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.
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.
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 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.