Oracle Linux Review

The first most valuable feature of Oracle Linux is its kernel design to meet business needs, especially on other Oracle products like Engineered Systems and Cloud Services.

What is most valuable?

The first most valuable feature of Oracle Linux is its kernel design to meet business needs, especially on other Oracle products like Engineered Systems and Cloud Services. It supports demanding workloads such as those on Oracle Database; has features such as Btrfs, Dtrace, OCFS2, Smart Flash Cache, InfiniBand, OpenStack, Linux Container and Docker; and supports data integrity by providing hardware fault management.

Secondly, the Ksplice feature enables zero-downtime kernel updates for bugs and critical security updates. It also minimizes security risks by keeping the system up to date without downtime. It will provide critical kernel patches for both kernel and user space without needing to reboot.

Third, it supports the automatic storage management library for Oracle Database and Oracle Clusterware for Linux.

Lastly, with Spacewalk, you can manage and monitor systems in different locations.

How has it helped my organization?

The Oracle Linux OS plays a significant role in my organization. We've moved most of our systems and applications that were running on Windows, Solaris 10, and Red Hat and consolidated them on our database machine with Exadata, Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c, Oracle Secure Backup/NetBackup, Domain, NTP, and Oracle VM Manager. We've also deployed many of our business applications using Oracle Linus and the Oracle VM hypervisor.

What needs improvement?

I think there's a lot of room for improvement. As our business shifts to virtualization and the cloud, the Oracle Linux infrastructure has seen a lot of changes. And even as virtualization consolidates servers and hypervisors have matured and assumed a strategic position within our datacenter, many applications still don't run on hypervisors. Instead, they run on OS's that run on top of hypervisors. This means that in order for there to be a larger impact, there are some improvements that could be made, such as:

  • Optimization of Linux for the virtual environment.
  • Containers. We think that the Linux OS will be a great candidate to host container-packaged application workloads. It's still early in the development process, but we expect Oracle to significantly adopt this technology. Oracle has already started deploying some images using Docker with WebLogic and Storage Cloud.
  • New deployment models. With virtualization, there are now new ways to deploy software, such as with software appliances and the integrated stack of OS and application software. Oracle Linux should be tailored and optimized to run a single application and managed as a single entity.
  • Cloud adoption. With the shift towards cloud application deployments, changes in architecture and delivery model are necessary, which will impact other areas of the datacenter ecosystem.

I'd also like to see Oracle Linux for SPARC. Oracle announced last year the SuperCluster M7, SPARC T7, and SPARC M7 servers, all based on the 32-core, 256-thread M7 microprocessor. If this is supported on Oracle Linux, it will be the first end-to-end implementation of data security in hardware for the Linux foundation. Oracle currently doesn't offer support for Linux for SPARC.

For how long have I used the solution?

We started using Oracle Linux kernel at our data center in 2014. It was deployed on Oracle Exadata X4-2.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We didn’t encounter any issue during the deployment of Oracle Linux for many different platforms.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have had no issues with the stability. The OS is stable and reliable on a hardware layer stack, and Oracle has done a very good job of that. Oracle has done a good job of validating hardware Oracle Linux Hardware Certification List. We are very happy with the investment we have made.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There have been no issues scaling it.

How are customer service and technical support?

Oracle provides enterprise-level support for Oracle Linux:

  • Zero-downtime kernel updates with Ksplice.
  • Management and clustering software is included at no additional charge.
  • Includes premier backports, legal indemnification, and full-stack testing.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We used Red Hat, Solaris x86-64 bit, but we chose Oracle Linux for the reasons above.

How was the initial setup?

Oracle Linux is straightforward in its initial setup because it comes with a pre-installed package that for installation of other Oracle products or Oracle Database on Oracle Linux with UEK. The pre-installed package download includes a software package, repertories, and specific versions needed for application installation.

What about the implementation team?

In-house. For this environment, the greatest value gained from implementing Oracle Linux resulted from implementing the management pack components and clustering software that we would have to pay for otherwise. Another was very specific with regard to the value of Ksplice, with which we can update our environment with latest patches and updates with zero-downtime.

What was our ROI?

From our review of Oracle Linux software and support, we believe that tangible ROI benefits can be realized from consolidating the enterprise Linux environment to Oracle Linux.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Pricing/licensing is much lower than other commercial Linux distributions. For Oracle Linux support is available at Basic and Premier levels via a yearly subscription that includes support for the UEK and/or the Red Hat Compatible Kernel. Support levels can be assigned on a per-physical server basis. Customers can choose either Oracle’s Enterprise manager (included with Basic and Premier Support licenses) or Oracle’s release of Spacewalk for Oracle Linux. Pricing is calculated on a per-system basis and varies with the level of support from Basic to Premier. A free support option is also available.

What other advice do I have?

I have recommend Oracle Linux for the reason Oracle is the only vendor in the industry that offers a complete Linux-based solution stack—applications, middleware, database, management tools, operating system and hardware—along with a single point of support. Customers that deploy Oracle Linux benefit greatly from the latest Linux innovations as well as rigorous testing with real world workloads. IT departments can deploy applications more quickly using lightweight Linux Containers and Docker images, or combine these approaches to improve application isolation, resource control, and rapid provisioning.

Traditional virtualization using Oracle VM can be an optimal approach for Tier 1 applications or when application requirements dictate the need for multiple operating systems. To deliver applications as private cloud services, Oracle OpenStack technology may be an ideal approach in conjunction with Oracle VM. In any of these deployment scenarios, Oracle Linux can add value through its optimized performance and scalability and the ability to perform seamless, zero-downtime upgrades with Ksplice.

As the number of application environments expands across data centers, managing them on a day-to-day basis becomes a greater administrative challenge and expense. Customers that have Oracle Linux Premier Support contracts can use Ksplice to help keep their critical application environments—whether using containers, VMs, or OpenStack compute nodes—updated with the latest security errata and bug fixes, without interruption.

And Oracle’s comprehensive support—providing support for Docker and OpenStack as a part of Oracle Linux Premier Support—helps IT organizations innovate and evolve cost-effectively.

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

5, 6, & 7
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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