Wednesday Jul 29, 2015

Announcing the general availability of Oracle Linux 6.7

We're happy to announce the general availability of Oracle Linux 6 Update 7, the seventh update release for Oracle Linux 6. You can find the individual RPM packages on the Unbreakable Linux Network (ULN) and our public yum repository and ISO installation images are available for download from the Oracle Software Delivery Cloud.

Oracle Linux 6 Update 7 ships with the following kernel packages:

  • Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK) Release 3 (kernel-uek-3.8.13-68.3.4.el6uek) for x86-64
  • Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK) Release 2 (kernel-uek-2.6.39-400.250.7.el6uek) for i386 
  • Red Hat Compatible Kernel (kernel-2.6.32-573.el6) for i386 and x86-64
By default, both the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel and the Red Hat Compatible Kernel for the specific architecture (i386 or x86-64) are installed and the system boots the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel.

Notable features in this release include:

  • Open Security Content Automation Protocol (OpenSCAP), including the oscap utility for enhanced security auditing and compliance
  • Load Balancing and High Availability with Keepalived and HAProxy, supported under Oracle Linux Premier Support subscriptions
  • Enhanced SSSD support for Active Directory, including:
    • Dynamic updates to DNS
    • Group and user lookups of NetBIOS names
    • site discovery of domain controllers
    • User and group resolution, including user authentication for trusted domains within a single AD forest
  • Updates to the hyper-daemons package , which contains hypervfcopydhypervkvpd, and hypervvssd

For more details on these and other new features and changes in Oracle Linux 6 Update 7, please consult the release notes in the Oracle Linux Product Documentation Library.

Oracle Linux can be downloaded, used and distributed free of charge and all updates and errata are freely available. For support, you decide which of your systems require a support subscription.  This makes Oracle Linux an ideal choice for your development, testing and production systems.  You decide which support coverage is the best for each of your systems individually, while keeping all of your systems up-to-date and secure.  For customers with Oracle Linux Premier Support, you also receive access to zero-downtime kernel updates using Oracle Ksplice and support for Oracle OpenStack for Oracle Linux.

 For more information about Oracle Linux, please visit www.oracle.com/linux

Friday Jul 24, 2015

FRIDAY SPOTLIGHT: Oracle Private Cloud Appliance: Key Benefits for Partners

Oracle Private Cloud Appliance, formerly named Virtual Compute Appliance, simplifies the way customers install, deploy, and manage converged infrastructures for Linux, Windows, or Oracle Solaris applications. Oracle Private Cloud Appliance was built as a highly available system to run a range of workloads. To accomplish this, all the elements in the system are redundant, such as power, networking, compute, management & storage. All of your application services are configured in software and connected together using the built in Software Defined Network. If there is a node failure all of those services will be automatically moved to another node. Here are some key benefits for customers:

  • Turnkey cloud in a box at industry-leading price point
  • Simple path from on-premise to Oracle Cloud
  • From power-on to production in few hours
  • Enables linear scalability by adding one compute node at a time
  • Enhanced security with Oracle’s hardened software stack 

It comes pre-installed with Oracle VM and Oracle VM Manager and choice of downloadable Oracle Linux, Oracle Solaris andOracle Enterprise Manager 12c.

In this blog, we specifically wanted highlight benefits to Partners. We have interviewed Rich Mason, Sr. VP Oracle Linux, Virtualization and MySQL Sales, and Wim Coekaerts, Sr. VP Oracle Linux, Virtualization Engineering, to understand some of the key benefits for partners. Watch this video to learn about how Partners can take advantage of some of the features it offers.

There are many service opportunities for partners with the Private Cloud Appliance. Here are just a few examples:

In many cases end user customers will require some assistance to migrate their existing applications to the Private Cloud Appliance, and the Reselling Partners will naturally be in a good position to offer those application migration and consolidation services. Partners can also offer VMware to Oracle VM migration services

Partners can also create software templates for their customers as well as customize Oracle VM templates for their customers’ specific workloads.  The use of templates dramatically speeds up implementation and rapid rollout of new applications and services.

