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Oracle Enterprise Linux 5 Coming -- In 'a Few Weeks'

Oracle is working hard to release the next version of Oracle Enterprise Linux, which is based on the recently released Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.

Oracle said it has at least 25 customer wins for its Oracle Enterprise Linux, including at least one customer that it shares with arch-rival Red Hat . If recent Oracle Linux trends are any indication, there will be more.

Monica Kumar, senior director of open source product marketing at Oracle, told internetnews.com that Oracle is currently testing its next release using very large real-world customer workloads along with Oracle's internal global IT workloads.

"In a few weeks when we complete testing RHEL 5 to ensure stability, robustness and interoperability, our customers will be able to confidently deploy either RHEL 5 or Oracle Enterprise Linux 5 fully compatible with RHEL5, and get enterprise-quality support from Oracle through our Unbreakable Linux Support Program," Kumar said.

Oracle's Linux support efforts first began last fall when the company announced the Oracle Enterprise Linux effort. Oracle this week formally announced the first customer wins for its Linux support effort.

The list of 25 different customers include IHOP, Timex, Diebold, GlobeCast, ABC Stores, Stuart Maue, Replacements Ltd., Mutual Materials and Hays Medical Center, BNP Paribas, Raley's, Powell Industries, Columbia Forest Products, Deseret Power, Fulcrum Analytics, New York State Insurance Department, The Cobalt Group, Stemilt Growers, The Gem Group, Stanford University, Vcommerce, Knife River Corporation, Primavera Systems, Centre de Services Partages du Quebec, and Spaulding Equipment Company.

And then there is Yahoo.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison claimed that Oracle had displaced Red Hat at Yahoo, which Red Hat has debated. Kumar defended Ellison's statements.

"Yahoo purchased Oracle Unbreakable Linux support for servers that used to run Red Hat Linux. To me, that's displacement," Kumar said. "Yahoo has other servers that continue to run Red Hat Linux, so they have support contracts with both Oracle and Red Hat. We will compete for that business and hope to expand our support services to Yahoo over time."

Kumar noted that most of the 25 customers taking Oracle up on its Linux support have some Oracle product or other running in their environments.

"I think the more relevant question is whether a customer bought support from Oracle for Linux running underneath an Oracle stack or for a non-Oracle stack," Kumar said.

Initially she explained that Oracle had expected that most users that subscribed to Oracle Unbreakable Linux support would use it with existing Oracle product implementations.

"Interestingly, many users have subscribed to Oracle Unbreakable Linux support for non-Oracle implementations," Kumar said. "I would like to point out that almost all of the Linux users we support have mission-critical applications running on top of Linux."

Oracle is seeking to also expand its Linux business with the help of channel partners HP, CDW and Dell. Interestingly, while HP has told internetnews.com that it was ramping up its efforts to support Oracle Linux, Dell has remained silent. Despite repeated request for confirmation from internetnews.com, Dell has yet to comment.

Kumar is very positive about the progress taken by Oracle's Linux support efforts thus far. "Demand is strong and we're ahead of our plan and optimistic about the business."