Tuesday Mar 13, 2012

Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 2 has been released

We’re proud to announce the availability of a major enhancement to Oracle Linux: Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 2 (2.6.39) has been released! The RPM packages are now available from the Unbreakable Linux Network and the public yum repositories. This kernel can be installed on both Oracle Linux 5.8 and newer as well as Oracle Linux 6.2 and newer. By simply updating the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel, Oracle Linux customers can benefit from the latest improvements that have taken place in mainline Linux, without having to re-install their distribution or applications.

This release includes many new features as well as numerous performance and scalability improvements that were added to mainline Linux since the first Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel release (which is based on Linux 2.6.32). Despite the version number, the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 2 is based on mainline Linux 3.0.16 and includes a few selected patches from other mainline Linux versions. The source code is available from this public git source code repository.

Some key highlights in this release include:

  • Btrfs file system
  • Performance and scalability improvements
  • Virtualization improvements
  • Transparent Huge Pages and Memory compaction
  • Cgroups improvements
  • Linux Containers
  • OCFS2 improvements
  • Updated Device Drivers

For more information, please see the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 2 features and benefits document and consult the release notes for more For installation instructions, check out the Getting Started with the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel installation guide on the Oracle Technology Network.

Now that the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 2 has been released, we will continue to provide support for Release 1 of the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (2.6.32) in the form of critical bug fixes and security errata for another 9 months. However, new hardware enablement (e.g. by providing device driver updates) will now only be made available through the quarterly updates of Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 2 on the Unbreakable Linux Network. During this grace period, we encourage all customers to switch to Release 2.

Friday Feb 24, 2012

Updated Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release candidate packages now available

A new build of the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel release 2 has been published today: version 2.6.39-100.1.1 of the kernel including updated userspace utilities have been uploaded. They are now available for testing from the Unbreakable Linux Network as well as the beta channel on our public yum server. There have been a lot of fixes and improvements to the Btrfs file system in particular, as well as driver updates. The public git source repository has also been refreshed.

As we're nearing the final release of the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 2, we welcome your testing and feedback. We have created a dedicated Oracle Linux and UEK beta testing forum for this purpose - please join the discussions and share your experiences with this kernel build! Thank you.

Wednesday Feb 22, 2012

New beta release of DTrace for Oracle Linux

We have just published an updated set of RPM packages of DTrace for Linux on the Unbreakable Linux Network. This beta release of our ongoing development effort to bring the DTrace frame work to Linux is now based on the current Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 2 (2.6.39) and includes a number of improvements and new functionality:

New features:

  • The SDT (Statically Defined Tracing) provider is implemented, providing in-kernel static probes. Some of the proc provider is implemented using this facility.

Bugfixes:

  • Syscall tracing of stub-based syscalls (such as fork, clone, exit, and sigreturn) now works.
  • Invalid memory accesses inside D scripts no longer cause oopses or panics.
  • Memory exhaustion inside D scripts no longer emits spurious oopses.
  • Several crash fixes.
  • Fixes to arithmetic inside aggregations, fixing quantize().
  • Improvements to the installed headers.

To get started, take a look at Wim's latest blog post about using DTrace on Oracle Linux. 

The DTrace port is work in progress and is still considered a "technology preview" - the usual disclaimers apply. We have created a dedicated DTrace on Linux forum where you can share your experiences with the Linux version and give feedback to us. We look forward to your comments!

Rebootless updates: now available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, too!

As you probably know by now, we in the Oracle Linux Team are quite enthusiastic about Ksplice. Just in case you haven't heard about Ksplice yet, this technology allows you to apply security fixes and upgrades to the Linux kernel while your system is running, without having to reboot your server. Your applications remain unaffected — there is no service disruption or performance impact involved.

Ksplice was added to our Oracle Linux Premier support subscription some time ago (at no additional cost) and customers rely on it to ensure their systems are always up to date and fully patched, even if the next scheduled maintenance window is still days (or weeks) ahead.

Before, Ksplice patches were only provided for customers running Oracle Linux with the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel. Today, we’re extending our support offering: Ksplice zero downtime kernel updates are now available for the Red Hat compatible kernel on Oracle Linux 5 and 6 as well. And if you are running Red Hat Enterprise Linux without Oracle Linux support and you’d like to try Ksplice, sign up for our 30-day free trial.  

