OOW11: Best Session So Far

I’ve been a little slack getting my words down with respect to OpenWorld 2011 so far. There are many others faster at getting the news out as it breaks, so I won’t even try to cover the big announcements. You can find that elsewhere.

Without a doubt the session that got me most excited so far was “Overview: New Features in Oracle Linux 6”. I’m a DBA, but take a very keen interest in Linux. I’ve been choosing Oracle Enterprise Linux (note that it has actually been renamed as Oracle Linux now) as my OS of choice for pretty much everything I do in my personal lab environment, not just for database servers. This is something that a couple of my Linux geek friends have questioned. They have extolled the joys of Debian and criticised Oracle for being lazy with Linux – “Just taking Red Hat and re-branding it.” I really wished they’d been in this session. I came away with a very strong impression that Oracle really do care about Linux, they do invest in Linux and they have some very smart guys onboard who really know what they are doing. It’s hard for me to cover everything that was discussed during the session here, but here’s an attempt to summarise:

  1. Oracle Linux is not a desktop distribution – Obvious, but worth stating
  2. Focus is on the kernel – Hence Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel
  3. Aim to stay close to the mainline as possible – Aim to release around once a year
  4. 9 month grace before expecting the new kernel to be used
  5. Network optimisation such as receive packet steering (RPS) and transmit packet steering (XPS) sound very significant
  6. Oracle Linux 6.2 is beta now or very very soon – This is wrong (see comment from Lenz below)
  7. Transcendent Memory
  8. Btrfs – “Build around snapshots” (Chris Mason)
  9. Task Control Groups (Cgroups) – Offer fine grained control of resources and particularly useful for NUMA systems
  10. Linux Containers – Yes, that’s right
  11. Ksplice – Patch your kernel with zero downtime… Oh, and you can rollback with no downtime too

If you do nothing else after reading this post then checkout Ksplice! Read the official site and this on wikipedia

I should stress that there was the usual disclaimer about the information provided and there is always the possibility that I’ve misrepresented what was said, so do additional research before making big decisions based on the above.

Also mentioned was Open vSwitch which sounds like something I should look into.

While writing this I have been prompted to think about what matter to me with respect to Linux and I’ve concluded that exactly how much money (by paying kernel developers) Oracle have put into the Linux kernel is something that I don’t have the time or inclination to work out. What matters to me is that Linux is developing, Oracle are contributing and Oracle provide me with a completely free version that I can use in my lab for database servers and anything else I want to do.

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