Eye on Oracle

Nov 12 2007   11:40AM GMT

Doubts about Oracle virtualization

Ken Cline Profile: Clinek

Our surveys have repeatedly shown that interest server virtualization is high and growing. However, there are detractors that urge caution.

A detailed, informative conversation is going on about the pros and cons of virtualization over at Howard Roger’s Dizwell Informatics blog. Howard himself is a fan, having used VMWare and Parallels for learning purposes since 2001 (when, he says, “it barely worked, given the speed of the available physical hardware”).

However, he (and others) have become increasingly concerned with security issues. Indeed, he writes, “the best that current virtualisation products can do is not make security much worse… but given the exploits possible with another layer of code at your disposal, they almost certainly do make it worse. What they definitely don’t do is make it any better.”

This elicited a lively conversation. Some came to the defense of virtualization, saying “VM is my favourite technology since the invention of the CPU.” Others say that virtualization is great in learning, development and test environments, but putting it into production does elicit security concerns. Howard argues that

“There are three main arguments made for virtualising production systems: server utilisation increases; server consolidation; and increased security through ‘compartmentalisation.’ The point is that the third of those is a myth — and a dangerous one to boot.”

If you want to know what the Oracle community is thinking about virtualization security, this blog conversation is very informative.

Speaking of information, virtualization is a hot topic here in San Francisco at OpenWorld. Many of the big keynote speakers will be talking about their virtualization strategy, including Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz, who will unveil a virtualization strategy called xVM and new products to bridge the gap between virtualization and management.

UPDATE: Here at OpenWorld, Oracle has just announced a new product, Oracle VM, which is server virtualization software that supports both Oracle and non-Oracle applications. Tim Hall blogs about VM here.

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