Towards LAMP 2 – Oracle on Linux
This article continues my views on Open Source LAMP stack. Below I examine in particular Linux operating system in combination with Oracle database. You can read the previous post here: Towards Open Source, OSS and LAMP.
Linux went further than other “Open Sources” by providing a few popular commercial distributions in the market. If you still do not use Linux in your IT Infrastructure for production middle-ware systems, even on virtualized environments – try it. It works quite well already. Furthermore, nowadays, DBMS runs pretty stable on Linux. Oracle database on OracleVM (virtual machine) is also an option.
Going to Linux has become an IT trend, but let’s question, why? Mostly – due to the cost savings and definitely not because Linux is better than other Unix systems. I would say Linux is comparable to other Unix “commercial” operating systems (OS) in terms of performance and stability. The biggest weak side of Linux is still a quick and efficient way to analyze hardware and OS-related problems. Additionally, the SLAs for HP-UX are much stronger than the ones for Linux. For example, the standard time to restore on Linux tends to be significantly longer than on HP-UX.
I’d like to point out that going to Linux does not mean just changing the OS but rather changing and/or choosing the entire platform. Nobody (or almost nobody) runs Linux on high-end hardware (e.g. Itanium) as the driving point here is again the cost savings. Thus, I suggest evaluating the entire platform (commodity hardware + Linux) against the high-end hardware + Commercial Unix OS.
One of the advantages of Open Source Systems (OSS), and in particular Linux, is that different software vendors can provide support for one Open Source distribution. However, maintenance from vendors like Red Hat or SuSE (Novell) is a bit tricky as they introduce Closed Source Systems (CSS) models in their terms and conditions similar to closed source software terms. If you buy Red Hat maintenance, for example, you must have all your server instances licensed. To prove that, you grant Red Hat the irrevocable right to audit your environment whenever they like.
What Linux to choose. The main decision factor here for me, as an Oracle database consultant, is the amount of production installations for my DBMS and as a result the amount of community experience with the particular Linux distribution. From my DBA experience working with Oracle database, I would suggest RedHat Enterprise Linux or Oracle Enterprise Linux which are actually identical Linux distributions. Bearing in mind my previous point, I suggest examining Red Hat, Oracle and your hardware vendor (e.g. HP) maintenance models for Linux Red Hat and evaluate their support packages against your IT operational model.
To quickly summarize my points, make sure you tick the following things before deploying the first Linux production system:
– choose and evaluate the complete hardware + Linux platform
– get an official Linux support statement and the right OS vendor for you
– test your applications on that platform
– make sure you have good in-house Linux knowledge
– and finally, do not forget your main driving factor – costs savings..