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Oracle Linux Overview and Strategy
 

Oracle Linux Overview and Strategy

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Overview of the Oracle Linux strategy and offerings

Overview of the Oracle Linux strategy and offerings

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  • When it became clear in the late 90s that the x86 platform was going to be here to stay, Oracle began investing in Linux. At the time, there were only two choices: Linux and another from Redmond, Washington. So Oracle began investing in Linux. And by helping Red Hat develop Red Hat AS 2.1 to solid enough for the Oracle database, we were the first to offer a commercially supported relational database on Linux. Linux continued to grow and Novell and Red Hat became the two main players in the Enterprise Linux market. Early the year 2000 we noticed that customers who were pushing up to the limits of Linux ’ capabilities at the time were not able to get the kernel fixes they needed from Red Hat or Novell. So we entered into an arrangement with both Red Hat and Novell in which Oracle provided time critical Linux kernel fixes directly to the customer. These fixes would eventually end up in RHEL and SLES. We did this for four years. But it didn ’t take four years for us to realize that there were fundamental problems with Red Hat providing and supporting the OS for Oracle customers. It wasn’t just a matter of occasionally helping a joint customer by giving them a quick critical fix. It became clear that Red Hat didn’t test Oracle on Linux before shipping the OS and that their support analysts weren’t familiar with the Oracle database, causing some embarrassing situations with very important customers. Unfortunately, we found confusing reluctance from Red Hat to incorporate critical fixes we produced based on testing RHEL betas. It came to a head in 2006 when we found a bug in a beta release of RHEL4 Update 4 that affected every single RAC customer. This was months before the 4.4 production release. The fix was a tiny one line change that to the IO scheduler. Red Hat refused to take it and decided to push it to the next minor release. So at OpenWorld in 2006 we announced a support offering called Unbreakable Linux and a Red Hat compatible distribution called Oracle Linux. The support program is for anyone who runs RHEL and switching to our support is trivial and doesn ’t require a reinstallation of the OS. For those without RHEL already in place, we offer Oracle Linux. Oracle Linux is RHEL with Oracle logos, tested with Oracle software and bugs fixed. Unlike RHEL, the binaries for Oracle Linux are free and free to redistribute Oracle Linux is the platform that we build and test Oracle software on and certification on RHEL happens on paper only. In other words, we don ’t test RHEL at Oracle. This is because we are completely confident about the compatibility between OL and RHEL and in fact, since we launched, no compat bug has ever been reported to Oracle. Oracle Linux and Unbreakable Linux support has been very well received.
  • Customers range from small to big and cover all industries. We believe this is because by obtaining support for the Linux operating system from Oracle You consolidate support for the Linux stack with one vendor. There is no more finger pointing between your database vendor and your OS vendor Because you get your OS and the Database, Middle Tier or ERP applications from the same vendor, you get complete stacks that have been tested together Our support is also very affordable compared to other offerings, so there are significant cost savings to be had. As you can see our value proposition has resonated with a wide variety of customers across all industries. The majority of these customers run Linux in an Oracle stack. Many of them had support from Red Hat and switched to Oracle, some were new to Linux and started new projects with Oracle Linux. All of these customers are supported by a single global support organization that provides seamless transition of support cases from, say, the Oracle Database or RAC team to the Linux OS support team.
  • Oracle has been and continues to be very committed to Linux: 1. Commitment to use and improve LINUX – Oracle Runs its Business on Linux 2. Commitment to make all of our products available on LINUX – All Products Available on Linux; 9000 developers 3. Commitment & contributions to fully support LINUX for our customers – Global Linux Support in 100+ Countries 4. To make significant technology contributions to the LINUX community - Dedicated Linux Kernel Team Why - …….Good for the LINUX community and good for Oracle Back in the late 90s Oracle realized that x86 hardware was going to be a big deal and we were keen to help this trend. At the time, there were really two choices for x86 operating systems and one of them came from Redmond, Washington. So we decided on Linux. And we began investing in it. We hired developers, we put money into Red Hat and VA Linux We developed key Linux functionality such Asynchronous I/O to ensure Oracle databases could run properly on Linux We were the first company to release a commercially available relational database on Linux Fast forward 12 years or so and we ’re at a point where we have a dedicated Linux kernel engineering team A global support org whose only job it is to support the Linux operating system More importantly, the very core of Oracle ’s IT infrastructure, including our mission critical systems and our entire development organization runs on Linux Oracle Global IT runs Oracle Enterprise Linux with more than 42,000 servers and supporting 4+ million external users and 84,000 internal users In fact, I don ’t think there are many companies with an enterprise Linux deployment larger than Oracle’s. We wouldn ’t still be investing in Linux if it didn’t also produce business results
  • If you compare the way traditional UNIX is developed, tested and supported against how Linux is developed by today ’s Linux vendors, you see the following picture emerge: A traditional UNIX vendor, for example, Sun (now Oracle) or HP develops and tests server hardware and the OS together Whereas a Linux vendor such as RHAT only develops the OS Let ’s look at Oracle expertise. Before IBM comes out with a new release of AIX, they first test it with the Oracle database. They have developers and QA engineers on staff that have deep knowledge of Oracle products. Contrast that with a Linux-only vendor such as Red Hat, and you ’ll find that there is no real Oracle expertise and nobody to consider what happens when you run the Oracle database on the latest release they’re pushing out So a traditional UNIX vendor will test an entire stack of hardware, OS and Oracle database whereas a Linux-only vendor will do limited operating system testing only The last distinction is an important one. When a traditional UNIX customer runs into a bug, the UNIX vendor will provide them with a fix in the version of the OS that they are running. A Linux vendor, in most cases, will encourage the customer to upgrade to a newer release. That new release will have the fix the customer needs, but it will also have dozens if not hundreds of other changes that will have to be tested before deploying to production. With Unbreakable Linux support, our goal is to bring Linux support up to the level of quality that users have come to expect from traditional UNIX support. This means that our developers and support staff have knowledge of both Linux and Oracle, that we test Linux running with Oracle on top of it. But also, that, under our premier support offering, we provide backports of fixes to the version of Linux you are running. We will not make unreasonable requests for you to upgrade. So, two big distinctions between traditional UNIX support and Linux support are 1) The way the OS is tested; and 2) The way bugs are fixed in a customer ’s environment. Let ’s take a close look at how Oracle approaches testing
