Oracle buys Ksplice
Hot Linux patch action
With 7,000 companies paying for support contracts for Oracle's Enterprise Linux clone, the software giant is, whether anyone likes it or not, a player in the Linux racket. And Oracle just made its competitive position in the Linux space a lot more interesting with the acquisition of a startup called Ksplice.
Ksplice is short for kernel splicing, and it was created by Jeff Arnold, Tim Abbott, Waseem Daher, and Anders Kaseorg, who were students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It allows for hot patching of security updates for the Linux kernel without having to reboot. The Ksplice tool won a $100,000 entrepreneurial prize from MIT in 2009.
The company was incorporated in 2010, and Ksplice tried to make money selling bootless security patching for Red Hat Enterprise Linux and its CentOS clones and its Fedora development release precursors, as well as for Debian and Canonical's derived Ubuntu Linux. CloudLinux and Scientific Linux were also supported, as was the variants of Ubuntu for Amazon's EC2 cloud. You can read a paper written by Arnold, who was CEO at Ksplice, that explains how the startup works here (PDF).
The terms of the acquisition of Ksplice were not disclosed. Clearly, the business of selling hot patching services for Linux distros was a bit more challenging than the four MIT students bargained for.
Wim Coekaerts, senior vice president of Oracle Linux and Virtualization, put out a statement saying that Oracle intended to weave Ksplice Uptrack into its Oracle Linux Premier Support service and that it would specifically use it with its own Unbreakable Linux kernel. That kernel is a fork of Red Hat's RHEL kernel, and Coekaerts added that Oracle does not intend to support RHEL or SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, the two other major commercial releases of Linux; he didn't say anything about Ubuntu.
While Ksplice hot patching will be available with Oracle's Premier Support service for its own Linux kernel, if you interpret the convoluted statement from Oracle, it looks like those with Oracle Linux Basic Support or Network Support won't get the Ksplice feature as part of their service contract
Ksplice Uptrack is just another bullet in the marketing gun that Oracle has been shooting at Red Hat for three years. Oracle Linux Premier Support costs $2,299 per year on a four-socket x64 server, while a RHEL Premium support contract costs $6,498 for a one-year term.
Ksplice Uptrack had 700 customers and had done over 2 million updates on over 100,000 servers in its relatively short life.
The Ksplice code was created and distributed under the GPL v2 and other open source licenses, so it will be interesting to see if any of the commercial Linux distros fork Ksplice and add it to their own Linux support services. The repositories that Ksplice pointed to prior to the Oracle acquisition point to nullspace at the moment, but there is a mirror of the code (tar-gz) that is still active for the 0.9.9 release of the Ksplice tool. ®
> What's the point in buying a company for a technology which anyone
> else can fork and use themselves for free?
What does the clever man do? Buy the recipe how to make good beer? Or employe the talent behind that beer recipe?
Source code is.. well, source code. The savy that went into making that source code is worth a lot more than the source code itself.
This says it all
Coekaerts added that Oracle does not intend to support RHEL or SUSE Linux Enterprise Server
If any still needed to 'get it' that Oracle is totally against FOSS then this must the final nail in that coffin.
Their current modus-operandi in the Linux space is IMHO to take as much 'stuff' as they can get and make it proprietary thus increasing their USP in the Corporate Linux Space.
We use Oracle RDBMS where I work and we are increasingly moving away from Solaris to RHEL. We also use JBOSS pretty heavily. Oracle sent in a sales team recently to persuade us to use the entire Oracle stack. Even with our so called Global Corporate discount their prices made us weep. They were more than 100% higher than IBM was quoting for their WAS stack. In the OS space it was just the same. The sales team were pretty miffed that the used CentOS everywhere except for UAT & Live systems.
At one point the head of the delegation said
'We won't support any of our products on any version of Linux except our own with 18 months so we had better sign up now as it would cost a whole lot more if we delayed."
Once our collective jaws had stopped hitting the floor, the Oracle team were politely shown the door. A phone call from our IT Director to their local head honcho got what added up to a 'No Comment'.
Needless to say we are evaluating our use of Oracle products. This may have been the final nail in their coffin. We use Oracle RDBMS on HP Superdomes.
I am pretty safe to state that Oracle's days are numbered. As soon as we can move SAP from Oracle to something else I am sure we will.We are just starting a major SAP upgrade so the time is right.
Bye Bye Oracle. I wasn't nice knowing you.
Now where that IBM's Salesmans phone number?
Re: Single point of failure?
Avoiding service outages isn't the telco's biggest priority.
Avoiding billing outages is....