Sunday, August 20, 2006

Ingres beats Oracle to Linux

Matt Marshall (no relation) of the San Jose Mercury News sounded the alarm this past week at Linuxworld, declaring that Oracle was going to ship their products pre-configured with a Linux operating system based on Red Hat's product. It seems that Matt's prognostications were a little premature. The biggest news on the floor actually came from an Oracle rival, when Ingres announced Project Icebreaker. It seems that while Larry Ellison has been talking about Linux, Ingres has been working on their own software appliance, which is currently in beta and will ship in a few months.

I fully expect Oracle, and almost every other software vendor for that matter, to eventually ship their products pre-configured with a Linux operating system. The benefits of the software appliance approach to both customers and the software vendors themselves are indisputable, and the open source license of Linux makes it a perfect OEM component for the software vendors. As virtualization becomes pervasive with Intel VT and AMD Pacifica, the argument for the standard, general purpose OS is going to get weaker and weaker.

Although I don't doubt that Oracle will someday embrace software appliances, I would be suprised to see them ship their products pre-bundled with the Red Hat distribution. Red Hat does a great deal of work to create and maintain a general purpose operating system. Because of the "one size fits all approach" of a general purpose operating system, an extraordinary number of patches and components are included in order to serve the broadest possible needs of the market. If Oracle chooses Red Hat Linux as the basis of their software appliances, then they will be forced to maintain a much larger footprint for Linux than their products actually require. For a company that seems obsessed with operating efficiency, adopting an inefficient approach to providing software appliances seems unintuitive.

I guess we will all wait with baited breath for the news from Oracle Openworld in October. . .


At 2:07 AM, Blogger EastCoastLisa said...

Billy, Oracle delivered its first database appliance(s) with version 8i in 2001.

I guess history has a way of repeating itself with Ingres possibly delivering one almost 6 years later!

At 6:59 PM, Blogger Billy Marshall said...

As I recall, it was called "Raw Iron," and it was based on Solaris. From what I know of Solaris, it is difficult to tailor to the unique requirements of an application because of its lack of robust packaging. Also, the hardware selection is a bit limiting due to the lack of drivers.

Note the title of my post. It was not about an appliance per se. It was about a Linux appliance.


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