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Oracle Expands Its Linux Base

So how is Oracle doing with its Oracle Unbreakable Linux? Pretty well. According to Monica Kumar, senior director Linux and open source product marketing at Oracle, there are now 2,000 customers for Oracle's Linux. Those customers will now be getting a bonus from Oracle: free clustering software.

Oracle's Clusterware software previously had only been available to Oracle's Real Application Clusters (RAC) customers, but now will also be part of the Unbreakable Linux support offering at no additional cost.

Clusterware is the core Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) software offering that enables the grouping of individual servers together into a cluster system. Kumar explained to InternetNews.com that the full RAC offering provides additional components beyond just Clusterware that are useful for managing and deploying Oracle databases on clusters.

The new offering for Linux users, however, does not necessarily replace the need for RAC.

"We're not saying that this [Clusterware] replaces RAC," Kumar noted. "We are taking it out of RAC for other general purpose uses as well. Clusterware is general purpose software that is part of RAC but that isn't the full solution."

The Clusterware addition to the Oracle Unbreakable Linux support offering is expected by Kumar to add further impetus for users to adopt Oracle's Linux support program.

Oracle Unbreakable Linux was first announced in October 2006 and takes Red Hat's Enterprise Linux as a base. To date, Red Hat has steadfastly denied on its quarterly investor calls that Oracle's Linux offering has had any tangible impact on its customer base.

In 2007, Oracle and Red Hat both publicly traded barbs over Yahoo, which apparently is a customer of both Oracle's Unbreakable Linux as well as Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

"We can't comment on them [Red Hat] and what they're saying," Kumar said. "I can tell you that we're seeing a large number of Oracle customers who were running on Linux before coming to Unbreakable Linux. It's difficult to say if they're moving all of their Linux servers to Oracle or not."

That said, Kumar added that Linux customers are coming to Oracle for more than just running Oracle on Linux, they're also coming with other application loads as well.

"Since there are no migration issues we do see a lot of RHEL [Red Hat Enterprise Linux] customers because it's easy for them to transition," Kumar claimed.

Ever since Oracle's Linux first appeared, Oracle has claimed that it was fully compatible with RHEL and it's a claim that Kumar reiterated.

"In the beginning, people had questions about how does compatibility work, but we have been able to address all those questions," Kumar said. "In the least 15 months, Oracle has proved that we're fully compatible and that we're not here to fork Linux but to make it stronger."