Support for Red Hat CoreOS (RHCOS) on VMware vSphere.
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Support for Red Hat CoreOS (RHCOS) on VMware vSphere.


Article ID: 312150


Updated On:


VMware Cloud Foundation VMware vSphere ESXi


This article clarifies VMware support for Red Hat CoreOS (also known as RHCOS) as a guest operating system. Some users may be confused about whether Red Hat CoreOS (RHCOS) is supported on vSphere 8 because the VMware vSphere 8.0 Release Notes state support for CoreOS has been terminated.


VMware vSphere ESXi 8.0.x
VMware vSphere ESXi 7.x
VMware vSphere ESXi 6.0


The terminated support statement from the VMware vSphere 8.0 Release Notes is specific to the original CoreOS that was later rebranded to CoreOS Container Linux. Red Hat acquired CoreOS in early 2018 and ended support for CoreOS Container Linux on September 1, 2020. Read more details here: What was CoreOS and CoreOS container Linux?  

Red Hat CoreOS (also known as RHCOS) is Red Hat's next generation operating system designed specifically for hosting container workloads. RHCOS is the successor to both Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host and CoreOS Container Linux. RHCOS releases consist primarily of Red Hat Enterprise Linux components, including the kernel and drivers. However, RHCOS provides simplified management, using controlled immutability. See Red Hat documentation for more details.  

Red Hat provides RHCOS as a component of the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform (OCP) product and Red Hat support of RHCOS is limited to this scenario. The OCP control plane requires use of RHCOS as the operating system running either on physical hardware or virtual machines. A user has the option to create compute machines, also known as worker machines, using either RHCOS or RHEL operating systems.

Red Hat and VMware support OCP on vSphere contingent on meeting compatibility requirements. Customers must meet Red Hat's published matrix of tested integrations where specific versions of OCP have been validated with specific versions of vSphere. See the following article: In addition, customers should read and follow requirements for the specific version of OCP. For example, OCP 4.13 requirements are here: VMware endorses RHCOS as a guest operating in vSphere virtual machines as a component of OCP in both the control plane and worker machines. Red Hat and VMware do NOT support the use of RHCOS in a virtual machine for any other purpose. 

Known Limitations

The following are known limitation of RHCOS in a vSphere environment:
  • Guest customization from vCenter is not supported using either cloud-init or legacy perl scripts.
  • Guest customization after failover is not supporting using Site Recovery Manager.
  • RHCOS includes open-vm-tools package by default. However, due to immutability of operating system, it is not possible to independently, upgrade or uninstall this package.
  • RHCOS does not support PVRDMA and NVDIMM