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

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