By using the Oracle Enterprise Manager software that comes as part of the Private Cloud Appliance, Partners can also build and manage private cloud services to their customers.

We have seen partners using the Private Cloud Appliances for Managed Services, Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). In North America, Secure-24 and Tier1 Inc. are examples.

Visit Oracle Private Cloud Appliance website to get more details. 

Tuesday Jul 21, 2015

systemd, The New System and Service Manager in Oracle Linux 7

Oracle Linux 7 includes systemd, the new system and service manager that replaces the Upstart init daemon. While providing backward compatibility for legacy Oracle Linux 6 service scripts. systemd offers the following benefits over init:

  • Services are started in parallel wherever possible using socket-based activation and D-Bus.
  • Daemons can be started on demand.
  • Processes are tracked using control groups (cgroups).
  • Snapshotting of the system state and restoration of the system state from a snapshot is supported.
  • Mount points can be configured as systemd targets.

You can learn about systemd and much more by taking the Oracle Linux 7: System Administration course. You can take this instructor-led, 5-day course, through the following formats:

  • Live-Virtual Event: Attend a live event from your own desk, no travel required. Choose from a selection of events on the schedule to suit different timezones. Start dates on the calendar include 21 September 2015 in French and 3 and 24 August, 12 October and 9 November 2015 in English.
  • In-Class Event: Travel to an education center to attend this class. Below is a selection of the in-class events already on the schedule:

 Location  Date  Delivery Language
London, England
23 November 2015 English
Reading, England
14 September 2015 English
Paris, France
3 August 2015 French
Berlin, Germany
2 November 2015 German
Hamburg, Germany
24 August 2015 German
Rome, Italy
5 October 2015 Italian
Singapore
12 October 2015 English
Johannesburg, South Africa
31 August 2015 English
Bangkok, Thailand 23 November 2015 English
Dubai, United Arab Emirates 6 September 2015 English
If you are using an earlier version of Linux, take the Oracle Linux System Administration course to learn about Upstart and much more. Choose from the following training formats:
  • Training-on-Demand: Start training within 24 hours of registration, following lecture material at your own pace through streaming video and booking time to do hands-on exercises when suits your schedule.
  • Live-Virtual Event: Start dates of 24 August, 7th and 21 September, 12th, 18th and 26th October and 2 November 2015 in English.
  • In-Class Event: Below is a selection of the in-class events on the schedule:
 Location  Date  Delivery Language
Canberra, Australia
12 October 2015 English
Melbourne, Australia
7 September 2015 English
Sydney, Australia
19 October 2015 English
Sao Paulo, Brazil
24 August 2015 Brazilian Portuguese
Jakarta, Indonesia
31 August 2015 English
Nairobi, Kenya
24 August 2015 English
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
17 August 2015 English
Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
5 October 2015 English
Mexico City, Mexico
27 July 2015 Spanish
Wellington, New Zealand
10 August 2015 English
Makati City, Philippines 
7 September 2015 English
Singapore
24 August 2015 English
Randburg, South Africa
14 September 2015 English
Bangkok, Thailand
12 October 2015 English
Ankara, Turkey
31 August 2015 Turkish
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
4 October 2015 English
Belmont, CA, United States
30 November 2015 English
Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States
27 July 2015 English
Chicago, IL, United States
14 September 2015 English
Reston, VA, United States
26 October 2015 English

To register for an event or to learn more about the Oracle Linux curriculum, go to http://oracle.com/education/linux.

Friday Jul 17, 2015

Friday Spotlight: Why Virtualization Drives the Cloud

Happy Friday!

We have a brand new digital white board video for you this week on why virtualization drives the cloud. The host is Oracle VM Product Management Director John Priest, and while the video is focused on Oracle VM, it has some great general purpose information in it, too. It would be interesting to folks interested in Oracle VM, Oracle Linux, and just cloud infrastructure in general.

