Thursday, October 26, 2006

Will Oracle Kill Linux?

That's right, not will Oracle Kill Red Hat, but will Oracle Kill Linux?

There seems to be some buzz that Oracle's Unbreakable Linux is positioning itself against Red Hat's Linux. Oracle will be offering support on a version of Linux that they have basically ripped off from Red Hat.

There's no doubt in my mind that Oracle won't kill Red Hat. Linux is used for more than just running Oracle software. I should switch my whole enterprise of umpteen hundred Red Hat computers so I can run 20 Oracle servers more efficiently? I don't think so. Can you see a SysAdmin calling in to Oracle for support and having to wait 6 days to talk to Sandeep in some far reaching corner of the globe? Can't see it myself. Besides, Oracle needs Red Hat to continue to develop the platform so they can rip it off again.

The big question in my mind is will Oracle kill Linux? To successfully deploy Unbreakable Linux, Oracle is going to have to snuggle up to the hardware vendors in order to get Unbreakable Linux pushed out on their hardware. I would imagine that is going to tick off some of the proprietary vendors.

Or better yet, will Linux kill Oracle? Will Oracle get so distracted from it's core business of infrastructure software that the products go downhill further?

Only time will answer these questions. Of course, I don't have a yacht and a billion dollars, so what do I know?

At this point, I'd just be happy with a filesystem that doesn't reboot my box every 5 days.


Kevin Closson said...

Great Post! Great take on the matter.

Pray tell, what filesystem is it that crashes your system every 5 days?

Is related?

John Hurley said...

Your production linux systems are crashing every 5 days?

Why don't you guys run on hpux and/or solaris and/or aix?

No worries be happy!

Steve Prior said...

Oracle won't kill Linux - actually they like Linux. I'm probably the only person you've ever heard of who had one of their ThinkNIC boxes. Some time ago Larry said that the PC was dead - that they'd go away in favor of thin client boxes and that's what the ThinkNIC was, and it was Linux based.

While I can't say I like Oracle doing this to Red Hat, I can see why it would be doing it. People decide they need a new Oracle box and then decide which OS and hardware to run it on. Nobody with a brain uses that machine for anything else (at least in production). Oracle is all about reliability and so they've gotta be very nervous about what changes in the operating system might threaten their reliability and open source is harder to control in that respect. So when you've got a deep problem there is always a chance for finger pointing back and forth between Oracle and the Linux distribution, so Oracle in the past has been very specific about which Linux distributions they support (though I did once get Oracle 8i installed on a Linux box I built myself entirely from source, not a distro at all).

With their own distribution which closely tracks one of the few they've been supporting all along, they get to pick very precisely which kernel patches (for example) are deployed and when. Also, submitting a patch to Red Hat or the Linux kernel maintainers themselves doesn't guarantee it will get in, so having its own distro gives Oracle the ability to get some changes in if it thinks it really needs to.

Jeff's the guy who would know this better than I, but I would think that currently a sysadmin of an Oracle box is paying for support once from Oracle and currently again from (usually) Red Hat. It would seem simpler to have one stop shopping and be able to get support for the whole stack from one place (and maybe less finger pointing).

What I don't think Oracle fully appreciates is the stability that Red Hat brings to the Linux world. They help keep the ecosystem from diverging more than it does, so it would be wise for Oracle not to choke off their money supply too much.

Steve Prior said...

Forgot to bring home my reply to one of Jeff's points. The only thing I can think of worse than notifying Oracle support and waiting for 6 days to talk to Sandeep is waiting for those 6 days only to have Sandeep tell you to go talk to your Linux or filesystem supplier...

Noons said...

I think what we're forgetting is that the Linux market is not, by a very large margin, the database market.

Linux is king on the web server market. No one in that market is gonna ask Oracle to support anything, believe me!

If anything, this will convince a few enterprise folks sitting on the fence to give Linux a try for their dbs. If that works, you'll see a lot more of that happening.

Jeff Hunter said...

Your production linux systems are crashing every 5 days?
now, now, lets not get crazy. something we're burning in...

Why don't you guys run on hpux and/or solaris and/or aix?
It's already a done deal. By the end of next year I'll have fogotten all about Solaris.