CentOS has announced the end of life (EOL) for CentOS Linux. Alibaba Cloud CentOS Linux public images are derived from the sources provided by CentOS. When CentOS Linux reaches its EOL, Alibaba Cloud stops providing support for the CentOS Linux operating systems. This topic describes the impacts of the CentOS Linux EOL and provides options for dealing with this change.

Background information

On December 8, 2020, CentOS announced that they would be shifting focus from CentOS Linux, the rebuild of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), to CentOS Stream. For more information, see CentOS Project shifts focus to CentOS Stream. The following section describes the EOL plans of different CentOS Linux releases.
  • CentOS Linux 7, as a rebuild of RHEL 7, no longer receives updates from CentOS as of August 6, 2020, and will reach its EOL on June 30, 2024.
  • CentOS Linux 8, as a rebuild of RHEL 8, has had its lifecycle cut short and reached its EOL on December 31, 2021.
  • CentOS Linux 9 and later versions are not provided. Instead, CentOS Stream is provided.

Impacts

If you use CentOS Linux, take note of the following items:
  • If you use CentOS Linux 8, you no longer receive software maintenance or support such as vulnerability fixes and feature updates as of December 31, 2021.
  • If you use CentOS Linux 7, you will no longer receive software maintenance or support such as vulnerability fixes and feature updates as of June 30, 2024.
Since the lifecycle of CentOS Linux 8 has been cut short, CentOS provides the following options for CentOS Linux 8 users. If you use CentOS Linux 8 in a development or test environment, you can use CentOS Stream. If you use CentOS Linux 8 in a production environment or to deploy critical business, you can use RHEL. If you want to use CentOS Stream or RHEL, take note of the following items:
  • CentOS Stream is a rolling release distribution of CentOS rather than a rebuild of RHEL. Therefore, system stability and compatibility cannot be guaranteed. If CentOS Stream is used in a production environment, risks cannot be predicted.
  • RHEL images are not provided for free, and you must subscribe to the images. We recommend that you evaluate the costs involved before you migrate to RHEL.
  • CentOS Linux EOL affects the public images and support provided by Alibaba Cloud in the following aspects:
    • Alibaba Cloud will continue to provide CentOS 8 images. Elastic Compute Service (ECS) instances that were created from CentOS 8 are not affected. However, Alibaba Cloud will no longer update these images. For more information, see Release notes.
    • The support cycles provided by Alibaba Cloud for the CentOS operating systems are consistent with the lifecycles of the official CentOS operating systems. CentOS discontinues support for CentOS Linux 8 as of December 31, 2021, and will discontinue support for CentOS Linux 7 as of June 30, 2024.

For more information about the CentOS project shifts, see FAQ - CentOS Project shifts focus to CentOS Stream.

Options

Alibaba Cloud provides public images that contain a variety of operating systems. You can select a suitable operating system to replace CentOS Linux. The following table describes different operating systems and their intended users.
Operating system Description Intended user
Alibaba Cloud Linux Alibaba Cloud Linux is an operating system provided by Alibaba Cloud. It is compatible with the RHEL and CentOS ecosystems, and is optimized for Alibaba Cloud. Alibaba Cloud provides Alibaba Cloud Linux 2 and Alibaba Cloud Linux 3 and provides free long-term support (LTS) for Alibaba Cloud Linux. For more information, see Overview or Overview.
Alibaba Cloud Linux provides migration tools to migrate CentOS Linux to Alibaba Cloud Linux. If your instance runs a CentOS 7 or CentOS 8 operating system, you can use migration tools to migrate the operating system of your instance to Alibaba Cloud Linux. For more information, see the following topics:
Individuals and enterprises who require technical support and want to use free images.
Anolis OS Anolis OS is released by the OpenAnolis community. It is fully compatible with CentOS 8 and other mainstream Linux distributions. Anolis OS is an open source, independent Linux distribution and provides enterprise-level stability, security, reliability, and high performance. For more information, see OpenAnolis. Individuals and enterprises who are used to using open source images and want to use free images.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux RHEL is an enterprise-level Linux operating system developed by Red Hat. RHEL images are not provided for free, and you must subscribe to the images. For more information, see Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Individuals and enterprises who require technical support and want to migrate to an operating system that is similar to CentOS.
CentOS Stream CentOS Stream is a rolling release distribution provided by CentOS. Individuals and enterprises who want to use an operating system that has rolling updates and that is similar to CentOS.
Rocky Linux Rocky Linux is a community-driven enterprise-level Linux operating system and a downstream rebuild of RHEL. Like CentOS, Rocky Linux offers stable releases for servers and is intended to be an alternative that is fully compatible with CentOS. Individuals and enterprises who are used to using open source images and want to use free images.
AlmaLinux AlmaLinux is a stable, community-driven Linux distribution developed by the CloudLinux team. The AlmaLinux operating system is 1:1 binary compatible with RHEL. You can change the operating system of an instance to AlmaLinux without stopping the instance. Individuals and enterprises who are used to using open source images and want to use free images.
Other Linux operating systems, such as Debian and Ubuntu These operating systems vary in application compatibility and usage habits. Alibaba Cloud provides images that contain a variety of operating systems. For more information, see Select an image. Individuals and enterprises who are capable of handling operating system changes.

References