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Oracle to Offer RedHat Support? 223

rs232 writes to tell us ITP is reporting that Oracle's Larry Ellison recently called Red Hat's ability to honor their support contracts effectively into question. Taking that claim one step further, Ellison claims that Oracle will soon start offering support for Red Hat Linux users. From the article: "The reason for this move, which Oracle executives later declined to provide any real detail on, is that Red Hat isn't doing a good enough job of providing that support itself, Ellison said. 'Red Hat is too small and does not do a very good job of supporting them [customers],' he said."
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Oracle to Offer RedHat Support?

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  • by rugged-laptop ( 987837 ) on Sunday July 09, 2006 @06:23PM (#15688125) Homepage
    (If this actually happens) This would be a very interesting turn of events. Oracle is widely credited as one of the reasons that Red Hat was able to break into the enterprise. If Oracle goes its own way, it will be interesting to see how Red Hat works through the challenge. On the other hand, supporting a full-fledged distribution is easier said than done.. May be Oracle is just posturing to get a better deal out of Red Hat.
    • by poofyhairguy82 ( 635386 ) on Monday July 10, 2006 @12:09AM (#15688951) Journal
      If you honestly think about it, this is great news for Redhat. I know that some investors are nervous that Oracle is now cutting into Redhat's core business, but what they give back is more than worth it.

      Oracle says they plan to support Redhat. Not SUSE. Not some Oracle distro. So that right there is a stamp of approval on the entire Redhat "platform" if you will. Now there will be less fear that Oracle might make another distro its favorite soon- they would not hire a bunch of people to support Redhat if they planned to move to SUSE next month. Also this gives the Redhat+Oracle platform something you can't get with Solaris+Oracle or Windows+Oracle- a one stop shop for support. Redhat will be the ONLY OS that Oracle can completely provide support for. That means as of now Redhat is the best platform for Oracle. Period.

      Oracle plans to support Redhat. Not CentOS or Fedora or some other free Redhat. That means if someone wants a solution for Oracle supported Redhat they still have to BUY Redhat's OS from the company. There might be some people (in fact I know one for sure) that might be holding out on switching to a Redhat Oracle solution (from a Solaris or Windows one) because they want support from a company far bigger than Redhat (like Sun and MS are). Now they have that. Plus I would not be surprised if many companies (do to ignorance, comfort, whatever) double dip- buy both Redhat and Oracle Redhat support. This can only grow Redhat's marketshare!

      Its a win-win for Redhat- there platform becomes more stable and accepted, they will maybe get more people to buy their OS (that would prefer Oracle support compared to support from an OS vender like Microsoft or Redhat) and they get tons of free press.

      I would be mad if I was at Novell or Sun today.

    • Oracle is doing this because Larry is pissy about RedHat buying JBoss, which Larry intended to buy and then put out of business.
  • by avilella ( 849332 ) on Sunday July 09, 2006 @06:30PM (#15688141) Homepage
    Because it means that Redhat is doing a good job and they need to grow to be able to satisfy more clients.
  • MySQL? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rugged-laptop ( 987837 ) on Sunday July 09, 2006 @06:33PM (#15688149) Homepage
    So, does this mean Oracle will support MySQL which is part of the Red Hat distribution?
    • Re:MySQL? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by aes12 ( 580531 )
      Doubtful... I'm sure the support agreement will only include those parts of the distribution which Oracle deems to be a requirement for Oracle's product. MySQL clearly doesn't fall into that category. My guess is that only a small subset of the full RedHat distro will be covered.
      • If you had an Oracle support contract, why would you be using MySQL?
        • If you had an Oracle support contract, why would you be using MySQL?

          Because not every data storage need requires a big RDBMS.

        • Umm? Because you want security updates? Maybe you want a nice cli interface? Maybe a good connection scheme with a lightweight protocol and lightweight binaries? Perhaps you like word free(No thanks, I don't want to have a $20000 bill when I reach my 4gb limit)?

          Maybe you want a good db that most applications have nice integration for?
      • i don't know about that. if a client has a system deployed which has components using both MySQL and Oracle it would make sense from a business standpoint not to shut down your business and wair for a rewrite to put it all into oracle

        especially if it is a combination of a centralized oracle database and a group of smaller decentralized MySQL databases which would be too expensive to license Oracle for each instance

        for example a hotel chain which does local room management and reservations on a custom mad
    • If your buying redhat support generically from oracle, yes it would.
    • The real question here is, to what extent would a rational organization look to Oracle for non Oracle-ralated RHEL support? Sure a handful of companies might, but the vast majority will continue to sign RedHat support contracts for all non-Oracle related system support needs.

      To put it another way, Oracle wants to see its Linux business grow, but recognizes that support is a significant pain point for its install base: If you want something done right...
  • by marcello_dl ( 667940 ) on Sunday July 09, 2006 @06:39PM (#15688161) Homepage Journal
    Ok Ellison is dissatisfied with red hat support. It would have been worse if actual OS users were. Like that other operating system's [] users sometimes are...
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 09, 2006 @07:27PM (#15688271)
      My organization is a customer of Redhat. We are *extremely* dissatisfied with Redhat's support. My support calls generally stay open for a minimum of two months, with some taking over a year. Their support is far worse than Microsoft's, and abyssmal in comparison to Sun's.

