Rocky Linux arrives on Google Cloud

The CentOS Linux clones, such as Rocky Linux, are making their presence known on the major public clouds.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor
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For years, CentOS Linux was Linux-savvy system administrators' top choice. They could use it and get the best of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) without paying for support -- unless they really needed the help. Then, when Red Hat shifted focus from CentOS Linux, other groups seized the opportunity to build RHEL clones, such as AlmaLinux and Rocky Linux, for cost-conscious server and cloud users. 

The latest move in this arena came when CIQ, the high-performance computing company and Rocky Linux's parent, joined forces with Google Cloud to provide customers with unified best-in-class support. 

As always, Rocky Linux is a community-maintained and freely-available enterprise Linux distribution. It is managed by the Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation (RESF), a Public Benefit Corporation (PBC). The Foundation and distribution are led by Gregory M. Kurtzer, one of CentOS's original founders. Since its launch, it's consistently been downloaded over a quarter of a million times a month. In short, Rocky is very popular both with individuals and large organizations.

Historically, Google has been a major Rocky Linux supporter. Google Cloud was the first cloud provider to offer Rocky Linux images shortly after it was released in December 2020. Google Cloud was also one of the first hyperscalers to put its money behind RESF. 

"Through this partnership, anytime you use our Rocky Linux on Google Cloud," Kurtzer said, "CIQ with Google has your back! From the cloud platform itself, all the way through the enterprise operating system, every aspect of using Google Cloud is supported by a single call to Google, and together, we are your escalation team."

Venkat Gattamneni, Google Cloud Senior Product Manager, added,  "At Google Cloud, we are focused on delivering a great customer experience for enterprises by building a robust platform for running all Linux-based workloads. As customers move to Rocky Linux, partnering with CIQ enables the next step in providing an optimized and supported experience to our customers."

Besides Rocky Linux CIQ-backed support, Google is also working with CIQ to provide a streamlined product experience. This includes performance-tuned Rocky Linux images, out-of-the-box support for specialized Google infrastructure, tools to help support easy migration, and more.

Gattamneni concluded, "If you're currently looking for alternatives to CentOS as it reaches end of life, Rocky Linux on Google Cloud can have you covered both from a product and support perspective. So, take Rocky for a spin if you haven't already."

Starting today, Google Cloud customers can get help with Rocky Linux. CIQ experts and Google Cloud's support teams are uniting to address issues and provide enterprise-grade support. 

That's not the end of the story though. Together, CIQ, Google, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure, VMware, Naver Cloud, and other cloud service providers are working to create a Rocky Linux Cloud Special Interest Group (SIG) to create an optimized, standardized, and simplified Rocky Linux experience for users on any cloud platform. 

CloudLinux's AlmaLinux also has cloud support. Together, the two next-generation CentOS cloud companies show that there's still a market for individuals and enterprises who want an inexpensive RHEL clone that can run on servers, in data centers, and in the cloud. 

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