Oracle: managing move into Linux space

After announcing cut-price Red Hat support in October, the database giant has made another open-source offering

Oracle is making further in-roads into the Linux space by providing management tools for the open-source operating system. This comes after its surprise announcement in October that it will provide full global support for the Red Hat Enterprise Linux distribution.

The Oracle Management Pack for Linux, unveiled earlier this month, is part of the initiative Oracle launched in October under the name Oracle Unbreakable Linux.

The Linux support programme which Oracle has made available to both its user base and non-Oracle customers was widely seen by industry observers as a direct attack on one of Red Hat’s key revenue streams. Although the move fell short of a full Oracle-branded version of Linux that had been widely rumoured, some analysts saw the support offering as preparing the way for an Oracle version of Linux and likely to result in further fragmentation of the Linux space.

Currently, the enterprise Linux market leaders are Red Hat and Novell’s Suse Linux, but there are also other distributions gaining appeal among developers, including Ubuntu, Debian and Mandriva.

The Linux management pack is based on Oracle’s Enterprise Manager 10g software and is aimed at customers who have signed up for the Oracle Unbreakable Linux programme. It’s difficult to gauge the success of the programme since Oracle has yet to provide figures on how many users have chosen it.

The pack provides Oracle users with tools to provision, patch, monitor and administer their Linux server deployments either in relation to the operating system alone or in the context of their applications, Oracle says.

The announcement of the Linux management pack is also a further indication of Oracle’s gradual expansion of its systems management software capabilities.

Historically, Oracle focused on providing tools to manage its own databases, applications and middleware, but more recently it has begun to extend its Enterprise Manager and Grid Control software via plug-ins to also handle third-party offerings. In July, an Oracle executive told financial analysts in Boston that the company may look to gain more systems and network management expertise through acquisitions.

The Oracle Management Pack for Linux is included free with both the basic and premier levels of the Unbreakable Linux programme.

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