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Oracle Autonomous Linux

Oracle Autonomous Linux – Human Error, Solved?

When it comes to catastrophic systems failure, attention immediately shifts to cybersecurity. A hacking is the sexiest of all possible causes – but probably not the most likely.

Instead, the most common problems are caused by human error. A poorly tested code upgrade, a missed software patch or even a basic mis-key, all have the potential to take operations off-line. And that risk increases as your network evolves.

Reducing human input is a sure-fire way to prevent many avoidable future IT outages. How often are system breaches as a result of inconsistent patching?

To help address the problem of human error, Oracle have introduced Autonomous Linux – here’s why you should consider it as part of your future OS strategy.

What’s so special about Oracle Autonomous Linux?

Along with a proven, reliable OS kernel, Oracle Autonomous Linux also includes a new OS Management Service. As the name implies, this new OS offers a high degree of autonomy to improve patch management.

In fact, Oracle Autonomous Linux is the world’s first (cloud-based) operating system that carries installs updates and patches automatically. Updates are installed daily, without requiring downtime – and there’s no human intervention required.

Allowing the OS to manage its own updates helps to solve two key administrative problems. First, your servers will audit patch status on their own, saving you the massive resource overheads of assessing an extensive on- and off-premises estate.

Second, manual patch management typically involves an extended change control process that delays application by weeks, expanding the window of opportunity for system compromise. Allowing the OS autonomous control of installation accelerates the process and lowers the cost of managing your systems.

By allowing the operating system to control patch management, servers experience less downtime, planned or unplanned. Oracle Autonomous Linux will also help to reduce chargeable spikes in your cloud billing because patches are applied to in-service servers. This is because you no longer need to rotate workloads while maintenance takes place. And of course, every time servers and processes are moved, you create potential for another human-error related system failure.

Operating system as a service

Moving to an autonomous operating system effectively replicates the “as a service” model. Oracle Autonomous Linux takes care of itself in much the same way as IaaS, PaaS and SaaS services do. Which means that your server management resources can be redeployed to focus on other projects that maximise the value of a reliable and secure platform that offers greater availability than a non-autonomous alternative.

In our previous blog we looked at why Oracle Database runs best on Oracle Linux. You can read this here.

Useful Links

White Paper: Why Oracle Database Runs Best on Oracle Linux

hybrid cloud computing

How Your Business Could Benefit from a Hybrid Cloud Approach

In the not-too-distant past, many firms proudly promoted their “cloud first” strategies. By moving infrastructure and applications to the cloud, these adventurous organisations hoped to increase operational flexibility (and reduce costs). Over time it has become apparent that some workloads are not currently suited to hosted platforms. Anything that is time sensitive (IoT and real time analytics) or exceptionally sensitive (personally identifiable information, intellectual property) may be more effective in the on-premise data centre. The hybrid cloud developed as a natural response to these different workloads – and has gone on to become the new norm for most organisations. This change in strategy is not necessarily a bad thing – there are definite benefits to the hybrid operating model according to research from the Aberdeen Group.

Improved application performance

Speed of IT is closely associated with speed of business, so any gain is important. 50% of hybrid cloud adopters report improved application performance.

Increased IT infrastructure agility

The ability to change operations and processes quickly is vital to competing with disruptive start-ups and shifting customer preferences. 43% of hybrid cloud users believe they have a data platform capable of supporting that change.

Genuine cost savings

Early cloud platforms promised enormous financial savings – but only if applications were re-engineered around the pay-as-you-use business model. By retaining control of some apps and data in house, 38% of hybrid cloud using companies have achieved an overall reduction of IT expenses.

Improved system reliability

In most cases, data availability is as important as speed. By moving to enterprise-class hybrid cloud platforms operated by data centre experts, adopters can reduce at least some of their on-premise footprint. The fewer “moving parts” they operate, the lower the risk of outage – as confirmed by 35% of users.

Building for the future

Once they have established some of their operations in the cloud, hybrid users have the option of increasing capacity and resources as and when required. And as other applications become cloud-enabled, they can migrate more of their workload off-site to compound the benefits and gains listed here.

Hybrid cloud doesn’t “just happen” though. You will need a proper cloud strategy, one that assesses current workload and identifies which assets are suitable for hosting in the cloud. Systems that remain on site will need at least some degree of reconfiguration for optimal performance and compatibility.

With the right technology platform and cloud partner, you can define a roadmap that offers maximum flexibility moving forwards. In return you can expect to reduce operating risk and increased control of your entire IT estate.

If you would like to learn more about hybrid cloud and exactly what it means for your business, please give us a call.

