Feeds

Oracle previews RHEL-ish 2 Linux kernel

Lawrence Torvalds

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

OpenWorld As part of the OpenWorld extravaganza being hosted by Oracle in San Francisco this week, Edward Screven, chief corporate architect at the software giant and the guy who is responsible for the company's Linux and Xen hypervisor variants, gave a brief preview of the next iteration of Oracle's homegrown Linux kernel.

Oracle Linux is compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, or RHEL, which is the commercial grade version of that company's Linux operating system. At last year's OpenWorld, Oracle co-founder and CEO Larry Ellison announced that not only would Oracle be offering a clone of RHEL and offering support services for it, but that it would create its own kernel. This was necessary for Oracle to be able to fix bugs quickly and to provide features tuned to its specific systems, such as the Exadata database servers, the Exalogic application servers, and at this year's OpenWorld, the Exalytics in-memory BI appliances.

Oracle pulled even with Red Hat with Oracle Linux Release 6 Update 1, delivered in June of this year for 32-bit and 64-bit x86 servers. In that release, Oracle tweaked the Linux 2.6.32 kernel and also supplied Red Hat's variant of the kernel used in its own RHEL 6.1.

The application packages in the distribution are the same, with the red hats global replaced with a smirking image of Larry Ellison. (Well, not really.) In the RHELlison 6.1 clone, a bunch of technologies, such as the btrfs and XFS file systems, FS-Cache, and Linux containers, were put into preview, just like in the real RHEL 6.1

Oracle Linux Screven

Oracle only recommends Oracle Linux.

In his Linux pitch, Screven made it clear yesterday that Oracle had no truck with RHEL. "We don't have Red Hat Linux inside of Oracle," Screven said, adding that Oracle's Linux was used in development as well as in production inside the company. And he made it clear that Oracle never recommends real RHEL, or any other Linux, for supporting its software. Oracle does not test its software for compatibility with any other Linux.

Using the first Oracle homegrown kernel, Oracle Linux has been benchmarked running 75 per cent faster than its Red Hat compatible kernel on certain (and unspecified) workloads, and Screven said that Oracle's Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel was designed to span up to 4,096 cores and 2TB of memory. (Those are the same limits inside of RHEL 6, by the way.)

Small wonder, then, that this time last year, Oracle had 5,000 customers using its own Oracle Linux variant, and Screven said in a keynote yesterday that the company now has 8,000 customers shelling out bucks to Big Red for Linux support. That number will only grow faster as Oracle sells more "engineered systems" with Oracle Linux embedded within them.

Screven did not offer much detail on what is coming in the next rev of the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel, which is in beta testing now, according to an Oracle spokesperson. Here's what he flashed up quickly on stage:

Oracle Linux kernel 2 beta

What's cooking in Oracle's second Linux kernel

The Linux container virtual private server feature is interesting, and it is worth considering if Oracle has learned how to do this well given its experience with Solaris containers, which are analogous. The inclusion of a virtual switch for virtual machines is also interesting in that you expect that to be in the hypervisor – that is where VMware, Cisco Systems, and Citrix Systems are putting them. The addition to DTrace dynamic tracing to Linux will also be welcomed, particularly by Oracle shops that want the same visibility into their systems software as it runs whether they choose Solaris or Linux for a particular workload.

Oracle would not say when this second release of its homegrown kernel would be ready for primetime.

Screven also announced that KSplice hot Linux patching was available with a Linux Premier Support contract. Oracle bought KSplice, which had created the hot splicing technique and which was trying to commercialize the technology, for an undisclosed sum back in July. ®

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

More from The Register

next story
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.