In addition to that, we will continue to provide Ksplice patches for Fedora and Ubuntu Linux for free. If you want to learn more about Ksplice, check out Wim's OTN article "Using Oracle Ksplice to Update Oracle Linux Systems Without Rebooting" and Waseem's Ksplice Demo Video on the Oracle Linux YouTube Channel.

Thursday Feb 16, 2012

WEBCAST: Leveraging Linux Innovations for Extreme Performance with Oracle Exadata

You are invited to the live Webcast: 

Event Date: Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Time: 10:00 AM PT

With thousands of installations already in place, Oracle Exadata is the ideal platform for consolidating multiple workloads onto private clouds, while delivering extreme performance and lower cost. It is a complete package of servers, storage, InfiniBand networking, and software and includes Oracle Linux with Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel. Oracle Linux has been optimized to offer extreme performance for Exadata implementations. 

Join us  for a Webcast to hear Oracle's Linux and Exadata experts talk about:

  • The benefits of using Oracle Linux with Oracle Exadata
  • Specific optimizations in Linux to support Exadata
  • Extreme performance advantages from using the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel
  • Suitable workloads

Friday Jan 06, 2012

New beta drop of the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 2

We've published a new beta release of the Unbreakable Enterprise Linux (Release 2). The package version is kernel-uek-2.6.39-100.0.18 and is now available for both Oracle Linux 5 and 6 (64bit only).

If you're already subscribed to the UEK2 beta repository, you can simply run "yum update" to obtain the latest bits. Otherwise simply follow the instructions outlined on that page to enable this yum repository and install the updated kernel RPMs.

Some of the notable changes in this release in comparison to the first beta:

  • Updated code base from mainline Linux 3.0.6 to 3.0.13
  • Numerous Btrfs updates/fixes
  • iSCSI updates/fixes
  • Added/updated device drivers (be2iscsi, be2net, lpfc, mlx4_en, mpt2sas, netxen_nic, oracleasm, qla2xxx, qla4xxx, qlnic)
  • Xen updates
  • Lots of bug fixes

You can clone or browse our public git source tree for more details on the changes that have been made.

Thursday Nov 03, 2011

LIVE WEBCAST - New Innovations in Oracle Linux, Tuesday, Nov 15, 9am PT:

Oracle Linux, the best Linux for your enterprise, offers the highest performance, scalability and reliability. Following through on its commitment to bring the latest Linux innovations to customers and track Linux mainline closely, Oracle recently announced the Beta version of Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 2 for Oracle Linux. This new release is based on the stable Linux mainline 2.6.39 version with backports from the 3.0 tree.

Come to this session and hear directly from our Linux gurus; Chris Mason, Director of Linux Kernel Engineering and Elena Zannoni, Director of Linux Engineering Tools,  as they discuss the latest innovations related to Oracle Linux, including:

  • Tracing: DTrace
  • File System: Btrfs
  • Virtualization: Linux Containers
  • Networking: Virtual Switch
  • Trancendent Memory

Register Now to hear about these latest innovations.

Tuesday Oct 25, 2011

Using Oracle Ksplice to Update Oracle Linux Systems Without Rebooting

In this new technical article, Wim Coekaerts, Sr.VP, Oracle Linux and Virtualization Engineering, talks about using Oracle Ksplice to update Oracle Linux systems without rebooting. You will get insights into how to:

  • Generate an Oracle Ksplice Uptrack access key through your Unbreakable Linux Network account.
  • Create an account in the Oracle Ksplice Uptrack system through the ksplice.com Web site.
  • Download the install script to your server.
  • Run the install script, which downloads the Uptrack packages.
  • Run uptrack-upgrade to download and apply the Oracle Ksplice patches to your running system.

 Read more

Monday Oct 10, 2011

Oracle Linux is on a Roll! DTrace, UEK2, Ksplice and More...

Oracle Linux PenguinLast week's Oracle OpenWorld was an incredible success. By any standards. From the vast amount of content that was delivered, the passion and zeal displayed by attendees that were eager to learn, share and network, the larger than life keynotes, the food, the activities, the keynotes, the drama, the large scale, entertainment with Sting and Tom Petty, everything was meticulous!

Hats off to the Oracle employees who work day in and day out to make this experience possible for our attendees!

Now that we are back to our normal work routine, I looked back at all the announcements/discussions and wanted to share a few with you that are relevant to the Linux community.

1. Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 2 (Beta): 

We announced the availability of Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel 2 (UEK2) beta which is based on Linux 2.6.39 and includes featuures such as btrfs in production, Linux container, Open vSwitch and more. UEK2 beta is freely available to everyone. All you need is Oracle Linux 6 installed (also freely available from edelivery) and connect to the Unbreakable Linux Network (ULN) if you are an existing customer or if you just want to play with cool new stuff, use our public yum repository. Check out Wim Coeakert's blog entry with details on UEK2.

2. DTrace in Linux:

Another interesting feature we announced and is already available to Oracle Linux customers is "DTrace." We released a preview of DTrace which is made available to Oracle Linux support subscribers. Wim is also on a roll as you can see from his detailed blog entry on DTrace!

3. Zero downtime updates with Ksplice:

Ksplice has to be the hottest thing in Linux! Since early September Oracle Linux customers with a Premier support subscription, or Oracle customers with Oracle Premier Support for Systems and Operating Systems, have access to the newly added "zero downtime kernel updates" with Ksplice. Ksplice updates are kernel updates that can be applied on a running system. Note that we are not just talking about being able to install a new update of a package while the system is running and it then have take effect after a reboot or restart. The ksplice patches are immediately applied to the running Linux kernel and are effective immediately. On subsequent reboot, these patches are applied at bootup, or if a customer has installed a newer version of the kernel rpm itself, then of course the new kernel would just be loaded. How cool is this! Read Ksplice details here.

We are on a roll! Oracle is seriously investing in Linux and is driving Linux innovation hand in hand with the Linux community. Not only is Oracle Linux Support still much lower cost, but it is also superior in the features and functionality we bring to customers. Oracle Linux is the BEST Linux for any enterprise computing needs. Period.

Check out the Oracle Linux home page.

Thursday Sep 29, 2011

Hear about the latest Linux technology developments at OpenWorld!

We have a lot of exciting Linux-related sessions at Oracle OpenWorld next week. Did you know that most these are not held by marketing folks, but by engineers actually involved in developing these features?

Oracle employs quite a number of engineers that are actively working on making Linux the operating system of choice for high-end server systems. This is your chance to hear about the latest developments and features right from the "horse's mouth". In particular, you should attend the following sessions if you'd like to meet real Linux kernel hackers:

  • Overview: New Features in Oracle Linux 6 (Monday, 5:00pm, Moscone South Room 200) — in this talk, Chris Mason, Director of Linux Kernel Development and maintainer of the Btrfs file system will give an overview over a number of the latest enhancements and features of the Linux Kernel.
  • An Integrated End-to-End Data Integrity Solution (Wednesday, 10:15am, Moscone South, Room 236) — Martin K. Petersen works in Oracle's Linux Engineering group where he focuses on enterprise storage technologies and the Linux Data Integrity Framework in particular. If you care about your data and would like to learn more about how you can avoid silent data corruption, this talk is for you. Our partner EMC will also be part of this session to give you an insight into their data integrity implementation with Oracle.
  • Transcendent Memory: The RAM Forecast Is Partly Cloudy (Monday, 2:00pm, Marriott Marquis, Room Golden Gate C1) — This presentation is held by Dan Magenheimer, the author and maintainer of the transcendent memory patches which have recently been added to the Linux mainline kernel. Don't miss this talk if you'd like to learn more about the latest Linux features like zcache, cleancache and frontswap.
This is just a small sample - have a a great lineup of expert speakers on various other Linux topics. Check the Focus on Linux PDF for a detailed schedule!

Tuesday Sep 20, 2011

TWO DAYS LEFT: SysAdmin Training in Seattle, Sept 22

There's an OTN SysAdmin training in Seattle, on September 22nd. From 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. It's free, but you must register. Please stay for the feedback session at the end. Agenda is full of great training topics on Oracle Linux and Solaris. They tend to be pretty spirited, and you might win a neat prize. This is going to be our second hands-on training for Oracle Linux and Solaris. Here are some of the comments that the attendees made in Sacramento:

"I didn't expect the content to be so darn useful."

"I loved the labs.  I feel like I can work with a real-world deployment of ZFS, now."

"I loved learning about the new filesystems in Oracle Linux.  Very cool."

"The instructions were great.  Everything worked!"

"I thought the presentation about Ops Center was very informative."

