Thursday Feb 10, 2011

Oracle Database Smart Flash Cache: Only on Oracle Linux and Oracle Solaris

Oracle Database Smart Flash Cache is a feature that was first introduced with Oracle Database 11g Release 2. Only available on Oracle Linux and Oracle Solaris, this feature increases the size of the database buffer cache without having to add RAM to the system. In effect, it acts as a second level cache on flash memory and will especially benefit read-intensive database applications.

The Oracle Database Smart Flash Cache white paper concludes:

Available at no additional cost, Database Smart Flash Cache on Oracle Solaris and Oracle Linux has the potential to offer considerable benefit to users of Oracle Database 11g Release 2 with disk-bound read-mostly or read-only workloads, through the simple addition of flash storage such as the Sun Storage F5100 Flash Array or the Sun Flash Accelerator F20 PCIe Card.

Read the white paper.

 

Oracle Linux 6 DVDs Now Available

On Sunday 6 February 2011, Oracle Linux 6 was released on the Unbreakable Linux Network for customers with an Oracle Linux support subscription. Shortly after that, the Oracle Linux 6 RPMs were made available on our public yum server. Today we published the installation DVD images on edelivery.oracle.com/linux. Oracle Linux 6 is free to download, install and use. The full release notes are here, but similar to my recent post about Oracle Linux 5.6, I wanted to highlight a few items about this release.

Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel

As is the case with Oracle Linux 5.6, the default installed kernel on x86_64 platform in Oracle Linux 6 is the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel. If you haven't already, I highly recommend you watch the replay of this webcast by Chris Mason on the performance improvements made in this kernel.

	# uname -r
	2.6.32-100.28.5.el6.x86_64

The Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel is delivered via the package kernel-uek:

	[root@localhost ~]# yum info kernel-uek
	...
	Installed Packages
	Name       : kernel-uek
	Arch       : x86_64
	Version    : 2.6.32
	Release    : 100.28.5.el6
	Size       : 84 M
	Repo       : installed
	From repo  : anaconda-OracleLinuxServer-201102031546.x86_64
	Summary    : The Linux kernel
	URL        : http://www.kernel.org/
	License    : GPLv2
	Description: The kernel package contains the Linux kernel (vmlinuz), the core of
	           : any Linux operating system.  The kernel handles the basic functions
	           : of the operating system: memory allocation, process allocation,
	           : device input and output, etc.

ext4 file system

The ext4 or fourth extended filesystem replaces ext3 as the default filesystem in Oracle Linux 6.
	# mount
	/dev/mapper/VolGroup-lv_root on / type ext4 (rw)
	proc on /proc type proc (rw)
	sysfs on /sys type sysfs (rw)
	devpts on /dev/pts type devpts (rw,gid=5,mode=620)
	tmpfs on /dev/shm type tmpfs (rw,rootcontext="system_u:object_r:tmpfs_t:s0")
	/dev/sda1 on /boot type ext4 (rw)
	none on /proc/sys/fs/binfmt_misc type binfmt_misc (rw)

Red Hat compatible kernel

Oracle Linux 6 also includes a Red Hat compatible kernel built directly from RHEL source. It's already installed, so booting it is a matter of editing /etc/grub.conf

	# rpm -qa | grep kernel-2.6.32
	kernel-2.6.32-71.el6.x86_64

Oracle Linux 6 no longer includes a Red Hat compatible kernel with Oracle bug fixes. The only Red Hat compatible kernel included is the one built directly from RHEL source.

Yum-only access to Unbreakable Linux Network (ULN)

Oracle Linux 6 uses yum exclusively for access to Unbreakable Linux Network. To register your system with ULN, use the following command:

	
	 # uln_register

 

No Itanium Support

Oracle Linux 6 is not supported on the Itanium (ia64) platform.

Next Steps

Wednesday Jan 26, 2011

Oracle Linux 5.6 DVDs Now Available

On Thursday 20 January 2011, Oracle Linux 5.6 was released on the Unbreakable Linux Network for customers with an Oracle Linux support subscription. Today we published the installation DVD images on edelivery.oracle.com/linux. As always, Oracle Linux 5.6 is free to download, install and use. The release notes are here, but I wanted to highlight a few items about this release.

Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel

Oracle Linux 5.6 makes Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel the default kernel after installation unless you perform a custom installation. Note that Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel is available for the x86_64 platform only. Yesterday, Chris Mason, our Director of Linux Engineering delivered a webcast on the performance improvements we made to this kernel. I highly recommend you watch the replay.

[root@localhost ~]# uname -r
2.6.32-100.26.2.el5
[root@localhost ~]# 

The Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel is delivered via the package kernel-uek:

[root@localhost ~]# yum info kernel-uek
Loaded plugins: rhnplugin, security
Installed Packages
Name       : kernel-uek
Arch       : x86_64
Version    : 2.6.32
Release    : 100.26.2.el5
Size       : 78 M
Repo       : installed
Summary    : The Linux kernel
URL        : http://www.kernel.org/
License    : GPLv2
Description: The kernel package contains the Linux kernel (vmlinuz), the core of any
           : Linux operating system.  The kernel handles the basic functions
           : of the operating system: memory allocation, process allocation, device
           : input and output, etc.
Red Hat compatible kernel

Oracle Linux 5.6 also includes a Red Hat compatible kernel built directly from RHEL source. It's already installed, so booting it is a matter of editing /etc/grub.conf

[root@localhost ~]# rpm -qa | grep kernel-2.6.18
kernel-2.6.18-238.el5
Red Hat compatible kernel with bug fixes by Oracle

Finally, Oracle Linux 5.6 includes the Red Hat compatible kernel with critical bug fixes from Oracle. You can review the patches here. This kernel can be install directly from the DVD or from ULN if you're an Oracle Linux support customer.

Yum access to Unbreakable Linux Network (ULN)

Also new in this release is yum support for Unbreakable Linux Network.

 

On Yum support for Unbreakable Linux Network (ULN)

Recently, the ULN team added Yum support. This means that anyone running Oracle Linux 5 registered with ULN can now use yum instead of up2date to download and install packages. If you have already run a full update since Oracle Linux 5.6 was released on January 20th 2010, you should already be able to use yum against ULN.

If you are running Oracle Linux 5 and want to enable ULN yum support without updating any other packages, install yum-rhn-plugin as follows. This assumes your system is already registered with ULN:

# up2date --install yum-rhn-plugin

With that installed, you can immediately being using yum. For example:

# yum repolist
Loaded plugins: rhnplugin, security
repo id                   repo name                               status
ol5_x86_64_latest         Oracle Linux 5 Latest (x86_64)          enabled: 4,647
repolist: 4,647

# yum info oracle-validated
Loaded plugins: rhnplugin, security
Installed Packages
Name       : oracle-validated
Arch       : x86_64
Version    : 1.1.0
Release    : 3.el5
Size       : 60 k
Repo       : installed
Summary    : Verifies and sets system parameters based on Oracle validated configuration
           : recommendations for OEL5
License    : GPL
Description: This package verifies and sets system parameters based on Oracle validated
           : configuration recommendations for Oracle Enterprise Linux Release 5 Files
           : affected: /etc/sysctl.conf, /etc/security/limits.conf, /etc/modprobe.conf,
           : /boot/grub/menu.lst. For changes to modules, this package installation will modify
           : module paramters and re-insert.

Available Packages
Name       : oracle-validated
Arch       : x86_64
Version    : 1.1.0
Release    : 7.el5
Size       : 23 k
Repo       : ol5_x86_64_latest
Summary    : Verifies and sets system parameters based on Oracle validated configuration
           : recommendations for OEL5
License    : GPL
Description: This package verifies and sets system parameters based on Oracle validated
           : configuration recommendations for Oracle Enterprise Linux Release 5 Files
           : affected: /etc/sysctl.conf, /etc/security/limits.conf, /etc/modprobe.conf,
           : /boot/grub/menu.lst. For changes to modules, this package installation will modify
           : module paramters and re-insert.

# yum update

...

If you're new to yum, see this overview of basic yum commands. Enjoy.

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