Click here or the thumbnail below to head over to Oracle Media Network to give it a watch:

 Hope you enjoy it and have a great week!

-Chris

Tuesday Jul 14, 2015

Oracle Linux Users Participate in Salary Survey

Linux is one of the hottest buzzwords in IT hiring. If you can prove that you know your stuff when it comes to Linux, then you can command a fat salary. And what better way to prove that your skills are up to snuff than with a certification?

How much can you add to your income with a Linux certification? Contribute to getting an accurate answer to this question by taking a minute to fill in this survey: http://certmag.com/salary-survey-plus-linux/. The results will be available in the August edition of the Certification Magazine.

Being one of the top Linux curriculum in the industry, the Oracle Linux certifications will feature in this survey.

To learn more about the Oracle Linux training and certification, go to http://oracle.com/education/linux.

Friday Jul 10, 2015

Friday Spotlight: Oracle VM VirtualBox 5.0 is out!

Happy Friday!

I know a lot of folks use Oracle VM VirtualBox to run Oracle Linux VMs. I do this myself every day. The ability to run multiple machines with different operating systems on a laptop is incredibly helpful. For example, you can do Docker development in Oracle Linux on your Macbook. Or if you're running Linux as your main OS, you could have a Windows VM, maybe for some pesky corporate apps that won't run on Linux. The possibilities are just endless.

Oracle VM VirtualBox 5.0 was released this week, with a number of key features. Things like:

  • Runtime disk encryption
  • Drag and drop between nearly all host and guest combinations (including my typical Mac host->Oracle Linux guest setup)
  • USB 3.0 support
  • Headless launch support (say you need a local server VM running in the background!)
  • Performance improvements with paravirtualization for newer Linux and Windows guests

And a lot more.

Have a look at the Oracle Virtualization blog post for more details, and go grab Oracle VM VirtualBox 5.0 here.

Have a great week!

-Chris 

Friday Jul 03, 2015

Friday Spotlight: Shiny new pages for OSS, Public Yum, and ULN!


Happy Friday and a happy holiday weekend to those of you in the US!

It might be obvious, but the Oracle Linux and virtualization teams are heavily involved in open source. For quite some time, we’ve had a site that describes the open source projects the teams are involved in. This site was just updated with a new look and feel and additional content. My favorite part is a history section going by to 2001. Check it out:


I’m also excited to highlight the new look and feel for the Oracle Linux Yum server (we also call it "Public Yum"):


And you also might not yet have noticed that the Unbreakable Linux Network ALSO has a shiny new look and feel:


Just some improvements to make working with these sites easier for folks. We hope you enjoy them!

-Chris

Wednesday Jul 01, 2015

Oracle Linux 6 Administration Professional Certification Now Released

The Oracle Certified Professional, Oracle Linux 6 Advanced System Administration (1Z0-105) has been released and you can now book your exam date.

Oracle certification exams are a real proof of your expertise and well recognized in the industry.

Prior to taking this certification you should have passed one of the following certifications

Here are some steps you can use as you prepare to take the Oracle Certified Professional, Oracle Linux 6 Advanced System Administration:

  • Go to the web page for the Oracle Certified Professional, Oracle Linux 6 Advanced System Administration
  • Click on the Exam Topics tab to see what subjects will be covered in the exam. Do a self assessment to determine your knowledge gaps. These are the areas you need to concentrate on during your preparation.
  • Click on the Exam Preparation tab. You will see the recommended training (Oracle Linux Advanced Administration course) and any additional resources.
  • In addition to the Recommended Training course, your exam preparation plan must include significant hands-on practice or on-the job experience performing the tasks described on the Exam Topics tab. Oracle University courses may not cover all exam topics and an integrated exam preparation approach is recommended.

For more information on the Oracle Linux curriculum, go to http://oracle.com/education/linux.

Friday Jun 26, 2015

Friday Spotlight: A busy week, and Spacewalk and Ksplice

Happy Friday!