"These labs can help me become proficient in both Solaris and Linux."

If you'd like to see some pictures from the Sacramento event, go to the "OTN Sysadmin Day Sacramento" photo folder on the OTN Garage on Facebook.

Don't miss this great event,  register now

Monday Sep 19, 2011

LIVE WEBCAST 9/20 9am PT: Zero Downtime Updates with Ksplice

On July 21, 2011, Oracle announced that it has acquired Ksplice, a privately-held company based in Cambridge, MA. Ksplice is the creator of innovative zero downtime update technology for Linux. The addition of Ksplice's technology will increase the security, reliability and availability of Oracle Linux by enabling customers to apply security updates, diagnostics patches and critical bug fixes without rebooting. As of September 1st, 2011, this technology is available for Oracle Linux Premier Support customers. 


Join us on Sept. 20th 9am PT/12pm ET for a live webcast with Wim Coekaerts, Sr.VP Linux and Virtualization Engineering as he discusses:

  • The benefits of Ksplice patching in customer's Linux environment
  • How Ksplice technology will help save money by avoiding downtime and remain compliant with security vulnerability and critical patch updates
  • The impact in a multi-tier application environment when applying patches

Register now


Tuesday Aug 30, 2011

Q&A with Wim Coekaerts: Linux Turns Twenty!

We interviewed Wim Coekaerts, Senior Vice President, Linux and Virtualization at Oracle. Since we are celebrating 20 years of Linux this year, and Wim has been involved with Linux for a very long time, we thought it will be interesting to get his perspective on how Linux has evolved and what is next for Linux. Here’s what he had to say.

1. When did you first start with Linux?

 

I started using Linux in the early days. I do remember reading Linus's first mail while at school. My friends and I hung out in a computer room that had about 12 IBM PS/2 systems (386/sx) running AIX (at the time AIX 1.2 still existed on the ps2 as well). We were looking for source code for an OS and had actually put together, I believe it was, about $400 to buy the BSD source code tape from BSDI.

Anyway long story short, the BSD tape didn't arrive for quite some time and Linus's mail was perfect timing so we pulled Linux in and that was version 0.95+. First we replaced AIX with Linux on one PS/2 system, then more systems followed and after a while the entire PS/2 cluster became a Linux-based PS/2 cluster. Slackware was the first actual distribution that we then pulled in, tons of floppy disks... good times.

2. What changes have you seen from the early days of Linux to today?

Well, Linux grew up; it was a hobby project which turned into an obviously hugely successful software product. It's really quite amazing. It runs on so many chips/architectures, the download used to be a few 100K and now is 70M+ in size. Fascinating really. I think Linus did an amazing job by managing the project so incredibly well but at the same time allowing others to do stuff with a great amount of freedom. It prevented forks from happening early on. Many open source projects end up forking into different trees because people disagree but Linus has always managed to keep Linux as a nice single tree moving forward.

The other thing that changed is the number of people, the early days was a smaller group. However, even today, from what I can tell there still is a very similar core team that contributes to Linux often times still the same names.

3. How important is Linux in today's datacenter?

 

It's become a core technology, every datacenter probably has some amount of Linux running everywhere in the world. Whether it's a regular server or an appliance or embedded device. So it's everywhere. I don't think there's any particular place that Linux doesn't play a role in devices that need an operating system. Obviously the server market is visible a good use case but in terms of units the mobile space is way larger. People don't see that because it's hidden inside. I am sure everyone has some Linux running at home, even people that do not have a desktop computer but they have a Tivo or so.

This also implies that software is ported or built on Linux by most software vendors and that causes it to be a great ecosystem. It really is very pervasive today and that includes all areas, test and development systems, product systems, mission critical, clusters, etc...

 

4. How does Oracle invest in Linux and open source?

I want to highlight a few different areas here:

We port and develop most Oracle products on Linux and Solaris as a base-development platform. So by building products on Linux we obviously ensure that our customers can happily deploy on the OS. There is a big benefit to Linux here that often gets ignored or isn't really appreciated and that is testing. We have 1000's of servers running Oracle Linux that are used to test our various products. This helps test the OS as well, during our Oracle regression tests we run into OS related bugs, we triage and fix them. There are very, very few companies out there which such a large development environment and QA farm. QA is an important part for any product to improve and it's a great, underappreciated contribution.

