"Linux is making its way into the enterprise and more and more companies are going to be relying on it for processing mission-critical data," Ellison said. "I don't think we've had a single technology take off as rapidly as our clustering on Linux. We're moving aggressively not just to jump on the Linux hype bandwagon, we're using Linux to run our own business," he said.
Ellison said that by the end of 2002, all of Oracle's mid-tier [internal production] machines will be running Linux for applications such as payroll, accounting, CRM, sales force automation, marketing and human resources.
However, Ellison said the Oracle database will not be offered in an open source format like Linux because it is the one application that cannot falter. "It's the last thing that will go open source," said Ellison.
"If your OS goes down, you reboot it. If your database goes down, you type in all the data again, which takes longer," Ellison said, in response to a question from the audience.
Ellison said Linux was ready for deployment in enterprise applications using Oracle's Real Application Clusters technology, which provides reliability, scalability and security.
"We let you build your own Linux mainframe out of a cluster of small Linux PCs," Ellison said. He claimed that a 32 processor Linux cluster running Intel machines costs $350,000 (£228,077) while an IBM mainframe with comparable performance costs $14.8m (£9.6m).
Any application that runs on the Oracle database can be deployed in a Linux cluster, Ellison said, adding the current Real Application Clusters technology would be improved during the next year or so to handle clusters of 64 and 128 network nodes. It can currently handle 16 network nodes.