Eye on Oracle

Nov 26 2007   12:16PM GMT

Server virtualization: Buzzworthy?

Ken Cline Profile: Clinek

Of all the announcements and marketing-speak at OpenWorld recently, the release of Oracle VM seems to be generating some real buzz. But is the technology worthy of all the attention?

Oracle describes VM like this:

Consisting of open source server software and an integrated Web browser-based management console, Oracle VM provides an easy-to-use, rich, graphical interface for creating and managing virtual server pools, running on x86 and x86-64-based systems, across an enterprise.

Users can create and manage Virtual Machines (VMs) that exist on the same physical server but behave like independent physical servers. Each virtual machine created with Oracle VM has its own virtual CPUs, network interfaces, storage and operating system. With Oracle VM, users have an easy-to-use browser-based tool for creating, cloning, sharing, configuring, booting and migrating VMs.

Here’s a sampling of what bloggers think of the new product:

  • Mark Rittman: VM “certainly looks very interesting, although the need to install it on a separate, no-OS server and manage it from another will probably stop most of us downloading it tomorrow and giving it a spin on our laptops.”
  • Tom Kyte: “So, what was the biggest surprise news so far? Oracle VM. I’m a huge fan of virtualization — have been for a long time. This is going to be cool.”
  • Tim Hall concurs: “It sounds cool.”

Coolness aside, there is some dissent, of course. Case in point:

  • Christian Mohn: “Finally Oracle is recognizing that their customers want and deploy virtualization solutions, but bringing “Yet Another Xen” (YAX) solution to the market seems to me to be a bit strange. How many do we have now? 5? 6? In addition, refusing to offer support for other virtualization products like VMware ESX server seems like a bad move.”
  • Tarry Singh: “People should not forget this: Oracle doesn’t care about “generic” virtualization. They are only concerned about their own Oracle RAC and Grid project. This gives Oracle a platform to build its grid upon.”
  • Chuck Hollis: “[After the announcement], I went from being curious, to being amused, to being downright disappointed. . . . Broadly speaking, I think many parts of the IT industry has figured out what they’re going to do with virtualization. They realize it’s a big deal that means a lot to their customers, and changes all manner of things going forward. Unfortunately, I don’t think Oracle is one of them. Yet.”

What’s your take on Oracle’s virtualization initiatives? Is it just “warmed-over Xen” or the right product at the right time? What about server virtualization in general? Do you agree with Chuck Hollis, who writes: “Most everyone realizes that virtualization of IT is one of those once-in-a-career, gee-this-changes-everything types of technologies”? I’d be very interested in your thoughts.

Have a good week, Tim

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  • Ken Gorf
    Organisations that implement consolidation and virtualisation projects without first establishing the potential to optimise the current software configuration may only realise a portion of the full benefits attainable. Sub-optimised software containing redundant custom code, unused standard functionality, performance problems and quality exposures will still be sub-optimised after migration to a consolidated or virtualised environment.
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