AlmaLinux and HPC

University College London

At University College London (UCL), the Advanced Research Computing (ARC) Centre has been using AlmaLinux for about six months as their development platform to deploy tools onto their HPC and private cloud RHEL Systems.

License management played an important role in UCL’s decision to use AlmaLinux. Because AlmaLinux is very close to RHEL, it offers a good platform for testing deployments minus “the complicated and often fragile license management tools used by Red Hat.” Owain Kenway, Head of Research Computing at UCL ARC, notes:

“We actually have sufficient licenses to cover the development systems running RHEL should we want to do that. However the pains of managing Satellite and Subscription Manager on what are often very temporary cloud VMs (cattle not pets!) mean that it is much more painless to use AlmaLinux for these activities."

Kenway also uses AlmaLinux in teaching because of licensing issues. He finds that students can easily get “legitimate access” to AlmaLinux where they can’t to RHEL.

AlmaLinux’s governance structure also appealed to UCL. Being a university, “the ethos of a ‘community run’ project” aligned well with UCL. Kenway also appreciates the way AlmaLinux has handled the challenges presented by changes in access to RHEL’s source code in 2023. Regarding UCL’s experience with AlmaLinux, Kenway says “we are extremely happy with it.”


AlmaLinux is filling the void left by CentOS for academic and research facilities in the HPC ecosystem. Not only is AlmaLinux stable and secure, but its move to ABI compatibility offers the added perk of potentially fixing bugs ahead of RHEL and other RHEL alternatives.  Both HPC cluster manufacturers and research institutions have turned to AlmaLinux as a RHEL alternative for their HPC environments.

This article was made possible by support from AlmaLinux OS Foundation through Linux New Media’s Topic Subsidy Program (