Friday Nov 01, 2013

Oracle Linux Friday Spotlight - November 1, 2013

Happy Friday!

I hope you were able to catch our webcast "Why Choose Oracle Linux for your Oracle Database 12c Deployments" earlier this week so you could ask questions of our experts in real-time. But if you didn't, or want to share the content with your colleagues, the on-demand version is our Friday Spotlight this week.

Watch now: Why Choose Oracle Linux for your Oracle Database 12c Deployments

We'll see you next week!

-Chris

Monday Oct 21, 2013

Announcing Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 3 for Oracle Linux

We are excited to announce the general availability of the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 3 for Oracle Linux 6. The Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 3 (UEK R3) is Oracle's third major supported release of its heavily tested and optimized Linux kernel for Oracle Linux 6 on the x86_64 architecture.

UEK R3 is based on mainline Linux version 3.8.13. Some notable highlights of this release include:

  • Inclusion of DTrace for Linux into the kernel (no longer a separate kernel image). DTrace for Linux now supports probes for user-space statically defined tracing (USDT) in programs that have been modified to include embedded static probe points
  • Production support for Linux containers (LXC) which were previously released as a technology preview
  • Btrfs file system improvements (subvolume-aware quota groups, cross-subvolume reflinks, btrfs send/receive to transfer file system snapshots or incremental differences, file hole punching, hot-replacing of failed disk devices, device statistics)
  • Improved support for Control Groups (cgroups) 
  • TCP fast open (TFO) can speed up the opening of successive TCP connections between two endpoints
  • FUSE file system performance improvements on NUMA systems
  • Support for the Intel Ivy Bridge (IVB) processor family
  • Integration of the OpenFabrics Enterprise Distribution (OFED) 2.0 stack, supporting a wide range of Infinband protocols including updates to Oracle's Reliable Datagram Sockets (RDS)
  • Numerous driver updates in close coordination with our hardware partners
UEK R3 uses the same versioning model as the mainline Linux kernel version. Unlike in UEK R2 (which identifies itself as version "2.6.39", even though it is based on mainline Linux 3.0.x), "uname" returns the actual version number (3.8.13).

For further details on the new features, changes and any known issues, please consult the Release Notes.

The Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 3 and related packages can be installed using the yum package management tool on Oracle Linux 6 Update 4 or newer, both from the Unbreakable Linux Network (ULN) and our public yum server. Please follow the installation instructions in the Release Notes for a detailed description of the steps involved.

The kernel source tree will also available via the git source code revision control system from https://oss.oracle.com/git/?p=linux-uek3-3.8.git

If you would like to discuss your experiences with Oracle Linux and UEK R3, we look forward to your feedback on our public Oracle Linux Forum.

Tuesday Oct 08, 2013

Oracle Linux 5.10 has been released

We're happy to announce the availability of Oracle Linux 5.10, the tenth update release for Oracle Linux 5. ISO images will soon be available from the Oracle Software Delivery Cloud and the individual RPM packages have already been published to our public yum repository. This release includes the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 2 (2.6.39-400), Oracle's recommended kernel for Oracle Linux. For further details, please see the Oracle Linux 5.10 Release Notes.

Oracle Linux can be downloaded, used and distributed free of charge and updates and errata are freely available. For support, you are free to decide which of your systems you want to obtain a support subscription for, and at what level each system should be supported. 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 them up-to-date and secure.

Wednesday Oct 02, 2013

Release Candidate for Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 3 is now available

We are happy to announce the availability of the release candidate for the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 3 for Oracle Linux 6. The Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 3 (UEK R3) is Oracle's third major release of its heavily tested and optimized operating system kernel for Oracle Linux 6 on the x86_64 architecture. It is based on the mainline Linux version 3.8.13.

