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!

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!

Tuesday Aug 20, 2013

Oracle Enterprise Manager 12cR1 Agent Preinstall RPM for Oracle Linux 6 has been released

The Oracle Enterprise Manager Agent Preinstall RPM installs the required software packages and prepares the operating system for Oracle Enterprise Manager Agent deployment. It has recently been made available for both x86_64 and i386 platforms from the ol6_addons repository on the public-yum server and the Unbreakable Linux Network.

The Oracle Management Agent (Management Agent) is one of the core components of Enterprise Manager Cloud Control that is deployed on each monitored host. It is responsible for managing and maintaining the hosts and its targets and communicating that information to the middle-tier Oracle Management Service. The Management Agent also allows you to monitor non-Oracle components (such as third-party databases) through management plug-ins and connectors.

Once the Oracle Enterprise Manager agent is deployed on an operating system, the operating system and applications running on that host can be monitored and manged using the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c console.

The Oracle Enterprise Manager Agent Preinstall package installs the required software packages and sets system parameters necessary to deploy and run the Oracle Enterprise Manager Agent on Oracle Linux 6. In particular, it performs the following tasks to enable the agent deployment:

  • Installs the required packages like sudo or openssh (via RPM package dependencies which will be resolved by the yum package manager)
  • Creates and configures the oracle user and group accounts
  • Modifies the user hard and soft file limits set in /etc/security/limits.d/
  • Installs sudo configuration templates

This RPM may be installed on an existing physical or virtual Oracle Linux 6 system, or may be included in an Oracle VM Template or Oracle Virtual Assembly. Note that the actual agent installation requires 2 GB of free space and 512 MB swap space, and therefore the system image should be configured to meet these requirements.

A. Installing on physical or virtual Linux machine

  1. Subscribe the system to the Oracle Linux 6 Addons channel in ULN (ol6_addons on public-yum).
  2. Install the RPM via yum:
    yum install oracle-em-agent-12cR1-preinstall
  3. Check that there is at least 2 GB free disk space in the agent install location (e.g. by using "df -h") and at least 512 MB of swap space (e.g. by running "swapon -s")

B. Including the RPM in the system.img disk image inside of an Oracle Virtual Assembly

  1. Place System.img and vm.cfg in the same folder
  2. As the root user, run the following command:
    # modifyjeos -f System.img -a <addrpm.lst> -m <rpm_directory_for_the_os>
    (where addrpm.lst contains the list of additional RPMs to install)
  3. Check if the root partition has a minimum of 2 GB of free disk space. If not, use the following command to increase the free space:
    # modifyjeos -f System.img -T <total new amount of disk space in MB>
  4. Check if there is a minimum of 512 MB of swap space. If not, use the following command to increase the swap space;
    # modifyjeos -f System.img -S <total new amount of swap space in MB>

An Oracle Enterprise Manager installation can be configured such that the Enterprise Manager agent is pushed on the Guest VMs automatically when the Oracle Virtual Assembly is deployed.

To configure the Oracle Management Server (OMS) for automatic agent push, update the following properties in the <OMS_HOME>/sysman/prov/agentpush/agentpush.properties file:

oracle.sysman.prov.agentpush.defaultPdpSetting=/bin/su - %RUNAS% -c "%COMMAND%"
oracle.sysman.prov.agentpush.enablePty=true

Thursday Feb 28, 2013

Announcing Oracle Linux 6.4

The Oracle Linux team is pleased to announce the availability of Oracle Linux 6.4, the fourth update release for Oracle Linux 6. The individual RPM packages have already been published from our public yum repository and ISO images will soon be available from the Oracle Software Delivery Cloud. Oracle Linux 6.4 includes new features and improvements, most notably a new version of the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel. For further details, please see the Oracle Linux 6.4 Release Notes.

Oracle Linux customers also have access to a number of recently announced unique features/benefits, including:

Support for XFS file system: Today we also announced support for XFS file system in Oracle Linux. It is now available for customers with Premier Support subscriptions using Oracle Linux 6. Read the XFS support blog article for more details.

