Oracle Unveils Oracle VM 3.0

At an event for customers, partners and industry experts in Redwood Shores that was also presented live online, Oracle announced Oracle VM 3.0, the latest release of its server virtualization and management solution. According to the company, Oracle VM 3.0 is suitable for all data center workloads and features new policy-based management capabilities, advanced storage management via the Oracle VM Storage Connect plug-in API; centralized network configuration management, improved ease-of-use and Open Virtualization Format (OVF) support.

Setting the stage for the significance of the product introduction, Hector Garcia-Molina, a Stanford University professor and member of the Oracle board of directors, commented on the impact that virtualization is having on the IT world in his opening remarks. Today, about 40% of x86 servers are virtualized and it is expected to rise to 70% by 2014, Garcia-Molina observed.

Describing Oracle VM 3.0 as a long labor of love, Edward Screven, chief corporate architect, Oracle, said the new release provides exciting new features and attributes, and in particular includes a "much better management interface" that is more interactive and much more capable interface.

"At Oracle,  we obviously have the entire application stack," with  thousands of applications, two operating systems with Solaris and Oracle Linux, a number of databases, and middleware, said Wim Coekaerts, senior vice president of Oracle Linux and Virtualization. "With this solution that we are building for customers, we take away the pain of having to manage and install all of these things."

A replay of the Oracle VM 3.0 launch event, including presentations by Hasan Rizvi, senior vice president, Product Development, Oracle, and Tim Frazier associate project manager, Lawrence Livermore National Lab, is available on the Oracle website.

Key features in Oracle VM 3.0 include:

  • Storage Connect plug-in framework: which lets administrators transparently manage virtualization and attached storage arrays together through Oracle VM Manager while fully leveraging their investments in advanced storage functionality, such as deduplication and fast clone. Plug-ins are being developed by Oracle for its Pillar Axiom SAN storage system and Sun ZFS Storage Appliance, and by other and leading storage providers, including Fujitsu, Hitachi Data Systems, and NetApp.
  • Centralized network configuration and management: enables configuration of all server and VM networking from the Oracle VM Manager GUI, including advanced options such as bridging, bonding, VLANs and multi-pathing.
  • Improved ease-of-use: including new features including server and storage discovery help speed infrastructure set-up while a new, dynamic "real-time" HTML user interface and comprehensive event tracking capabilities facilitate management over time.
  • Advanced, policy-based management capabilities: automates dynamic resource scheduling and server power management to improve application quality of service and reduce cost and power consumption in support of "green IT" initiatives.
  • Open Virtualization Format (OVF) industry standard support: enables customers to use Oracle VM Manager to import OVF based software assemblies to accelerate application deployment.

According to Oracle, Oracle VM 3.0 helps customers deploy enterprise software in a repeatable and error-free manner with the availability of over 90 Oracle VM Templates for Oracle applications, middleware and databases. Oracle VM 3.0 is scalable, supporting up to 128 virtual CPUs per virtual machine; and has demonstrated support for up to 160 physical CPUs and 2TB memory using Oracle's Sun Fire X4800 M2 servers.

Oracle VM 3.0 is engineered for use with Oracle software and hardware, enabling improved performance, faster application deployment, and improved manageability for Oracle software.

Oracle VM Manager 3.0 leverages Oracle Application Development Framework (ADF) and Oracle WebLogic Server 11g, to simplify administrative operations via a web-browser based user interface that does not require any proprietary client-based software.

In addition to Oracle VM Templates, Oracle VM 3.0 supports the deployment of virtual assemblies as pre-packaged, pre-configured collections of virtual machines containing entire multi-tier applications and related management policies to facilitate intelligent provisioning and operation in virtualized and cloud environments.

"We can offer you a pre-configured virtual machine with an operating system that we own, that we can fully support as soon as you download it; you don't have to go to a third party and get a trial license or buy a subscription from a third party," said Coekaerts "We can offer and distribute the whole thing. The applications are installed, the database is installed, the right bug fixes or patches are already configured by the developers. And so you download a file, you start it up, you use your web browser and you log in. That saves you days if not weeks to get going in that very complex environment."

The other aspect of this approach is that once a user has such an image and chooses to clone it, the simplification continues, Coekaerts said. "If you clone it and you restart the new VM after you have cloned, it we can reconfigure the whole stack for you."

However, while Oracle places high value on its integrated stack, "we are very heterogeneous," he emphasized. "You can run any app and you don't have to just run an Oracle app to have the benefit of what we are doing here. You can run Windows; you could even consider running SQL Server on Windows on Oracle VM - no problem. If you want to do that, go ahead and do it. It is generic virtualization, but the advantages that we have obviously are when you go more and more into the vertical stack; that is where we can differentiate, that is where we can make all these things tie together."

Oracle VM is free to download, and has no license cost. Support is offered through a subscription model per server.