Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Oracle boosts its own Linux with 'templates' to aid virtualization

In a realm where a "server" is no longer one box with one processor, it isn't always practical to keep reinstalling the same applications for multiple servers. Today, Oracle is proposing a unique solution, involving "templates."

Oracle's server virtualization software, known as Oracle VM, is targeted at supporting server consolidation and systems integration by enabling Oracle and non-Oracle applications, designed to run on different operating systems, to share the same underlying operating environment.

At LinuxWorld today, Oracle unveiled a series of four templates for its server virtualization software, including one for its own Linux distribution, Oracle Enterprise Linux. These templates will save time and money for customers in deploying a full software stack by providing pre-configured images of enterprise software, said Monica Kumar, Oracle's senior director of Linux and open source product marketing, in an interview with BetaNews.

Aside from the template for Oracle Enterprise Linux, the first set includes templates for Oracle Database 11g, Oracle Enterprise Manager, and version 8 of Siebel CRM, a product owned by Oracle since its buyout of Siebel.

Oracle also plans additional VM templates, but the company hasn't decided yet whether VM will use any OS other than Oracle Linux as the underlying virtualization platform, or whether templates will be offered for other OS, Kumar said. "Right now, we're just focusing on Oracle Enterprise Linux," BetaNews was told.

In 2006, Oracle decided to start offering its own flavor of Linux, which is based on open source code from Red Hat Software, an Oracle partner for many years beforehand. At the same time, Oracle launched a Linux customer support program dubbed "Oracle Unbreakable Linux." The move drew considerable controversy, and some industry analysts voiced concerns at the time that tweaking or "forking" of the code by Oracle would produce incompatibilities between the two Linux distributions.

"[But] Oracle Enterprise Linux is fully compatible with Red Hat Linux. It's just like Red Hat, really, but minus the logos and trademarks. We just take the source code and strip that off," Kumar contended.

"An indication of our momentum is that we now have thousands of [Linux] partners. A lot of them support Red Hat, too," she told BetaNews.

Also at LinuxWorld, Oracle announced new partners and certifications on the Oracle Unbreakable Linux Support Program. The new Oracle partners include SGI, 3PAR, ActiveState, Bakbone, FalconStor, Likewise Software, Mellanox Technologies, SteelEye Technology, Inc., Quest Software, Tripwire, TeamQuest, Trusted Computer Solutions, Voltaire, Zeus and Zmanda.

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