Oracle's Virtualization Story

Oracle VM, like the other virtualization technologies Oracle offers, is presented as an integrated, optimized, easy-to-manage part of an Oracle environment. It may not be the best choice for those expecting support the products from the industry leaders.
Written by Dan Kusnetzky, Contributor

Oracle has been part of the virtualization software market for quite some time. I've been following their efforts since they developed technology to support Digital Equipment Corporation's VAXcluster technology. Their Real Application Cluster (RAC) has been a good example of processing virtualization and their Oracle Cluster File System is an example of storage virtualization. Oracle's Adam Hawley, Direct of Product Management for Oracle VM, brought me up to date on Oracle's efforts in the areas of virtual machine software (Oracle VM), their implementation of the XEN virtual machine software project. My quick take is that Oracle's offerings in the area of virtualization technology will be well received by Oracle's installed base.

Here's how Oracle describes Oracle VM

Oracle VM is server virtualization software that fully supports both Oracle and non-Oracle applications, and delivers more efficient performance. Backed by Oracle's world-class support organization, customers now have a single point of enterprise-class support for their entire virtualization environments, including Oracle Database, Fusion Middleware, Applications, and Linux, which are certified with Oracle VM.

Oracle VM Templates deliver rapid software deployment and eliminate installation and configuration costs by providing pre-installed and pre-configured software images. Oracle is the only software vendor to combine the benefits of server clustering and server virtualization technologies, delivering integrated clustering, virtualization, storage, and management for grid computing.

Oracle VM Delivers

  • Lower hardware, energy, facility costs, and TCO
  • Simplified installation
  • Faster software development
  • More efficient performance
  • Enterprise-class support
  • Free software
  • Linux and Windows support
  • Certificaiton of Oracle Database, Middleware, Applicaitons

Snapshot analysis

Oracle's approach to virtualization technology is largely the same as its approach to many other areas of technology. Oracle would point out that, to their customers, the best support of the organization's workloads is the goal, not support of any specific underlying technology. So, Oracle now offers it's own Linux distribution, its own version of the XEN hypervisor, its own storage virtualization technology, its own application virtualization technology, its own security and management tools for a virtualized environment. It is also within the realm of possibility that they will soon offer their own systems as well.

Oracle's implementation of the XEN hypervisor appears to be well thought out, well implemented and tightly tied into other parts of Oracle's overall software environment. This is a message that resonates with Oracle's customer base, a base that wants Oracle to tie everything together and make it easy to use, easy to deploy and easy to manage.

If an organization uses some of Oracle's products, but hasn't chosen Oracle as the senior supplier, however, the level of excitement and commitment is likely to not be quite as high and Oracle's whole package may not be as attractive.

If and organization has already chosen a specific hypervisor, such as VMware's ESX Server, Microsoft's Hyper-V or Citrix's XENserver, they'll not be quite as happy with the fact that Oracle has chosen to certify their databases and applications to run only in a pure Oracle environment. These customers are likely to expect all of their suppliers to test and support their chosen tools rather than putting forward only their tools.

In the end, customers that are looking to Oracle to offer all of the tools necessary to create a well optimized, well orchestrated Oracle-based environment will be happy with Oracle's offerings. Those who want to build their own environments that happen to include some Oracle products are likely to be a bit disappointed with Oracle's stance.

Shoot-from-the-hip unasked for advice

Oracle, it would seem wise to offer broader support of the leading products in specific markets, such as the virtual machine software market. Insisting that customers use your operating system, your hypervisor, your file system and the like is likely to limit your acceptance in organizations that have chosen other products.

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