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AlmaLinux Announces ‘ELevate’ For CentOS 7 to AlmaLinux 8 Migrations

It’s now easier to migrate from CentOS 7 to AlmaLinux 8, Oracle Linux 8, or Rocky Linux 8, thanks to a new project from AlmaLinux.

AlmaLinux logo.

On Tuesday at the All Things Open conference in Raleigh, AlmaLinux’s community manager, Jack Aboutboul announced the ELevate project, which includes software and methods for migrating CentOS 7 deployments to AlmaLinux 8 without needing to do a lot of heavy lifting and shifting.

Actually, according to Aboutboul, ELevate capabilities aren’t confined to CentOS to AlmaLinux moves, but can be used help with all migrations between different Red Hat Enterprise Linux-based distributions, such as CentOS 7 to AlmaLinux 8, Oracle Linux 8, or Rocky Linux 8.

In the short term, this will be especially helpful for users of CentOS 7 who will be left without a clear upgrade path after the end of the year when Red Hat withdraws support for CentOS 8. This is especially important because CentOS 7, which will will lose support in 2024, is assumed to have a much larger user base than CentOS 8, which had only been available for a little over a year when Red Hat announced it was being sunsetted.

“Until today, it simply wasn’t possible to dream of migrations like these and that need has become very acute for CentOS users,” Aboutboul said in a statement that was released just ahead of the presentation at ATO. “This is a cause the whole community can get behind. We’re working with upstream on the tooling while creating a PES that is free and open to all.”

ELevate consists of two key components, the PES, or Package Evolution Service (a data library and toolset), and enhancements to the open source Leapp project. The Package Evolution Service, he said, includes a web interface for working with a data library containing metadata describing the configuration changes required for the migration.

He added that developers and software vendors can create and submit PES data for their own applications or packages, to ensure that migrations of their software can be performed smoothly.

ELevate’s Potential

The migration is not nearly as easy as moving from CentOS 8 to AlmaLinux 8 or Rocky Linux 8, which typically requires only the running of a script. Using ELevate is an involved, multi-step process.

“I would definitely suggest backing up your system first,” Aboutboul said, “as well as doing a trial run on a virtual machine.”

In a prerecorded demonstration at All Things Open, the migration process only took about five minutes, although it was unclear how much time was spent preparing for the migration. Aboutboul told FOSS Force that AlmaLinux is asking for feedback from anyone using ELevate, and that they are especially interested in hearing about any troubles or issues experienced during the process.

Down the road the project will undoubtedly be even more valuable to the community. Aboutboul indicated that he thinks it has the potential to be something of a Linux Rosetta Stone that will be able to help with migrations between any two enterprise-grade Linux distributions.

Community-Focused Project

AlmaLinux is serious about keeping the process openly available to the community. The software is covered under the open source Apache license, and the organization has already taken steps to form a community around the project.

The enhancements to Leapp are accessible on GitHub in the leapp-repository, where the AlmaLinux community has already added the necessary code to support RHEL derivatives, and the additional functionality needed to perform the migration. Work has already begun to have these changes merged upstream.

“I want to credit Oracle, which was very gracious in contributing a nice chunk of the metadata set for the PES,” Aboutboul said in a blog. “I’m also very hopeful that the Rocky community and developers will embrace and support this open source initiative.”

He also told us that Red Hat had helped with the project.

For more information, users can consult the ELevate section of AlmaLinux’s Wiki, or join a discussion group set up for the project.

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