      About a year and a half ago we had a problem with nss_ldap. After waiting months for them to fix the problem, we looked through the source code, spotted and fixed the problem, and sent them the fix. After doing so we had to wait two more months for them to provide us with a supported hotfix. The package *still* isn't included in the RHEL4 disto.

      We had the same problem with RHEL3, but we hadn't actually run into it until recently. Not suprisingly, we were denied support for RHEL3 because it was going into maintanence mode two weeks after we notified them we were having the same problem with RHEL3.

      This is just *one* of the numerous support problems we've had. I could probably give three or four more example just like this one and we've only had Redhat support for 3 years...
    • I wonder if Ellison understands the industry or just makes stuff up as he goes along. CIO Insight Magazine [] named Red Hat #1 for offering value to its customers two years in a row. Oracle doesn't even seem to appear in the top 10.

      It'll be interesting to see how the market responds to such an offer.

    • by cloudmaster ( 10662 ) on Sunday July 09, 2006 @09:37PM (#15688554) Homepage Journal
      The only reason RedHat sells anything to "corporate" America is because they *offer* support. It's not because anyone actually uses it. The people making decisions at large companies (such as the Fortune 25 company I work for now, or the Fortune 50 semiconductor company I worked for before) want another company that says they'll support the product. Perhaps even one that will have meetings with them. They don't care if the support is ever actually used, and the admins actually working with the software know that nearly anything they try to *do* with the software will invalidate the support, but no one cares. It's just that empty promise and a big ad in a trade magazine. Somehow I doubt that Oracle will make things any better, except for supporting a couple more specific configurations/situations that probably no one will actually find themselves in. :)
      • Hardly the case. In my experience Redhat has always been OUTSTANDING about responding to bugs we find. You do actually get something out of their support if you need it.
        • I am convinced there is only a small handfull of engineers that can truely master the art of solving a linux kernel problem. And people that good generally don't work for support. If redhat can figure out how to simplify the kernel to the point where compiling is never needed, the unix market is theirs to take.

          • Strange, since I started using MEPIS I have not yet had to recompile a kernel. I recall having to do kernel recompiles all the time back in the days when I used RedHat (and then later Mandrake), just to get Linux to do anything.

            What, pray tell, requires all this recompiling of kernels on a modern Linux distro?
      • Oh, having a few hundred licenses of RedHat commercial support is in fact very helpful when you have issues that really require RedHat's expertise. Integrating kernel drivers for new hardware, or gettng a bugfix or feature support into the next official update from RedHat gets one heck of a lot more attention and speed from RedHat if you call them with your support contract number, and that's what you're paying them for. It's often much cheaper than hiring your own kernel geeks, especially in a setup with o
  • by Arimus ( 198136 ) on Sunday July 09, 2006 @06:39PM (#15688162)
    Given the effort required to be able to offer support on a third party distro I wonder if over time Oracle will come to the conclusion they can provide their own distro as easily as carry out support for distro over which they have no/limited control.

    Either that or will Oracle end up buying RH?

    • by Ctrl+Alt+De1337 ( 837964 ) on Sunday July 09, 2006 @07:03PM (#15688212) Homepage
      There has been a discussion [] partially about this before, and mentioned in the summary for that is about how Ellison has said does not intend to buy RedHat. As far as starting a distro, the consensus was that Oracle would be more likely to buy a distro that start one because it takes a long time to get a large and devoted community. Oracle certainly has the cash to do one, so don't rule it out, but it's probably not likely. Also, I think Ellison is too much of a control freak to support someone else's work for long if he doesn't have a say in it. I think he's probably got some backdoor channel with RedHat if he is going to support its products but not purchase the company.
      • by CurtMonash ( 986884 ) on Sunday July 09, 2006 @08:27PM (#15688385) Homepage
        There are at least two senses of "support" here, which are hand-holding and actual bugfix/upgrade code changing. Answering the phones is the easy one, although dismal performance by various cost-cutting, outsourcing big vendors can obscure that point.

        So the real question is indeed, as already noted in this thread, will Oracle code, package, and support a particular Linux distro? I think it has to go that way. Here are two reasons why.

        1. Enterprises use huge application-oriented technology stacks -- hardware, OS, DBMS, app server, OLTP apps, analytics, etc., etc. They increasingly resist paying "value prices" for all those layers. Thus, each vendor wants ITS tiers to be value-priced, while the other layers are commoditized, both to free up money for that vendor, and to generally undermine the other big companies. Sun likes giving away DBMS. SAP is pushing cheap DBMS. Microsoft introduced low-cost DBMS. And so Oracle needs to strike back by, for example, ensuring that the OS gets commoditized.

