Oracle's Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel 2 arrives with Linux 3.0 kernel, btrfs

Oracle's Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel 2 arrives with Linux 3.0 kernel, btrfs

Summary: Oracle today released its Enterprise Kernel Release 2 for Oracle Linux that features support for the mainline Linux 3 and btrfs and reportedly offers fastest performance on Intel systems. Linux Containers and DTrace are also offered as technology previews but not commercially supported


Oracle has officially released a new version of its Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel for Oracle Linux that incorporates the recently released Linux 3.0 kernel and btrfs file system.

Unbreakable Linux 2, the second major update of Oracle's Linux distribution since October of 2010, also features technical previews of Linux Containers and Sun-developed DTrace but those features are not yet commercially supported. Dtrace is a separate download.

Enterprise Kernel Release 2 is available to all Oracle Linux subscribers today and is included with Oracle Linux 5 and 6.

In a brief interview, Oracle execs said Btrfs, which is standard in Oracle Linux, supports data stores of up to 16 exabytes, is optimized for solid state disks, incorporates data integrity and is simple to administer.

Oracle's Sergio Leunissen, vice president, Linux product management & business development, said moving to the mainline kernel will extend to customers impressive performance and scalability enhancements as well as improved memory and resource management and virtualization capabilities.

"This version supports btrfs in fully production ready environments," Leunissen said, noting the importance of this in large storage systems. Oracle, of course, is a major database vendor and incorporates its own kernel in its Exalogic software as well as database appliance and big data appliances. "It's a much more modern file system than ext3 and ext4 ... it can manage very large storage systems and adapt to where the world is moving."

Enterprise Kernel 2 was tested on two-socket and Oracle's most powerful 8 socket systems and demonstrated an impressive 5 million transactions per minute on x86 systems, he said, claiming the performance is the best ever on Intel systems.

Oracle could not say when DTrace dynamic tracing capability and Linux Containers will move from tech preview to production mode. Oracle has been a longtime supporter of the Xen open source hypervisor and plans to have built-in virtualization with Linux Containers "sometime in the future."

"The Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel R2 kernel image, with full support for the Xen hypervisor included, can be used to run both in hardware virtualized and paravirtualized modes," according to a statement issued by the company today.

Oracle is trying to stay abreast of the two Linux distribution leaders as well as the most recent mainline Linux kernel releases.

SUSE recently announced a major upgrade of its distribution that incorporates the Linux kernel 3.0 with Linux Containers and btrfs support.

Additionally, Oracle recently announced its had extended enterprise support for its Oracle Linux to 10 years from 8 years, mimicing the same move by Red Hat recently.

Oracle first entered the Linux distribution market in 2006 with a Red hat compatible kernel. In 2010, the company released its own Enterprise Kernel Release 1 to complement its Red Hat compatible kernel.

Oracle also recently announced that it is making its acquired Ksplice technology available to Red Hat users on a free 30-day trial basis. Ksplice allows customers to update their Linux systems without rebooting.

Oracle purchased KSplice in July and announced commercial availability in September.

Topics: Oracle, Linux, Open Source, Operating Systems, Software

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  • Btrfs not out of the woods

    There isn't a production-ready fsck.btrfs utility yet.
    Dietrich T. Schmitz *Your
    • Btrfs file system check

      If you take a look at the Release Notes at you will see: "An updated version of btrfsck, a tool to check and repair a Btrfs file system, is now included in the btrfs-progs package. This new btrfsck now supports a --repair option that allows fixing errors in the extent allocation tree and block group accounting. btrfsck also provides the option --init-csum-tree which replaces the check-sum root with an empty one. This will clear out the CRCs but allows the file-system to be mounted with the mount option nodatasum."

      Also, if you use the "-o recovery" mount option, the file system will automatically attempt to mount a previous version of the file system, if the most recent tree root got corrupted. In many cases, you don't actually need to run fsck at all.
      Lenz Grimmer
  • Amazing!

