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Red Hat JBOSS Middleware Subscription Guide

This article is a guide to Red Hat JBOSS Middleware. See also our guide to Red Hat Enterprise Linux here.


A Red Hat subscription is required for “each and every instance or installation”, in whole or in part, of a JBOSS product being used in your environment. These are acquired in increments of 16 or 64 processor cores.

Depending on your server configurations, you find yourself with “spare” capacity. For example, a server with 40 cores will require 3 x 16 core subscriptions – giving 8 “spare” cores, however these could be used to cover another server running the same JBOSS product.

JBOSS Middleware Portfolio

The JBOSS portfolio includes:

  • Red Hat JBOSS Enterprise Application Platform (EAP)
  • Red Hat JBOSS Web Server
  • Red Hat JBOSS Data Grid
  • Red Hat JBOSS A-MQ
  • Red Hat JBOSS Fuse
  • Red Hat JBOSS Fuse Service Works
  • Red Hat JBOSS Data Virtualization
  • Red Hat JBOSS BRMS
  • Red Hat JBOSS BPM Suite
  • Red Hat JBOSS Operations Network

Virtual Environment

Red Hat JBOSS subscriptions are based on the lesser of:

Number of virtual processor cores in use across the virtual machines


Number of physical cores in the server.

Example – a server with 12 physical cores but only 8 allocated to VMs would require 8 core subscriptions.


Physical Environment

Here, a subscription is required for each physical processor core in use by the Red Hat JBOSS software; however, Red Hat recognise Operating System partitioning as a valid means of reducing the number of required subscriptions.

Example – a server with 16 physical cores, partitioned into 2 lots of 8 and JBOSS running in just one partition would require just 8 core subscriptions.

Ultimately, whichever is less – the total number of virtual cores or physical cores – is the amount of processor cores to be covered.

Multiple Servers

Where a single JBOSS product is deployed across multiple servers, the total number of processor cores is added together.

For example, if JBOSS Web Server is installed on 3 servers each with 12 cores, the total subscription required is 36 cores.

However, if different JBOSS products are deployed, each is sized separately.

Example – If JBOSS EAP is installed on a server with 12 cores, Web Server on a server with 8 cores and Fuse on a server with 16 cores – this would not be a total of 36 cores, rather:

  • 12 cores for EAP
  • 8 cores for Web Server
  • 16 cores for Fuse


Cores being used in a development environment are not required to be covered. Instead, every 16 cores of subscription purchased for other parts of the business allow use by up to 25 developers.

All subscriptions include development use for ALL products in the JBOSS Middleware portfolio, although support is only provided for the subscribed product.

Disaster Recovery


This environment is typically used for things such as:

  • Integration testing
  • Functionality/Performance testing
  • Scalability testing

And can also be referred to as:

  • Quality Assurance (QA)
  • Continuous Integration Platform
  • Staging
  • Pre-production
  • User Acceptance Testing (UAT)

Subscriptions are required for all cores in this environment.

Hot/Warm Disaster Recovery (DR) & Failover

This environment typically mirrors the production environment and the JBOSS software is “actively running” and able to accept system traffic.

Subscriptions are required for all cores in this environment.

Cold Disaster Recovery (DR)

In this environment, the JBOSS product may be installed on the servers but cannot be active, other than infrequent (no more than quarterly) disaster recovery testing.

Subscriptions are NOT required for cores in this environment.


Public Cloud

The Red Hat Cloud Access program currently allows:

  • Red Hat JBOSS Enterprise Application Platform
  • Red Hat JBOSS Web Server

To be used within a certified public cloud environment. For any other JBOSS Middleware products, negotiation with Red Hat is required.


There are 2 levels of support for Production environments, Standard and Premium.

Response times vary between the 2 levels of support, across the 4 different levels of incident severity.


JBOSS Standard Premium
Hours of coverage Standard business hours Standard business hours

(24×7 for severity 1 & 2)

Support Channel Web & phone Web & phone
Number of cases Unlimited Unlimited
Response times Initial & ongoing Initial Ongoing
Severity 1 1 business hour 1 hour 1 hour/as agreed
Severity 2 4 business hours 2 hours 4 hours/as agreed
Severity 3 1 business day 4 business hours 8 business hours/as agreed
Severity 4 2 business days 8 business hours 2 business days/as agreed


Organisations must be careful when it comes to what patches are applied and by whom. In most cases, applying patches/updates/bug fixes etc. that are not provided directly by Red Hat will invalidate the Red Hat support contract.