        2. Oracle code is what Scott McNealy would call "a big hairball". Customers need to be protected from the complexity. Integrating the DBMS and OS is a potential way to do that.
        • Integrating the DBMS and OS is a potential way to do that.

          What a fscking disaster that would be. As bad a MSFT integreating IE into Windows.

          • How much more integrated can it get, shy of running in kernel space? There's already an Oracle-specific file system [] which is used in RAC [] installs. It's the only filesystem of its kind which is in the main Linux kernel.

            I'm not really sure how much deeper it's likely to get.
            • How much more integrated can it get, shy of running in kernel space? There's already an Oracle-specific file system which is used in RAC installs. It's the only filesystem of its kind which is in the main Linux kernel.

              You mentioned it: run it kernel space. Or rely on system calls only available to Linux.

              Sure, Oracle wrote OCFS* (from knowledge they gained by purchasing DEC Rdb), but that does not mean that OCFS* can only be used by Oracle. It's a filesystem "just" like any other FS, in that /home, /var, e

              • Actually it wasn't DEC Rdb they got it from, it was the DLM (Distributed Lock Manager) code from Tru64 Alpha's TruCluster that some twit in Compaq sold them. Sometime round 1998 if I remember right. I worked for Compaq in the (ex-DEC) UK Unix Support Group at the time and remember being horrified when I found out. At the time Oracle relied heavily on the DLM + CFS (Cluster File System) in Tru64 Unix to be able to run multiple database instances for a single database on different systems (Oracle Parallel
                • Actually it wasn't DEC Rdb they got it from, it was the DLM (Distributed Lock Manager) code from Tru64 Alpha's TruCluster that some twit in Compaq sold them. Sometime round 1998 if I remember right.

                  Ah, you're right, I forgot all about that.

                  But wasn't TruCluster a reimplimentation of the VAXcluster layered product?

                  My worst fear was that they would take the DLM, built their own platform neutral CFS implementation, and Tru64's DLM + CFS would become irrelevant.

                  When a product like VAXclusters and DLM have been
                  • But wasn't TruCluster a reimplimentation of the VAXcluster layered product?

                    Yep. Though its not quite as good as the cluster filesystem on OpenVMS. Any cluster member can read files (of 64k or larger) direct from shared storage, but asynchronous writes are still funneled over the cluster interconnect to an AdvFS domain server. So its important for optimum performance (and to avoid flooding the Memory Channel interconnect) to align the server for a particular AdvFS domain with the cluster member doing t

        • This makes a lot of sense. I could see them using a stripped down version of Linux as a DBMS application server. It wouldn't be the first time it has been done. Think of the AS/400, and how widely it is still used to this day.
        • So the real question is indeed, as already noted in this thread, will Oracle code, package, and support a particular Linux distro? I think it has to go that way. Here are two reasons why.

          I think Oracle have to tread very carefully here. If they were to take a Linux distribution like Ubuntu or Debian (saves them having to buy a Linux vendor) strip it down and integrate it with their own software and sell it, then this would be a direct attack on the likes of Sun, IBM, HP, etc. Why would anyone need Solaris

      • I suppose it could buy novell. That might not be a bad fit actually.
  • by markir1 ( 905946 ) on Sunday July 09, 2006 @06:45PM (#15688180)
    This is really rather funny - Oracle's support is typically dreadful, so now they will further stretch their already thin support resources a little more to bring you even *less* support per dollar!
  • Small potatoes (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ivoras ( 455934 ) <ivoras @ f> on Sunday July 09, 2006 @06:47PM (#15688183) Homepage
    Red Hat is too small and does not do a very good job of supporting them [customers]
    What does this say about the largest and most successful Linux vendor out there? Only that in big business it's still a small fish.
    • Re:Small potatoes (Score:3, Informative)

      by schon ( 31600 )
      What does this say about the largest and most successful Linux vendor out there?

      It doesn't really say anything about it, [] why?
      • Re:Small potatoes (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ivoras ( 455934 ) <ivoras @ f> on Sunday July 09, 2006 @07:13PM (#15688237) Homepage
        Sorry, didn't know there's an "IBM Linux" :P

        Quote from IBM's site:

        Commercial distributions
        Commercial distributions of Linux are available from IBM Linux Distribution Partners Red Hat, SUSE LINUX and Turbolinux.

        Will the future of commercial Linux (i.e. the only one that counts) be that everyone has to support Linux in-house? Looking at the state of things today: more and more big corporations need to offer support for Linux themselves, instead of relying on what are supposed to be "Linux vendors". I'm not sure is this a good or bad thing, but it could lead to cutting out the middle man (e.g. RedHat) out of the loop and out of the market (thus costing geeks jobs, leading to more fragmentation, etc. etc.).

        It's different than with other commercial systems for sure: nobody expects they'd have to provide their own support for MS Windows or Solaris - it's supposed to "just work" and if something brakes, call Microsoft or Sun to fix it.

