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Oracle cozies up to IBM, adds Red Hat Enterprise Linux

So much for being 'Unbreakable' say developers

Oracle may offer its own Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) compatible operating system, but clearly not all public cloud developers are happy with the company's "Unbreakable" kernel and would prefer the real thing.

On Tuesday the two companies announced a joint agreement to offer RHEL and support as an image on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

Until recently Oracle Linux has been the only modern RHEL-compatible operating system available on the platform. Oracle does offer images for CentOS 6, 7, and 8, which up until the release of CentOS 9 was essentially a community supported build of the community operating system. But, with Red Hat's decision to transition CentOS to an upstream variant, many have migrated to alternatives like Rocky or Alma Linux which are based on RHEL's source code.

Oracle Linux is in a similar boat. The operating system is based on RHEL's source code, claims 100 percent compatibility with Red Hat's operating system, but is wrapped in Oracle's enterprise support package. This has caused some development problems.

The major difference between RHEL and Oracle Linux is the availability of a custom kernel based on a more modern Linux kernel with tweaks designed around datacenter specific features like InfiniBand networking.

RHEL, now in version 9, joins a rather small pool of certified operating systems available on OCI. In addition to older CentOS releases, Oracle also supports Ubuntu, Windows Server, and of course its in-house RHEL clone.

Curiously, Red Hat notes that customers will have the option of contracting with Oracle for support, though we strongly suspect Red Hat will still get its cut.

Oracle's decision to open OCI to Red Hat's influence appears to be centered around removing barriers to migration. RHEL is hugely popular in enterprise data centers, while Oracle Cloud on the other hand continues to lag behind rivals in the public cloud arena and in wooing coders.

During the company's second quarter 2023 earnings call in December, CEO Larry Ellison touted recent wins, which included the Tokyo Stock Exchange, FedEx, Deutsche Bank, and Vodafone.

However, Oracle's strategy as of late appears to be to play nice with its rivals. Prior to IBM's Red Hat, the fledgling cloud provider inked a partnership with Microsoft. The deal made it easier for Azure customers to connect their workloads back to databases running in Oracle Cloud. ®

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