Oracle started somewhere in late 1990s to port products to Linux, Oracle database 8.0.5 was first released on Linux in 1998.

 

We have the Oracle Linux development team which does a lot of contributions to Linux. Btrfs, all the Linux NFS work, a ton of SCSI work, etc. there's a long list of stuff that goes back into the mainline tree. There are two objectives for the Linux development team 1) Help make Linux a better OS in general. Features needed to continue to be competitive with other operating systems, Btrfs is a great example. These features might not always be related to what Oracle products need. 2) Find places where we can improve Linux to help run Oracle products better and faster.

This work started around 2001 and has been increasing ever since. The people in the team are part of the Linux kernel development community like any other kernel developers, same process, same way of working. It's very smooth and now that we have the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel for Oracle Linux, we have a great vehicle to actually show this off more and we have the ability to get the work we do in the hands of customers directly. I believe this will help make people realize even more the amount of effort we put into Linux.

Use of Linux as a deployment platform. We have 1000's of servers in house running Linux, test, development and production just like we do Solaris. It shows that we are not just telling others to do this but also do it ourselves; eat your own dog food kind of thing! We also have, and continue to, offer Oracle Linux in our engineered systems such as Oracle Exadata and Oracle Exalogic.

 

5. Where do you think Linux is going to be in the next 20 years?

 

It's easy to predict the past, hard to predict the future! Clearly the mobile and tablet space uses a lot of Linux, so the embedded market is full of Linux devices, the server market is full of Linux servers and that will continue to grow. There are always new features to work on of course and as chips get more cores and threads and servers get more CPU sockets and memory scaling up will continue to be something to work on and improve.  I am not sure how well Linux on the desktop is going to evolve. People have been trying to predict that "this" is the year of the Linux desktop for quite some time now, tablets seem to be making inroads into that space to a certain extend, so maybe Linux's year of the desktop ends up being Linux tablets and mobile devices that are slowly replacing desktop use.

6. Now that Linux is twenty years old, I suppose Tux is twenty too!

Heh! Tux is timeless. As far as I can remember it has looked the same, hasn’t aged a bit!

 

Thanks for your time and insights, Wim. I’m sure our readers will enjoy reading this as much we enjoyed talking to you.

Friday Aug 26, 2011

GREAT NEWS: Oracle is Hiring Linux Kernel Developers!

Are you a Linux kernel developer. Do you want to work on cool Linux projects?

Contact Wim Coekaerts: wim [at] linux [dot] com

Thursday Aug 25, 2011

OTN Sys Admin Days - Oracle Solaris and Oracle Linux (Sep. 8th, Sacramento, CA)

The second OTN Sys Admin Day will take place on Thursday, September 08, 2011. It will be from 8:00am to 4:00pm at the Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel (1230 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95814).

Similar to the very successful OTN Developer Days, this is an event especially for system administrators. Attendance is free and there will be two parallel tracks about Oracle Linux and Oracle Solaris. The sessions will be very hands-on and participants will have to bring their own laptops to perform the exercises. We'll be using virtual appliances running in VirtualBox for the labs, so make sure you have it installed already when you arrive!

Below is the planned agenda for this event. This is a free event and the number of seats is limited, so please register soon!

Update: If you can't make it to Sacramento, we have another sysadmin day scheduled for September 22nd in Seattle (WA). Check this page for more details and registration!

Agenda

8:00 a.m.

Registration
System Shakedown (optional)

9:00 a.m.

Overview of Oracle Operating Systems


Solaris Track
Linux Track
9:30 a.m. Overview of Oracle Solaris Overview of Oracle Linux
10:00 a.m. Hands-On Lab: Oracle Solaris ZFS Hands-On Lab: Package Management and Configuration
11:30 a.m. Hands-On Lab: Virtualization Hands-On Lab: Storage Management

1:00 p.m.

Lunch

2:00 p.m.

Hands-On Lab: Image Packaging System (IPS)
Hands-On Lab: BTRFS

3:00 p.m.

Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center Lecture

4:00 p.m.

Discussion: Most Pressing Sys Admin Issues
Wrap-up

If you can't make it to Sacramento or Seattle, don't worry – there will be many more of these events coming up! For example, there is another one scheduled for January 18th in Salt Lake City. A registration page for this one should be out shortly. Check this page for an up to date listing of upcoming developer and sysadmin days!

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