Oracle Linux and Virtualization

Hardware Certification Program

April 2020
Server Hardware Certification
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Contents

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  1. What is the purpose of the Oracle Linux and Virtualization Server Hardware Certification Program?

    The Oracle Linux and Virtualization Server Hardware Certification Program enables established hardware partners, which are generally Independent Hardware Vendors (IHVs) and resellers with OPN Gold membership, to qualify their hardware using Oracle supplied qualification test kits; IHVs certify servers on Oracle Linux with the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK) or Oracle VM software, and they certify storage systems with Oracle VM. The output of this program is the Hardware Compatibility List (HCL), which documents server compatibility with Oracle Linux with UEK and Oracle VM, and storage compatibility with Oracle VM.

    Through this qualification, Oracle and its hardware partners are able to:

    • Jointly market the specifications of the target hardware for the benefit of their customers, and
    • Ensure that Oracle and the hardware partners are equipped to provide collaborative support to customers running Oracle Linux with UEK and Oracle VM.

    Under certain circumstances, customers may also participate in the certification program.

    Please see the Storage HCL FAQ for information about certifying storage systems with Oracle VM.

    Please see the Hypervisor HCL FAQ for information about guest certifications virtualized environments.

  2. Do I have to be a part of Oracle Partner Network (OPN) to certify my server on Oracle Linux and Oracle VM?

    An IHV participating in the Hardware Certification Program must be an established hardware partner having a collaborative support agreement with Oracle. The most comprehensive partnership is achieved by joining OPN at the Gold level or higher. This includes joint marketing activities and participation in the Oracle Collaborative Vendor Support Program (OCVS). An IHV can also establish a collaborative support agreement with Oracle through TSANet. In many cases our larger partners belong to both. If you would like to become an OPN member, please contact us at hcl-info_ww@oracle.com.

    Resellers and customers that wish to participate in the Oracle Linux and Virtualization Server Hardware Certification Program, but who are not members of OPN or TSANet, must be sponsored by an Oracle Linux or Oracle VM Sales Representative.

  3. As a reseller or customer without OPN or TSANet membership, how does my participation in the program differ?

    Using the Oracle supplied server certification test kit, resellers and customers test the hardware on which they plan to run Oracle Linux with UEK or Oracle VM environments in the same manner as the OPN hardware partners. However, there are two important distinctions:

    • Program participation must be sponsored by your Oracle Linux or Oracle VM Sales Representative, and
    • The way support is delivered for Oracle Linux and Oracle VM on that hardware stack will vary depending upon the involvement of the hardware vendor in the certification process.
      • If a reseller or customer performs the certification test in cooperation with their hardware vendor, and the hardware vendor has an established partnership with Oracle and approves, the resulting certification will benefit from all of the program features including optimized joint support from Oracle and the IHV.
      • If a reseller or customer performs the certification test without cooperation from their hardware vendor, or if the hardware vendor does not have an established partnership with Oracle, the certification will still be published in the HCL and Oracle Linux and Oracle VM will be fully supported on that hardware by Oracle. However, customers deploying Oracle Linux or Oracle VM on this certified hardware will not have the benefit of a joint support relationship between Oracle and the hardware vendor, and the hardware vendor may not consider this a supported environment.
  4. Does Oracle provide the certification tools? What will I need?

    Oracle provides test kits that are downloaded by the program participant and run on their server. At this time Oracle has two test kits: one for certifying Oracle Linux (which includes Oracle Linux KVM) and Oracle VM on a server, and one for certifying Oracle VM with a storage system.

    Your hardware requirements will vary depending on the features of the server you are certifying, but the requirements are minimal. Oracle will provide hardware requirements after you engage with the program team (contact information included below).

  5. How does the Oracle Linux and Virtualization Server Hardware Certification Program differ from Oracle Validated Configuration? Does one supersede the other or is one a prerequisite for the other?

    The Hardware Certification Program and the Oracle Validated Configuration Program are two different programs that target two different customer needs:

    • The Hardware Certification Program allows IHVs, resellers and customers to certify their hardware with Oracle Linux and Oracle VM, the output of which is an HCL entry. This HCL entry qualifies the hardware for full Oracle support, and in most cases enables streamlined collaborative support from Oracle and the IHV.
    • The Oracle Validated Configuration Program offers customers free, pre-tested validated system stacks and documented best practices on complete system stacks including hardware, operating system, virtualization software and Oracle Database. Validated configurations are useful for customers who are looking for guidance to shorten the deployment phase of an enterprise-ready Oracle Database and Oracle Linux environment. Servers that are tested and documented in the Validated Configurations Program are automatically reflected on the Oracle Linux and Oracle VM HCL.
  6. What is the difference between a "Certified for Joint Support" HCL status and a "Certified for Oracle Support" HCL status?

