support."

Aboutboul added, "As of last week there have been over 21,000 downloads of the ISO. This does not include the thousands who used the conversion script to upgrade to Alma from RHEL/CentOS." For a brand-new enterprise operating system, those are impressive numbers.

CloudLinux is doing more than building a support business plan around AlmaLinux.  The company along with the community is also hard at work on the next AlmaLinux release: AlmaLinux 8.4

The AlmaLinux OS 8.4 Beta is based on RHEL 8.4. This is in no way, shape, or form ready for production, but if you want to help build the next release or see what's coming down the road, this is the release for you.

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