Oracle’s VM – Does it really matter?

Oracle have now jumped on the virtualization bandwagon and launched their own VMM based on the Open Source XEN hypervisor. There seems to be a fair amount of confusion around Oracle’s support policy running within a VM environment as noted here Oracle (further) clarifies its support policy for VMware.

But does it really matter?

Well I guess it depends on what you are doing with your Oracle databases. In the course of my technology journey most Oracle databases I have come across are large enterprise class databases which typically require as much hardware as you can throw at them so in this case does the Oracle VM simply provide a better failover option using Live Migration?

Where you would want to run multiple databases on a single host then it is likely these would be SQL Server, mySQL, etc based systems as they offer a much lower cost point for these type of small database systems. Have you seen how many products come with a low-cost (or free) database engine these days. These are exactly the database instances that you want to consolidate and in this case product like VMware or SmartPeak WLM offer a fully supportable solution for the consolidation exercise.

So really I guess the answer is not really, Oracles VM will just end up being part of their database stack. It is even listed under their database product group on their website.

Thoughts anyone?


What will happen to virtualization?

Following on from my previous entry and these two items:-

This has really made me think as to where virtualization will lead us. It either has to become the OS, and VMware already state that ESX server has millions of lines of code (not dissimilar to many OSes) so at some point the virtualization product becomes the OS and the OS becomes a function library. Or maybe not!

Intel, AMD and other hardware vendors are adding virtualization support like crazy to their hardware so maybe the next step is the virtualization layer to really move into the hardware and BIOS. With multi-core processors coming thick and fast (Intel forsee 80 cores in a few years) the ability to carve up your box into multiple virtual boxes becomes much more relevant. And with all the virtualization handled in the hardware we will have much less overhead on the next layer from virtualization. Really this is just the next step on from the blade arhitecture we have now, instead of slots in a rack we could end up with scokets on a motherboard. Add a few more cores and viola you have added a huge amount of capacity to the system. As with everything at some point the hardware moves down to the chip level, AMD will start the ball rolling as they add GPUs into their chips following their ATI purchase.

This is why VMware needs to move into the system management space as that is where the real value is, operating systems are becoming commodity items, virtualization will just be another trick for the hardware vendors, so the real value is in managing this whole infrastructure and making sure that the workloads that needs the resource and QoS get it.

It Lives!

Yesterday saw the public launch of something we have been working on for some time. SmartPeak ( is the start of a new direction for our parent company as we seek to show the wider enterprise market the benefits of using workload management software on their Windows systems. Up till know we have been working quietly away in the terminal server market delivering huge benefits in system utilisation. With this new venture we are taking our technology into the remaining Windows market to enable (1) consolidation of products unsuitable for current virualisation technologies (such as SQL server) and (2) improved QoS guarentees across all Windows systems.

When it comes down to it the Windows scheduler is just not really that intelligent and no matter how fast your machine you still end up looking at the hour glass cursor far too often as it spins its wheels doing something while you wait. What if you could make sure that the important programs for you got priority, or even that no matter what anything you run will be given a fair share of the CPU. Well workload management gives you just that. And yesterday is just the start as we seek to bring those benefits to a wider audience. In my role of setting the technology direction for SmartPeak I am really excited about what we have to offer. Stay tuned for the ride, it is going to be huge!