    Certified for Joint Support: Oracle Linux or Oracle VM was rigorously tested on the hardware or hypervisor (referred to as platform) with the participation and/or approval of the platform partner, and both Oracle and the partner fully support the environment. Customers deploying Oracle Linux or Oracle VM on this platform benefit from streamlined joint support. If a customer encounters any problem with Oracle Linux or Oracle VM that involves the underlying platform, the customer will open a service request with Oracle Support. Oracle Support will engage the partner if necessary, and seamlessly manage a joint resolution. For support on Oracle platforms, no third-party vendors are involved in the support process. These configurations are fully supported by Oracle.

    Certified for Oracle Support: Oracle Linux or Oracle VM was rigorously tested with the same standards as Certified for Joint Support and Oracle fully supports Oracle Linux and Oracle VM on this platform, however a collaborative support program is not in place with the partner for this platform, and the partner may not consider this a supported environment. Oracle provides support for Oracle Linux and Oracle VM, but a resolution to issues related to underlying platform drivers or other platform-specific issues cannot be guaranteed.

  7. Can customers get support for a system that is not on the server certification list?

    The Hardware Certification List (HCL) is always expanding. If the desired server meets the minimum requirements for the Oracle Linux or Oracle VM release you are running but the server is not listed on the HCL, Oracle will accept severity 2 or lower service requests (SR), but a resolution to hardware driver or other hardware-specific issues cannot be guaranteed. SR work will continue normally, unless or until it is determined that resolution of the issue depends on a driver patch, a new driver from the hardware partner, full certification of the server by the hardware partner, or other software enhancements.

    If the resolution depends on a patch to a driver, Support will open an enhancement request with development to identify and deliver a patch if feasible. If a full server certification or a new driver is required from the hardware partner, the hardware partner will be engaged; the SR will be closed and a severity 2 enhancement request will be opened to track progress with the hardware partner. In either case, a resolution is not guaranteed and may take several weeks or longer.

  8. For servers on the HCL, does certification apply to all components available on that server?

    For servers or storage already on the certified list, requests to support a specific component or peripheral (such as a specific NIC or CNA) that was not included with the initial certification will be evaluated by development as an enhancement requests. Resolution is not guaranteed and may take several weeks or longer.

  9. I understand that Oracle Linux comes packaged with two kernels— the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel, and the Red Hat compatible kernel. Which kernel should I choose to certify my server?

    The goal of The Oracle Linux and Virtualization Server Hardware Certification Program is to certify servers with UEK. Therefore, all certification testing is performed using UEK.

    Certification of Oracle Linux with the RHEL-compatible kernel is never necessary because it is completely binary compatible with the equivalent kernel from Red Hat Enterprise Linux. For example, a system certified with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 is also certified with Oracle Linux 6 with the Red Hat compatible kernel. For a list of systems certified with Oracle Linux running the RHEL-compatible kernel, please see the Red Hat hardware catalog.

  10. What is the version number convention for Oracle's Enterprise Kernel?

    Using the following UEK Release 5 (UEK R5) kernel version as an example, 4.14.35-1902.1.2.el7euk:

    4.14.35 indicates the upstream Linux kernel version, 4.14.35, on which UEK R5 is based upon, and where kABI compatibility is maintained.
    -1902 reflects an update to UEK R5, Update 2 in this example. Updates include fixes, security errata, new and updated drivers, and stability improvements, and always maintains kABI compatibility with prior updates.
    .1 0 indicates the initial release of a UEK update, and is incremented with each monthly errata to the update. In this example, 1 indicates the first monthly errata after the initial release of UEK R5U2.
    .2 incremented with each build of the current update or errata; not all builds are promoted for release.
    .el7uek this UEK kernel is compiled for Oracle Linux 7
  11. Why did you stop publishing certifications for maintenance updates, like Oracle Linux 7.x or Oracle VM 3.4.x?

    Beginning with Oracle Linux 7, certifications are published for the major release. The minimum required maintenance update and corresponding UEK release is specified. The server is certified to run all subsequent Oracle Linux 7 maintenance updates with the indicated UEK release.

