Oracle on Linux Is No Game

SAN FRANCISCO — Oracle is continuing to push hard with its Linux efforts, today announcing a
series of new open source projects and initiatives.

Among the new projects are a filesystem, a Linux test kit and a project
to improve the I/O interface of the Linux kernel. The new project
comes as Oracle reveals another customer win for its Oracle Enterprise Linux
support program, gaming giant Activision.

“In general our focus is on deployment and supportability,” Monica Kumar,
senior director of open source product marketing at Oracle, told “Oracle has a focus on helping enterprises to
deploy Linux with confidence in their datacenter, and everything we do it is
surrounding that.”

One of the issues that Oracle is trying to address is filesystem
scalability. To that end Kumar explained that Oracle is developing something
called the Btfs filesystem, which is intended to be more scalable than
existing Linux filesystems, such as EXT3.

“We’re hoping this becomes the default Linux filesystem,” Kumar said. “It’s in
alpha today and available under GPL v2.”

The idea is to get Btfs into the mainstream kernel at some point, though
Kumar admitted that it is too early to know which kernel it might end up in.
Oracle has previously contributed its Oracle Cluster filesystem (OCFS) to
Linux, which was added in the 2.6.16

Simplifying access to the Linux kernel is what the new asynchronous I/O
interface effort at Oracle is all about. Kumar explained that it will
provide a single access point allowing most system calls to be asynchronous.
The expected benefit is that it will reduce complexity and make it easier
for the kernel to make access calls.

“Oracle databases use asynchronous I/O, so it will make it faster for Oracle
and will allow others to be faster too,” Kumar said.

In terms of making sure that Linux is ready to run mission-critical
applications like an Oracle database, Oracle is now open sourcing its Linux
Test Kit, which is intended to automate testing. The kit has been available
for a year and is now being open sourced under GPL.

Kumar explained that it
took some time to get the kit in shape so that third parties can use it and
expand it. By open sourcing Oracle is hoping that others will take it and
add more features to it.

Not only is Oracle contributing its own code into open source, but it is also
taking others’ code and helping to make it usable. That’s what’s
happening with the Yast (yet another setup tool) that was originally
developed by Novell’s SUSE Linux as a package management solution.

has taken Yast and ported it to Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and Oracle
Enterprise Linux, which is based on RHEL. Kumar explained that, while RHEL
already has setup tools such as Anaconda, Oracle is
giving users another choice by providing Yast.

Oracle began offering its own support services for RHEL in October and has long claimed that its Enterprise Linux support offering is all about providing choice.

Oracle has
also claimed that switching from Red Hat’s support to Oracle’s is a simple
exercise and apparently gaming giant Activision agrees.

Today Oracle announced that Activision has chosen Oracle Unbreakable Linux
support for its infrastructure. Kumar claimed that Activision was able to
switch from Red Hat to Oracle in 10 minutes.

“It goes back to the point of saying we are fully binary compatible with Red
Hat,” Kumar said. “They just pointed to our update server and they were

She also claimed that as a result of the move, Activision recognized a 65
percent cost savings. Kumar, however, declined to provide any specific
financial details of the Activision deal.

Whatever the case there is no question that Linux is a lucrative business for Oracle. Kumar cited statistics that report that Oracle had
revenues of $1.95 billion in subscriptions and support for its products
running on Linux.

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