Oracle Linux Review

LXC containers lock down applications within the OS.

What is most valuable?

Starting with Oracle Linux 5, we’ve started to use ext4, which has provided us better disk performance. The unbreakable kernel has been very secure and has provided us a robust OS that has outperformed many of its counterparts. Starting with Oracle Linux 6, we’ve used LXC containers to lock down applications within the OS. We’ve been extremely happy with the scalability and performance of each version across a multitude of platforms.

How has it helped my organization?

The reliability of the product has increased our efficiency. With needing 99.98% uptime, the OS has been incredibly stable. In the 10 years I’ve been using the product, I’ve had to open zero product defects as it has functioned in every way we needed it to.

What needs improvement?

With many other operating systems, including this one, I would love to have the ability to upgrade the kernel in place. This currently requires a reboot of the OS. With today’s applications and customer needs, having the ability to perform in-place kernel upgrades with no reboots would be huge.

There are some capabilities with Oracle linux to do this, but it is not widely used. KSPLICE can be utilized but there are many features of it such as stack tracing after the fact you may not get what you need and a reboot would still be required. Starting with version 6 you can utilize KSPLICE. Most customers especially hours are hesitant to use such methods like KSPLICE. It does require a higher kernel version (4.x) and many many applications have not yet been supported on that kernel rev that myself and company support.

There is a product you can purchase from cloudlinux called kernelcare. It works well and has fewer nuances. Worth a look for POC at a minimum for any critical business applications. Much like KSPLICE, kernelcare will only work with Oracle linux 6+.

For how long have I used the solution?

I’ve been using these versions starting with Linux 5 from Oracle since 2007.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have not had any issues related to stability of the OS. Application-related issues have caused the downtime.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No problems at all with scalability. We’ve been able to extend clusters without issue.

How are customer service and technical support?

Since I’ve not had to use technical support, I am unable to rate it.

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

We used to use RedHat. Support costs drived us to switch. We’ve saved thousands of dollars.

How was the initial setup?

Setup is all straightforward; however, we utilize very complex installations. We use a variety of tools to speed up the acquirement of software, deployment of systems, patching, backup and recovery. We believe in segregation and following NIST/IRS/DOD standards in all of our builds. Straightforward is nice, but to protect our customers, we go the extra mile.

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

With everything from hardware to software, we recommend to analyze all options. Not every customer or application will fit the bill for the Oracle Linux OS products.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated a few other OS providers. Those include RedHat, CentOS, Debian and openSUSE.

What other advice do I have?

Read the documentation, follow best practices and if you do not have standards in place, follow up on NIST/IRS standards for OS configurations to protect yourself and your client.

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