        One other thing: it could lead to a situation where there's a "Linux for everything" - in the sense that, if you want the best for your Oracle database, use this distribution, if you need it for SAP, use that one, etc. It's hard to predict how it will end, but it doesn't seem good.

        • If companies don't have to internally support Windows then what do you call having onsite certified techs?
        • Sorry, didn't know there's an "IBM Linux"

          There isn't - but please tell me how that has any impact on IBM being a Linux vendor.

          IBM is also a Windows vendor - but there's no "IBM Windows".

          In fact there are thousands of Windows vendors. [] Are you implying that each one of them has their own Windows distribution?
        • Well, quite possibly over the long term, there will be next to zero companies trying to sell "just an OS".

          Arguably, Novell is doing this now. Yes, you can buy "just SUSE", but it also comes sliced and diced and bundled as a component of other things. Open Enterprise Server; Groupwise with bundled OS license; Novell Linux Desktop: coporate polished, with bundled ZENWorks licenses, etc.
        • Have you ever administered a network running Microsoft everywhere? They don't exactly rush in like the Justice League to save the day. Nor do they answer the phone. They direct you at a giant difficult to search knowledgebase. So you just Google for the answer anyway and move on with your day.
  • Good! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LionKimbro ( 200000 ) on Sunday July 09, 2006 @06:49PM (#15688186) Homepage
    Wikipedia says [] Red Hat has 1,200-1,300 employees. Of those, I suspect a few hundred are going to support.

    Here's the rumor I've heard: (Can't name the source, sorry.)

    If a single mega-company were to migrate to Linux and rely on Red Hat for support, it would completely consume all of Red Hat's support resources, and then some. The rumor goes that this is one of the main problems with large companies that want to move to Linux: the support capacity simply isn't there.

    So, the reasoning goes, Red Hat is actually glad when projects like CentOS [] and Oracle support [] take off: Red Hat knows that it can't support everybody, it knows that it needs for it's platform to "win," it knows that there is incredible value in winning alone, and so: These developments are all good for Red Hat.

    After a little research, I find this article [] that supports what I've heard.

    A lot of us are thinking about these things in terms of home users. We don't give a damn for support- we just fix it ourselves, service it ourselves. It's part of owning a computer. But in the business, I understand they think about things differently: Support becomes a primary thing. It's not optional, even when you have internal IT people on staff.
    • Re:Good! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Sunday July 09, 2006 @06:54PM (#15688200) Homepage
      If a single mega-company were to migrate to Linux and rely on Red Hat for support...

      ...then Red Hat would ramp up its support staff pretty much overnight, or start subcontracting quickly to someone else. Someone like, oooh, IBM Global Services [] to take a not-so-random example.


      • Microsoft did this about 15 years ago (ish) in the UK. I was working at DEC's UK Customer support center at the time and MS outsourced much of their support to DEC because they just didn't have enough skilled people in-house to cover all the support calls they were getting.

      • Presumeably we're talking about quality support here, not phone monkeys to read out of a manual. Finding a large number of qualified support staff would be hard as the grandparent said.
      • A another poster has already said, finding good quality people simply isn't that easy. I know from personal experience the problems we've had finding even a small handful of people (half a dozen or so) to take on at the start of a new project when we don't have sufficient people in-house. Taking on hundreds of people at a time simply isn't doable if you care even slightly about quality.

        Apart from that, there's the logistics of the thing (HR are going to be *busy* churning out contracts, following up referen
      • Agreed. I've seen the deep concern on the RedHat salesperson's face when a several thousand system company speaks openly at its licensing discussion with RedHat about using CentOS instead, simply because managing the up2date licensing was considered too painful, and the client tried to get RedHat to drop their price by the time and resources wasted maintaining an internal yum repository by pulling and rebuilding it from the RedHat up2date download system. That actually led to a talk with the lawyers about t
    • Re:Good! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Burz ( 138833 )
      No, Red Hat seems more concerned with shoehornng everybody into their distro. So your point is well-taken.

      After all, who would WANT to support an "operating system" that may contain a near-infinite number of pieces depending on who you ask?

      This is a nasty Linux problem, not just a Red Hat issue: Lacking a clear and working definition of where the OS ends and where the 3rd-party stuff begins makes "Linux" much less supportable as a product.
      • Re:Good! (Score:5, Informative)

        by sparkz ( 146432 ) on Sunday July 09, 2006 @07:22PM (#15688257) Homepage
        RedHat (as with all distros) are very clear about what they do and do not support; they'll support unmodified binaries distributed by themselves on the (say) RHEL4 CDs; if you build your own kernel, you're on your own. If you build your own Apache and have trouble with it, you're on your own. Come to that, if you misconfigure Apache and have trouble with it, you're pretty much on your own. I have called RedHat support once, on behalf of a customer who had paid approx £3000 for support (three boxes, IIRC). The RHN download failed to authenticate to the MS IIS proxy server, even though the GUI clearly indicated that it should be able to. The RedHat zonk just said that it was a MS problem. The MS proxy server was working normally, as it had been doing for ages; the RedHat Network GUI had a "MS Proxy Server" option, which took authentication details, but then failed to work properly. (It was a few years ago, I forget the precise details). I found a small perl script on SourceForge which did the authentication for me, providing a "localhost proxy server" and was able to patch the newly installed server. As I spent most of my time working with Sun at the time, I was not at all impressed by the slippery-shoulder attitude; the staff just didn't have the in-depth knowledge of the OS, and (even more importantly) there wasn't the infrastructure in place to escalate to those who did know.
        • RedHat (as with all distros) are very clear about what they do and do not support; they'll support unmodified binaries distributed by themselves on the (say) RHEL4 CDs;

          I understand, but that is too much software to be handled as a single product IMO.