Some 3rd party vendors such as IBM & HP are authorised Red Hat support partners while others, such as Oracle and Novell, are not.

All or Nothing rule

Appendix 1, section 1.2 of the Red Hat Enterprise Agreement covers what is known as the “All or Nothing” rule:

“While you have subscriptions entitling you to receive Subscription Services for a Red Hat Product, you are required to purchase Subscription Services in a quantity equal to the total number of Units of that Red Hat Product (including variants or components thereof).”

This means that, within a product family, you cannot pick and choose which installations are covered with active Subscription Services, i.e. if you have 19 JBOSS instances, you either have to purchase 0 subscriptions or 19.

3rd Party Access

The Red Hat Enterprise Agreement also includes details of the types of use that are not permitted with these Subscriptions:

“A Software Subscription provides you with ongoing access to a variety of services for your personal (internal) use. Accordingly, providing our services to, or using for the benefit of, a third party (for example, using Subscription Services to provide hosting services, managed services, Internet service provider (ISP) services, or third party access* to or use of the Subscription Services) is a material breach of the Agreement.”

*Despite this, 3rd parties such as “contractors, sub-contractors and outsourcing vendors” may use your Subscription Services, providing you remain responsible for all obligations under the Enterprise Agreement.

It then goes on to say:

“The foregoing sentence is not intended to limit your internal use of the Software to run a web site and/or to offer your own software as a service, provided such web site or service (a) does not include a distribution, sale or resale of any of the Subscription Services and (b) provides as the primary component of the web site or service a material value added application other than the Software and/or Subscription Service.”

Offering a chargeable service using Red Hat Subscription Services products is expressly prohibited. Any services being offered must be free of charge and offer additional value over the base Red Hat product. For organisations looking to offer chargeable services based on Red Hat technologies, they should look at the Red Hat Certified Cloud and Service Provider program.

Overall terms are contained within the Red Hat Enterprise Agreement; region specific versions of which can be found here –


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About Rich Gibbons

Rich has been in the world of IT and software licensing since 2003, having been a software sales manager for a VAR, a Microsoft licensing endorsed trainer, and now an ITAM analyst looking at software licensing and cloud.

A Northerner renowned for his shirts, Rich is a big Hip-Hop head, and loves travel, football in general (specifically MUFC), baseball, Marvel, and reading as many books as possible. Finding ways to combine all of these with ITAM & software licensing is always fun!

Connect with Rich on Twitter or LinkedIn.


  1. Peter Lusmore says:

    One thing that I don’t get is whether JBoss has the same concept of sub-capacity limit as IBM does. For example where you have multiple virtual machines on a host an the total of virtual cores exceeds the number of physical cores can you then just licence the physical cores to cover the entire box or do you have to licence all the virtual cores. In a high-density visualisation environment licensing all the virtual cores will potentially be very expensive.

  2. Rich Gibbons says:

    Hi Peter,

    Great question!

    I did a little more research – and confirmed with Red Hat – and yes, they do have that kind of model for JBOSS.

    You license the virtual processors OR the physical processors – whichever is lower.

    I’ve updated the article to include that.


  3. Patrick C Kirk says:

    There are a of couple scenarios that I have questions about:

    Scenario 1: If I have a 8 core VM that is running two copies of Jboss 7, would that been counted as 8 core total?

    Scenario 2: If I have a 12 core VM that is running jboss 7 and jboss 4.3. Is this counted as 12 core base subscription and 12 core ELS subscription?

  4. Patrick – Please use our forum to get these questions answered:

    Cheers, Martin


    Hi Rich, does your company provide Red Hat Jboss licensing optimization advice/consulting services?

  6. Constantin says:

    Great article, Rich! Thank you!

    I wonder if a RedHAT subscription is required when using the JBoss Service Wrapper (community edition) on a windows machine.

    For me, it is clear that is not supported by RedHAT , but there is no identifier for if you look into the installation folder.

    All you can try is check the file properties of JBoss.exe which are going to say and most auditors, internal or external, are going to say “Hey … JBoss instance … needs to be added to the subscription list” 🙂

  7. Rebecca Horton says:

    Hi Constantin! If you’re using a community version of the wrapper (not provided as part of Jboss Fuse), then no, it’s not supported by Red Hat. The next part of your question would be how to get that support, which would be a) buy a JBoss Fuse/AMQ subscription, and then b) install the supported Red Hat version of the wrapper (remove the community version).

    Hope that helps!

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