CentOS 8 to CentOS Stream: What It Means for the HPC Community

This past December, Red Hat®, Inc. announced the upcoming release of CentOS Stream scheduled to take place in late 2021. With the community around the current versions of CentOS being as vast as it is, this announcement unsurprisingly caused a lot of uproar and confusion as you can see on the CentOS blog (https://blog.centos.org/2020/12/future-is-centos-stream/). Many have been left to wonder about the future of their operating system. Will CentOS Stream be a replacement for CentOS 8 entirely? Or merely an evolution of it, allowing users to choose the operating system version they continue to run their workloads on? The PSSC Labs Team gathered together to study this news in detail with the hope of clearing up any confusion that might have arisen.

In September of 2019, Chris Wright, VP and CTO at Red Hat said of CentOS Stream, “CentOS Stream is an upstream development platformed designed for CentOS community members, Red Hat partners, ecosystem developers, and many other groups to more quickly and easily see what’s coming next in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) ecosystem and to help shape the product.” In essence, CentOS Stream is rolling out in something of a pilot phase. Red Hat is encouraging their partners and developers to not only begin engagement in CentOS Stream but to actually start utilizing it to test solutions to their own unique business challenges. This gives users the opportunity to interact within the operating system while its official version is still being developed. The idea is that Red Hat can identify how its users utilize and interact with the system and then use that information to further build out the official version. Red Hat’s intended goal is to ensure that CentOS Stream is designed to work the way users want it to, but practically what does this mean for you and your team?

What does this mean for CentOS 8?

For now, it seems that CentOS 8 will remain an option for users that wish to continue their workloads on this version of the operating system throughout the year. But as stated by Red Hat themselves, that time will come to an end very shortly. “Updated to the CentOS Linux 8 distribution continue until the end of 2021; users can choose to switch over directly to CentOS Stream 8” where updates distribution will continue through the full Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) support phase.

Consider Your Options

Rather than migrate to CentOS Stream, consider the possibility of migrating to other versions of Linux, such as Ubuntu. Ubuntu is a Linux distribution based on Debian and mostly composed of free and open-source software. It’s also released in three editions: Desktop, Server, and Core for Internet of Things devices and robots. Ubuntu has a long history of success when it comes to supporting computationally intensive applications, meaning our clients in the Life Science, Design and Engineering, and other spaces will still have a supported operating system with Ubuntu.

PSSC Labs Supports You

For PSSC Labs clients that choose to migrate to Ubuntu, we are releasing a new version of our CBeST Cluster Management Software Stack. CBeST is our full featured cluster management software, compromised of kernel optimizations, custom scripts and open source tools that are elegantly integrated, optimized and customized for your specific PowerWulf HPC Cluster hardware and applications. It’s offered at no additional cost to our cluster clients.

No matter the future of your current operating system, PSSC Labs is here to support our clients however they need. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

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