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Main, Oracle, Software, TechnologyOracle Enterprise Linux Kernel

Ever since Oracle introduced its Unbreakable Linux support program in late 2006 there have been doubts about whether the company could continue to maintain compatibility with Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Doubts have increased recently following Red Hat’s decision to cut support for Xen in favour of the KVM virtualization technologies it acquired, while Oracle remains committed to Xen. While Oracle’s CEO Larry Ellison made no mention of this issue he effectively delivered Oracle’s answer to it as he announced the launch of Oracle’s Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel for Oracle Linux (formerly Oracle Enterprise Linux).

Oracle has announced the availability of the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel for Oracle Linux, a fast, modern, reliable kernel that is optimized for Oracle software and hardware. “Today’s hardware innovations are fast and frequent, making it very important that the Linux distributions evolve quickly to leverage the latest hardware,” said Wim Coekaerts, senior vice president of Linux and Virtualization Engineering at Oracle. The Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel has been developed by Oracle in relation to its Exadata and Exalogic integrated systems and is being positioned by Oracle as the recommended choice for all Oracle software.


The new Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel is the result of the combined efforts of Oracle’s Linux, database, middleware, and hardware engineering teams, and is inevitably the result of the development work Oracle has been doing optimising Linux on the Exadata and Exalogic machines, thus the Enterprise Kernel is:

  • Fast—More than 75 percent performance gain demonstrated in OLTP performance tests over a Red Hat Compatible Kernel; 200 percent speedup of Infiniband messaging; 137 percent faster solid state disk access
  • Modern—Provides optimizations for large NUMA servers; improved power management and energy efficiency; fine-grained CPU and memory resource control
  • Reliable—Supports the Data Integrity Extensions and T10 Protection Information Model, to stop corrupt data from being written to storage; hardware fault management improves application uptime; low overhead performance counters for tracing
  • Highly Optimized for Oracle—Built and tested to run Oracle hardware, databases, and middleware with the best Linux performance and reliability available

“With the combination of Oracle Linux and the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel, customers gain fast access to optimizations, new enhancements, and bug fixes,” says Coekaerts. “This new offering is a result of Oracle Linux kernel development efforts, on top of the current mainline kernel, and further distinguishes Oracle Linux as the best choice for enterprise customers.” The Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel is optimised for flash cache reads, Infiniband support, solid state disks and OLTP transactions, according to Ellison, who added that a new kernel was required not just to add Oracle’s additional functionality, but also because, he claimed, Red Hat is “slow to pick up community enhancements.”

Ellison maintained that Oracle will continue to support Red Hat compatibility, and Oracle Linux will continue to include Oracle’s “Red Hat Compatible Kernel” should customers require compatibility as it continues to include Oracle’s existing Red Hat Compatible Kernel. Customers can choose to run the Red Hat Compatible Kernel if they prefer strict Red Hat compatibility over a system optimized to run Oracle and other enterprise software. Existing Oracle Linux 5 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 customers can easily upgrade to the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel. No reinstall of the operating system is required. Third-party applications that run on RHEL 5 should run unchanged on Oracle Linux with the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel, while delivering significant performance and reliability improvements for end users.

Find more details in the Oracle Enterprise Linux Kernel press release and the following Live Webinar “Deep dive into Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel for Linux“. You can also read more details in Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel data sheet and learn more about Oracle Linux (Formerly Oracle Enterprise Linux)

The Download of Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel is freely available.

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