Oracle Linux Review

Expect it to work well with OVM and Oracle OpenStack. The knowledge base isn’t as good as Red Hat’s.


What is most valuable?

The operating system is tweaked to work well with Oracle DB and other Oracle applications. Some kernel parameters have already been adjusted to suit Oracle products.

Ksplice is a cool feature with Oracle Linux that allows you to patch your systems without reboot.

The DTrace tool is available for debugging issues. If you’re a Solaris professional, you might be used to it and it’s always handy.

The Oracle Cluster File System (OCFS2) works well with OVM and other cluster scenarios.

All these features come with the Oracle Linux UEK kernel, however a Red Hat supported kernel is also available. It always feels good to have a choice.

How has it helped my organization?

I think it’s fair to compare this product to Red Hat Linux and although both OSs almost have same features, Oracle Linux is cost effective.

You can expect it to work well with Oracle products like OVM and Oracle OpenStack. I have been using it on physical boxes, VMware vSphere and Oracle Virtualization for x86.

As someone who has also worked with service based companies, I would say the choice of using Oracle Linux will depend on the environment.

Oracle environment: If you plan to run mostly Oracle products in your environment, then Oracle Linux is a good choice since you don’t have to run behind multiple vendors for troubleshooting. It also gives you a chance to convince Oracle to throw in some discounts.

Cost: If cost is a big factor in your environment, you could save some money by going for Oracle Linux support.

Availability: Linux has seen increases in security patches and most of these kernel patches require reboot. The Ksplice feature comes in handy if your environment can’t afford any downtime.

Despite these cool features, the choice would depend on over all IT goals and is mostly driven by two factors: how your environment is setup and how you plan to support your IT infrastructure.

What needs improvement?

The product is not very different from the market leader Red Hat Linux Operating System.

However, it has some issues when run in a virtualized environment. These NTP and other bugs get worse with the kind of support Oracle provides for Oracle Linux. Oracle support drags out issues and they like to play ping-pong between various teams.

I faced few issues with time sync on Oracle Linux when running on OVM & I had a tough time resolving it with Oracle support.
They could not provide any proper solution & dragged out the issue for a very long time.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Oracle Linux for over three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The operating system is fairly stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not had any scalability issues.

How is customer service and technical support?

I rate them at 2.5/5. This is a big area of improvement for this product. Even the knowledge base isn’t as good as Red Hat’s.

Which solutions did we use previously?

I have used both OL5 and OL6. The choice depends on the application running on the OS.

How was the initial setup?

Setup is not different from other OSs in the market.

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

You can certainly save money on support.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I have worked with other Linux distributions like Ubuntu and CentOS. I have also worked with Oracle Solaris, HPUX, and AIX.

What other advice do I have?

Make sure you have good Linux support staff.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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