The release candidate version is 3.8.13-16 and includes additional improvements and bug fixes in preparation for our final release.  As a recap, the features users can expect in this release include:

  • Inclusion of DTrace for Linux into the kernel (no longer a separate kernel image). DTrace for Linux now now supports probes for user-space statically defined tracing (USDT) in programs that have been modified to include embedded static probe points.
  • Btrfs file system improvements (subvolume-aware quota groups, cross-subvolume reflinks, btrfs send/receive to transfer file system snapshots or incremental differences, file hole punching, hot-replacing of failed disk devices)
  • Improved support for Control Groups (cgroups) and Linux containers (LXC).
  • The ext4 file system can now store the content of a small file inside the inode (inline_data).
  • TCP fast open (TFO) can speed up the opening of successive TCP connections between two endpoints.

The Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 3 can be installed on Oracle Linux 6 Update 4 or newer, running either the Red Hat compatible kernel or a previous version of the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel. The UEKR3 beta kernel packages and supporting userland utilities can be installed using the yum package management tool from the public-yum server.

For installation instructions and more details on the new features, changes and any known issues, please consult the Release Notes found on our public beta site.

We've created a dedicated public beta test discussion forum — please join us and share your observations and impressions there!

Thursday Sep 26, 2013

Public yum now powered by Akamai

The availability of free updates and errata has significantly increased the popularity of Oracle Linux. According to a recent Gartner Study from March 2013, Oracle Linux is placed in the top three in the Linux server operating system market, growing more than 80 percent year-over-year in 2012, which outpaced the overall Linux server operating system market growth.

This popularity was also reflected in our download numbers – recently, we were serving  over 80 TB worth of data each month, and this number keeps on growing. In order to ensure continued satisfaction with this free service, we now switched the US-based public-yum.oracle.com server to use the Akamai content delivery network for distributing all the available RPM packages for Oracle Linux globally.

This increases the performance for obtaining updates and security fixes for Oracle Linux – no matter where you are in the world. With the help of the Akamai CDN, the download experience will now be similar, regardless of your geographic location.

Please note that you need to connect to the public yum service by host name. If your yum clients are configured to access the public yum server by its public IP address, you won't benefit from increase in performance, as Akamai uses DNS to redirect the load. Please check your configurations accordingly!

Monday Sep 23, 2013

Nimble Storage Introduces SmartStack Solution leveraging Oracle Linux and Oracle VM

Nimble Storage today announced a new SmartStack™ converged infrastructure solution leveraging Oracle Linux, Oracle VM, and Oracle Database, running on Cisco Unified Computing System™ (UCS). This solution provides organizations with the ability to meet Oracle Database performance demands and scale without disruption or increased capital expenses.

Highlights of the SmartStack Validated Reference Architecture with Oracle

The new solution is fully tested and validated using both Oracle Validated Configuration test kit and Nimble Storage’s test environments.

- The solution components include a Nimble Storage CS-series array, two Cisco UCS B200 M3 blade servers, Oracle VM 3.2, Oracle Linux 6 Update 4 with the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel, and Oracle Database 11g Release 2 and Oracle Database 12c.

Nimble Storage’s intelligent flash-based architecture allows customers with Oracle workloads running on Oracle Linux and Oracle VM to take advantage of:

- Adaptive performance to easily grow performance and/or capacity to scale to the needs of OLTP and OLAP applications as they grow

- Ease of deployment with pre-configured optimizations and performance profiles to minimize the guesswork of tuning the infrastructure for performance

- Integrated data protection and enhanced availability enabling organizations to take more frequent backups without disrupting applications, and facilitate quick recovery with Nimble Storage snapshots

Nimble Storage will exhibit its flash-optimized hybrid storage arrays and new converged infrastructure solutions at Oracle OpenWorld 2013 taking place September 22 – 26 at Moscone Center in San Francisco.  You can check Nimble Storage solutions in the Oracle Linux and Virtualization Pavilion - booth #2021.

Read the press release for more information. 

Lenovo ThinkServer Systems Certified for Oracle VM and Oracle Linux

This morning, Lenovo announced that their ThinkServer rack portfolio has been tested and certified with Oracle VM and Oracle Linux. You can read the news release here .

By completing the testing necessary to appear on the Oracle VM and Oracle Linux Hardware Compatibility List (HCL), customers using Lenovo ThinkServer Systems are assured that their Oracle VM and Oracle Linux deployments are supported.

