What is most valuable?
It provides us with templates and Oracle-validated configurations that allows quicker install and configuration of Oracle Database software.
The existence of Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel is special adjusted for the best performance of Oracle software. It updates the OS using Ksplice.
How has it helped my organization?
We have no downtime for OS upgrades, hence customer production isn't affected, and we have no security breaches and higher performance of Oracle stack software due to its usage of Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel.
What needs improvement?
Although Btrfs does a great job, I would like to see ZFS being part of future distributions.
Also, a distributed replicated block device (DRBD) feature would better provide a sort of mirroring over a network of block devices, becoming a superset of Oracle Database Data Guard for a range of applications with storage residing on related block devices.
From another perspective, the adjustments needed for implementing a powerful PPPoE server (PPP over Ethernet) in a similar way, what the guys from Mikrotik (www.mikrotik.com) did for X86 platforms (also starting from Linux kernel) could be interesting. Imagine how secure the connection to related OS using PPPoE would be, the simplicity of routing in the environment, and many more advantages.
For how long have I used the solution?
We've been using it for two years.
What was my experience with deployment of the solution?
For small and medium clients, there were no issues with deployment. For larger enterprises, Oracle VM is preferred.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
For small and medium clients, there were no issues with stability. For larger enterprises, Oracle VM is preferred.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
For small and medium clients there were no issues with scalability. For larger enterprises, Oracle VM is preferred.
How are customer service and technical support?
They get an A for the outstanding customer service and technical support.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We had to choose this solution in order to have the technology used on the same line. Since Oracle Databases is the market leader, as well as other successful software platforms on the stack, the OS from the same provider needed to be considered and analyzed in-depth from technical and cost perspectives also. To keep the answer short, the balance leaned towards Oracle Linux and Oracle Solaris.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup was straightforward. The fact that the images can be freely downloaded from OTN allowed us to set up a lab environment and perform initial simulations of the targeted environment. The large number of existing templates saved lots of time for “in-depth” documentation, adjustments, configurations, and so on. Since the testing provided more than sufficient positive signs, the solution was chosen.
What about the implementation team?
The operating system implementations were in-house. There is no need for a vendor team to perform the OS install once you have in-house system administrators with needed skills. Related skills can be quickly gathered by professionals familiar with various Linux flavors, and certification for Oracle Linux can be achieved by taking a rather simple exam in one of the many Pearson Vue centers. I've heard that for other Linux distributions the process isn’t as simple.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
Yes, RedHat Enterprise Linux 6.5, but improvements in Oracle Linux and better support price incline the balance to that one.
What other advice do I have?
My advice is to act on the pattern: Plan – Do – Check – Act. From the way the question is formulated, the first step is done. They should now download the product, install an in-lab environment along with the related applications, check how the framework responds to the specific needs, and make the Go / No-Go decision. My estimation is that for most cases the Go decision will be taken, but that can depends on specific other elements.
Another advice is to have one person providing infrastructure support with at least one Oracle Certification in this area, so easy issues become solved in agile style.