RHEL runs on OCI supported by Oracle and Red Hat

January 31, 2023 | 6 minute read
Zeke Kaufman
Principal Member of Technical Staff at Oracle
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We’re excited to announce the general availability and support of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) running on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI).

OCI is now a member of Red Hat’s Certified Cloud and Service Provider (CCSP) program and can be found in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Ecosystem catalog. You can now run the latest version of RHEL 7, 8, and 9 on OCI’s most popular, current generation of virtual machine (VM) shapes.

OCI offers a wide variety of operating systems that suit the needs of large enterprises, including the ability to bring your own image (BYOI) that allows you to import a wide range of new and legacy production operating systems. Oracle’s partnership with Red Hat adds a new level of support for customers running RHEL on OCI. You can now run supported versions of RHEL on your choice of Intel, AMD, or Arm processors while maintaining access to Red Hat’s support system and knowledge base through your RHEL subscription.

In this blog, we walk through the simple steps to launch RHEL on OCI, but let’s cover some details first.

Certified Cloud and Service Provider program

A benefit of Oracle joining Red Hat’s CSSP program is certifying the compatibility and performance of OCI with RHEL. Currently, we’re certifying the most recent versions of RHEL in the Maintenance Support and Full Support life cycle on OCI’s current generation of VM shapes.

A graphic depicting a table of RHEL supported shapes.

Licensing details

Because this partnership is new, we want to point out the following important details for you to be aware of.

  • Imported RHEL images operate under the Bring Your Own Subscription (BYOS) model from Red Hat. You must register them with the Red Hat Subscription Manager, just as you do for any deployment environment. Direct licensing and fee questions to Red Hat.

  • OCI charges for the infrastructure that you run RHEL on, either at the standard OCI rates or at your contract rates.

  • For RHEL-specific support and maintenance life cycle questions, see the Red hat Enterprise Linux Life Cycle page.

  • For OCI-specific support questions, see the OCI BYOI support policies page.

Supported deployment methods

We know that customers are excited for RHEL support on even more OCI shapes, and we’re rapidly working to certify OCI Compute bare metal servers and more virtual machine shapes. As each shape is certified, we plan to update the Red Hat Ecosystem Catalog with details.

In addition to the supported shapes and versions of RHEL running in OCI, users should refer to the Red Hat Production Support Scope of Coverage and the Red Hat support policy regarding third party packages in RHEL for questions regarding what exactly what is and is not supported on the image itself. Generally speaking, users can expect full support when exporting and migrating RHEL images from other Red Hat certified CCSPs or on-premise environments, to certified RHEL versions and instance types on OCI.

Running RHEL on OCI

With the important details covered, let’s jump into running RHEL on OCI!

Importing a RHEL image works the same way as importing any other OS image on OCI. If you’re familiar with the OS import workflow, this process is the same.

1. Download RHEL image from Red Hat

You need RHEL in a supported image format, which is either a KVM Guest Image downloaded from the Red Hat customer portal or a QCOW2 image obtained from Red Hat’s Image Builder tool. Image Builder is a recently released tool that simplifies the process of building “golden images” by allowing you to register images to an existing subscription, preinstall packages from the RHEL repositories, and create custom partitions on the disk.

If you’re using the Red Hat Enterprise Linux download page, download the KVM Guest Image you want:

A screenshot of a list of installers, including WinSync and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, with a red arrow pointing to the Red Hat option.

Alternatively, in Image Builder, click the “Virtualization – Guest image (.qcow2)” option to download a QCOW2-formatted image:

A screenshot of the Image Builder tool with a red arrow pointing to the virtualization - guest image option.

2. Upload the RHEL image to OCI Object Storage

After you’ve downloaded the RHEL image, upload the image to a bucket in OCI Object Storage. A good practice is to create a separate bucket dedicated to these images.

A screenshot of the Upload Objects page with the image uploaded outlined in red.

3. Import the RHEL image as a custom image

Now that the image is on OCI, you need to make it available to the Compute service as a custom image.

In the Oracle Cloud Console, navigate to Compute, Custom Image, and select Import Image. Import the RHEL image from the Object Storage bucket in the previous step.

Regardless of whether you’re using the QCOW2 image or KVM Guest Image, select the “QCOW2” image format. Select “Paravirtualized mode” for the Launch Mode. After filling in the other required fields, click the Import Image button.

If you have any questions, view the Importing an Image documentation.

A screenshot of the Import Image page with the object name and image type fields outlined in red.

4. Select a compatible shape

After importing the RHEL image, ensure that it’s assigned to a compatible shape. In the Console, navigate to Compute Custom Image, select your custom image, and then select Edit details.

If you’re working with an x86 architecture RHEL image, ensure that “VM.Standard3.Flex” and “VM.Standard.E4.Flex” are selected. If you’re working with the Arm architecture RHEL image, ensure that “VM.Standard.A1.Flex” is selected.

A screenshot of the Edit Image Details page with the selected VM shapes outlined in red.

5. Launch the RHEL image

You’re almost done! In the Console, click Create Instance to launch the RHEL image. (Ensure that you select a supported shape.)

When the instance is running, you can ssh into the image validate the instance with the following command:

$> ssh cloud-user@[ip_address]

A screenshot of the running code output.


OCI joining Red Hat’s CCSP program is a big deal for enterprises who run RHEL workloads. Users of RHEL can now take advantage of OCI’s flexible infrastructure, distributed cloud capabilities, and competitive pricing models while running RHEL on OCI. As our relationship with Red Hat matures, you can expect a growing array of RHEL technologies on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure hardware to become certified and supported by both Oracle and Red Hat—a true win-win for our mutual customers.

Zeke Kaufman

Principal Member of Technical Staff at Oracle

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