This is an exciting development for Oracle customers because it gives them more choice in how they want to deploy their Oracle software, including Oracle Applications, Oracle Database, and more, with Oracle VM and Oracle Linux. The combination is especially interesting in small to medium sized businesses for a number of reasons.

First, there is an extremely low barrier to entry. With zero license cost for Oracle VM and Oracle Linux, there are never any upfront fees to take into consideration. This helps small to medium sized businesses do all of their architecting, testing, and even implementation without needing to worry about license fees. Another factor that reduces the barrier to entry is Oracle VM Templates. There are over 100 of these ready to run virtual machines, pre-tested, pre-configured with popular Oracle software requiring near-zero OS, or application knowledge, ready to deploy from point of download. For SMB’s with slim IT resources, Oracle VM Templates help to radically reduce deployment time so companies can focus on growing their business.
The last piece of the puzzle for small and medium sized businesses is affordable support costs. With some of the lowest support costs in the industry, if a customer chooses to purchase support for their deployment, they are assured of a low cost, high value investment. Affordable support costs paired with zero license fees means that overall costs stay incredibly low.

And now, all of this is certified for use on Lenovo’s ThinkServer Systems!

When you look at these factors, the combination of Lenovo ThinkServer Systems and Oracle VM and Oracle Linux is a very compelling option.

Huawei Announces an Integrated Data Integrity Solution in Collaboration with Emulex and Oracle

The data integrity solution announced today by Huawei, in collaboration with Emulex, and Oracle enhances the current technology where hosts and storage systems protect data integrity independently. This is done by implementing E2E data integrity protection across applications, hosts, storage systems, and disks. As a result, this solution can help prevent silent data corruption in mission-critical services and eliminate potential downtime, which may cost organizations millions of dollars in revenue.

Huawei Global Certification Test Center (GCTC) has qualified this solution, including: Oracle Database, Oracle Linux with the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel, Emulex Gen5 FC HBA, and HUAWEI OceanStor Enterprise Storage System, and confirmed that these components are compatible with industry specifications such as the SCSI Protection Information Model (T10 PI) and Data Integrity Extensions (DIX). HUAWEI OceanStor Enterprise Storage System supports standard T10 PI, which can detect and resolve the silent data corruption. It also provides PI interface to host, and supports assorting with the DIX.

Read the press release for more information.

Tuesday Sep 17, 2013

Performance Issues with Transparent Huge Pages (THP)

One key reason customers choose Oracle Linux is the investment Oracle makes in optimizing Linux for demanding workloads.  Part of this work includes extensive testing for I/O intensive workloads, like the Oracle Database. A common test used at Oracle to measure I/O throughput and performance is the Oracle Orion Calibration Tool, which simulates the I/O workloads of an Oracle Database. Recently, the Oracle Linux team discovered a significant lag in I/O performance, which was later traced to a feature in the Linux kernel, Transparent Huge Pages (also known as THP). During these tests, our engineering teams discovered THP introduced a 30% performance degradation in I/O throughput. When Transparent Huge Pages were removed from the kernel, performance values returned to their expected levels.

Our engineers have been working with the community to identify the root cause of this performance problem, which also impacts other projects, such as Hadoop. Oracle’s kernel engineers have traced the performance issues with Transparent Huge Pages to its use of swappable hugepages. Prior to THP, hugepages were not swappable. It appears the overhead generated by this implementation is the root cause of the deterioration seen in performance when the feature is enabled (compiled) in the kernel. Our kernel engineers are working on several changes to the code which they believe will improve performance with THP, but the final resolution will take time to develop, test and release.

Due to the impact this feature has on performance with applications like the Oracle Database and the timing of a final fix, Oracle Linux will disable Transparent Huge Pages in the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel, beginning with Quarterly Update 5 for the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel, Release 2 (version 2.6.39-400.209.1). To maintain binary compatibility with the Red Hat distribution, the Red Hat Compatible kernel will be left as is, with Transparent Huge Pages enabled. In addition, the Oracle Database team has released an alert recommending all customers disable THP in all Linux systems running RAC and even those systems running single instances, due to instability. Please note that THP is not used by the Oracle Database, the recommendation is to use huge pages. Additional information for huge pages can be found in your Oracle Database documentation or on My Oracle Support.

