Oracle Linux Review

Fully compatible with RHEL and provides free binaries and errata.

How has it helped my organization?

  • We use Oracle Linux templates for Oracle VM Server to provision our clone environments quickly.
  • We installed Oracle RDBMS almost without any effort in the OS layer,(thanks to preinstalled rpms, yums, and an easy Oracle Linux installation). It is always good to use Oracle Yum, for easing the installation of additional OS packages when needed.
  • We are supporting lots of critical customer environments that are mostly Oracle EBS or Oracle RDBMS running on Oracle Linux and we did not get any unexpected reboots or OS problems.
  • Oracle Linux is interoperable almost with every Oracle product, and this interoperability comes built-in by default.
  • Oracle Linux is well known in the community and that means quick information access when needed, for example, when data is lacking on administration or a requirement to diagnose a component.

What is most valuable?

  • The preinstall packages for Oracle RDBMS.
  • Single vendor support, as my customers mostly have Oracle Applications, Oracle cluster stack and Oracle RDBMS running on top of it.
  • It is fully compatible with RHEL. (Considering Red Hat is a widespread distribution, it is a valuable thing, as we can run a wide range of applications that are developed for RHEL). So, any application that runs on Red Hat Enterprise Linux will run the same on the corresponding Oracle Linux version.
  • Ability to have Oracle Support. (It is a sophisticated support environment.)
  • Having Oracle Community for additional support.
  • Free binaries and errata.
  • Tested and verified by Oracle.
  • Ability to check the Oracle Validated Configurations, which offers documented tips for configuring Linux systems to run Oracle database.
  • It is a Linux OS but it comes with management and HA tools that are integrated and included for free. Oracle prefers to use Oracle Linux in its Engineered Systems. This also makes Oracle Linux more valuable for me. So, at the end of the day, if you know Oracle Linux, then you automatically get familiar with the Oracle's various Engineered Systems.
  • Oracle Linux comes with 2 kernels: 1) UEK, 2) Base kernel. We mostly use UEK because it is Red Hat compatible, modern, current, tested and reliable. But in case of a problem, we can always boot with the base kernel. Offering the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK) as part of Oracle Linux alongside what we call the Red Hat-compatible kernel gives us the ability to provide current, modern, tested code to customers without reducing reliable and availability.
  • Oracle Database Smart Flash Cache is a key feature for those who use Oracle Databases. It allows us to extend the Oracle Buffer cache using flash-based storage.
  • “cgroups” are also a key feature which let us create resource groupings based on CPU, memory or disk parameters.
  • Ability to use Oracle YUM server, which gives us a free and convenient way to install the latest Oracle Linux packages.
  • New Oracle product patches are firstly available in Oracle Linux... Also, Oracle Linux is quite frequently updated (even the DST patches are directly released).
  • Ksplice lets us update the Linux operating system (OS) kernel, while it is running, without a reboot or any interruption.

What needs improvement?

  • Oracle should increase the interaction between Oracle Linux and Oracle RDBMS. (Oracle RDBMS can be packaged into Oracle Linux; a tight integration will bring advantages.)
  • File recovery should be added to Oracle Linux. (When you delete a file, you should recover it easily.)
  • The RDBMS know-how that Oracle has, should be used to also develop Oracle Linux. (Oracle RDBMS has lots of features; why not mimic some of them in the OS tier?)
  • Oracle Linux documentation should be enhanced.
  • Oracle Linux clustering should be enhanced and made widespread. (Oracle should certify it in its products.)
  • We need a file system other than ASM or ACFS. We need a file system which can be used for replication; maybe integrated Oracle databases.
  • We need an Oracle Database-aware GUI but with a consolidated administration console added to the distribution.
  • A GUI-based performance analysis tool should be added to the distribution.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used it for 5 years. I have used Oracle Linux for hosting several critical Oracle Databases and Oracle Application Servers. 90% of my customers are using Oracle Linux for hosting their Oracle E-Business Suite environments. Also, in the past 5 years, I have migrated lots of Oracle Databases and EBS environments from other OS vendors to Oracle Linux. I have also done several Exadata and ODA administration, which have Oracle Linux in their OS tier.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We did not encounter any stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We use Oracle Real Application Clusters for RDBMS-level scalability. We also use engineered systems, which are by default scaled out. All these environments are based on Oracle Linux and we didn't have any issues on the OS layer.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is 8/10.

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

We were using Red Hat Linux before. We started to use Oracle Linux, because it is free and supported by Oracle (owner of almost all the products that we are using or administrating). It has stabilized as time goes by and compatible with RHEL.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup was straightforward.

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

There is no license required for Oracle Linux; however, we recommend having an Unbreakable Linux Network (ULN) license for getting at least basic level support.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We are using Oracle products including Oracle RDBMS, Oracle FMW applications and Oracle EBS, so this is why the strongest option is always Oracle Linux.
Unless there is a hardware-OS relationship (i.e., IBM AIX and IBM Power Systems), we always use and we always recommend that people use Oracle Linux as the operating system.

What other advice do I have?

  • Check out the validated configurations.
  • Read the guide to get the considerations (such as basic security considerations).
  • Check the certification matrix for ensuring your applications and hardware are compatible with Oracle Linux.
  • Get at least basic ULN support.
**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Our company is a Gold Partner of Oracle.
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