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Oracle Builds Out Its Linux Stack

Oracle doesn't officially have its own Linux stack, but it is making it easier for users to put together their own.

The database giant has rolled out its Oracle Validated Configurations program. It defines an end to end configuration stack of hardware, storage, networking components as well as Linux operating system and application software.

This isn't the first time Oracle has done Linux certified configurations. But Wim Coekaerts, director of Linux Engineering at Oracle, said past projects were very specific and too detailed.

"So now we've modified our approach into something that is more acceptable to a larger customer base and up to date," he told internetnews.com.

After a few years asking customers where it hurt, Oracle has since built out new validated configuration efforts based on the information it collected.

But why such a big new push for a company that already enjoys a very lucrative Linux business?

Monica Kumar, director of product marketing at Oracle, said the new validated configurations program makes pre-tested and the best practices associated with them. Oracle's partners in the program includes Dell , EMC , HP , IBM , Network Appliance , Intel , AMD , Red Hat , Novell , Emulex and QLogic.

The configurations are documents that Oracle makes available on its Web site, which includes materials of the tested configurations, results of testing and what kind of tips Oracle can give to end-users.

"What we're trying to do is sort of mimic a more traditional Unix vendor setup where they have the hardware in house and the number of combinations is relatively small," Coekaerts said.

Since Linux is deployed on commodity hardware, the number of configuration combinations is significantly larger than typical proprietary Unix deployments.

"The hope is that when a customer deploys they can use the documents to quickly set something up," Coekaerts said.

"In a real customer environment there is always a lot more happening," he added. "Part of the tests come from what else they run as part of the entire stack."

Oracle tests the various stack configurations to determine what works best with what. The division also fixes what needs fixing and then provides the fixes back to Red Hat, Novell , Asianux and Linux kernel keepers Linus Torvalds and Andrew Morton.

Earlier this year rumors swirled that Oracle was intending to buy a Linux vendor (possibly Novell) in order to roll out its own Linux stack. Coekaerts was mum on the question. But he did say that, in the end, the question may not really matter.

"What's clear is that we can support our customers today on Red Hat, Novell or Asianux equally as well as if it were our own," Coekaerts said. "We solve their problems."