Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel R5, update 2 plops from Oracle's Linux-shaped orifice

Bruce Willis thankfully not involved

Oracle has emitted an update for release 5 of its modestly named Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK) for Linux.

Update 2 is based on the aging 4.14.35 kernel and Big Red was pleased to note the release included support for 64-bit Arm (aarch64) architectures and tweaks to support libpcap-based packet capture in DTrace.

Upstream improvements from the 4.19 kernel aimed at virtualization have also been added, with KVM, Xen and Hyper-V all seeing changes. The kindly database giant reported that KVM had been given some major updates and security fixes, while Xen received fixes for the blkfront hotplug issue and the x86 guest clock scheduler.

Storage has also received a tickle, with upstream changes from 4.18 to 4.21 for NVMe backported to enable functions in the latest set of drivers for Broadcom/Emulex and QLogic kit. There are also updates in the SCSI layer to enable NVMe within the SCSI/FC transport class.

Oracle did, however, caution that support for NVM functionality is limited to the support provided by the hardware vendor.

Other notable changes include the implementation of the Pressure Stall Information (PSI) aimed at troubleshooting resource utilisation issues, and the ktask framework for parallelising CPU-intensive work by being smarter with regard to idle processors.

It being an updated kernel, there is a swathe of driver updates, and Oracle has enabled the Amazon Elastic Network Adapter driver as well as updating the Intel Ethernet Connection XL710 driver, i40e with a large number of upstream fixes. Avago and Broadcom/Emulex drivers have also received attention, although the Broadcom RoCE driver has been blacklisted due to several bugs that can cause a kernel panic.

The gang also noted that, although 64-bit Arm support was present, there remained a number of Arm features firmly in the "here be dragons" section of the release notes, with the likes of InfiniBand and FibreChannel hardware "currently not supported for Arm architecture using UEK R5". Secure Boot is right out.

More annoyingly on the Arm front, while CPU hotplug is available in QEMU, the aarch64 Linux kernel is, according to Oracle, not yet able to handle adding new virtual CPUs to a running VM.

The much-vaunted Red Hat Enterprise Linux compatibility means users can install UEK R5 U2 on Oracle Linux 7 (update 5 or later) running a Red Hat-compatible kernel. As for hardware, x86-64 or 64-bit Arm silicon will do the trick. x86 users need not apply. ®

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