This content is part of the Essential Guide: Linux, Windows Server coexist with cross-skilled management and support

Navigate RHEL support options in the public cloud

Differences in cost and vendor support make it tough to choose a public cloud platform for RHEL deployment. Compare options from Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure and AWS.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux in the public cloud is an appealing option, but it's important to be wary of the differences that exist between cloud platforms, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.

Cloud providers purchase Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) licenses from Red Hat, so users deal directly with the cloud provider. Users also won't install RHEL in the public cloud; they use a prebuilt image that the cloud provider creates.

To more easily compare RHEL support options from the top three public cloud providers, we'll use a single RHEL instance that is configured with 1 Gibibyte (GiB) of RAM, 10 GB storage and 1 core.

Google Cloud Platform

The base RHEL image in Google Cloud Platform is based on RHEL 7.2. The total price for a RHEL image with a 10 GB disk file attached is $69.75 per month in the U.S. central region. This fee includes usage of 10 GB storage, Google cloud infrastructure, as well as the RHEL license costs. Red Hat doesn't offer RHEL support, but Google does -- although not by default.

If you use a trial account, you'll receive free technical support for the duration of the trial. But you'll need to upgrade to one of the paid packages if you want enterprise-level RHEL support. Google offers silver, gold and platinum packages that range from $150 to over $400 per month. For critical issues, the silver package offers a four-hour response time during business hours, while the gold package offers a one-hour response time 24/7, and the platinum package offers a 15-minute response time 24/7. Only the gold and platinum packages provide phone support, while users with the silver and free packages must get support via email.

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft also offers RHEL 7.2 in Azure, but only if you've removed the spending limit; you can't use it in a configuration where a spending limit is set. If you deploy RHEL on Azure without removing the spending limit, you'll stop all currently operational VMs.

Microsoft offers support for non-Microsoft technologies that run on Azure, but users need a support plan.

For using the standard A1v2 image in the U.S. central l region (1 core, 2 GiB RAM and 10 GB disk size), you'll pay $0.103 per hour, or about $76 per month.

Microsoft offers support for non-Microsoft technologies that run on Azure, but users need a support plan. According to Microsoft, the company offers business-hours-only support in the starter plan at $29 per month, or 24/7 RHEL support with a two-hour response time in the standard plan at $300 per month.


AWS is the only major public cloud provider to offer RHEL instances based on the current version, RHEL 7.3. In AWS, you'll be able to use the t2.micro instance with 1 CPU core and 1 GiB of RAM, which is eligible for the free tier. The price that you'll pay for everything else depends on the type of service. Most companies will use AWS' on-demand pricing model, where they'll be charged by the hour. Other pricing models are available, as well, that can make your instances cheaper or more expensive to use. For example, if you use a t2.micro instance (1 core, 1 GiB RAM) in the AWS Ohio data center, you'll pay $0.072 an hour with on-demand pricing. Compared to Google and Microsoft, with a total of approximately $53 per month, this makes AWS the most inexpensive cloud platform to run RHEL.

AWS offers RHEL support under its business and enterprise support plans. The business package, which starts at $100 per month, provides 24/7 phone or email support, which, depending on the issue, may be as fast as within one business hour. The enterprise package, which starts at $15,000 per month, provides 24/7 phone or email support as fast as under 15 minutes.

Next Steps

Compare the leading public cloud providers

What's the best Linux distribution for you?

Red Hat virtualization gives IT more choices 

Dig Deeper on Linux servers