With Oracle OpenWorld Latin America with several Oracle Linux and virtualization sessions and demos, and our booth at Red Hat Summit, it’s been a busy and fun week here at Oracle.

For today's spotlight, I’m going to reach back into the archives to highlight something that I think is particularly cool. You probably know about Spacewalk for managing your Linux deployments, and you also probably know about our Ksplice feature that allows for zero-downtime kernel updates. Taken together, these tools give you a streamlined way to keep your Oracle Linux systems up to date. And, in fact, this past winter we did a webcast on this exact subject, which is available as an archive. It would be nice background listening as you wrap-up your Friday afternoon:

Spacewalk and Ksplice: Keeping Oracle Linux Systems Up to Date and Secure (webcast archive)

See you next week!

-Chris


Friday Jun 19, 2015

Friday Spotlight: Oracle Linux at Oracle OpenWorld Latin America 2015


Happy Friday!

On the Oracle Linux blog a couple of weeks ago I highlighted that Oracle OpenWorld Latin America 2015 was coming up soon. Well, it is nearly here.

Starting Tuesday, June 23rd, you’ll be able to hear from Oracle experts across the entire stack, from severs and storage, operating systems, middleware, apps, and more. Of interest to the folks on this blog, there will be several Linux and virtualization related sessions as well as two demo pods where you can talk directly to our team. If you’re attending the event, please make note of these sessions and consider joining us!

June 23, 15:45

June 24 11:30

June 24, 16:30

June 25, 13:30

If you’re attending Oracle OpenWorld Latin America, our folks would love to see you there!

-Chris

Friday Jun 12, 2015

Friday Spotlight: Understanding NVMe Support on Oracle Linux

Non-volatile memory express, also known as NVMe or NVM Express, is an interface specification that aims to enable a solid-state drive (SSD) to make the most effective use of the high-speed Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) bus in a computer. 

NVMe has been supported in the mainline upstream release of Linux since kernel 3.3. Check out the commit log message for NVMe, and you can find pages of updates going back to 2011. The first distributions to support NVM Express focused on the add-in card form factor (without support for hot plug). 

Oracle was the first vendor to support NVMe hot-plug in a Linux distribution and today hot-plug is supported in all Oracle Linux releases beginning with Oracle Linux 6.4.

Oracle Linux NVMe Support *

Oracle Linux includes inbox support for NVMe SSDs beginning with Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK) Release 3 in October 2013. UEK R3 is supported in Oracle Linux 6.4 (or later) and Oracle Linux 7 (or later), and is enhanced to provide NVMe feature support consistent with mainline kernel 3.19, including hot-plug support (although without the block_mq feature).


Oracle Linux with UEK R3

Release date

Kernel (as of April 2015)

Oracle Linux 6.4

October 2013

3.8 with nvme feature support consistent with 3.19

Oracle Linux 6.5

November 2013

3.8 with nvme feature support consistent with 3.19

Oracle Linux 7 GA

July 2014

3.8 with nvme feature support consistent with 3.19

Oracle Linux 6.6

October 2014

3.8 with nvme feature support consistent with 3.19

Oracle Linux 7 Update 1

March 2015

3.8 with nvme feature support consistent with 3.19

Oracle Linux 6.7

TBA

TBA

Oracle Linux 7 Update 2

TBA

TBA

Read this document Linux NVMeByRelease_May2015.pdf  from Intel to understand NVMe better.


*This blog is a partial abstract from Frank Ober’s article about “NVM Express: Linux driver support decoded”

Friday Jun 05, 2015

Friday Spotlight: Oracle OpenWorld Latin America 2015

Happy Friday! Our Spotlight this week is on one of our favorite topics, Oracle OpenWorld!

Oracle OpenWorld Latin America 2015 is quickly approaching and there is a lot of information on Oracle Linux, Oracle virtualization, OpenStack, Docker, and much more for you to enjoy and learn about.

