In December of 2020, Red Hat announced that it will discontinue CentOS 8 by the end of 2021 and instead will focus on CentOS Stream going forward. Fortunately CentOS 7 will continue to be updated until 2024 and is therefore not affected by this change.
While CentOS traditionally has been a rebuild of RHEL, CentOS Stream will be more or less a testing ground for changes that will eventually go into RHEL. Unfortunately this means that CentOS Stream will likely become incompatible with RHEL (e.g. binaries compiled on CentOS Stream will not necessarily run on RHEL and vice versa). It is also questionable whether CentOS Stream is a suitable environment for running production systems.
Since CentOS 8 is among the Linux distributions that is supported with Bright Cluster Manager, we will have to make a decision in 2021 how we will proceed with CentOS.
Will Bright Cluster Manager support CentOS Stream?
At this point we have not made a decision on whether CentOS Stream will become a supported distributed for Bright Cluster Manager. However, considering that CentOS Stream is probably not a suitable platform for running a production environment, it is unlikely that CentOS Stream will be supported in the future.
What will happen to my existing Bright clusters that are currently using CentOS 8?
Unless CentOS Stream becomes a supported Linux distribution for Bright Cluster Manager, by the end of 2021 these clusters will have to be converted to an alternative RHEL 8 compatible Linux distribution. It is possible to do this by switching to a different package repositories and running a conversion script. Instructions will be provided in due time.
What alternative RHEL 8 Linux distributions are available?
At the time of writing (December 2020) there is RHEL and Oracle Enterprise Linux. In the future it is likely that Rocky Linux will become a viable alternative for CentOS 8. In addition, it is also possible that the Scientific Linux project will be revived. At the time of writing (December 2020), it is unclear whether there will be a Scientific Linux 8, but a mailing list post coming from Fermilab suggests that this may be the case.
When will it become clear what I should do?
For the time being it is fine to continue to use CentOS 8, since updates will be available until the end of 2021. Bright Computing will consider the alternatives available for CentOS in Q1 and Q2 of 2021 and will determine which paths are viable. If you have suggestions or questions that are not addressed by this article, please feel free to leave a comment. This article will be kept up to date with new findings and developments.