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Amazon.com Tests Oracle On Linux, But Windows Is Possible

Putting Linux to the Test

  • September 12, 2002
  • By Jacqueline Emigh

Amazon.com has begun testing the Oracle database, operating on Red Hat Linux, as a possible platform for its behemoth data center, a top official confirmed this week. The online bookseller, though, is not excluding Windows solutions from the running either, said Jacob Levanon, Ph.D., Amazon's director of systems engineering for REDIT.

"We've starting experimenting with Oracle on Red Hat. People from both [Amazon.com and Red Hat] are looking at it. We'd love to find out that it works very well, and we'd love to move our database to Red Hat," Levanon said in a recent interview with LinuxPlanet.

Levanon also said that this week that Amazon.com is eyeing the use of Oracle's 9iRac for building a clustered database on Linux.

In a presentation at Linux World Expo last month, Levanon and Michael Tiemann, Red Hat's chief technical officer, detailed an earlier port, in which the two companies ported Amazon.com's application and middle tiers from HP-UX to Linux.

During his speech, Levanon maintained that he and some other Linux advocates at Amazon.com initially wanted to "migrate the hell out of it--migrate everything" all at once. Amazon.com then decided, though, to do only "90 percent of the implementation"--everything but the data center--right away, to meet a company goal of boosting performance in time for the December, 2000 holiday season.

Also during the Linux World presentation, Tiemann noted that "Technologists are building failover (and) clusters." Red Hat will work with Amazon.com "however deeply they want to draw Linux into the data center," Tiemann told the attendees.

"We will look at clustering," Levanon affirmed this week. "That's a way to preserve high availability, and also to get scalability. Red Hat is working with Oracle on 9iRAC (Real Application Clusters)." PC hardware maker Dell Computers, a Red Hat partner, is one of Oracle's customers for database clustering on Linux.

Also at Linux World last month, Oracle Chairman and CEO Larry Ellison said that Oracle will soon release source code for a Linux edition of its Clustered File System, for administering data stored in 9iRAC. Ellison also pledged during his keynote that all of Oracle's midtier applications will run on Linux by the end of 2002.

Levanon has declined to give a timetable for Amazon's database migration. Amazon.com, though, is not precluding data center solutions based on other OS, including Windows, so long as they run on "smaller" and less costly servers, he said. Amazon.com's current HP-UX-based database operates on hardware from Hewlett-Packard.

"The 'common knowledge' is that you need very big hardware to support TP (transaction processing). We believe it is possible to use smaller hardware, and we're supporting vendors who are going that way," Levanon said during the interview.

When asked by LinuxPlanet whether Windows-based PC servers are also in the running, Levanon replied, "Potentially. We also look for the best tool for the task. That's how we picked Linux (for the earlier port), and that's how we picked Red Hat. We don't exclude any technology."

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