The Oracle VM bandwagon

Seems like the blogosphere is all over the Oracle VM. I’d would definately say I was on the skeptical side of the fence over this announcement. I guess in certain markets it could have it’s place, but I don’t see it in production. A little while ago Doug was talking about whether 1 instance per server, or multiple instances per server was more common. I can’t see where the advantage really comes in having multiple VM’s per machine over having multiple instances per machine, except with the multiple VM’s you get the additional overhead of managing the seperate VM’s. Sure, you get some benefit of different OS’s, patch levels etc, so maybe some management benefit. But compared to 1 database per server with multiple schemas, the performance of multiple VM’s just has to be degraded. Tom Kyte’s point about the multiple pots compared to one pot for me is spot on, but surely VM’s really can only make this worse. So that is my thought about production.

But I start to hesitate when it comes to test/dev environments. I have been invovled with a setup whereby every developer gets his/her own rig. With full fibre connectivity to the SAN. The management overhead of them does not scale. These boxes are mostly idle, and sure we have a provisioning server to install an OS and the Oracle binary is on the SAN, but it still does not scale. I really like the look of Solaris Zones which we are using on web server type applications, but not for Oracle as yet. So a couple of 4-way x86 boxes virtualised might be a good alternative for us.

I don’t actually like the license/support position of running Oracle in a VM. This article seemed to be hinting at an Oracle VMware love in, obviously this turned sour at somepoint. I understood it that it was not supported to run Oracle in a VM, and with the Oracle VM announcement I assume the only VM that is officially supported is the Oracle one, though the following is quoted from metalink:

“NOTE: Oracle has not certified any of its products on VMWare, but use of Oracle products in the RAC environment is specifically not supported.”

Though Oracle does go on to say:

“Oracle Support will provide support for Oracle products when running on VMware in the following manner: Oracle will only provide support for issues that either are known to occur on the native OS, or can be demonstrated not to be as a result of running on VMware.”

So this level of support might be fine in test/dev, I’m not so convinced about it in a production environment, and if you want some scale out with RAC, forget a VMware environment.

This EMC guy is also less than convinced, though I accept he may have his own agenda! I think he has a fair argument, and already loads of people are running Oracle in a range of different VM’s. So is this Oracle jumping on the VM bandwagon rather than concentrating on core techologies? And now I see another company climbing aboard the VM bandwagon, looks like the (virtual) train is about to leave the station, better hop aboard.

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