CentOS 7’s Final Countdown: 30 Days Left Until Support Ends

CentOS 7 users, time's running out! Support ends June 30, 2024. Switch to a new Linux distribution ASAP. Here are the possible upgrade paths.

In just 30 days, we’ll witness the end of an era for Linux with the cessation of support for CentOS 7—the last supported version of this once-dominant server operating system still receiving updates. Let’s take a quick look back at its journey.

Ten years ago, on July 7, 2014, CentOS 7 was released as a fully compatible fork of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7. Since its initial CentOS 2 version in 2004, the distribution has become extremely popular, establishing itself as the go-to server operating system over the last decade.

After nine minor version updates, the latest being CentOS 7.9, in November 2020, Red Hat made a significant announcement. It marked the end of CentOS as a server operating system and transitioned it to CentOS Stream—a rolling release distro and upstream public development branch for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

To complicate things further, CentOS 8, expected to receive updates until 2029, was prematurely retired at the end of December 2021. This leaves only CentOS 7 as the only version to complete its entire maintenance period, which ends in just 30 days on June 30, 2024.

So, consider this as a final reminder if you’re still using CentOS 7 and haven’t yet migrated your system. Time is running out, and here are some alternative options to switch to a RHEL-compatible and supported replacement.

CentOS 7
CentOS 7

CentOS 7 Migration Paths

The events described have naturally resulted in the emergence of RHEL-compatible clones, with AlmaLinux and Rocky Linux standing out as the leading alternatives. Oracle Linux is another top choice for migrating your CentOS 7 system.

It’s important to mention that we’re talking about in-place migration – upgrading or changing the operating system from one version or distro to another while keeping the existing server or environment intact.

This allows you to switch to a different Linux distro without performing a clean installation, typically involving wiping the old system and starting fresh.

Here are the possible CentOS 7 upgrade paths:

  • CentOS 7 -> AlmaLinux 8 -> AlmaLinux 9
  • CentOS 7 -> Rocky Linux 8 -> Rocky Linux 9
  • CentOS 7 -> Oracle Linux 8 -> Oracle Linux 9
  • CentOS 7 -> RHEL 7 -> RHEL 8 -> RHEL 9

As you can see, migrations happen in several steps; you can’t jump directly from CentOS 7 to the latest version of your chosen distribution. Instead, first, you must upgrade to the nearest supported version, and then you can move up by performing another upgrade again to the next major version.

Of course, as always, we’ve got you covered with the necessary guides to make the transition process seamless. Here they are.

All the above guides utilize the fantastic ELevate tool created by AlmaLinux for this specific task. For CentOS 7 to RHEL migration, you should use Red Hat’s Convert2RHEL utility, which has detailed instructions available here.

Additionally, if you’d like to upgrade from version 8 to version 9 of the respective distro, here’s how you can do it:

What Happens after CentOS 7 Support Ends?

In short, nothing changes immediately with your CentOS 7 system after June 30, 2024—it will operate just as it does now. However, moving forward, there are some serious risks to be aware of.

Above all, your CentOS 7 system will no longer receive updates or security patches. This lack of support can expose your system to several risks:

  • No More Updates: The primary issue is that updates and patches will no longer be available. This includes security updates, which are crucial for protecting your system against new vulnerabilities.
  • Security Vulnerabilities: Without regular security patches, any new vulnerabilities discovered in the software will not be fixed, making your system susceptible to attacks.
  • Software Incompatibility: As new versions of applications and dependencies are released, they may not be compatible with CentOS 7. This can lead to software malfunctions or prevent you from using newer software features.
  • Compliance Issues: If your organization is subject to regulatory compliance, using an unsupported operating system might violate compliance requirements.
  • Lack of Vendor Support: Should issues arise, finding solutions can be more difficult because vendors typically prioritize support for current versions of operating systems.

Considering the above, upgrading to a supported Linux distro is a must to mitigate these risks. Whether you choose Alma, Rocky, Oracle, or RHEL ultimately comes down to your individual preferences and requirements.

The important thing, however, to remember is that you have only 30 days remaining to transition your CentOS 7 system to a different supported Enterprise Linux distro, thus giving yourself the peace of mind you need to keep your servers running smoothly and securely in the future.

Bobby Borisov

Bobby Borisov

Bobby, an editor-in-chief at Linuxiac, is a Linux professional with over 20 years of experience. With a strong focus on Linux and open-source software, he has worked as a Senior Linux System Administrator, Software Developer, and DevOps Engineer for small and large multinational companies.

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