        • I was not at all impressed by the slippery-shoulder attitude

          Yeah, I encouraged a client to buy RHE when we upgraded the machine from Redhat Linux 9 to Redhat Enterprise 3. It was a standard Dell PowerEdge 2??? with a pair of firewire drives hanging off it for backup.

          After install, the backup disks were gone. Call to Redhat - "we don't support firewire." So, off to an 'unsupported' kernel, Redhat won't talk to us about the machine, we found some community scripts which made it work well enough, and basica
  • I have to agree... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mhazen ( 144368 ) on Sunday July 09, 2006 @06:54PM (#15688199) Homepage
    With Ellison... Red Hat is unfortunately not meeting the needs of its users. Although we agree, our reasoning is different.

    A significant part of my job is Linux sysadmin work, using licensed Red Hat Enterprise products. The tools are (for the most part) useful, reliable, and complete. The problem is, the enterprise distros are severely lacking in their packages and features.

    Recently, while building a distributed mail system (multiple servers in the mail chain, multidomain support and virtual mailboxes) on RHEL4,

    The recommended version for mail and database servers (Enterprise Server) does indeed have packages for Postfix (our preferred mail app) and MySQL available, but none of the Postfix packages have MySQL support enabled (Postfix has good MySQL support, including DB connection caching through a proxy interface). This effectively meant that none of the dozens of excellent mail administration tools out there would be available to us, and we couldn't put together a mail system that didn't rely on flat files in some fashion or another, without setting up parallel services (LDAP) solely to support mail services.

    I built the server once on Red Hat ES and when all was said and done, I ended up with seven major components having to be compiled either from source, or rebuilt RPMs with modified spec files and/or compile flags. This doesn't bother me, except for the fact that the whole reason my employer pays thousands upon thousands of dollars for an enterprise Linux was so that we could stick to standard packages, so that if a particular machine has issues, we don't have to rely on one person to know what's going on.

    I can't imagine we're the only paying client Red Hat has that wants to run a mail server that relies on a database server. It wouldn't chagrin me to change mail server or database packages (I've used most of the common ones), but looking deeper just led me to the realization that no matter which packages or paths I took, I'd still be stuck with the same issues.

    Until Red Hat gains better flexibility, timeliness, and awareness of their client needs, perhaps Ellison is on the ball with his visions of supporting the clients directly. I'm guessing he won't be supporting MySQL, though. And after rebuilding the server on Debian stable, with all features we desired being available in the core distro, we're happier.

    And I'm the only guy here who groks Debian well enough to run it, sigh.
    • The recommended version for mail and database servers (Enterprise Server) does indeed have packages for Postfix (our preferred mail app) and MySQL available, but none of the Postfix packages have MySQL support enabled (Postfix has good MySQL support, including DB connection caching through a proxy interface). This effectively meant that none of the dozens of excellent mail administration tools out there would be available to us...

      That is why we should not expect our OS vendor to supply, configure and debug

    • Have to agree with you on this one, though I went the other direction. Figured if I had to support 20 custom packages and deps myself I might as well install Gentoo and let the package manager do the work. Not what everyone might do, but it has worked well for me because I've been using Gentoo for fives years in production and know most of the tricks. Additionally my environment is a startup where being able to move very fast, ie upgrading for new features constantly, is required.

      And that kernelpanicked guy
    • Have you paid your MySQL license fees? Seriously, this is not a small legal problem for RedHat, and is a compelling reason to move to PostgreSQL. MySQL "basic" licenses, suitable for commercial uses such as you seem to describe here, are $600 each. If you're using the software commercially without paying the additional licensing fees, you may be in violation of their limited software agreement as included in basic RedHat installations.

      It's a problem for RedHat: they're big enough to be a lawsuit target if t
  • Too small? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fimbulvetr ( 598306 ) on Sunday July 09, 2006 @07:04PM (#15688217)
    Like big is good? I don't know how many employees Oracle has, but I can say this: The number of employees in a company is not related to how good the support and/or products are.

    Let me count the ways:

    I'd venture to guess more than 3/4 of its technical staff is dedicated to writing useless bug-ridden java guis (each requiring differing versions of java) with absolutely no interoperability between them. None of them can be scripted and they're all pieces of shit.

    And let's not start with sqlplus. You think they could just hire one guy who may be able to put some readline support in there so it could get with the times.

