Oracle Linux Review

Compared to RHEL, it is much easier to install, configure, and run Oracle Database and Grid Infrastructure.

Valuable Features

I learned Linux on Red Hat, so Oracle Linux was an easy transition. When I first started using Oracle Linux, it wasn't that much different from Red Hat Enterprise Linux, but now, the differences are dramatic. It is much easier to install, configure, and run Oracle Database and Grid Infrastructure on Oracle Linux than Red Hat.

Improvements to My Organization

Many of the customers I work with are used to working with Oracle Database on Unix or Windows and are new to Linux. It is much easier to get a customer who is not familiar with Linux running on Oracle Linux than on most other Linux platforms because there are fewer prerequisites. For example, ASMLib is included with the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK is the default kernel in Oracle Linux) and the preinstall RPMs take care of almost all of the prerequisite OS requirements.

Room for Improvement

I had some issues going from versions 5 to 6 to 7 because of the change from SysVinit to Upstart to Systemd.

Also, you wouldn't fully replace another Linux product with Oracle Linux. Although it is a full Linux distribution, Oracle Linux is formulated (especially the kernel) for Oracle software and hardware products.

Use of Solution

I've been using it since 2010.

Deployment Issues

Deployment methods and software used for other Linux variants should have no problem provisioning Oracle Linux. In addition, Oracle Enterprise Manager has a number of features that make it much easier to deploy dozens or hundreds of Oracle Linux installations. I have found that the kernel enhancements make the OS perform better under heavy loads, especially when running Oracle Database and Enterprise Manager.

Stability Issues

We've had no issues with stability.

Scalability Issues

We've had no issues with scalability.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Oracle Linux is free and open source, just like Red Hat, so a support contract is not required. If there are issues with the product requiring support, the answers are almost always the same as those for similar issues in Red Hat or CentOS. If you do have a support contract and access to My Oracle Support, there is a ton of information available on Linux in general and Oracle Linux specifically. I have found My Oracle Support issues involving Oracle Linux are generally resolved quicker and with less back-and-forth than issues involving the database.

Previous Solutions

I continue to use Oracle Linux, Red Hat, SUSE, Ubuntu, Debian and a number of other distributions. They all have different purposes and complimentary strengths and weaknesses. When it comes to running most Oracle products on Linux, I almost always choose Oracle Linux because of its familiarity and ease-of-use.

Initial Setup

Setup is almost exactly the same as Red Hat, so those familiar with that distribution should have no trouble porting their knowledge to Oracle Linux. The most difficult transition I had was going from versions 5 to 6 to 7 because of the change from SysVinit to Upstart to Systemd.

Implementation Team

Implementation of all OS's has always been through our in-house team. Once we have a repeatable build, we usually turn it over to an automated deployment tool like Puppet, Ansible, or the native Anaconda kickstart.

Other Advice

This probably isn't something you would replace another product with completely. Although it is a full Linux distribution, it is formulated for Oracle software and hardware products. Try it first for the Oracle database and see if you like it. Make sure to test out support as well. Oracle isn't the only vendor that will support this product, but they do have direct influence when something needs to change or troubleshoot.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are an Oracle partner.
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