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Oracle Linux (UNIX) or Oracle Windows?

Oracle Tips by Burleson Consulting


Given the media hype surrounding the public-domain Linux operating system, many managers want to consider Linux as an option when they make the decision to move to a large 64-bit Intel-based server.


An unaltered supermarket photo!


Each Operating system has particular features which might be either an advantage or a disadvantage, depending on the configuration of your Oracle database and the skills of your staff:


  • Advantages of Oracle UNIX:


    • Significant performance improvement

    • Provides High Availability

    • Contains in-depth system utilities and open-source code

    • Highly respected by Oracle personnel


  • Advantages of Oracle Windows:


    • Very easy to deploy and support

    • Requires far less IT training

    • Simple interface to Microsoft tools such as ODBC and .NET.


In my personal opinion, here are some specific disadvantages to Linux and Windows:


  • Disadvantages of Oracle UNIX:


    • Required specialized skills (vi editor, shell scripting, etc.)

    • Required highly-technical Systems Administrators and DBA

    • Contains in-depth system utilities and open-source code

    • Security Holes (if mis-configured)

    • Susceptible to root kit attacks


  • Disadvantages of Oracle Windows:


    • Slower than Linux

    • Less glamorous for the SA and DBA

    • History of poor reliability (bad reputation)

    • Security Holes (if mis-configured)

    • Susceptible to Internet viruses

The main disadvantage is regarding the requirements for a technical staff that is proficient in shell scripting, the vi editor and the cryptic UNIX command syntax.

Unlike the easy-to-use Windows GUI, Linux and proprietary UNIX often require cryptic shell scripts to perform basic Oracle functions.  Given the vast differences in administration, begin with looking at porting from UNIX to Windows.


The core difference is that in UNIX the OS controls the operations, while in Windows the Oracle database controls the operations.


There is also the issue of the expense of licensing the proprietary UNIX software such as Solaris, AIX, and HP UNIX, which can be tens of thousands of dollars. This has led many companies to consider the public-domain Linux option. To understand the benefits and shortcomings of Linux, you must take a closer look at Linux technology.

With the increasing popularity of Intel-based database servers, Oracle shops are struggling to make the choice between Linux and Windows for their Oracle databases.  As we may know, Windows has suffered from a history of unreliability and Linux suffers because of it's nascent technology and lack of support.

Benchmark of Linux and Windows performance

Roby Sherman performed an exhaustive study of the speed of Oracle on Linux and MS-Windows using identical hardware.  Sherman currently works for Qwest Communications in the Data Technologies group of IT Architecture and Transversal Services, and is a recognized expert in designing, delivering, tuning, and troubleshooting n-tier systems and technology architecture components of various size and complexity based on Oracle RDBMS technology.

When you read the full text of the paper, it is clear that Linux has significant advantages over MS-Windows, not just in performance, but in flexibility of administration and management.

Sherman concludes:

"From perspective of performance, Redhat Linux 7.2 demonstrated an average performance advantage of 38.4% higher RDBMS throughput than a similarly configured Windows 2000 Server in a variety of operational scenarios. "

Sherman also notes:

"Another point of contention was Window's lack of consistency between many database administrative functions (automated startup, shutdown, service creation, scripting, etc.) compared to what DBAs are already used to in many mainstream UNIX environments (Solaris and HP-UX)."

In my opinion, this is one of the best benchmark studies to-date.  It is objective, through and comprehensive, and shops the relative areas of Oracle performance on both OS platforms.  Even better, this landmark article show the full spectrum of DBA responsibilities on each platform, along with a complete description of each.

Windows for the Oracle DBA

The landmark book Windows for the Oracle DBA is a comprehensive overview of everything an Oracle DBA needs to know to manage Oracle on Windows.  Order directly from Rampant and save 30%. 




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