Google Cloud Introduces Optimized Rocky Linux Images For Customers Leaving CentOS

Google recently announced the general availability of Rocky Linux optimized for Google Cloud. The new images are custom variants of Rocky Linux, the open source enterprise distribution compatible with Red Hat Enterprise.

Developed in collaboration with CIQ, the support and services partner of Rocky Linux, the new images are a direct replacement for CentOS workloads. Starts with Gregory Kurtzerfounder of the CentOS project and CEO of CIQ, Rocky Linux is a backward compatible binary build using Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) source code. The distro was born after Red Hat decided not to provide full updates and maintenance updates for CentOS 8 as originally announced.

Google Cloud builds and supports Rocky Linux images for Compute Engine, with both a fully open source version and a optimized for Google Cloud: this version has the suffix “-optimized-gcp” and use the latest version of Google Virtual Network Interface (gVNIC). clark kiblersenior product manager at Google, explains:

These new images contain custom variants of the Rocky Linux kernel and modules that optimize network performance on the Compute Engine infrastructure, while maintaining bug-for-bug compatibility with Community Rocky Linux and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The high-bandwidth networking enabled by these customizations will benefit virtually any workload, and is especially useful for clustered workloads such as HPC (see this page for details on setting up a virtual machine with high bandwidth).

A few months ago, Venkat Gattamneni, Senior Product Manager at Google, announced the partnership with CIQ and promised more integrations with the new distro:

In addition to CIQ-backed support for Rocky Linux, Google is also working with CIQ to provide a streamlined product experience – with plans to include performance-tuned Rocky Linux images, out-of-the-box support for specialized Google infrastructure, tools to help ease migration, and more.

Google Cloud isn’t the only provider supporting Rocky Linux. AWS and Azure are other sponsor of the Rocky Linux project and propose AMI in the AWS and Azure markets. Kibler adds:

Going forward, we will work with CIQ to release both Community and Google Cloud Optimized editions of Rocky Linux for each major release, and both sets of images will receive the latest kernel and security updates provided by CIQ and the Rocky Linux community.

The Google Cloud-optimized Rocky Linux 8 AMI is available for all x86-based Compute Engine VM families. Versions for the new Arm-based Tau T2A and Rocky Linux 9, the latest generally available release of Rocky, are expected soon. Google does not charge license fees for using Rocky Linux with Compute Engine.

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