Charles Phillips on Oracle and VMware

Recently there has been a bit of a campaign stirred up by EMC and VMware to get Oracle to change it’s support position vis-a-vis VMware. Have a look at Oracle Storage Guy asking for people to get in touch with Charles Phillips about the Oracle/VMware position.

VMware is becoming the big thing for my organisation and we are having a massive mind-shift from running large numbers of physical tin to hosting our applications (including many Oracle instances) onto VMware. We need one VM solution, and our corporate choice is VMware, we don’t want to run our Oracle instances on Oracle VM while the rest of the infrastructure is on VMware.

I emailed Charles Phillips myself:

Hello Charles,

I suspect you might get quite a lot of emails on this subject.

Nominet are one among (I’m sure) many Oracle customers who are very keen to run their Oracle estate on ESX hosts.

It would be great if Oracle had a change of heart regarding your Support/Licensing position vis-a-vis running Oracle on VMware.

Heck, with OpenWorld coming up, it sure would be a great time for an announcement.

jason .

What I was not expecting was to get a response:

Jason, thanks for your note.
There is a misperception out there so let me clarify. We never said customers were not interested in virtualization and we already recognize customers want to run their applications in a virtualized environment and we encourage them to do so which is why we offer Oracle VM with no license charge. We do support, test, and certify aginst the Oracle VM environment. We’re always happty to hear from customers but I didn’t say we needed to hear from customers who wanted to use VMware; we arleady agree that virtualization is important.
What we’ve said on other VMs is that we will respond to support issues as they arise but so far we’ve elected not to formally certify any third party VMs because virtualization is intricately linked to the rest of our stack. A lot of our customers run database grids and we support virtual clusters which requires our clusterware for internode communication interacting with our VM for HA features which is why people use RAC in the first place. We also use virtualization to provision RAC clusters and do live migrations.
But that requires an engineered product family that takes advantage of our shared storage, clustered file system, clusterware, and our shared everything environment. We are supporting a complete system of deployment for virtualized computing and not just a hypervisor. That’s what allows the advanced functionalty. e.g. availability that doesn’t rely on network pings to determine whether a guest is running or not. This reduces the chances for false positives/negatives when determining whether a VM has failed. It also assures that a VM is restarted correctly without any risk of shared data corruption. We of course built our business on protecting data at all costs and the VM interacts at such a low level with our stack that we’ve elected to certify the one we could fully engineer and test. We have to protect the data and reduce the risk.
We’re trying to make it as easy as possible for people to run our database in virtualized environments. We are providing additional add ons for free such as VM templates that are downloadable and already preconfigured e.g. Oracle Enterprise Linux and the Oracle database. Quicker ramp up town with a single configuration installation script. Our version of Linux distribution is paravirtualized and we get significant performance benefits as a result. We can also do live migrations as well as capacity and power management (turn machines off an on). Much like the mainframe where virtualization was created, its a complete system from end to end.
We do respond when customers call and work with VMware and other third parties if an issue arises. We are always opening to revisiting issues but that’s where we are right now. Our VM is free so the only motivation is to provide a reliable and well tested environment for HA, clustering, and grid computing
As for licensing, most of our customers now have unlimited license agreements which means it doesn’t matter how many VMs, cores, or processors you decide to deploy. We think this is easier for both sides and encourages adoption of the technology. Thanks Charles

I don’t think it really helps me run my Oracle estate on VMware any easier, but I think it is to Oracle’s credit they actually provide a response, whether the response helps is a different matter, but I take my hat of to Charles in the sure-footedness of the response, at least he did not just ignore the email, and attempted to at least interact with 1 customer.

If you are interested in running Oracle on VMware do drop him a line yourself, it’s


5 thoughts on “Charles Phillips on Oracle and VMware

    • Hi Roel,

      Well you probably saw how quickly Virtual Iron was snuffed out as a separate piece of software – being rolled into the Oracle VM offering. VirtualBox may live on for the desktop, but don’t hold your breath for an Oracle support position!


  1. I got the same exact email from Charles… I even had the same typos, but it was nice to get a response nontheless. I was hoping to hear him say they would do subcapacity agreements for VMWARE instead of making you license all Physical cores in the cluster.

    The only difference in his email was he said Tom instead of you : )

  2. Hi Tom,

    Ah, and there I thought Charles would be buying me a beer at OpenWorld. Yeah, me too on the subcapacity that is what they do for Oracle VM.


  3. I actually feel for Oracle on this one.

    People want Oracle to support their softare running within VMWARE running on top of an operating system on top of hardware….That’s a few layers in which to have many issues.

    Don’t get me wrong, I have a swipe at Oracle Corp on many an occasion (heck, they can’t even issue software that is tested properly on large systems and they can’t implement changes to the data dictionary that flow down the related objects correctly) but to ask them to support a virtual machine running on pretty much whatever hardware you can get your VM up and running on… Who of us would want to support that? Who of us would want to have to decide where the problem occurs in that stack?

    Personally, If I was the support analyst, I would want the error reproduced on a proper installation of a supported OS on known hardware before I went and looked further. Oh, that sounds like what Oracle ask for (I can hardly believe I am fighting Oracle’s corner for a change 🙂 )

    It’s a little poor to have a “dear Joe” response but at least it is a response. And also, that bit on “unlimited licence agreements”, that is just rubbish. Maybe many high-profile, massive organisations have such licence agreements but I bet 99% of Oracle customers do not. Bad Oracle for that.

    SO I feel for them on the support front but not on the bullsh*t one 🙂


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