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

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.