Oracle OpenWorld Latin America 2015
June 23-25, 2015
Transamerica Expo Center
São Paulo, Brazil

The content catalog is open and there you will find four sessions dedicated to Oracle Linux and virtualization, and a huge number of other topics. In addition, there will be demos of our technologies in the DEMOgrounds areas.

If you're attending Oracle OpenWorld Latin America this year, we hope to see you there!

-Chris

Monday Jun 01, 2015

Oracle Sponsors LinuxCon Japan - June 3-5


Oracle is a bronze sponsor at LinuxCon Japan that is happening in Tokyo, June 3-5, 2015. We have two great sessions and a booth to showcase Oracle Linux and related products. Oracle Linux team will have experts available to answer your questions and give you more information about our products. 

Here are the Oracle sessions: 

1) Exciting Developments in Linux Tracing - Elena Zannoni, Oracle

Thursday, June 4 • 16:20 - 17:10

Tracing in Linux today has become quite main stream. Linux has come a long way from when the first attempt to insert tracing infrastructure and tools in the kernel tree was made several years ago. But where are we now? While existing tools are being refined and more sophisticated features are added to them, there are still fundamental areas where improvement is happening and exciting new approaches are surfacing, such as using the BPF (Berkeley Packet Filtering) infrastructure for tracing purposes, for instance. This talk is a new and revised version of my previous tracing talk with specific emphasis on new developments as opposed to providing an overview of the field. 

2) Open Source Tools for Enterprise Class Documentation Writing - Elena Zannoni, Oracle

Friday, June 5 • 11:30 - 12:20

This talk will give an overview, with some examples, of how it is possible to produce first class documentation using Open Source Tools. The use of DocBook XML and a variety of other programs, together with an automated build system written in house has produced very good results in our enterprise documentation team. We build all our Linux, Virtualization and MySQL docs using this system. 

Don't forget to visit our booth and attend our sessions. 


Friday May 29, 2015

FRIDAY SPOTLIGHT: Implementing Facebook’s Flashcache Utilizing PCIe-based Flash with Thin Provisioning

This Friday we would like to share with you a great article by Rick Stehno from Seagate who frequently writes articles about Oracle Linux, MySQL and Oracle Database. 

PCIe-based flash can help increase the performance of a database application, such as MySQL on the Oracle Linux platform that delivers the storage performance to contend with the massive data deluge brought on by the mobile Internet, cloud-based services, and enterprise applications. By enabling a thin provisioning feature, low latency and improved performance is achieved, usable flash capacity is expanded and overall TCO is lowered. 

Oracle Linux running the default Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK) was chosen for this study because of its upstream support for the latest hardware relevant to modern data center operations. In addition, MySQL database workloads benefit from the platform’s deep integration with the solution stack, optimizations resulting from industry collaborations and enhancements in the UEK. Oracle Linux with UEK was tuned to perform better and faster on leading-edge x86 configurations that feature many CPU cores and large amounts of main memory, and optimized libraries and system calls help to improve performance for MySQL queries. Because of these optimizations and pervasive testing that occurs within Oracle, Oracle Linux is able to address large transaction capacities and scale well as the number of database users or the number of databases increases.

Thin provisioning, such as with the Nytro Dynamic Logical Capacity (DLC) technology, adds significant value to caching environments where the user is deploying flash for their frequently accessed data. Thin provisioning allows users to effectively double the flash capacity available for this “hot” data to be placed, further improving performance, without any additional effort on the database administrator’s (DBA’s) behalf.

Often, PCIe-based flash cards include built in compression engines.  By default, the compression engines are performing lossless compression on the data sent from the host to reduce the physical writes to the NAND.  As a result, there is actually free space available on the NAND even after the drive appears full to the host.  With thin provisioning enabled, the flash technology can expose this free space to the host as additional usable capacity.  As a result, the thin provisioning can expose up to 2x its rated capacity as logical capacity.  As the compressibility ratio of the data changes over time, the exposed space will dynamically adjust, hence the Dynamic Logical Capacity technology name.