Ksplice offline client: We recently announced a new feature in our Ksplice service, known as the Ksplice offline client. Ksplice provides zero downtime updates for your kernel and now this new option eliminates the requirement to have a direct connection to the internet to apply Ksplice patches. Read more details in Wim Coekaerts’ blog and watch this video describing updating and patching in Oracle Linux.

DTrace for Oracle Linux: Another new addition is the general availability of DTrace for Oracle Linux. DTrace is a comprehensive dynamic tracing framework available to Oracle Linux customers. It is available to download from ULN for supported customers. 

Oracle Linux can be downloaded, used and distributed free of charge, including updates and errata which are also freely available.

Wednesday Jan 30, 2013

Updating and patching Oracle Linux using yum and Ksplice

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:

Wednesday Jul 04, 2012

Oracle Linux 6.3 has been released

We're happy to announce the availability of Oracle Linux 6.3, the third update release for Oracle Linux 6. ISO images can now be obtained from the Oracle Software Delivery Cloud, the individual RPM packages have already been published from our public yum repository. This distribution now includes the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 2 (2.6.39-200), Oracle's recommended kernel version for Oracle Linux. For further details, please see the Oracle Linux 6.3 Release Notes.

Remember, Oracle Linux can be downloaded, used and distributed free of charge, updates and errata are freely available. For support, you are free to decide for which of your systems you want to obtain a support subscription, and at which level each of  them should be supported. This makes Oracle Linux an ideal choice for both your development 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.

Wim Coekaerts recently wrote several blog posts about the benefits of Oracle Linux, which are worth a read:

Wednesday Jun 27, 2012

Oracle Linux 6.3 RPMs Now Available

The installation media ISO for Oracle Linux 6.3 is still "in the oven" but the RPMs are already available.  You can grab them on ULN, if you have an Oracle Linux support subscription, or anyone can get them from public-yum.oracle.com.  Oracle Linux 6.3 includes a quarterly update of Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 2 (kernel-uek-2.6.39-200.9.0.el6uek).  To install that kernel, make sure you have the ol6_UEK_latest channel or repo enabled.  Enjoy.

Thursday Mar 29, 2012

Oracle RDBMS Server 11gR2 Pre-Install RPM for Oracle Linux 6 has been released

Now that the certification of the Oracle Database 11g R2 with Oracle Linux 6 and the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel has been announced, we are glad to announce the availability of oracle-rdbms-server-11gR2-preinstall, the Oracle RDBMS Server 11gR2 Pre-install RPM package (formerly known as oracle-validated). Designed specifically for Oracle Linux 6, this RPM aids in the installation of the Oracle Database.

In order to install the Oracle Database 11g R2 on Oracle Linux 6, your system needs to meet a few prerequisites, as outlined in the Linux Installation Guides. Using the Oracle RDBMS Server 11gR2 Pre-install RPM, you can complete most of the pre-installation configuration tasks. which is now available from the Unbreakable Linux Network, or via the Oracle public yum repository.

The pre-install package is available for x86_64 only. Specifically, the package:

  • Causes the download and installation of various software packages and specific versions needed for database installation, with package dependencies resolved via yum
  • Creates the user oracle and the groups oinstall and dba, which are the defaults used during database installation
  • Modifies kernel parameters in /etc/sysctl.conf to change settings for shared memory, semaphores, the maximum number of file descriptors, and so on
  • Sets hard and soft shell resource limits in /etc/security/limits.conf, such as the number of open files, the number of processes, and stack size to the minimum required based on the Oracle Database 11g Release 2 Server installation requirements
  • Sets numa=off in the kernel boot parameters for x86_64 machines
Please see the release announcement for further details and instructions. Also take a look at Ginny Henningsen's "How I Simplified Oracle Database Installation on Oracle Linux" article on the Oracle Technology Network for a general description on how to perform the installation of the Oracle Database on Oracle Linux. While the article refers to Oracle Linux 5 and the former "oracle-validated" package, the steps for Oracle Linux 6 are still very similar (we're looking into updating that article for Oracle Linux 6).

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.

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