Useful Links

White Paper: IT Benefits from a Hybrid Cloud Approach Continue to Grow

Oracle Linux provides OS optimisation for Oracle Database

Oracle Linux – The Only OS Choice for Oracle Database

As we’ve discussed previously in our blog, running Oracle database applications on Oracle SPARC provides significant performance and stability benefits. But for organisations that rely on x86 servers performance gains need to be realised elsewhere, namely the operating system. Solaris is obviously one option, but Oracle also offer their own Oracle Linux distributions. Available in two kernel variants, Oracle Linux is specifically engineered for open cloud infrastructure in your on-premise data centre. And it has the advantage of being completely free to download, install and use.

Overcoming common OS problems with Oracle Linux

The Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK) variant is enterprise-focused, offering superior stability, scalability and performance with an emphasis on Oracle Database. However, UEK offers several other key benefits that make it a worthy alternative to Solaris.

Reducing downtime

Oracle Linux is a rock-solid, proven operating system suited to enterprise-class workloads. But thanks to the unique Ksplice Zero Downtime Updates technology, core OS components can be updated on live systems without rebooting. Ksplice ensures optimisations and security updates are applied quickly and effectively without affecting availability.

Optimised for Oracle

There are numerous workload optimisations available for Oracle Linux. Among the headline benefits is a potential 3.6x performance gain of SPECjbb by eliminating lock contention. The OS also automatically locates processes near its RAM for faster retrieval and execution, particularly for workloads that do not fit on a single NUMA node.

Enhanced security

The Ksplice engine ensures that kernel, hypervisor and user space libraries are kept patched and updated against security vulnerabilities. It will also audit your system to identify privilege escalation vulnerabilities that need to be addressed to prevent system compromise. In recognition of these capabilities, Oracle Linux has received Common Criteria (CC) certification and FIPS 140-2 validation for its cryptographic modules. Oracle Linux also features hardware accelerated memory encryption to prevent data loss or theft and to improve the overall security protections of the host system.

Scalable file systems

One of the few certainties in server architecture is that storage demands will continue to grow exponentially. Scalability of underlying file system will be vital to meeting future resource demands. The native XFS file system is not only fully scalable, but also offers ‘near native’ I/O performance. For mission critical real-time database operations, reducing latency is an operational priority.

Containerisation

Containerisation is an essential aspect of cloud-based operations, even in the local data centre. Oracle Linux supports both Docker and Kubernetes to maximise the potential of your hardware investments.

Completing the Oracle technology stack

Oracle Linux provides an important interface between database and bare metal. The UEK kernel can be used on a range of server architectures, including x86, SPARC and ARM to ensure peak performance and compatibility throughout the entire technology stack. Choosing any other OS will create a ‘gap’ in the stack, ensuring that your database never reaches its full potential.

To learn more about Oracle Linux and its role in your database strategy, please get in touch.

Useful Links

White Paper: Why Oracle Database Runs Best on Oracle Linux

Why Oracle SPARC for your Data Centre

Why Oracle SPARC still has a place in your data centre

Despite the general trend towards cloud computing, there will almost always be a need for onsite data storage and processing. Given that hardware ages at the same time as stakeholders become increasingly demanding, you will inevitably need to refresh your data centre hardware periodically.

So why should you choose Oralce SPARC systems instead of cheaper, generic servers?

A perfectly optimised technology stack

Oracle SPARC servers are admittedly not suitable (or necessary) for every IT environment. But when it comes to running Oracle databases, it would be a serious investment mistake not to choose SPARC.

Every SPARC system has been designed and optimised for Oracle workloads. The M7 processor has been tuned to handle transactional workloads and data analytic workloads simultaneously – in real-time – for maximum performance. In addition to superior speed, SPARC systems offer seamless security that protects the entire stack, from bare metal through OS and applications.

Meeting the challenge of legacy applications

For well-established businesses, legacy applications are essential to operations – otherwise, they would have been replaced. These applications pre-date the cloud and may rely on now-redundant technologies. To stay in operation may normally require a rebuilding infrastructure from scratch at a significant cost.

Oracle SPARC servers provide a platform capable of supporting legacy applications and delivers a much-needed performance/security boost. The performance gains are complemented by lower cost of deployment and an increase in overall security thanks to the close integration of hardware and software.

Easing your transition to the cloud

Even as you refresh your data centre, you will also be planning the future of your data operations. As mentioned earlier, the cloud will almost certainly factor in your strategy, so it makes sense to consider how to smooth the transition when you are ready to begin the migration.

The Oracle SPARC Cloud Service is built using the same technology as SPARC servers deployed in on-premise data centres. Which means that any systems you build now will be fully compatible with Oracle Cloud. Future migration projects will be both quicker and cheaper because code will not require significant re-engineering to take advantage of the hosted platform.