    Oracle VM certifications are published for the major release only. Once certified with the major release of Oracle VM, such as Oracle VM 3.4, the server is certified to run all subsequent updates, such as Oracle VM 3.4.5.

  12. What is Oracle Linux KVM?

    Oracle Linux KVM refers to the hypervisor capability enabled by the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) feature of Oracle Linux.

  13. What is the difference between Oracle VM Server for x86 and Oracle Linux KVM?

    Oracle Linux and the Oracle Linux KVM feature are supported on x86_64 and aarch64 server systems.

  14. On which platforms is Oracle Linux (which includes the Oracle Linux KVM feature) available?

    Oracle Linux KVM is synonymous with the KVM feature of Oracle Linux. Beginning with Oracle Linux 7 and UEK5, server certification with Oracle Linux also applies to the Oracle Linux KVM feature.

  15. Which servers are certified for Oracle Linux KVM?

    Oracle VM Server for x86 is a server virtualization offering based on the Xen hypervisor; Oracle VM servers are managed by Oracle VM Manager.

    When we refer to Oracle Linux KVM, we are referring to the hypervisor capability enabled by the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) feature of Oracle Linux; hosts running Oracle Linux KVM are managed by Oracle Linux Virtualization Manager.

  16. If Oracle VM Server is certified on my server system, is Oracle Linux KVM also certified?

    Not necessarily. If Oracle Linux 7 with UEK5 is certified, then Oracle Linux KVM is certified. Oracle VM Server certification requires a separate certification effort.

  17. Are there any fees to participate in the Hardware Certification Program?

    Partner participation in the program is free, but requires membership in OPN or TSANet (see related questions above).

  18. We have our own server qualification process. What additional value will Oracle Linux and Oracle VM certification test kit provide us?

    Performing the certification testing using the hardware qualification test kit from Oracle ensures that all of the critical functions of Oracle Linux or Oracle VM are functioning correctly on the target hardware. The test kit has proven to be very effective at verifying the compatibility of Oracle Linux and Oracle VM with the target hardware, and the documentation produced by the test kit is a valuable tool for Oracle Engineering when customer issues are discovered. For these reasons the use of the qualification test kit from Oracle has resulted in reduced support costs for Oracle and the partner while shortening implementation times for our joint customers.

  19. Is the testing outcome a strict pass or a fail, or is there a way to specify exceptions? For example, what if Oracle Linux or Oracle VM lacks a single driver to fully complete the certification on a particular hardware platform?

    While not encouraged, exceptions are possible. Oracle will handle exceptions on a case-by-case basis, based on the test results submitted by program participants.

  20. Which server models should the certification test kit be run on? Should they run on all possible variations and configurations or some representative models?

    If there are many server models within a product family, all sharing identical architectures, the server qualification test kit must be run on a representative model of the server configured with the maximum supported amount of RAM and number of CPUs. It is not required to run the qualification tests on all the possible configurations of the server, or on each model within the product family.

  21. What mechanism do program participants use to communicate with Oracle during the server certification process? 

    Participants use Bugzilla to submit certification requests, submit certification result logs for review, and file bugs against the hardware qualification test kit content and environment.

  22. How long does it typically take to run the certification test-suite?

    The time required to complete the server certification testing depends upon the number of CPUs, amount of memory, and IO and networking options on the server. We expect the majority of server hardware to take somewhere between 2 to 10 hours. Test run times could be substantially larger for very large machines with dozens of CPU cores and hundreds of GB of memory.

  23. Where will the qualified servers be published?

    Certified servers are published on the Oracle Linux and Oracle VM hardware certification website, and on the corresponding IHV's website.

  24. What are the requirements for getting published on the Oracle HCL web site?

    Participants must meet the following criteria to be eligible to publish certified hardware platforms on the Oracle HCL website.

    To receive a qualification status of Certified for Joint Support,

    • The certification effort must be performed by, or with the approval of, the IHV, and
    • IHV must have an established partnership with Oracle providing for joint support, and
    • Test results must be audited by Oracle, and
    • IHV must publish results in the support matrix on their website within two weeks of Oracle approving the results.

    To receive a qualification status of Certified for Oracle Support,

    • Reseller or customer must be sponsored by an Oracle Linux or Oracle VM Sales Representative, and
    • Results must be submitted and audited by Oracle.
  25. How do I get started?

    Please contact us at hcl-info_ww@oracle.com for more information about joining the Oracle Linux and Virtualization Server Hardware Certification Program.

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