Yesterday I had the uniqe opportunity to attend a Q&A session with Wim Coekaerts, the father of the whole linux story within Oracle. I agree completely with what Freek already posted in his blog (he attended as well). On top of that I want to add some personal thoughts as well.
First of all, the session really convinced me that Oracle Enterprise Linux is a good choice, safe, and reliable. It is really binary identical to Redhat (apart from the logos etc). Oracle couldn’t even afford to fork a separate release, because Redhat would immediately point to them saying that all Redhat-certification of all applications would not be valid anymore on OEL, and that would really take the faith out of OEL.
So regarding compatibility of other applications, there are no issues. For running Oracle, it is of course the best choice. Oracle development completely happens on OEL, and as a consequence new products and patch sets are first released on linux x86. Also all internal applications inside Oracle run now on OELinux.
Also the support is much better than that of Redhat. The whole Oracle support infrastructure (Metalink etc) is available for OEL linux support, an enormous infrastructure is available inside Oracle for testing products in an automated way and the price of support is much lower than for Redhat (Oracle has not to live only from linux licenses). I have no practical experince with this, but theoretically this makes sense.
And indeed, the whole OEL project is not intended for killing Redhat. The only reason is that with OEL they have the code in their own hands for fixing bugs, so they can quickly react on customer’s problems.
Regarding Oracle VM the story is a little different. Oracle VM is a separate product based on the Xen technology (however, they don’t want to associate it with Xen; if tomorrow another and better technology is available, it might replace the Xen part of Oracle VM). It is the Oracle virtualization solution that will soon be manageable from Grid Control. The most important things about Oracle VM are:
- It is much more performant than their biggest competitor, i.e. VMWare, due to the desing of the Xen product. There is less virtualization between the host OS and the hardware.
- All Oracle products are (or will be) supported on Oracle VM. For the moment the most important one that is not yet supported is Oracle RAC. However RAC is complex technology relying on things like timers, clocks etc, and that is hard to virtualize. However it has been confirmed that this is only a matter of time. It might be less than a year before RAC will be certified in Oracle VM.
It was really a very interesting session. I must say that now I have much more faith in the use of OEL and I see no reason at all anymore to use Redhat instead.