In fact, SPARC users can simply extend their environment into Oracle Cloud using the dedicated compute service that has been built for precisely this purpose.

Investing in on-premise SPARC servers is an investment in the future

With the prevalence of “cloud-first” strategies, it seems that the era of the on-premise data centre is in decline. But as demand for exceptional computing speed and real-time processing accelerates, your choice of local servers becomes even more important.

Thanks to the full-stack optimisation of SPARC servers and the seamless workload cloud transitioning functionality, investment in an Oracle environment will deliver more benefits for longer. If nothing else, your business buys time to solidify its future cloud strategy and enjoys superior performance and security in the interim.

To learn more about your SPARC server options SPARC and the advantages available to your business. If you are looking to define a long-term strategy for your SPARC enviroment our  latest infographic  looks at some of the opitons and questions you should be asking.

Oracle PCA

Oracle PCA – Beyond the Limitations of Hyper-converged Infrastructure

Regardless of industry, data is the lifeblood of strategic operations. The ability to access actionable insights from corporate information stores will be crucial to becoming a truly agile organisation that can face the challenges of the future.

To ensure that the on-premise data centre is both scalable and performant, CTOs have been choosing converged infrastructure. By unifying and commoditising hardware, they can accelerate installation as demand for capacity increases.

But for line of business applications where every millisecond matters, Converged Infrastructure (CI) and Hyper-converged Infrastructure (HCI) may not be the optimal choices.

The limitations of converged infrastructure

Converged Infrastructure changed the game for many CTOs by dramatically simplifying the process of specifying data centre hardware. Uniting various best-of-breed technologies under a common management interface, they know that each CI unit will “just work”.

However, CI is purely a platform on which to build virtual servers. Your teams will still need to install and configure operating systems, databases and software. And they will then be expected to support the various components that make up the CI stack.

Even if your business has the necessary skills and resources to manage the entire stack, the total cost of ownership of CI systems will be higher than expected.

The limitations of hyper-converged infrastructure

Still using components (networking, storage, processing etc) from different OEMs, Hyper-converged Infrastructure (HCI) systems have been designed from the outset for maximum interoperability and superior central management. As a result, HCI management is typically easier and cheaper, although the hardware costs a premium.

Despite this even tighter integration, the same fundamental problem is still present. As the name states, HCI begins and ends at the infrastructure layer. Your team still needs to complete the installation and configuration of the software and systems on which the business relies.

Physically adding capacity is easy – but preparing each unit for deployment is costly. As is the cost of ongoing management and administration. And without in-depth knowledge of the hyper-converged infrastructure components, can you be sure that the environment is fully optimised for your workloads?

The Oracle PCA difference

The Oracle Private Cloud Appliance (PCA), takes a different approach by integrating the entire technology stack into every unit. This ensures total integration between hardware and software for optimal performance.

PCA is also quicker and cheaper to deploy because there is no additional software installation or integration required. Dropping in new units to increase capacity is as simple as it sounds.

Oracle Private Cloud Appliance makes perfect sense for Oracle customers. The private cloud model has been pre-configured to deliver optimal Oracle Database performance out-of-the-box; immediately you benefit from improved data I/O. PCA is faster to deploy and more performant, so customers benefit from increased speed and efficiency at every point of the HCI lifecycle.

End to end control of the technology stack reduces your point of contact for vendor support to one – Oracle. Similarly, software patches and security updates cover the whole stack to ensure zero-downtime for maximum availability and minimum manual intervention.

Control the whole stack for optimal performance

HCI has simplified data centre expansion – in theory. In order to realise maximum benefits however, you need a solution that takes integration further than just the infrastructure layer, one that unifies the entire stack from bare metal to applications.

For Oracle customers the solution is clear. Oracle PCA fulfils the promise of HCI with the added benefit of complete control of the technology stack. Users can rapidly deploy cloud-like processing and storage functionality and benefit from reduced maintenance and support costs.

The performance advantages of an integrated technology optimised for their line-of-business applications and databases are already significant. But because Oracle PCA can be deployed and made operational more quickly, owners will simultaneously realise a greater return on investment and a reduced total cost of ownership.

If you want to learn more about Oracle PCA and how it could help your business meet the challenges of the digitally transformed future call us on 0121 486 1234 or email marketing@wtluk.com

Useful Links

ESG White Paper: Beyond the Limitations of HCI – Oracle Private Cloud Appliance X8

Staimer White Paper: Oracle PCA X8 Obsoletes Nutanix, Dell, Cisco, HPE, NetApp HCI & CI

Coalfire White Paper: Oracle Private Cloud Appliance and PCI Compliance – A Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) Perspective

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