    Another good example is security. How many employees does oracle have dedicated to their security team? I'd venture to guess they have one monkey. Not even a person. Do I need to bring up the unpatched vulnerabilities that are hundreds of days old?

    Now how about bug fixing? Anyone ever upgrade a production Oracle instance? No? You know why? Because you fucking can't. You have to wait until the latest patch has at least 1 year of testing because upgrades, even minor bug fixes, break in spectacular ways. So, because noone installs them, there's never any testing.

    • Re:Too small? (Score:3, Informative)

      The surest way to perform non-patch release upgrades with Oracle is full export, install, full import. In place upgrades across major versions are inconsistent. Yeah, it's not the FASTEST way, but it's the best option, plus you get to compress extents, at least up until you get into the 300+ GB range. Once you reach that level, the downtime required just becomes too long. In place upgrades have to be practiced because the steps virtually always change between releases, it's clearly documented right there on
  • Huh? (Score:4, Informative)

    by kernelpanicked ( 882802 ) on Sunday July 09, 2006 @07:08PM (#15688226)
    "What Red Hat does is every time to fix a bug you have to upgrade the operating system. They dont support old versions but just bug fixes That is not proper enterprise support and I think our customers are demanding that and I think you will see that coming from us."

    I'm pretty sure this guy doesn't have a clue what he's talking about. Since RedHat soesn't change software versions after a release, but instead backports security and bugfixes to the released version, what older versions is he referring to?
    • Red Hat has committed to maintaining RHEL releases for (IIRC) 6-8 years now. During the first couple of years, this includes new hardware support and some new features; after that, a release goes to maintenance mode and only gets major bugfix and security updates. Compare that to Oracle, where security updates only come occasionally. We were told our 4 year old Oracle install was too old and that we had to upgrade to get support. Also, RHEL upgrades are (at least currently) essentially free. You pay fo
  • by ams001 ( 659997 ) on Sunday July 09, 2006 @07:40PM (#15688294) Homepage
    and anyone who says differently obviously has not tried using their support much. Red Hat readily admit to their customers (our company being one) that they do not have enough developers to provide support. I quote from one of our oustanding support requests:

    I have talked to our developers and Product Management the last days and unfortunately we currently couldn't allocate enough developer ressources to get this issue fixed.

    I will try to check when the currently estimated time for this fix is. -- Response of 18 Jan to support query filed 4 Aug 2005, still no engineer assigned...

    On average we get a 6 month delay before the report reaches an engineer, and when it does the first thing we get asked is if the problem is still occurring (read fixed this yourselves yet?). Don't get me wrong. I love Red Hat and the work it does. We took on RHEL V4 instead of FC for the core services of our company, primarily for the support aspect. Out of the several support requests filed we only have had prompt decent support for one of them - and that was only because their web support had gone down and they were taking phone support. It really makes me wonder what the benefit of RHEL is over FC if support is near non-existant. Or is some big corporate with RHEL rolled out across all its servers consuming all of Red Hat's support staff, denying the small fries any look in to support?

    No wonder Oracle are looking to move in

    • I've worked with "enterprise" software for the past 8 years. My experience is that no vendor fixes everything we consider broken, and the largest vendors fix the least for us. The best overall support we get is from a 3-5 person company supporting a custom application they wrote for us. As far as COTS software is concerned, we've been working with an "up and coming" vendor (living on VC cash) who has been pretty responsive. The two largest software companies in the world have been little help to us, in
    • RHEL is huge. Really, massively fucking huge.
      It encompasses about 4 times as much stuff as you'd see in a Solaris install, and it supports a much wider range of hardware.

      Red Hat should change their support contract structure.

      Tier 1: Security updates and access to beta patches

      Tier 2: Customer support for the following packages:
      * The Kernel (hardware/stability issues)
      * Bugs in RH-written tools (Anaconda, Kudzu, system-config-*, rhgb, etc.)
      * Bugs in RH-modified packages relating to basic system services (first
    • >> We took on RHEL V4 instead of FC for the core services of our company, primarily for the support aspect.

      Um... Use FC in a production environment?

      FC is designed to be cutting edge. If you want security you're going to have to upgrade often. Upgrading your kernel obviously means down time. Fedora kernels are riskier. Regressions can mean Mega Downtime.

      Sometimes the regressions are huge. For example, one kernel upgrade in FC4 made most SMP systems unbootable. Sometimes the bugs are subtle. Stoc
  • by soren42 ( 700305 ) * <.moc.yak-nos. .ta. .j.> on Sunday July 09, 2006 @07:54PM (#15688324) Homepage Journal
    While I completely agree with Ellison, insomuchas my enterprise-level experiences with Red Hat's support have been awful, there's another side to this coin. I don't think it's been any secret in the industry that Oracle has been displeased with Red Hat, and vice-versa, however, the outstanding question has been how they would proceed in addressing these concerns. Would they buy Red Hat? Partner more with Novell? Release their own Linux distro? Or, as this would seem to indicate, something else uniquely Oracle?

