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Explore Red Hat's bring-your-own-subscription model for RHEL

Many organizations use pay-as-you-go models with public cloud providers to run their Red Hat products in the cloud. Explore how bring-your-own-subscription differs.

In recent years, the number of pay-as-you-go subscription options has rapidly expanded. But RHEL customers have another option for running the OS in the cloud: bring-your-own-subscription.

At a breakout session during Red Hat Summit 2023 in May, Red Hat managers discussed options for how organizations can use RHEL in the cloud and some of its capabilities. Principal product manager Bronce McClain said during the session that bring-your-own-subscription (BYOS) is "kind of what our traditional customers have been used to," and organizations with RHEL subscriptions can use BYOS over pay-as-you-go (PAYG).

While BYOS and PAYG both enable customers to use RHEL in the public cloud, there are some differences in how they function and what features they provide.

What is BYOS?

BYOS is a subscription model that enables organizations to use their existing licenses for software with other partner providers. Instead of obtaining licenses through the cloud provider, organizations can purchase licenses directly from providers and use those services on other platforms.

Organizations that carry existing RHEL subscriptions purchased through Red Hat can run certain RHEL products on clouds that are Certified Cloud and Service Providers. Red Hat partners with many of the public clouds, including AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure and others. SUSE also offers similar capabilities.

Admins can use BYOS to maintain access to RHEL support directly from Red Hat when running RHEL in a public cloud. McClain said many current Red Hat customers use the BYOS model.

"You purchase RHEL, and it's your RHEL," McClain said. "You can take RHEL wherever you want."

Organizations that use public cloud often make use of spending programs where they commit a certain amount of money toward public cloud products to access discounts.

Organizations can count their spending on RHEL toward their provider's committed spend program if they purchase RHEL through the cloud provider and the PAYG model. If they choose BYOS, they can count the expense toward the Red Hat hybrid committed spend program and not the cloud provider's, since it is billed by Red Hat.

Organizations that want to use the BYOS model can do so by enabling their Red Hat subscriptions through Red Hat Cloud Access to use them on public clouds.

Differences between PAYG and BYOS for RHEL

Organizations that want to run RHEL in the cloud through Red Hat Cloud Access instead of on demand through a cloud provider will be able to perform the same tasks such as deploying images. There are some differences in how the two subscription models are billed, how to access support and how to create images according to Red Hat documentation.

Subscription model PAYG through cloud provider BYOS through Red Hat Cloud Access
Payments and subscription fees Payments go to cloud provider for compute and memory resources, as well as the RHEL subscription. Payments go to cloud provider for compute and memory resources. Payments go to Red Hat for RHEL subscription.
Support Cloud provider is the first tier of support, with an escalation path to Red Hat for more complicated troubleshooting. Support comes directly from Red Hat for RHEL.
Images. Images are available for workloads from provider's repository but may need customization. Customers can upload images to cloud provider repository or use an image developed by Red Hat and the provider. Cloud VMs can deploy from a custom or golden image.

How to choose between BYOS vs. PAYG for RHEL

Organizations can use either BYOS or PAYG to use RHEL in the public cloud, depending on their specific requirements.

Organizations that will benefit with a PAYG model might be under some of the following circumstances, according to Red Hat guidance:

  • Do not need direct support from Red Hat.
  • Only plan to run machines in the cloud and not on premises.
  • Uncertain about the number of machines they want to run.
  • The organization may want to terminate deployments to save costs.

Organizations that can benefit from a BYOS model might have some of the following requirements:

  • Know roughly how many machines they need.
  • Need or want direct Red Hat support.
  • Do not want to spend on software premiums through cloud providers.
  • Want to use custom or golden images.

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