Oracle extends management software into Linux space


Oracle Corp. is making further inroads into the Linux space, this time in providing management tools for the open-source operating system, after its surprise October announcement of full global support for the Red Hat Inc. Enterprise Linux distribution.

The Oracle Management Pack for Linux, which the database, middleware and applications vendor unveiled Monday, is part of the initiative it kicked off in October under the name Oracle Unbreakable Linux.

The Linux support program that Oracle has made available to both its user base and non-Oracle customers was widely read 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 rumored, some analysts saw support as preparing the way for such an offering and likely to result in further fragmentation of the operating system.

Currently, the enterprise Linux market leaders are Red Hat trailed by Novell Inc.’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’ve signed up for the Oracle Unbreakable Linux program. It’s difficult to gauge the success of the program 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, the vendor said.

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 the vendor has begun to extend its Enterprise Manager and Grid Control software via plug-ins to also handle third-party offerings. Last 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 program. Users can download the pack from Oracle’s Technology Network Web site.