The Virtualization Room

Jun 29 2010   4:18PM GMT

Oracle VM machine targets Cisco, HP

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

Appliances like Cisco’s Unified Computing System are designed to help you kick-start a virtualization deployment.

Now, Oracle is banking on an appliance to do the same for its lagging virtualization market share.

Our sister site reports that a so-called “Oracle VM machine” (perhaps developed by Oracle’s Department of Redundancy Department?) is in the works. Oracle President Charles Phillips disclosed the news during the company’s quarterly earnings call last week.

The Oracle VM machine will bundle the Oracle VM hypervisor with Oracle VM Manager software on a server with integrated network switches and storage arrays. Phillips didn’t offer many details (or a timeline), but it’s basically the same approach that Cisco has taken with UCS and rival Hewlett-Packard is now taking with its converged infrastructure push.

At best, converged infrastructure is only a good option for certain organizations — usually those that are totally new to virtualization or don’t have large virtual infrastructures already in place. In this respect, Oracle is making a smart move: In theory, it will be easier to gain virtualization market share by going after greenfield opportunities than by trying to convert VMware shops.

But a lot of potential customers are wary of these kinds of appliances because they fear vendor lock-in. Sure, Cisco relies on VMware virtualization and EMC storage for the UCS, and HP has agreements in place with both VMware and Microsoft, but you still limit your options by going this route.

And the Oracle VM machine will presumably be even worse, because Oracle doesn’t need to rely on any other vendor’s equipment. The company already has the virtualization and management software, and all the hardware is there too, thanks to the Sun acquisition.

Between Oracle’s very late push into the virtualization market and the overall lukewarm reception to these kinds of appliances, the Oracle VM machine better offer one heck of a kick-start if it’s going to change the company’s fortunes.

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