The February 2014 edition of the Oracle Linux Newsletter is now available! This issue has some fantastic stories on OCFS2, Ksplice, using Oracle Database with Oracle Linux, new customer success stories, and much more!
Our spotlight this week is one of my favorite videos (and one of my favorite features of Oracle Linux), Ksplice. If you're not familiar with Ksplice, it's really astounding – it allows you to update the Linux kernel while it is running and without needing to restart. It's just amazing technology, and it comes with your Oracle Linux support subscription.
In the video below, Oracle's Tim Hill described a few different scenarios of how Ksplice can be used (click the image to hop over to the Oracle Linux YouTube channel and play the video):
Develop your Linux system administration skills by taking the highly popular Oracle Linux System Administration course. In this 5-day instructor-led course, you get rich hands-on experience performing tasks including:
Installing Oracle Linux
Configuring UEK and using key kernel features
Keeping systems up-to-date using Oracle’s Unbreakable Linux Network
Keeping the kernel up to date using Ksplice technology
Configuring an LDAP server and client
Prepare Oracle Linux systems to run Oracle Database.
You can take this course as a:
Live-virtual event, following the class from your own desk and choosing from a selection of dates on the schedule to suit different time-zones
In-Class event, choosing from a selection of dates and locations on the schedule including the following:
Oracle Openworld San Francisco is only 40 days away so it is time to plan for your sessions and activities. This year's event will be full of excitement with Americas Cup and the Oracle Linux Penguin racing to bring you new and insightful content!. In this blog, we will talk about the key Oracle Linux sessions, don't forget to add them to your schedule in advance because the Linux sessions get full very quickly.
General Session: Oracle Linux—State of the Penguin (GEN9450)
Monday , Sep 23, 10:45 AM in Westin San Francisco - Metropolitan II
In this session, the Oracle Linux executive team will discuss the strategy, latest product updates, roadmap, key partnerships, competitive landscape, community engagements, and what’s next for Oracle Linux. The session is an opportunity to learn—from the source—the decisions driving Linux development at Oracle. If you are interested in running Linux for your mission-critical applications, especially Oracle workloads, you should not miss this session.
Managing Your Oracle Linux Environment (CON9452)
Monday, 9/23, 4:45pm PT, Westin
This session will discuss common methods customers use to manage their Oracle Linux environment, including tips and tricks for patching and provisioning. Whether you prefer to leverage system tools such as YUM with local repositories, open source projects such as Spacewalk, or a full-scale system management solution such as Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c, this session will cover all the different tools available to manage Oracle Linux.
Oracle Linux Technical Deep Dive: Reliability, Availability, and Scalability (Session ID: CON9531)
Tuesday , Sep 24, 10:30 AM in Westin San Francisco - Franciscan
This technical session outlines the key features and enhancements in Oracle Linux, including file systems, Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel, performance enhancements, and high availability. It shows you how Oracle Clusterware can be used with Oracle Linux to make your Linux environment highly available and how you can use it to monitor and manage a variety of applications, such as Web servers or MySQL databases running on your Oracle Linux system.
Why Is Oracle Linux the Best Linux for Running Oracle Database? (CON9543)
Tuesday , Sep 24, 3:45 PM in Westin San Francisco - Franciscan II
In this session, you will hear from Bank of America as well as from Oracle experts about why Oracle Linux is the best Linux for running Oracle Database workloads. You’ll learn about tools for easy installations, including Oracle VM Templates and validated RPM, and how Bank of America is taking advantage of Oracle Database running on Oracle Linux to minimize the downtime of mission-critical databases, improve performance, and reduce cost.
Oracle Linux Troubleshooting: Diagnostics and Best Practices (CON9458)
Wed, 9/25, 10:15am Westin
In this session, learn about the best methods for tuning Linux and get tips, tricks, and techniques for assessing and troubleshooting your Oracle Linux systems. Understand the options available with Oracle Linux, including best practices for configuration and tuning and the introduction of new features for dynamic and static tracing with the DTrace feature of Oracle Linux. Join the Oracle Linux product experts who understand your environment and the tools to keep your data center operating at maximum efficiency.
If you are a developer, you may also want to join this session:
Using Oracle Linux As Your Development Platform (CON9459)
Monday , Sep 23, 3:15 PM in Marriott Marquis - Golden Gate C3
In this session, you will learn about tools available from Oracle that enable you to create a powerful, feature-rich development environment with Oracle Linux. Oracle experts describe their experience and recommended best practices for using familiar tools shipped with Oracle Linux, such as the gcc C/C++ compiler, the gdb debugger, and various tracing tools.
This is just a sampling of the many sessions you have to choose from. We'll talk more about other sessions you can attend, including hands on labs, and demos in upcoming blog articles. Until then, feel free to have a look through the Content Catalog (search on "Oracle Linux" or other related terms to see what piques your interest!).
Stay tuned for more updates as we count down to Oracle Openworld 2013.
