Oracle recently hosted a 6-hour online forum to showcase its strategy for virtualization. Oracle's Edward Screven, chief corporate architect, and John Fowler, executive vice president, Systems, kicked off the agenda of analyst, customer and product webcasts, by explaining how Oracle delivers a complete virtualization offering, all the way from desktop through the data center and why that approach provides more customer benefits than point solutions.
Many customers start with server virtualization to reduce the number of physical servers that they have to meet their application requirements, and most have not yet deployed their most mission-critical applications - which require high availability and scalability - in a virtual environment, said Screven. And, for most organizations, "virtualization is independent of the rest of their IT infrastructure, and certainly independent of the management of the applications that run on top of that virtualized infrastructure." However, Screven noted, data centers are increasingly moving away from being fixed installations where infrastructures are deployed for specific applications that remain static over time. Instead, data centers are becoming service centers and lines of businesses expect that IT will give to them the same kind of service that, say, a third-party cloud service provider gives them, with capacity on-demand, and rapid deployment of applications, while at the same time, the constant pressure exists to reduce management costs. "There is an evolution that is happening not just in the requirements, but in the demands that are being placed on virtualization technologies."
Emphasizing a key element of Oracle's approach, Screven said, "Just a hypervisor approach, an isolated independent virtualization solution, isn't enough. Our goal here is to deploy the full stack to users rapidly and to be able to change the level of compute resource which is being applied to an application problem dynamically, and when we do that of course we don't want to make our management problem harder."
Oracle's solution is to provide full stack support for virtualization, with virtualization integrated up and down the stack, he said. "An important part of that of course is to provide you with applications which are pre-assembled, ready to deploy in that virtualized environment. We call those things VM templates and we provide a tool for you to help you assemble those called Assembly Builder." The overall strategy is to provide customers with full support, full integrated technology components from application to disk so that it is possible for customers to choose everything for their IT environment from Oracle, Screven said.
"When we joined together with Sun, we added a lot virtualization technologies," he said, noting that "we have storage virtualization, we have server virtualization for both SPARC and x86, we have desktop virtualization. There is no other company on the planet that can offer customer that same breadth and that same depth of virtualization technology."
Addressing how Oracle integrates hardware and operating systems into its virtualization approach, Fowler noted that "with these technologies under one roof, we incorporate and include all of these technologies onto the platform. Unlike another vendor who may mix and match with third parties, we build the hardware technologies using these virtualization technologies. We test them with virtualization technologies and then they are included in the system sale we don't consider them to be a third-party add-on for either SPARC or x86."
Discussing integrated support, Fowler noted that since Sun integrated with Oracle, the combined organization has done "a massive step up in combinatory testing." According to Fowler, "First and foremost this is about making it so that we eliminate surprises." he noted, for example, that a common set of standards across the whole stack has been put in place so that "whenever we do believe there is a potential security vulnerability when you are running the full stack of hardware and software from Oracle you are not going to have to parse out what is being done by different vendors and what to do. We are going to help you create the most secure environment."
Screven concluded by noting, "Let's be honest. We are talking about complex technologies - not just the virtualization technologies, but operating system and databases, and middleware and applications, everything all together. You can cobble together your own solution out of piece parts but if you do that, then it means your management costs are going to be higher, your reliability is going to be much lower, and your costs are going to be far higher. If you choose the integrated approach of Oracle, then you have low cost, combined management, and when you have a problem, when you need service, there is one single place to get the problem fixed."
For an on demand replay of the keynote presentation and other parts of Oracle's online forum on virtualization, go here.