What is the Difference Between RHEL 8 and Oracle Linux 8? Exploring Key Distinctions


In the realm of enterprise operating systems, RHEL 8 and Oracle Linux 8 stand as prominent choices. Each brings a unique set of features and capabilities to the table, catering to different business needs. To help you make an informed decision, we delve into the intricacies that differentiate these two Linux distributions. From performance and security to support and compatibility, we’ll explore every aspect to guide you through the selection process.

What is the Difference Between RHEL 8 and Oracle Linux 8?

RHEL 8 and Oracle Linux 8 are both Linux distributions built for enterprise environments, but they have distinct characteristics that set them apart. Let’s explore these differences in detail:

Licensing and Support

  • RHEL 8: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 operates on a subscription-based model. This model provides access to updates, security patches, and customer support. It offers different subscription tiers tailored to various business needs, ensuring comprehensive assistance.
  • Oracle Linux 8: Oracle Linux 8 also employs a subscription-based model. However, it’s worth noting that if you’re an Oracle Database customer, you may receive extended support benefits for Oracle Linux at no extra cost.

Performance and Optimization

  • RHEL 8: Known for its stability and performance, RHEL 8 optimizes workloads across physical, virtual, and cloud environments. Its performance tuning capabilities make it an ideal choice for resource-intensive tasks.
  • Oracle Linux 8: Oracle Linux 8 is engineered for optimized performance, especially when running Oracle workloads. It incorporates the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK), designed to deliver high performance, reliability, and scalability.

Compatibility and Interoperability

  • RHEL 8: Red Hat places a strong emphasis on compatibility. RHEL 8 is designed to work seamlessly with a wide range of hardware, software, and applications. This ensures smooth integration within diverse IT ecosystems.
  • Oracle Linux 8: Oracle Linux 8 is geared towards supporting Oracle applications and technologies. While it offers compatibility with various third-party solutions, its primary focus is on enhancing the Oracle ecosystem.

Security Features

  • RHEL 8: Security is a top priority for RHEL 8. It provides advanced security features such as System-wide Cryptographic Policies, which enable consistent and manageable encryption across the system.
  • Oracle Linux 8: Oracle Linux 8 also boasts robust security features, including mandatory access controls and security-enhanced Linux policies. These measures contribute to safeguarding sensitive data and preventing unauthorized access.

Containerization Capabilities

  • RHEL 8: RHEL 8 excels in containerization with its support for Docker and Kubernetes. It offers tools like Buildah and Podman, allowing users to create, manage, and deploy containers efficiently.
  • Oracle Linux 8: Oracle Linux 8 embraces containerization trends with support for Docker and Kubernetes. It aligns with the broader industry shift towards microservices and container-based architectures.

Package Management

  • RHEL 8: RHEL 8 employs the YUM package manager for software installation and updates. YUM simplifies package management and dependency resolution.
  • Oracle Linux 8: Oracle Linux 8 also uses the YUM package manager, ensuring consistency and compatibility within the Linux ecosystem.

Virtualization Solutions

  • RHEL 8: RHEL 8 provides robust virtualization capabilities through technologies like KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine). This allows users to create and manage virtual machines with ease.
  • Oracle Linux 8: Oracle Linux 8 leverages similar virtualization technologies, offering tools for efficient management of virtualized environments.

Cloud Integration

  • RHEL 8: With its Red Hat OpenShift integration, RHEL 8 facilitates hybrid and multicloud deployments. This aligns well with modern IT strategies that embrace cloud resources.
  • Oracle Linux 8: Oracle Linux 8 is designed to work seamlessly with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, streamlining cloud deployments for organizations invested in the Oracle ecosystem.

Enterprise Application Focus

  • RHEL 8: RHEL 8 is a versatile choice for a wide range of enterprise applications, providing a stable and consistent platform for mission-critical workloads.
  • Oracle Linux 8: Oracle Linux 8 is particularly tailored for Oracle applications, offering specialized optimizations and support for seamless Oracle software integration.


Are RHEL 8 and Oracle Linux 8 suitable for small businesses?

Both RHEL 8 and Oracle Linux 8 are geared towards enterprise environments, which might make them less cost-effective for small businesses with limited IT budgets.

Can I migrate my existing RHEL 8 subscriptions to Oracle Linux 8?

Yes, Oracle offers a program that allows you to convert your existing RHEL 8 subscriptions to Oracle Linux 8 subscriptions. This can be beneficial if you’re considering transitioning to the Oracle ecosystem.

Which distribution offers better security features?

Both RHEL 8 and Oracle Linux 8 prioritize security, offering a range of features to safeguard your systems and data. The choice between them should be based on your specific security requirements and any existing investments in Oracle technologies.

Is Oracle Linux 8 exclusively for Oracle software?

While Oracle Linux 8 is optimized for Oracle applications and technologies, it can also run a wide array of third-party software and solutions. It offers compatibility and support for diverse workloads.

Can I run containers on both distributions?

Absolutely, both RHEL 8 and Oracle Linux 8 embrace containerization technologies, allowing you to run and manage containers efficiently using tools like Docker and Kubernetes.

Which distribution is more cost-effective in the long run?

The cost-effectiveness of either distribution depends on your organization’s needs and existing investments. Both distributions offer value through their subscription models, so it’s essential to evaluate the features that align with your business goals.

Is Oracle the same as Linux?

No, Oracle is a company that offers products and services, while Linux is an operating system.

What is the difference between RHEL 8 and Oracle Linux 8?

The main differences include support, branding, and certain optimizations.

What is the difference between Linux and Oracle Linux?

Oracle Linux is based on Linux, but it includes additional features and support options.

Is Linux the same as Oracle Linux?

No, Oracle Linux is a specific distribution of Linux offered by Oracle.

Is Oracle Linux the same as Red Hat?

Oracle Linux is based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) but has some differences and is maintained by Oracle.


In the realm of enterprise Linux distributions, RHEL 8 and Oracle Linux 8 shine with their unique features and capabilities. While RHEL 8 emphasizes compatibility and versatility, Oracle Linux 8 focuses on optimizing Oracle workloads and technologies. Your choice should be driven by your specific business requirements, existing IT ecosystem, and long-term goals. By understanding the differences outlined in this article, you’re equipped to make an informed decision that aligns perfectly with your enterprise needs.

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