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Oracle horns in on Red Hat's OpenStack party with own distro

Ellison's RHEL lookalike, now with cloud software, too

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OpenStack Summit Never one to be outdone by rival Red Hat, Oracle has unveiled its own distribution of the OpenStack cloud control freak on the same day that Shadowman opened its latest beta distribution to the public.

Oracle's OpenStack distro is currently classified as a technology preview, and it installs over the latest version of Oracle Linux and the early-access beta release of Oracle VM 3.3. The individual packages that provide the various OpenStack services are available from Oracle's public beta YUM repository.

Previously, Oracle has kicked in funds to the OpenStack Foundation, but it hasn't offered any OpenStack binaries of its own.

Oracle has not responded to El Reg's questions about what sort of engineering it has done to integrate OpenStack with its Linux distro, but the move would appear to be largely a me-too effort designed to make waves for Red Hat, which has been making lots of noise about OpenStack of late.

There's been little love lost between Oracle and Red Hat ever since the database giant launched its Linux distribution in 2006. Oracle Linux is essentially a clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), built from code lifted from Red Hat's own source trees. The two are so alike that Oracle says you could apply Oracle Linux patches to an equivalent RHEL server with no problems.

Similarly, Oracle VM is based on the open source Xen bare-metal hypervisor, with an Oracle Linux kernel for domain zero and a few other Oracle-specific tweaks.

For its part, Oracle denies being a copycat. Its Linux-meister Wim Coekaerts says the database giant contributes lots of code back to the kernel, and it even offers its own so-called Unbreakable kernel binaries built from a completely different kernel version than the one Red Hat ships.

Be that as it may, for each new version of RHEL that ships, Oracle is never far behind with an Oracle Linux version based on Shadowman's latest sources.

The main attraction for Oracle customers is that unlike RHEL, Oracle's offering gives them a single "throat to choke" for their entire software stack, from the applications and database all the way down to the OS kernel. With this OpenStack release, Oracle's support now extends to the cloud control freak, the hypervisor, and its guest operating systems.

Oracle has posted a get-started guide for customers who want to try out the OpenStack preview, available here [PDF].

There was no word on when Oracle expects to release a production-grade, commercial version of OpenStack, but when it does, the database giant says it will continue to support the entire software stack as part of its Oracle Linux and Oracle VM Premier Support offerings, at no additional charge. ®

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