Red Hat Enterprise Linux is a commercial Linux distribution built for powering the servers of corporations and data centers. It's a robust distro with the features and stability that businesses crave for high availability and predictability.
The big appeal of Red Hat, though, is its support system. That's the main thing you're paying for, after all. If something doesn't operate as expected, businesses want someone to turn to for support so they can face as little downtime as possible. Red Hat experts are only a phone call away for subscribers.
The support feature is what really sets Red Hat apart from other Linux distributions that could also perform the same job very well, such as CentOS, Fedora, and OpenSUSE. For other most popular Linux distributions please visit our dedicated linux download page.
Red Hat offers training and certification programs to prospective Linux system administrators. This is another big plus for businesses, as they can buy training for their employees or vet new recruits by their certifications. Such training and certifications are rare to find in the Linux world, being that Linux distros are mostly free and run by a community of volunteers.
If you are a system administrator looking to get into Red Hat, most or all of your experience with CentOS and Fedora Server should transfer over to Red Hat, since the three distributions are closely related.
Red Hat Linux Release Schedule
Being a commercial distribution means that Red Hat has to remain incredibly stable and can't risk new updates causing any problems. Red Hat uses its Fedora distribution as a testbed before incorporating new changes into RHEL.
Major releases of Red Hat come out every 3-5 years. Each release is fully supported for five years, with maintenance updates for an additional five. Even longer support is available at a cost.
Download Red Hat Linux
Red Hat is a free download for "development use" only. You can get it from the RHEL download page. You are not allowed to deploy it in a production environment without first purchasing a subscription, but can try it out on a test system, for example.
As a business, it's not always wise to rely on community-run software. Red Hat doesn't just make an incredible Linux distribution, it supplies the support, training, and certifications that businesses rely on. Smaller businesses can likely get by with using CentOS or a similar distribution, but RHEL serves larger corporations very well.