Are you just starting on Oracle Linux or do you still feel you are missing some knowledge on how to configure, install or patch your Oracle Linux? If you answered yes, this event for you. This is our second virtual sysadmin day for Oracle Linux and it had been hugely popular in the past. This is a hands-on experience for all those Sysadmins that are looking for a great training without leaving their office or home. You will learn to:
Install Oracle Linux using RPM and yum repositories; create storage volumes, prepare block devices, work with filesystems
Create and mount Btrfs in Oracle Linux, work with block devices and snapshots
Come and join us on July 15, 9am-12pm Pacific Time for an informative and interactive session.
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.
Everyone knows a good inspector is crucial when buying a home or looking for clues in a "whodunit". And now you also have an "inspector" for your Linux kernel!
Today Oracle released a new tool called the Ksplice Inspector enabling Linux users to analyze kernel updates available for their Linux kernel. With so many kernel updates released, it can be difficult to keep track. At Oracle, we monitor kernels on a daily basis and provide bug and security updates administrators can apply without a system reboot. To help out, the Ksplice team at Oracle has produced the Ksplice Inspector, a web tool to show you the updates Ksplice can apply to your kernel with zero downtime.
Oracle Linux provides two complimentary technologies for patching and updating the operating system.
yum for updating RPM packages. Applications and libraries are packaged and distributed in the form of RPM packages, which are collected in yum repositories. Updates are installed by downloading the packages from the yum repository and installing them locally using the RPM package manager.
It's probably worth repeating that Oracle also provides updates (errata) for free from our public-yum server - you can keep your system up to date and fully patched against security threats without the need of purchasing a support subscription. This makes Oracle Linux and ideal choice to install on both your development and production systems - it is up to you to individually choose which of these systems you want to have covered by a support subscription and at which level.
We also provide updates to the Linux operating system kernel in RPM format. However, these changes only take effect after the system has been rebooted, which can be quite disruptive in certain environments. Scheduling downtime for a reboot is never easy.
This is where Ksplice enters the picture. It is a technology that allows you to apply critical fixes to the Linux kernel at run time, without the need to reboot your system. This is a feature that is unique to Oracle Linux. The system connects to the Ksplice server to obtain the individual rebootless patches, split up by security issues (which are usually tracked by CVE numbers). You can install all of the patches in one go, or choose to install only selected patches, without any service interruption or downtime. Ksplice patches can also be removed at run-time, in case they show any any unwanted or unexpected side-effects.
Both yum and ksplice require downloading patches from a remote server, so the client system needs to be able to connect to a remote server. In many cases, connecting to an update server located on the public Internet directly is not an option, due to security policies.
In the case of yum, it's possible to create a local copy of a repository and simply point all clients to obtain their patches from there instead. There are several ways to create and manage such local repositories, and Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Cloud Control and Ops Center both provide built-in functionality to support this. We also published a script on OTN that automates the task of downloading RPM packages from the Unbreakable Linux Network.
For Ksplice, it was already possible to set up a local server that would act as a caching proxy server for all available patches - the client systems would only have to connect to this server instead of contacting the remote Ksplice server over the Internet directly. However, this solution requires setting up a dedicated system just for this particular task, so many customers were not too happy about this solution.
The Ksplice team at Oracle now came up with an alternative solution - instead of providing the Ksplice patches as individual downloadable items, they are bundled inside an RPM package, one for each Linux kernel version we support. Any time a new ksplice patch is available, the respective RPM package will be refreshed. This way we can now deliver Ksplice patches via yum repositories, which is a well-established transport mechanism and can utilize already existing infrastructure. The process involves two steps: first you download the ksplice patch RPM using yum, then you run the local ksplice client, which has been modified to check for updates on the local file system instead of contacting the remote server. Even though you are using RPM to download the Ksplice patch bundle RPM, you still use the local ksplice client to apply the individual patches at run time.
This new Ksplice offline mode gives you the best of both worlds: being able to patch your Linux kernel at run-time without disrupting any services, while not requiring you to manage any additional infrastructure or services, or having to negotiate any exceptions to your firewall rules in order to allow your systems to contact the remote Ksplice server.
For more information about the Ksplice offline mode, please see Wim's blog post or check out the following video, which outlines the basic principles of how to apply updates to your Oracle Linux system:
We are excited to announce the availability of a new feature in our Ksplice service, known as the Ksplice offline client. This new option eliminates the requirement on a direct connection to the internet to apply zero-downtime Ksplice patches. The Ksplice offline client allows the user to create a local YUM repository which will mirror the Ksplice channel from ULN (Unbreakable Linux Network). Once you have mirrored the channel on your local network, you simply apply the patch using the same Ksplice tools and commands you are already familiar with. Ksplice is available to all customers with Oracle Linux Premier or Oracle Linux Premier Limited support. Take a look at Wim's blog, where he provides an excellent example for how to setup and use this new service and if you are using Red Hat and want to try Ksplice, you can sign up for a 30 Day Free trial.
With today’s RedPatch announcement, the Oracle Linux team provides the Linux community a repository containing the source for all the changes Red Hat makes to their kernel, free of charge, available from our public git site. This repository simplifies life for administrators by providing them a straightforward method for determining the type of fixes a patch contains.
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 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.
Last 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.
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.