    They have succeeded in delivering a next gen file system to the mass market before Microsoft could get theirs out the door. And it is complete with a fully functional fsck! There is simply no way that Oracle would release an enterprise product like this without a reliable fsck tool. Chris Mason and his team have been working their tails off to get the bugs out of BtrFS fsck in order for this event and the work is now complete! This has been an accelerated effort that will pay off big time for Oracle. When combined with Ksplice, a proprietary product which MS can't even come near, it makes Oracle Linux extremely attractive for enterprise customers. This also means that the completed BtrFS fsck should start moving into the kernel tree and gradually become available in other distros making BtrFS an attractive option for many of us.
    George Mitchell
    • A next gen file system to the mass market ?

      How much does it cost, and is it really "next gen"?
      William Farrel
      • Free

        The Linux kernel, along with Btrfs and it's new fsck utility, is all free - and yes, it really is "next gen".

        Now, I do believe you have to pay a license for Oracle Linux specifically, but Btrfs and Btrfsck will of course pop up in other linux distributions now - most of which are free.
    • Pooling, snapshots and checksums are not next gen

      And, no, there is nothing in Btfrs that does not already exists in the MS stack. Btrfs merely achieves parity and allows Linux the ability to abandon the legacy file systems that it has been hanging on to.

      Ksplice? What does Ksplice have to do with a file system. Ksplice is useful for monolithic kernels like Linux, but may not be appropriate for hybrid kernels like MacOS and Windows. That's like comparing a boat to a car.
      Your Non Advocate
      • You mean the 20+ year old NTFS stack?

        And since NTFS is just FAT32 with a journal, WTF are you talking about? Every modern Linux FS make NTFS look like the dinosaur it is.
      • NTFS is not current gen

        @anothercanuck is wrong, NTFS is not just Fat32 with a journal. It is a rather decently designed filesystem... But very dated anyway by today's standards.

        Btrfs brings TONS of things that NTFS can never have, though. Copy On Write snapshots, dynamic volume management, filesystem level RAID... NTFS is pathetic in comparison, and that's why Microsoft is having to create a new filesystem already (ReFS), and even that will only borrow some of the technology in Btrfs/ZFS - it won't have nearly as many features.

        This post was talking about the new Oracle, not just Btrfs. KSplice is now owned by Oracle, and so their mentioning of KSplice is perfectly valid for this article.

        Mac OS X and Windows having hybrid kernels doesn't mean very much, when you think about it. The kernel is only really responsible for a small portion of the functionality of an operating system, and you can use a hybrid kernel in a monolithic way, and a monolithic kernel as if it were a microkernel (sort of - some things you still couldn't do).

        You sound like someone who's just read a couple of portions of a couple of Wikipedia articles, enough to support only your side of an argument, and stopped doing any research right there.
  • Is this the same Unbreakable software

    that keeps getting broken? ;)
    William Farrel
    • So what experience do you have...

      ...with Oracle's Linux distro?

      Please elaborate!
      John L. Ries
      • Oracles claims about being "unbreakable" go back decades

        I remember Oracles unbreakable database encryption and other bold claims back in the 8 and 9 days. What happened, you ask? was broken.
        Your Non Advocate
      • Database encryption != Filesystem

        Oracle databases and Oracle Linux are two very different things. One is a relational database management system, and the other is an operating system based on RedHat Enterprise Linux.

        The difference between breaking encryption, and creating a filesystem, is the difference between 'does this carrot get smashed when I roll it over with a bike' and, 'does this 2-feet thick reinforced solid steel wall break if I throw a rock at it'.

        Yes, the carrot may survive the bike attack. But it probably won't survive several right after each other (many hackers working on encryption will eventually break almost any encryption scheme). At the same time, you may get a large enough rock to smash the metal wall, but if you're after breaking through the wall, you're best going with some other method.