  • If you look at RHEL 5, which is supported until at least 2014 it comes with a kernel that is effectively 4 years old. Four years represents a lot of innovation and development in Linux and we were looking for a way to bring modern features and performance to customers. With UEK we can do that without asking customers to upgrade to a new OS. UEK is now part of Oracle Linux 5. For customer who are ready to move to Oracle Linux 6, that has UEK as well. In both cases, customers have a choice: boot a kernel optimized for running Oracle software or a Red Hat compatible kernel Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel is now the kernel we use for all our development and testing of Oracle software and therefore, it ’s the kernel we recommend to all of our customers. So we were frustrated with the speed at which we could bring Linux improvements to our customers, but there was also a very practical reason we released our kernel when we did. We were about to release a new Exadata system, which is essentially a complete package of servers, storage, networking, and software that is massively scalable and this new Exadata system, the X2-8 was built around 8 socket servers. When we tested those servers with the old Red Hat compatible kernel, we found that the OS with the 2.6.18 kernel was not able to drive the system given the high performance networking and storage infrastructure is was attached to.
  • To produce UEK, we began with a stable release of the 2.6.32 kernel, representing a major leap forward from the RHEL5 2.6.18 kernel. Then our kernel team made enhancements focused on performance and stability. A lot of work went into making sure that heavy network and IO loads can be spread across many CPUs and also to optimize RDS and Infiniband performance. UEK represents the best Linux performance Oracle can deliver today. By moving to 2.6.32 as base for the kernel we also gain many features in the areas of hardware fault management, data integrity and diagnostics Customers get all this without affecting existing applications. The key message for customers is that UEK is the kernel we use to build and test Oracle software to the tune of 80,000 hours per day in the Database and FMW QA farm.
  • Improves heavy network reads
  • As I mentioned, has very large Linux deployments in its data centers. Until about 4 years ago, we paid Red Hat for support subscriptions for on all of those systems. Unfortunately, the Red Hat Enterprise Linux as provided by Red Hat wasn ’t stable enough to run the Oracle database. So we ended up running kernels built by our own kernel team. In effect, we were doing our own Linux support while paying someone else the support fees. Now, we weren ’t the only ones running into issues with Red Hat support for Oracle database deployments. Our customers were asking us for fixes to Linux that Red Hat hadn’t yet produced. So in 2002, we decided to ask Red Hat’s permission to provide our customers directly with critical Linux kernel fixes. Red Hat was more than happy to have our help making Oracle environments run smoothly. We called that initiative “Unbreakable Linux” After about 4 years, we realized that Red Hat simply wasn ’t doing enough testing of the Oracle database before it released RHEL or RHEL patches. And so, we were never going to be able to fully rely on Red Hat to provide a stable OS for Oracle environments. Don’t get me wrong, we think RHEL is a great OS. It’s just that we weren’t seeing Red Hat go the last mile and do full system testing of Oracle DB running on RHEL. This is something that’s standard practice for IBM before they release AIX or by HP before they release HP-UX. SOMEONE has to do that testing before customers deploy the OS into production. And SOMEONE has to provide the patches needed to fix critical bugs. So in October of 2006 we formally launched a support program called UL. In this support program, customers running either RHEL or OEL can get support from Oracle for the OS. Unbreakable Linux delivers support via the same systems you are used to if you ’re an Oracle customer and also delivers errata and updated RPMs via what we call the Unbreakable Linux Network. I should point out that we ’ll support the OS whether you are running Oracle software on top of it or not. But think about the convenience of having a single number to call when something goes wrong in your Oracle on Linux stack. No more finger pointing or long waits for hand offs between Oracle and an OS vendor. I won ’t discuss pricing here, but our support is significantly more affordable than Red Hat’s So with UL, you have an Enterprise-class Linux support offering at a very attractive price. Switching is very easy, you simply point your Red Hat servers at our update server and that ’s it. So, what about Oracle Enterprise Linux?
  • We have worked with Oracle customers on Linux for many years working through issues so we have a good idea of the kinds of configurations and cases that matter to them.
  • Speed successful deployment of Linux Reduce expensive testing Achieve faster time to market Lower infrastructure costs Improve performance, scalability, reliability Mitigate risk So, that ’s how we approach Linux testing at Oracle. Let’s take a look at how we approach fixing customer bugs
  • Traditional backporting means a bug fix produced for the latest version of a package may be retroactively created and introduced as part of an earlier release or update level (e.g. a bug fix released in RHEL5/OEL5 is also released as part of RHEL4/OEL4)
  • WHAT ABOUT INDEMNIFICATION? Oracle is committed to the success of the Linux operating system and will stand behind our support offering by providing indemnification for intellectual property claims raised against our customers. This indemnification is offered for all Oracle supported Linux users, and is included with Network, Basic, and Premier Linux support. The indemnification is not in any way limited to the amount of money a customer has paid Oracle. With Oracle ’s offer of comprehensive and thorough indemnification against infringement, users can now deploy Linux without hesitation. Oracle’s indemnification offer makes Linux an even more attractive choice for enterprise deployments.