Ellison offers full support service for Red Hat Linux at half the price

Ellison offers full support service for Red Hat Linux at half the price

Summary: After a ceremonial closing bell of NASDAQ by Oracle executives, fed live to NYC, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison took the stage and evangelized for Oracle's scale out grid computing strategy. PC servers if they fail in a grid, you just don't care...

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TOPICS: Open Source
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After a ceremonial closing bell of NASDAQ by Oracle executives, fed live to NYC, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison took the stage and evangelized for Oracle's scale out grid computing strategy. PC servers if they fail in a grid, you just don't care...you tolerate the failures," Ellison said.  

As he was going through the virtues of grids, he talked about choosing Linux over Windows for Oracle's grid initiative in 1998. The standards-based, open source platform allowed Oracle to add features in performance, reliability and security, Ellison said.

Now he is mentioning investments in Red Hat and VA Linux, and building a file system for Linux and open sourcing it and the "Unbreakable Linux" program instituted in 2002 in which Oracle takes responsibility for fixing priority one bugs in the Linux kernel, and open sources the fixes. He continues his tale of Linux and Oracle, citing dedicating engineering and support teams.

He listed key issues that are slowing the adoption of Linux and Oracle database grids running on Linux. Most glaring is true enterprise support, which is unavailable from Linux vendors. Bugs are not necessarily fixed in the versions companies are running, but fixed in future versions, Ellison said. To get the fix you have to upgrade, which Ellison said isn't acceptable to Oracle's large customers. In addition, Ellison cited expensive support from leading Linux vendor ($1499 per year for a 2 processor server, he said) and concerns about intellectual property indemnification.

As of this moment Ellison announced full support for Red Hat Linux. "If you are a Red Hat Linux support customer, you now have a choice. You can easily switch from Red Hat to Oracle support, and we will back port your bug fixes, indemnify you from intellectual property problems, and charge way less than half what Red Hat charges," Ellison said.

"We are not trying to differentiate ourselves from the Red Hat code. We will synchronize our system with Red Hat releases," Ellison added. "We are not trying to fragment the Linux market."

Oracle is taking Red Hat code, taking out trademarked material, putting in bug fixes and compiling it for customers for whatever version they have. Oracle created an Unbreakable Linux Network and customers can receive software updates incrementally.  Red Hat customers don't need to remove anything from their servers if they bind to the Oracle Linux Network, which takes about 90 seconds.

The benefits of Red Hat open source code has spawned a serious competitor to its business.

The goal is to enhance and speed the adoption of Linux and make it mission critical in the datacenter. For big enterprises, Ellison said. Oracle's premier level support (ranging from $1199 to $1999) for a two processor server is not available from Red Hat. 


For next 90 days Oracle is offering 50 percent off list pricing (until January 31, 2007). It will be interesting to see how Red Hat and Oracle get along going forward, given that Oracle is focused on soaking up Red Hat's support revenue stream and at the same time has standardized on its Linux distribution. I guess Ellison didn't see much point in acquiring Red Hat...and now he has a complete stack from bottom to top.

"I don't think Red Hat is going to be killed. We have lowered prices and perhaps they will respond by lowering prices. This is capitalism. We are on the side of pushing open standards in software and Linux is an important part of the that movement. It is strategically important for us and our customer and that open standards wins in the enterprise. this isn't about Red Hat, it's about increasing the adoption of Linux in the datacenter," Ellison said during a Q&A after the announcement.

Ellison was also asked about software as a service. He said Oracles SaaS business was the same size as salesforce.com's. "We think its very important, but don't think its black and white, and people will get all software as a service," Ellison said.

Topic: Open Source

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13 comments
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  • Service at 1/2 the price

    Yes, the world of open-source they can do it cheaper this is sure to hurt RedHat overall in the market...

    I will be surprised to see how RedHat competes in this market now since their support is more expensive and Oracle can do it at 1/2 the price.
    Linux User 1
    • Goes both ways

      RHEL will benefit from the Oracle patches to its codebase, an
      opportunity to reduce RH costs and provide a similar service to
      Oracle.

      Of course this will also be usable by CentOS and their user
      community.

      So ends another lesson in the benefits of Open Source.
      Richard Flude
      • Less money coming in

        This is going to cause a problem for earnings for Redhat if they lose customers to Oracle for support.

        I can see benefits for the CentOS community but less for RedHat overall since this is taking away their money for services.

        ]:)
        Linux User 1
        • Why?

          "I can see benefits for the CentOS community but less for RedHat
          overall since this is taking away their money for services."

          It might take money away from RH, but it might reduce their
          costs as well.

          With the lower cost and improved codebase it might be that RH
          can grow other markets faster.

          Open source is not a zero sum game!
          Richard Flude
  • Way to hurt Redhat

    "Ellison added. 'We are not trying to fragment the Linux market.'"

    True, but it goes after Red Hat's bread and butter.
    georgeou
    • Point taken and money lost

      Yes, it will be hard to generate money when there are multiple service providers that are cheaper with more options.


      Very interesting.
      Linux User 1
    • Way to make an ass of yourself.

      You somehow forget that this will grow the number of people on RedHat, add one big time company helping make this the best distribution on the planet, and, that the cost of the support is a small fraction of the total cost of running a server. People happy with RedHat will stay with RedHat.

      About the only people buying Oracle support will be running Oracle's database.

      This is bad news only for SUSE, but even then, this is just in general good for Linux to have a big player like Oracle involved in making even more solid. A rising tide lifts all boats.
      DonnieBoy
  • Use the RedHat for....

    begging for money when you are on the street trying to find a job after Oracle takes over RedHat support.....


    ]:)
    Linux User 1
    • There will be no mass migration to Oracle. People trust RedHat to be in

      this for ever, and to do the right thing for open source. People that are happy with RedHat will stick with RedHat as the cost of support is a small fraction of the total cost of running a server.

      That said, RedHat does need to start lowering support costs as volume goes up. This will hasten that move.
      DonnieBoy
      • Those who dont learn from history ......

        Redhat left alot of people hanging between their Enterprise Only kick and Fedora.

        The only reason I use them is because programs like vericept [b]REQUIRE[/b] Redhat. I would be much happier running it on something with a much less restrictive license like FreeBSD or even Gentoo.
        Suicida|
  • Wonderful News

    This is great news. Oracle are basically saying that Vista will be rubbish we must get into the Linux game (linux is unbreakable). This also says to all Linux customers that if you don't like the support service you currently get you can change supplier - no lock-in - wow!
    LarsD
  • Wonderful, hope they've learned what NIS is by now.

    We had oracle support years ago, and when we tried to explain that we needed the oracle default account in NIS, they had no clue what NIS was. This was the supposed oracle Unix support engineer, and it had been elavated. Not very impressed with their ability to support anything but their actual product, so how are they going to offer support for the O/S ?
    rick.matlak@...
  • Why not support for Microsoft?

    Why can't Oracle offer Microsoft support at half the price?
    Because it's a closed source!
    Divide And Conquer Yourself, Oracle.
    erykwol