Oracle's Cloud VMware Solution becomes generally available

The customer-managed service effectively lets customers run the full VMware Cloud Foundation software stack on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

Oracle on Thursday announced it's expanding the Oracle Cloud VMware Solution to all of Oracle's public cloud regions, as well as Dedicated Region Cloud@Customer deployments. The Oracle Cloud VMware Solution, first announced last September, effectively lets customers run the full VMware Cloud Foundation software stack on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. 

The expanded service is part of Oracle's push to gain a better foothold in the public cloud market by winning over customers with deeply-entrenched on-premise workloads. 

Unlike competing public cloud offerings, the Oracle Cloud VMware Solution gives organizations  access to a complete, customer-controlled VMware environment. Customers can use key services not available on other public clouds, like VMware Host Client for ESXi Management. The only tools that are not in customer control are a limited class of low-level security tools that interact with the hardware. 

"This is for customers that are running full VMware environments, which is the harder environment to handle," Ross Brown, VP of product marketing for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, explained to ZDNet. "For enterprise customers running large applications, especially enterprise-class performance applications, they fully use VMware."

Oracle essentially gives customers a templated VMware Cloud Foundation environment in their own tenancy as a 3-node solution. This gives them control over encryption, access controls to VMware images -- "everything that occurs in that VMware tenancy is protected and theirs," Brown said. "For folks running regulated, highly-secure environments where they don't want third-party access, we can deliver that."

The service also gives customers access to all of Oracle's cloud-native services. 

"If you're a VMware customer with an Oracle database backend, this is the best environment to run VMware at native-level speeds but still get the benefit of the cloud database," Brown said.

Oracle's service is up against offerings from the three big public cloud providers -- VMware Cloud on AWS, Azure VMware Solutions on Microsoft Azure and the Google Cloud VMware Engine.

However, because those services don't deliver a VMware environment in the customer tenancy, there's a limit to what they can offer, Brown said. 

By offering customers the full stack of VMware components on bare metal cloud compute instances, Oracle overcomes that, he said. For instance, Oracle Cloud VMware Solution accommodates multiple versions of VMware in the same Oracle Cloud tenancy, enabling application lifecycle management.

"That's important because most VMware environments, the applications they're running from vendors like [Oracle] and SAP, are certified for the prior level version of the hypervisor," Brown said. "It takes time to get to the current one." 

Consequently, a forced hypervisor upgrade in a managed service could break the certification and support for applications. 

The service starts with a three-node compute cluster minimum, which can scale out to 64 nodes per cluster and multiple clusters in the same environment. That works out to a minimum commitment of about $25,000 a month, which Brown said is below what most on-prem customers are paying.