Our engineers will continue to work with others in the community on a final resolution to the performance issues seen with Transparent Huge Pages. Once a fix is available, we will re-enable this feature in the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel.

Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 2 Quarterly Update 5 has been released

We are pleased to announce the availability of the 5th quarterly update update release for the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 2 (version 2.6.39-400.209.1) for Oracle Linux 5 and Oracle Linux 6.  This release includes driver updates as well as a consolidation of bug fixes and security updates.

 Notable changes include:

  • Xsigo virtual host adapter and network drivers to support Oracle SDN (Software Defined Network), previously known as Xsigo Fabric Accelerator.
  • LSI Fusion-MPT SAS 3.0 driver to support up to 12 Gb/s host controllers.
  • XEN improvements, such as the indirect-descriptor feature, which increases throughput and reduces latency for block I/O.

For additional details, please refer to the release notes.

Binary RPMs can be downloaded and installed using yum from the Unbreakable Linux Network (ULN) as well as Oracle's public-yum server.  The Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel is installed and booted by default on Oracle Linux.  See this article on Oracle Technology Network for details on how to install and update the kernel.

The source code, including the full revision history, is available from Oracle's git repository at https://oss.oracle.com/git/?p=linux-uek-2.6.39.git;a=summary.


        
    

Thursday Aug 29, 2013

Beta 1 of Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 3 now available

We are happy to announce the availability of Beta 1of the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 3 for Oracle Linux 6. The Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 3 (UEK R3) is Oracle's third major release of its heavily tested and optimized operating system kernel for Oracle Linux 6 on the x86_64 architecture. It is based on the mainline Linux version 3.8.13.

The 3.8.13-13 release also updates device drivers and includes bug and security fixes. Some notable improvements in functionality and new features include:

  • Numerous stability and scalability enhancements
  • Inclusion of DTrace 0.4 for Linux into the kernel (no longer a separate kernel image). DTrace for Linux now now supports probes for user-space statically defined tracing (USDT) in programs that have been modified to include embedded static probe points.
  • Btrfs file system improvements (subvolume-aware quota groups, cross-subvolume reflinks, btrfs send/receive to transfer file system snapshots or incremental differences, file hole punching, hot-replacing of failed disk devices)
  • Improved support for Control Groups (cgroups) and Linux containers (LXC).
  • The ext4 file system can now store the content of a small file inside the inode (inline_data).
  • TCP fast open (TFO) can speed up the opening of successive TCP connections between two endpoints.

The Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 3 can be installed on Oracle Linux 6 Update 4 or newer, running either the Red Hat compatible kernel or a previous version of the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel. The UEKR3 beta kernel packages and supporting userland utilities can be installed using the yum package management tool from the public-yum server.

For installation instructions and more details on the new features, changes and any known issues, please consult the Release Notes found on our public beta site.

We've created a dedicated public beta test discussion forum — please join us and share your observations and impressions there!

Wednesday Jul 17, 2013

Oracle Continues Linux Leadership with 80% Year over Year Growth for Oracle Linux

Oracle today announced that customers and partners continue to rapidly adopt Oracle Linux to increase the scalability, reliability and performance of their critical applications and systems.

“Epsilon offers a broad array of data-driven, multichannel marketing solutions for many of the biggest brands in the world. Our information systems have been experiencing substantial growth year-over-year, with increased demand for real-time reporting, and high performance transaction processing. To enable customers to interact with a brand in a more dynamic real-time manner, we knew our infrastructure had to be comprehensive, well integrated and scalable. With our Oracle Exadata Database Machines running Oracle Linux, we are achieving transactional processing speeds that were previously not attainable. Oracle’s technologies and world-class support have been instrumental in enabling us to deliver new value-add services and greater efficiency for clients,” said Jeff White, vice president, technology, strategic database services at Epsilon.

Read the full press release for details.