For example, a database application sends 800GB of data to a 800GB PCIe-based flash card and the card appears full. However, the data was 2:1 compressible, meaning that only 400GB of NAND was physically consumed to write the 800GB of data.  The card still has 400GB of available space.  With thin provisioning enabled, the application can communicate with the PCIe-based flash card to store more data in the same available capacity.  With 2:1 compressible data, this would result in the application being able to write 1.6TB of data to the 800GB card.  Utilizing such technology requires close coordination between the PCIe-based flash card and the application. 

Deploying PCIe Flash Based Technology with DLC enabled utilizing Flashcache

When implementing PCIe flash into a MySQL and Oracle Linux environment, decisions have to be made on how to utilize the flash storage. Do you:

1. Convert all of the database objects to flash,
2. Convert parts of the database objects to flash, or
3. Implement caching.

The first two options require DBA involvement with corresponding database downtime during the conversion. Option two requires the DBA to constantly look at database objects that are frequently accessed hot data, to update where the database objects reside: traditional hard disk drives (HDD) or on the flash technology.

If the datacenter wants little or no DBA involvement, automatic data tiering with no database changes, then implementing Facebook’s Flashcache caching module for the Oracle Linux is a good fit. What is Flashcache? Here is a quote from Facebook describing Flashcache:

“Flashcache is a simple write back persistent block cache designed to accelerate reads and writes from slower rotational media by caching data in SSD's. We built Flashcache to help us scale InnoDB/MySQL, but it was designed as a generic caching module that can be used with any application built on top of any block device. For InnoDB, when the working set does not fit in the InnoDB buffer pool, read latency is significantly improved due to caching more of the working set in faster media, such as SSD's. We also improve write performance by first caching writes in SSD's and lazily flushing the data back to disk.”*

Benefits of Implementing both Nytro DLC on Oracle Linux and Flashcache:

By implementing Seagate’s version of Flaschcache with imbedded Nytro DLC on Oracle Linux, the Flashcache caching technology can now take full advantage of the expanded benefits of Seagate PCIe flash storage:
  • Expose up to 2x of the PCIe-based cards rated capacity as logical capacity
  • Higher cache hit rates and fewer latency spikes associated without requiring physical reads from HDD to retrieve the data
  • Lower effective cost per GB
  • Improved GB / Watt
  • Flashcache is a proven caching technology for the InnoDB storage engine in MySQL; and it supports Write-through, Write-around and Write-Back caching options.

For more information about this technology please visit Seagate's Nytro and Oracle Linux websites. 


* https://www.facebook.com/notes/mysql-at-facebook/releasing-flashcache/388112370932


Friday May 22, 2015

FRIDAY SPOTLIGHT: Getting Started with Docker on Oracle Linux

Happy Friday everyone! 

We have a great technical article for you this Friday.  In this article, you learn how to customize a Docker container image and use it to instantiate application instances across different Linux servers. This article describes how to create a Dockerfile, how to allocate runtime resources to containers, and how to establish a communication channel between two containers (for example, between web server and database containers). 

Ginny Henningsen quotes "Docker is exciting because it can easily capture a full application environment into a virtual container that can be deployed across different Linux servers. System administrators and software developers are learning that Docker can help them deploy application images on Linux quickly, reliably, and consistently—without dependency and portability problems that can inject delays into planned deployment schedules. Docker containers can define an application and its dependencies using a small text file (a Dockerfile) that can be moved to different Linux releases and quickly rebuilt, simplifying application portability. In this way, "Dockerized" applications are easily migrated to different Linux servers where they can execute on bare metal, in a virtual machine, or on Linux instances in the cloud. "

As shown in Figure 1, Docker containers consume fewer resources than "heavyweight" hypervisor-based solutions. Hypervisor-based solutions host a full-blown operating system instance in each virtual machine guest, but this also allows them to support different operating systems. (Oracle VM, for example, can host Oracle Linux, Oracle Solaris, and Microsoft Windows in virtual machines.) 

Read more 

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