Updated below: At Oracle OpenWorld today, the company announced its own server virtualization software that the company claims is three times more efficient than existing x86 and x86-64 VM products from other vendors. Oracle's VM is based on open source software ( Xen hypervisor technology) and includes a Web-based management console. It's another direct hit at Red Hat. Last Oracle OpenWorld, the company announced a Linux distro and support that is claimed was substantially less cost than Red Hat's, but it hasn't effectively slowed its competitor. Perhaps, Oracle is just trying to wear down Red Hat before it makes a bid for the company as part of its "acquired innovation" strategy.
Various companies--Dell, HP, NetApp, etc.--announced how pleased they are to support Oracle VM, which supports Linux and Windows (Oracle Enterprise Linux 4 and 5; RHEL3, RHEL4 and RHEL5; Windows 2003, Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP).
Oracle VM is a free download, and 24x7 support is priced on a per-system basis. Servers with up to two CPUs is $499 per year per system and servers with unlimited CPUs is priced at $999 per year per system.
At this point, it's unclear how Oracle arrived at the 3x more efficient metric, or what "efficient" precisely means. In an FAQ on Oracle VM, the company said:
Oracle ran many performance benchmarks comparing Oracle products running with Oracle VM against the existing leading server virtualization product and also with Oracle products on non-virtualized operating systems on x86 and x86-64. Oracle consistently saw much better resource utilization with an average of three times less overhead using Oracle VM, and also saw significant scalability with virtual SMP. In many cases, the comparison with real hardware was approximately equal in performance.
No data was provided in the FAQ regarding the tests. Currently, only Oracle products are certified for Oracle VM.
More to come on this topic...and some perspective from Red Hat, VMware and Microsoft.
Update: In a meeting with Enterprise Irregulars, regarding Oracle VM Phillips said:
Oracle VM is not really aimed at Red Hat. They are not a factor in virtualization. It's more for our own customers who want us to be more competitive. You can quickly provision a RAC [Oracle Real Application Clusters] node if you already have a VM running on the machine. We want to make our own products easy to use managing Linux and VM together.
I asked him about the benchmarks showing Oracle VM as more efficient than VMware and other competitors. "We've done some benchmarks based on real tests. Larry [Ellison] will show more on this on Wednesday," he said.