Oracle took a pre-emptive strike at VMware this week, maintaining that its integrated and expansive virtualization portfolio is far superior to the "point" solution offered by the No 1 virtualization company.
Oracle -- which claims to provide full stack support for virtualization from application to disk, and for cloud computing needs -- detailed its strategy just weeks before VMware's annual VMworld conference.
Edward Screven, chief corporate architect at Oracle, said most customers won't deploy mission critical applications in a virtualized environment today because vendors do not deliver the same level of high availabiluty and scalability offered in non virtualized infrastructures.
Oracle will change that, he said.
"The data center is moving away from [being]a fixed installation to a service center," and line-of-business executives expect the same services provided by third party cloud providers, such as capacity on demand, rapid application development and reduced management costs, he said.
"There's an evolution happening in requirements and with the demands placed on virtualization technology... isolated virtualization solutions are not enough," Screven said. "The goal is to deploy a full stack and be able to change the level of compute power applied to the stack dynamically .. [without] making management harder."
Viortualization is not a feature but a core technology that is integrated and supported throughout Oracle's server, desktop, middleware and storage stack, he noted
The lineup includes Oracle VM Server for x86 and Solaris [as well as Sun Containers and Dynamic Domains], Oracle VM Manager and Oracle VMTemplates, which allow customers to rapidly deploy pre-installed and pre-configured appliances in no time.
Additionally, Oracle recently announced four desktop virtualization options, including Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure 3.2, Oracle Sun Ray Software 5, Oracle VM Virtual Box 3.2 and Sun Ray 3 Plus Client.
On the middleware side, Oracle recently introduced its Oracle Weblogic Suite Virtualization Option, which combines the WebLogic server and Oracle's JRockit Virtual Edition. The solution eliminates the need for a guest operating system and thus provides a fast runtime for virtualized environments. The related Virtual Assembly Builder assists in the deployment process, Oracle noted.
Executives also said that its Blade engineering group has worked to improve storage/networking connections to virtualized assets. Oracle, for instance, developed a new chip so that each blade has access to a 10gbit network interface without a switch that provide mac addresses to all virtual machines.
Oracle's virtualization technology use networing interfaces and allows customers to deploy VMs without uplinks and use template tools to rapidly deploy virtual images. This reduces networking complexity and cost and achieves a high performance of application deployment.
"There no other company that can offer the same breadth and depth of virtualization technology and [other] unique capabilities only an application provider can bring, said John Fowler, Oracle's executive vice president of systems.
Oracle's argument is persuasive and should convince many of its existing customers that it can handle their emerging infrastructure-as-a-service needs.
The products detailed are available now but Oracle still has to prove to the masses that it is as adept at virtualization management and cloud computing as established vendors such as VMware -- and that costs to deliver on this marketecture aren't prohibitive.
Time will tell, but Oracle's timing could not be better.