Monday Jul 15, 2013

Simplify Your Install of Oracle Database 12c on Oracle Linux

The Oracle Linux team is pleased to announce the availability of the latest oracle-rdbms preinstall package to support your Oracle 12c installations.  For those of you who are not familiar with our preinstall solution, it provides a streamlined process for ensuring an Oracle Linux system meets the pre-requisites required for your Oracle Database installation.  With the introduction of Oracle 12c, we have updated the package to provide a smooth installation path for administrators.  

 For more information on how to get started, here are a few easy resources:

Blog: "Easily install Oracle RDBMS 12cR1 on Oracle Linux" by Wim Coekaerts

Article: "How I Simplified Oracle Database 12c and 11g Installations on Oracle Linux 6" by Ginny Henningsen

 Give it a try and send us your feedback!

Friday Jun 14, 2013

Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 2 Quarterly Update 4 has been released

We're pleased to announce that the fourth quarterly update release of the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 2 (Version 2.6.39-400.109) for Oracle Linux 5 and 6 has been published. This release includes driver updates as well as fixes for bugs and security issues.

Some notable highlights include:

  • OpenFabrics Alliance (OFED) 1.5.5 Infiniband stack
  • Btrfs bug fixes and improvements
  • Xen improvements
  • Numerous device driver updates (e.g. storage devices, network cards)

For more details, please consult the release notes.

Binary RPMs can be downloaded and installed using yum from the Unbreakable Linux Network (ULN) as well as our public-yum server. The Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel is installed and booted by default on Oracle Linux. See this article on the Oracle Technology Network for details on how to install and update it.

The source code including the full revision history is available from our git repository at https://oss.oracle.com/git/?p=linux-uek-2.6.39.git;a=summary

Wednesday Apr 10, 2013

Oracle Linux and Oracle VM pre-validated, pre-tested with FlexPod

As the Oracle community is gathering at IOUG this week sharing news, checking out the latest innovations, the Oracle VM and Oracle Linux team are also busy working to expand our platform validation support. In a collaborative effort with both Cisco and NetApp, we’d like to give you an early glimpse of the upcoming reference architectures for Oracle Linux and Oracle VM with FlexPod:

  • A FlexPod with Oracle VM is scheduled for the second half of 2013  – this Oracle VM architecture offers virtualization coverage for Oracle as well as non-Oracle workloads
  • A FlexPod featuring NetApp Clustered Data ONTAP with Oracle Linux,  coming Jun 30, 2013 – this is the second Oracle Linux bare-metal design
  • A FlexPod with Oracle Linux, coming June 14, 2013 – this is one of two bare metal designs for running Oracle DB on Oracle Linux
The combined products give customers access to infrastructure designs that are pre-tested and pre-validated building blocks for application consolidation, private cloud migration or data center modernization.
In addition to the benefits of the integrated design and validation, there are specific unique benefits that Oracle VM and Oracle Linux add to FlexPod:
  • Oracle VM – Application-Driven Virtualization difference: Speed Dev/Test/Production application deployment – Using Oracle VM Templates, customers can deploy applications 7-10x faster than traditional virtualization approaches. Entire application stacks including guest OS with Oracle Linux can quickly be deployed or provisioned in hours or minutes. This empowers IT to have a direct impact on the business Quality of Service by enabling more test systems and or respond to end customer requirements more quickly.
  • Enhanced high availability with Oracle Linux: With Ksplice, Oracle Linux kernel updates are installed in seconds, without interrupting running applications or the people using those applications. You can quickly check on the current status of your systems before rolling out updates to your network. Installing updates requires no downtime, so your systems are more available than ever.
  • Certified by Oracle: All Oracle applications are certified on Oracle VM. This gives customers peace of mind that FlexPod with Oracle VM running Oracle applications are both fully tested and  certified by Oracle
  • Reduce Licensing Cost: with zero licensing cost for both Oracle VM and Oracle Linux and low enterprise support cost, customers can dramatically reduce both capex and opex IT spending. 
We’ll keep you updated as these reference architectures get published. Like us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter to stay informed.

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