As CentOS 7 reaches end of life, many enterprises are considering their options for an enterprise-grade, downstream Linux distribution on which to run their production applications. Rocky Linux has emerged as a strong alternative that, like CentOS, is 100% compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux. 

In April 2022, Google announced a customer support partnership with CIQ, the official support and services partner and sponsor of Rocky Linux, as the first step in providing a best-in-class enterprise-grade supported experience for Rocky Linux on Google Cloud. Today Google are excited to announce the general availability of Rocky Linux Optimized for Google Cloud. They developed this collection of Compute Engine virtual machine images in close collaboration with CIQ so that you get optimal performance when using Rocky Linux on Compute Engine to run your CentOS workloads.

These new images contain customized variants of the Rocky Linux kernel and modules that optimize networking performance on Compute Engine infrastructure, while retaining bug-for-bug compatibility with Community Rocky Linux and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The high bandwidth networking enabled by these customizations will be beneficial to virtually any workload, and are especially valuable for clustered workloads such as HPC (see this page for more details on configuring a VM with high bandwidth).

Going forward, Google will collaborate with CIQ to publish both the community and Optimized for Google Cloud editions of Rocky Linux for every major release, and both sets of images will receive the latest kernel and security updates provided by CIQ and the Rocky Linux community. And of course, they’ll offer support with CIQ for both these images, per their partnership. 

Rocky Linux Optimized for Google Cloud lets you take advantage of everything Compute Engine has to offer, including day-one support for the latest VM families, GPUs, and high-bandwidth networking. And for customers building for a multi-cloud deployment environment, the community Rocky images have you covered.

Starting today, Rocky Linux 8 Optimized for Google Cloud is available for all x86-based Compute Engine VM families (and soon for the new Arm-based Tau T2A), with version 9 soon to follow. Give it a try !