Oracle launches appliance for rapid cloud deployment

Oracle has announced the Virtual Compute Appliance, a software and hardware stack designed to be able to support easy deployments of applications on virtualised infrastructure.
Written by Nick Heath, Contributor

Oracle has unveiled a new appliance that provides a virtualised x86 server stack in a box.

The Virtual Compute Appliance provides the entire hardware and software stack needed to deploy a virtualised x86 environment, according to Oracle, together with software-defined networking (SDN) software to simplify the management of the network. Oracle claims it should be possible to deploy a production workload in about one hour using the appliance.

The appliance is based on Oracle's X3-2 servers, which include two Intel Sandy Bridge-EP Xeon E5 processors with eight cores running at 2.2GHz.

Each server node in the cluster has 256GB of 1.6GHz memory and two mirrored 900GB hard drives and a dual-port 40GBps InfiniBand adapter card.

The base rack comes with at least two nodes to run the virtual stack, as well as two nodes reserved for Oracle's virtualisation management software, but can be expanded up to 25. New nodes can be slotted into the rack and will be automatically detected and configured ready for use once connected.

The rack links to an Oracle ZFS 7320 storage appliance, but this can be replaced by alternative Oracle or non-Oracle NFS or iSCSI storage.

Oracle's virtual networking is able to allocate each server a mix of virtualised InfiniBand and Ethernet adapters, and will support Fibre Channel modules at a later date. The base appliance includes a 36-port InfiniBand spine switch and two 24-port Gigabit Ethernet switches.

The software stack sits on the Oracle VM, its implementation of the Xen hypervisor, while Oracle VM Manager is used to manage the hypervisor and virtual machines. Oracle SDN software running on Xsigo I/O director switches is used to virtualise the network switches.

Linux, Windows and Oracle Solaris, its Unix OS, can run as virtual guest operating systems on the appliance. Oracle VM Templates provides software images to make it easier to deploy entire application stacks.

Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance Controller Software takes care of orchestration and automation of virtual servers, and Oracle's Enterprise Manager Cloud Control can be connected to the appliance to control multiple racks.

No pricing is available for the Virtual Compute Appliance, which will start shipping to customers in September.

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