Home What’s New in Oracle VM 3?

What’s New in Oracle VM 3?

Earlier this week Oracle took the wraps off of Oracle VM 3. Oracle’s Adam Hawley, senior director of product management, says that Oracle VM 3 is ready to roll out across the entire data center, and not just for managing Oracle’s applications.

Oracle VM 3 doesn’t quite have the same name recognition as its primary competitor, VMware vSphere. It’s an enterprise-focused virtualization solution that comprises Oracle VM Server for x86 and Oracle VM Manager. Oracle’s VM Server for x86 is a bare-metal virtualization solution. VM Manager provides the centralized management environment for configuring and managing the server, network, and storage infrastructure using browser-based tools.

According to Hawley, prior releases of Oracle VM had management tools that were “adequate but not beyond adequate” for using Oracle VM for Oracle applications. Trying to use Oracle VM for the entire data center? Hawley says that was “a moderately painful thing to do,” but now claims that Oracle has put into place all the things that customers need to run a full data center at scale.

What’s changed in this release? First of all, Oracle is serious about scaling out with this version. Oracle VM 3 brings the Xen 4.0 hypervisor, support for the OCFS2 1.8 cluster file system, and is capable of handling big servers and guests. How big? Oracle says that customers can create guests with up to 128 virtual CPUs, and can handle physical servers with up to 160 CPUs and 2TB of memory. Hawley concedes that many customers would stick with running on bare metal rather than putting a workload that hefty in a VM, but “we do see people interested in putting surprisingly large workloads in VMs.”

This release also beefs up management tools considerably. All network configuration and management can be pulled into the VM Manager, as well as storage configuration and management. Oracle VM now discovers servers and storage in the environment automatically.

VM 3 brings new policy management features as well. The Distributed Resource Scheduling (DRS) handles capacity management and can rebalance server pools, including migrating VMs from heavily loaded servers to servers with more resources.

Another bright spot, at least for Oracle customers, is a set of more than 90 templates to help get Oracle applications up and running almost instantly. This includes templates for Siebel CRM, PeopleSoft, Oracle WebLogic Server and a host of others. Note that a “template” in Oracle VM parlance is actually more like a virtual appliance for other provides. Oracle isn’t making any third-party application stacks available as templates right now, but Hawley says that customers do have the tools to create, customize and manage their own.

How much is all this going to cost? Nothing, unless you want support. Oracle VM 3 is free for download and use, customers pay only for support. Support starts at $599 per system for “premier limited,” which is available for any system with no more than 2 physical CPUs. For heftier systems (remember, they’re supporting boxes with up to 160 CPUs), Oracle is charging $1,199 per system for one year of support. Customers can grab three years of support for $1,797 with the premier limited, or $3,597 for premier.

Customers can run Linux, Windows, or Solaris x86 OSes on Oracle VM.

My take is that even though Oracle is talking about Oracle VM for customers with non-Oracle applications, they’re really still focusing on Oracle shops. But this does give Oracle a hedge against VMware in shops where both companies are going head-to-head.

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