SAN FRANCISCO—While it remains one of the top providers of proprietary database and applications software in the world, Oracle this week made several moves to demonstrate that it is a major player in the Linux and open-source market.
The company announced at LinuxWorld here that it was releasing OCFS 2 (the Oracle Cluster File System Release 2) as an open-source component that will become a standard component of Novell Inc.s SuSE Linux Enterprise Server.
Oracle Corp. developed the file system at a time when “there wasnt a cheap or free file system” for Linux, said Wim Coekaerts, Oracles director of Linux engineering.
OCFS 2 is designed to allow all nodes in a cluster of Linux computers to access the file system concurrently, which greatly simplifies running a relational database on computer clusters, according to Oracle officials.
OCFS 2 simplifies database administration by eliminating the need to set up raw disk devices.
The new release is also designed to be a more general-purpose file system that can be used for other applications besides databases, officials said. When Oracle released OCFS 1 it was aimed mainly at making it easier to manage data storage. However, Oracle now recommends that customers use Oracle Automatic Storage Management for that purpose and OCFS Release 2 to access application binaries, officials said.
Before the release of OCFS 2, database administrators had to install administrative software, such as storage management software, on each node of a cluster. This can be a time-consuming process when a cluster can contain 16 or more notes, Oracle officials said. With OCFS, administrators only have to install the software on one node, where it can be shared by all the other nodes.
Oracle is now working with the Linux community to get the file system accepted as part of the Linux 2.6 kernel, Coekaerts said.
Currently OCFS is available as a free download from the Oracle Technology Network. Tens of thousands of copies have been downloaded from the OTN Web site since Oracle started shipping it, Oracle officials said.
Once it is reviewed and accepted by the Linux community, it will be combined with the Linux 2.6 kernel so it can become part of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 as well as Novell SuSE Linux, Coekaerts said.
Novell also intends to ship it with its SuSE Linux Enterprise 9 Service Pack 2 that was shipped last month, according to Coekaerts.
As proof that Linux is a significant new market for Oracle, the company reported that more than 1,500 ISVs are running Oracle software on Linux to deliver a wide range of business applications.
Some of the more prominent names on that list include Cisco Systems Inc., McKesson Corp., BusinessObjects Inc., Agilent Technologies and Microstrategy Inc.
Oracle is assisting ISVs with the Linux Business Development Initiative, which provides assistance with application porting, best practices, training and marketing to speed the introduction of new Linux applications, Coekaerts said.
In his keynote address at LinuxWorld, Oracle President Charles Phillips cited a Gartner Inc. report on relational database system market growth for 2004 which states that Oracle now holds an 81 percent share of the market while IBM holds a 17 percent share.
Furthermore, the Gartner report says Linux has become the fastest growing platform for new database deployments, with 118 percent growth in 2004.
Oracle is running its own data center and its On-Demand IT servers on Linux, using 64-bit x86 servers from Sun Microsystems Inc. and based on Advanced Micro Devices Inc. CPUs. These systems are running Novell Inc.s SuSE Linux Enterprise Server.
Some of the companies that are using Oracles E-Business Suite On-Demand and Oracle Technology On-Demand include major corporate customers as Thermos LLC, Tropicana Products Inc. and Unocal Corp.