    The big question here is, in my opinion, what does this say about Novell and Oracle in the enterprise? It could be argued that Oracle had already invested so much time and effort into nuturing their product line on Red Hat that a move to SUSE would be cumbersome. But, still, I would argue that Oracle's better move would be to deepen the Novell relationship. Novell has shown a consistent committment to enterprise products, Oracle included - and has the track record of good enterprise support.

    Personally, I can only say that I believe a move like this on Oracle's part would only serve to strengthen the position of Linux in the enterprise. As I alluded to above, the largest hurdle Red Hat could not overcome in my enterprise was poor support - something Oracle could easily address. So, in the end, it's a win for the industry...

    But, why not just buy Red Hat? And, to my original question, how much does this hurt Novell?
    • I have seen this before while working for Oracle Support on the long forgotten CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) suite. This was initially hailed as the best of breed apps under the Oracle umbrella. Support for third party apps extended to logging the calls and passing directly to the relevant third party software support. However, after a year or two, Larry said how bad the idea was since Oracle is lumped with supporting all these apps for the third parties. And what actually happened to those third party apps
  • Redhate Enterprise support is aggressivly priced compared to other players in the enterprise (IBM(AIX), HP(HP-UX), Oracle, Microsoft, etc.). Staffing at most of these vendors can be split into sales, support, programming, r&d, and management. Redhat's income stream will dictate how fast they can grow and how many people they employ.

    The danger is to grow faster than your organization can absorb (so you don't have former janitors as VPs of development). If you do, quality and customer satisfaction will
  • by br00tus ( 528477 ) on Sunday July 09, 2006 @08:51PM (#15688448)
    I work as a UNIX sysadmin at a Fortune 1000 company. Our UNIX environment is Red Hat and Solaris. About a year ago, the idea came about to phase out Solaris, which by that time was only running Oracle, so we began beta-testing Oracle on Red Hat, and had it to the point where we had it in production for a little while. It was disastrous - we actually had to take our production database out of production and switch it to a Solaris box. This has really soured us on the idea of Oracle on Red Hat, and even if there were improvements in the last year, this would still weigh on our minds.

    I saw the tag "fud" for this article. Sorry, but this is not fud, it is the truth. You can give those standard Linux zealot lines about how if we had given more resources to it, had more, smarter sysadmins with better experience and so on and so forth that it would work. But the managers do not want to hear that, they are running a business, they are not in the Linux evangelism business. The reason they liked the idea of a switch is Red Hat on Intel is generally cheaper than Solaris on Sun boxes, and it would allow us to standardize on one UNIX platform. But there were just too many problems.

    I am a Linux zealot myself, at home I have a Debian with no non-free software, not even non-free Java. But business does not think about that. The Linux kernel core team (Torvalds, Morton etc.) seem to have the strategy of competing for the high-end market with Microsoft and Sun (and some IBM lines, although IBM stands to benefit from Linux in other of its product lines). This seems like a good strategy to me since the high-end market seems up-for-grabs nowadays. Business feeling comfortable with Oracle running on a business-friendly distribution like Red Hat is essential. There are plenty of SQL Server databases running on Windows in production in Fortune 500 companies, how many Oracle on Red Hat's are there? This is essential. The worst-case scenario is it is still not there yet, Sun collapses, and Microsoft swallows up the market.

    I am not just all talk - my home desktop is Debian with no non-free software. I evangelize Linux at work. I sent checks to the Free Software Foundation. I write GPL software. But this is not fud, this is reality that must be faced, and business feeling comfortable with Oracle on Red Hat is a must. Someone commented that Oracle support sucks and will they do better than Red Hat? Well, I don't know one way or the other as our DBA is who calls Oracle all the time. But this is important for Oracle, and Red Hat, and Linux and the whole free software community to get right.

    • Actually I call bull shit when I see it if you had problems with a oracle / redhat production database then you have a sysadmin problem without a doubt. I sysadmin a couple of oracle RAC clusters
      and since the day they where turned up the clusters we have never once had a single moment when the database has not been available.
      • Unless you were running AS 2.1 and got bit by the kswapd bug.

        Not that it happened to just Oracle but also DB2, Lotus Notes and I just heard from someone that they saw the same problem on a 2 way running WebLogic.

        Having said that, Redhat and IBM were very helpful in solving our problems regarding that bug. We don't pay for RHEL now unless its a box running a product that has a "supported configuration" mind you but Redhat has always been very good on the support side for us.
      • you have a sysadmin problem

        As I said in my post, I knew this was the type of answer I would receive. On some arcane level this may be true - if the company's aim was not maximizing dividends for shareholders, but getting Red Hat and Oracle to work together, and we were fully staffed with the best sysadmins and DBAs out of MIT, then yes, perhaps on that arcane level there is a "sysadmin problem" (what about DBAs?). Of course, none of this is the case, like most companies there is much more work then the

        • No what you are saying is exactly what I expected you or your sysadmins are more comfortable with solaris. It had nothing at all to do with the product or the operating system but everything to do with the person installing, tweaking and maintaining it. I don't really see as to how time has anything to do with it either since it takes less than two hours to install a box with oracle from ground zero. I have nothing but a high school diploma and lucky I even got that, you would think a
          smart MIT dude could ha
          • I was going to reply to the parent poster, until I saw this:

            I don't really see as to how time has anything to do with it either since it takes less than two hours to install a box with oracle from ground zero.

