Oracle Linux Open Source
Oracle Corporation has announced
that they are migrating all of their internal systems to Linux, and
they appear to be encouraging other Oracle shops to move to Linux.
Personally, I believe that this probably has more to do with Oracle
Corporations heated market battle with Microsoft than it does with
anything inherently inferior about MS-Windows.
Recently, Oracle announced a VMware
tool that creates a "virtual machine", allowing Oracle Windows users
to try-out Linux on their Oracle Windows servers:
"These toolkits provide a VMware Linux virtual machine to
evaluate Oracle on Linux (Red Hat Enterprise or SuSE) on existing
Microsoft Windows systems."
The relatively inexpensive cost of
64-bit Intel-based Oracle servers has increased competition between
Linux and Windows. Both Linux and Windows claim superiority based on
Get up and running with a
pre-installed and fully configured Oracle on Linux solution in
less than an hour using VMware Workstation
Test an Oracle Database and Linux
solution without procuring additional hardware by leveraging
VMware Workstation running on your existing Microsoft Windows
See how easy it is to standardize
on Oracle on Linux
The Rise of Linux
For many years, Linux languished in the backwater of operating
systems. Initially developed by Linus Torvalds in 1991, Linux
started as a simple, open-source operating system for small
Embraced as a reliable, stable, and "free" alternative to
proprietary operating systems, Linux has evolved significantly over
the past several years and is now being adopted for large-scale
industrial-strength Oracle databases.
Both Oracle and IBM (the DB2 database) offer database management
systems on Linux, and both companies have seen a dramatic rise in
sales (Figure 1):
Figure 1 - The acceleration of Linux-based Databases
According to Yahoo News, the market for databases on the Linux open
source operating system more than doubled to $299 million from $116
million a year earlier. Most of that growth was with Oracle, which
had 69 percent of the market and growth of 361 percent.
When properly configured, the Linux kernel is indeed highly stable,
but savvy IT managers know that this stability is not automatic. For
any given release level of Linux, different versions of the kernel
exist, each designed to accommodate specific hardware.
The problems with using a generic Linux kernel with different
routers, hubs, disk I/O subsystems, and external devices has led to
a whole new Linux support industry. Both RedHat and SuSE have
evolved from small companies into giant OS corporations, primarily
because of the huge challenge of providing custom Linux solutions
for an almost infinite number of hardware configurations.
Unless you have a Linux internals guru on staff, Linux requires
support from a company like RedHat who provide support, patches, and
custom Linux distributions to match your computer configuration. In
return for this support, many companies may pay as much as they
would for a proprietary UNIX solution. Some complain that these
costs are beginning to counteract any savings from Linux.
The promise of open source
One of the promises of Linux is that it is an open source, and
possibly cheaper solution. However, many of the promises of open
source are difficult to fulfill. Unless you have a software engineer
on-staff who understands the complex hardware protocols the benefits
of an open source operating systems can be elusive.
Another issue with Linux is the lack of single-source support. For
example, there was an Oracle Linux client with a sporadic Linux
problem and the solution required the extended services of an
expensive Linux internals consultant. Worst of all, this company was
unable to find any company vendor that would provide the immediate
emergency support that this client needed for their mission-critical
On a positive note, once Linux is properly configured for its
hardware environment, it provides unparalleled performance and
scalability. Let's take a close look at the specific issues
surrounding Oracle on a Linux server.
Oracle on Linux
As we have already noted, Oracle has always optimized its database
software to take advantage of the special features of each operating
system and Linux is no exception.
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has recently has touted the Linux platform
as a more secure alternative to Windows and predicted last year that
the open-source operating system would trounce Microsoft in the data
As we have already noted, Oracle Corporation has openly embraced
Linux as their internal operating system and has announced that by
the end of 2004 Linux will be the core platform for Oracle's
internal systems. According to Oracle, this migration was driven out
of a desire to standardize on an operating system and because they
view Linux as a less expensive and faster option.
We also see major Oracle customer such as Amazon adopting Linux for
their servers and a growing interest in the market for the promise
of a fast and reliable operating environment.
Oracle has also expanded their Oracle Certified Professional (OCP)
certification program to include a Oracle/Linux Accreditation in
Oracle9i. Oracle9i DBA's who have already earned their OCP
certification may take this special accreditation exam and receive
recognition for their skills in managing the Oracle9i Database on
the Linux platform.
The Gartner group has also noted the meteoric rise of Linux usage
for Oracle databases:
Oracle Database 10g and Novell's
SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 is specially optimized for enterprise
databases. Oracle's Linux kernel team adds:
Gartner states that Oracle's
growth on Linux in 2003 was 361 percent
Oracle holds dominant Linux
market share with 69 percent.
With our exponential growth in
the enterprise software market on Linux, Oracle remains
well-positioned to command an increasing share of revenues on this
So, what's so special about Linux
anyway? As an "open source" operating system, Linux has several
features that we cannot find in any proprietary operating systems.
Let's take a look at the specific internal features that are popular
for the Oracle database.
Improved I/O throughput.
Improved memory utilization.
I/O and SMP scalability.
manageability and clustering.