Ellison: Linux/9i a Dream Team

Oracle's Larry Ellison extols the benefits of running mission-critical enterprise applications on Linux and Oracle's 9i database .

SAN FRANCISCO--Oracle Corp. Chairman and CEO Larry Ellison tried to woo the LinuxWorld crowd here Wednesday by extolling the benefits of running mission-critical enterprise applications on Linux and Oracles 9i database.

Ellison, in a keynote that concentrated on Oracles "unbreakable Linux" push launched in June, said the open-source operating system has become the cheapest, fastest and most reliable way for his customers to run Oracles database when combined with Oracles clustering technology called RAC (Real Application Clusters). Oracle previously has announced certifications for use of its 9i RAC on Red Hat Inc.s Linux Advanced Server and, Ellison said, has contributed to developing the OS kernel.

"It really is the right technology for the enterprise," Ellison said. "Not only is it the lowest cost, but its the most reliable systems you can buy, and its called Linux."

During LinuxWorld on Wednesday, Oracle announced that it will introduce its cluster file system for the Linux version of 9i RAC as open source software with a General Public License. A developers release became available this week for download on the Oracle Technology Network Web site (otn.oracle.com), and general availability will be within 60 days, officials have said.

"I dont think weve had a single new technology take off as rapidly as our clustering on top of Linux," Ellison said. "At least from an Oracle standpoint, it has really transformed our Linux business from selling to the existing Linux community to [where] were promoting Linux to our other users who are not using Linux now because we really think its the best system."

One goal for RAC on Linux is support for larger numbers of nodes, Ellison said when asked about the size of the Linux RAC implementations. Currently, implementations with eight or 16 nodes are where Oracle has the most experience with RAC, while 32 nodes and beyond users are in "unexplored territory," Ellison said. The design target is 64 nodes, he said.

"Theres no reason why when we get better and better at this you wont be able to, in the next year or so, have clusters of 32 nodes, 64 nodes or 128 nodes," Ellison said.

When asked about Linux on the desktop, Ellison said that the biggest impediment to that isnt the entrenchment of Microsoft Windows but of Microsoft Office. He said the biggest need is for an open-source response to Office that has enough capabilities and includes support for sharing files between environments.

The opportunity to take on Microsofts lead on the desktop, Ellison said, is ripe because Microsoft has upset so many users by changing its licensing for Office and raising prices.

"I would love to see a more concerted effort in addressing the Microsoft Office gap," he said.

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