            This statement may be true for a single processor, light box, but if you are setting up Oracle 10g RAC, that's just not true. Just blindly reading instructions off a web page isn't going to get you very far.

            Add to the mix a SAN - where your data will most likely reside, proper drivers for your

    • I'm not a DBA by any stretch.
      Yet I've gotten Oracle 9i and 10g humming quite nicely on RHEL3 and 4 (WS mind you), Fedora, and SLES 8 (United Linux). On x86 and x86_64. 9iR2 on RHEL 3 was a bit of a pain in the ass on AMD64 during install time, but once you got over a few humps you didn't have to worry about it again.

      Solaris installs usually went smoother, but woe unto thee who neglected to install 32-bit userland packages on a 64-bit install. :-/ Excuse me for being picky about package selection!
  • It's taken as faith in the open source community that the "give the software away, charge for support" business model is viable, but why spend all this time developing an OS if anyone else can best your support offerings? Red Hat has wasted enourmous amounts of money on the kernel if any johnny-come-lately can best their support offerings and contribute nothing? What's the incentive to give away your code now?
    • Red Hat has wasted enourmous amounts of money on the kernel if any johnny-come-lately can best their support offerings and contribute nothing? What's the incentive to give away your code now?

      Go RTFA. It doesn't say "Oracle will support Fedora" or "Oracle will support CentOS." It says "Oracle will support Redhat." As in the Redhat OS that you have to pay to get a copy of. It seems even Ellison doesn't get it either. To quote the article:

      "We can just take Red Hat's intellectual property and make it ours, th

  • Here's the future of commercial software on Linux: all you will have to care about is the kernel version, if you are a commercial software vendor.


    Because you'll ship your own glibc with your product, and all other standard libraries, and whatever command line utilities your product uses in its start up scripts, including a bash shell. ls. chmod. I've already got a commercial product in production that is built this way, and includes those utils I mentioned. It also comes with its own perl 5.8, link
  • Larry ought to try submitting a few hundred metalink tickets before he decides to dis anyone else's support. Oracle support is the KING of the classic support shuffle:

    1) User submits ticket, giving detailed information of the exact module and section of code that is causing the problem.
    2) Support immediately responds with a canned message that says they are working on it.
    3) 24 hours go by with no further response, so user pings ticket.
    4) Support asks user to post a pile of log output, most of which can hav
  • by Builder ( 103701 ) on Monday July 10, 2006 @03:16AM (#15689496)
    Oracle starts offering Oracle support.

    We spend well north of 300k per year with Oracle, and I've been disgusted with the support we receive from them. Coming from a mysql / Postgresql background, I was expecting a lot more when I started working with and supporting Oracle systems, but Oracle's support staff are consistently hard to understand and not able to function when your problem falls outside their script. Escalation can be time consuming and even then you're not guaranteed a solution.

    If the answer isn't in metalink, you're in trouble.

    A couple of weeks ago we ran into a problem with a RAC cluster. After 3 hours of downtime, we logged a call with Veritas as Oracle were insisting that Veritas was the problem. I really wished we logged that call a LOT earlier... The guy at Veritas took about 2 minutes to explain which Oracle component was at fault and how to fix it.

    Having said that, Red Hat support is pretty appalling too. I've had some classic responses to support questions from them, including advice NOT to hotswap disks on an HP DL380 (despite it being designed for this).

    Mostly, I just dislike Red Hat lately because of their draconian licensing policies on some of their products... I can't even get eval versions of products that have my code in them :( So anything that forces them to compete and rethink their business approach is fine with me.
  • What DOES this mean? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ratboy666 ( 104074 ) <fred_weigel AT hotmail DOT com> on Monday July 10, 2006 @05:05AM (#15689755) Journal
    I just did a "quick" job.

    By quick, I mean two days billable.

    A client was demonstrating an application using Oracle running on EL3. Hardware platform was a SUN v40z, with 8GB of memory. The client had a "simple" problem -- the sysem was only using half of the available memory.

    Solution? Of course its obvious. Simply deploy the large memory kernel. But, they had three Oracle people on site, who were not familiar. The client had brought in someone else, who had no clue. I was happy, because I get to bill at emergency rates (a demo was scheduled for less than a week away). The client also wanted me to look at kernel tuning for Oracle.

    If Oracle starts providing this service, it will, of course, cut me out of the loop. But I don't think it can change right away. Oracle has to provide a lot of internal training first. I expect that there will be work "in them thar hills" for the next two years...


1 1 was a race-horse, 2 2 was 1 2. When 1 1 1 1 race, 2 2 1 1 2.