To lower support costs and make customers feel more comfortable with open-source software, Oracle announced a new program Monday to let its users know which Linux system configurations the vendor has pretested.
Oracle's Validated Configurations program covers software, hardware, storage and networking stacks for running Linux.
Customers can download a short document containing a list of the system configurations Oracle has pretested along with documented best practices from the Oracle Technology Network.
The idea is to help customers speed up the deployment of Linux systems, said Wim Coekaerts, director of Linux engineering at Oracle. If the program is successful, it should also drive down support costs for Oracle. "Very often customers call us with problems caused by misconfigurations," he said.
Coekaerts stressed that the Validated Configurations program should be seen as providing recommendations to Oracle customers, not laying down the law on what systems they should deploy.
Oracle worked on the configurations with partners including the two leading Linux distribution players, Novell and Red Hat, chip makers Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Intel as well as computer and storage vendors Dell, EMC, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Network Appliance and Sun Microsystems. Oracle made its validation test kit available to the companies so they could test and publish the vendor's validated configurations. Oracle may also look to share some of its system tests with its customers, Coekaerts said.
Oracle and its partners plan to issue new configurations and update existing configurations as new releases of specific components appear.
The database and applications vendor had its first database running on Linux in 1998 and begun offering full support for the operating system in June 2002. Linux is set to overtake Sun's Solaris operating system next year as the leading platform for Oracle database users, according to a recent survey of members of the Independent Oracle Users Group (IOUG).
In April, Oracle Chief Executive Officer Larry Ellison caused a stir with public comments suggesting that Oracle might offer its own Linux distribution. Coekaerts said some Oracle customers have quizzed him about that possibility. His take is that there are already a large number of Linux distributions in the market so adding another one might not be a good or helpful move for Oracle or its customers. "It's business as usual," he said. "We're focused on our partners Red Hat and Novell."
While the configuration program's partners so far are large global vendors, Oracle is looking at working with more local players in Asia, Coekaerts said.
As well as Red Hat and Novell's Suse, Oracle also supports the Asianux Linux distribution.
Currently, Oracle doesn't certify the Ubuntu Linux distribution since it's seeing little demand for such support among its enterprise users, Coekaerts said. "If that were to change, we'd definitely consider supporting Ubuntu, we're really market driven," he added.