Outrun Overview

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1 Purpose

Outrun is a toolset that runs on (and partly modifies some components of) CentOS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux or Oracle Enterprise Linux (versions 6.x).

It is bundled as a modified CentOS install image but can be applied to the other distributions as well. It is specially pre-configured for automatically deploying an Oracle Database on a Linux VM with minimal skills and effort required. It is intended to serve different purposes:

  • Training tool for people learning Oracle
  • Performance testing tool (using pre-configured test kits)
  • Deployment tool for staging VMware environments (Database-as-a-Service)

Outrun is packaged and compiled by Bart Sjerps (EMC) but is not EMC software. EMC provides no support on this tool.

2 Disclaimer

Outrun software

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

Note that Outrun currently is in Beta stage and not ready for production purposes - however, the design and architecture is targeted to eventually be used for production environments.

Wiki Articles

The opinions expressed here are my personal opinions. I am a blogger who works at DellEMC, not a DellEMC blogger. This is my wiki, and not DellEMC’s. Content published here is not read or approved in advance by DellEMC and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of DellEMC.

This wiki and the attached articlkes are provided “as is” without warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including, but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose.

All other thinkable disclaimers apply ;-)

3 Copyright

3.1 Overview

Outrun is based on mostly Open Source software (CentOS Linux) and is Open Source itself. As far as the author is aware, Outrun does not contain non-free, licensed or otherwise restricted software. If you think this is the case, let me know and I will fix this as soon as possible.

3.2 Linux

CentOS Linux is distributed under the GPL v2 license.

3.3 Outrun

Outrun custom components (scripts, config files, templates etc) are free software distributed under the GPL version 3 license with the exception of some software from 3rd parties for which other license policies may apply.

3.4 Oracle

Outrun requires Oracle Database software. Oracle Database is commercially licensed software from Oracle corp. and is not freely distributable, so it is not included in this distribution – it has to be downloaded from http://www.oracle.com separately or provided via other means. See the [Installing_Oracle] section for guidance on how to download.

3.5 3rd party

Some software is included that is Freeware but not Open Source or licensed as GPL. Most notable:

Oracle Logo font
The font used for the Outrun Logo (Violetta Troina Oracle I S I A Urbino 2002 2003)
Swingbench is freeware but does not contain copyright details. It is downloadable as a ZIP file. Because Outrun depends on RPM package management, I re-packaged Swingbench as RPM package without modification to the contents except placing them in the correct subdirectories.
SLOB is packaged and redistributed with Outrun under express, written permission by Kevin Closson. Visit http://kevinclosson.net/slob/ for more details.
SLOB is downloadable as tar file and requires building a few binary files. The SLOB RPM package in Outrun has pre-built binaries and also modified the install locations of files, but no modifications to the original contents.
IOrate is another freeware tool from an EMC colleague Vince Westin, including source code, but not listed as Open Source. Also included as freeware and re-packaged as RPM.
VMware tools
The official VMware tools are freely downloadable; however the copyright notice explicitly forbids re-distribution without permission. Outrun therefore uses open-vm-tools instead. However, you can remove the open-vm-tools and install the official VMware tools yourself if you like.

4 Background

Around may 2013, someone on the internal EMC “oracle community” maillist asked for a pre-configured VM template with Oracle pre-installed using ASM. A sort of challenge started who could provide the smallest-footprint VM image and people offered all kinds of tricks with compressed VMware VMDK files and other tweaks, but nobody achieved a distribution file smaller than 20GB or so.

Another problem is that a pre-configured VM image is pretty inflexible – you cannot change the database options or storage layout easily, for example. Or run it on a different Linux distribution or version.

Even more problematic is that such a VM image contains copyrighted (Oracle) software. Legally one could never offer such an image to customers without violating copyright regulations.

I decided to accept the challenge and created a modified CentOS distribution that initially contained a “magicinstall” script that (after installing Linux and mounting a separate DVD ISO with Oracle installation files) would allow you to only run the script and end up with a working Oracle + ASM environment in roughly 1-2 hours. The original reason for creating this was just to prove that it was possible (which turned out to be more work than I thought, considering Oracle's sensitivity for even the smallest problems). I named it “COCOA” (Compact Open CentOS Oracle Appliance).

Then I decided this would be a great training and testing tool – in my role I am involved in training Oracle “minors” (Presales engineers who get trained on Oracle integration) and so I decided to develop it further.

A next step in defining goals for the tool was the “cloudification” of Oracle environments, and EMC (with Cisco and VMware) offering pre-configured products (VCE Vblock) that would be great for running Oracle – but customers needed to figure out themselves how to set up Oracle with respect to data layout and best practices. I decided to add a feature that would allow PXE booting - so many VMs running databases could be deployed quickly, compliant with a certain storage profile and all best practices (without customers having to figure out all details themselves).

Also a new use case showed up: A testbed for performance testing on All-Flash Arrays (i.e. EMC XtremIO). So I included pre-configuration scripts to prepare VMs for high IOPS testing on Flash.

As the Linux distro was now way beyond what it was initially intended for, and the name did not cover the purpose any more, I decided to rename it into something different. The new name is “Outrun for Oracle” or shortly “Outrun” - inspired by the eighties racing game Out Run and the primary use case (performance testing).

From Webster's Online Dictionary - Outrun:

out·run verb \ˌau̇t-ˈrən\

to run or move faster than (someone or something)
to be or become more or greater than (something)

Happy racing !