Wednesday Jun 10, 2015

Oracle Server X5-4

Oracle announced the new Oracle Server X5-4, based on the new Intel® Xeon® E7-8895 v3 processor. It is already available in OPS for quoting and ordering and is the direct replacement of our X4-4 server who is going EOL.

You can read the full announcement and see the new server specification on our OPN Hardware Resource Center (available only to OPN Partners, one-time registration is required).

[Read More]

Tuesday Apr 08, 2014

Announcement: x86 Product Sun Server X4-4

On April 8th, Oracle announced the new Sun Server X4-4 system, based on the latest Intel® Xeon® Processor E7-8800 v2 Family, also known as Ivy Bridge-EX processors.

[Read More]

Friday Dec 13, 2013

Oracle x86 Systems RoHS 2013 Compliant Replacement Parts Available for Non-Compliant HBAs and CNAs

On December 3, 2013, all of the RoHS 2013 non-compliant HBAs and CNAs listed below reached EOL. Due to inventory consumption, most reached LOD on December 3, 2013 as well.

[Read More]

Friday Sep 13, 2013

Announcing: Oracle x86 Systems Product (X4-2)

On 12th of September, Oracle announced its new line of two-socket enterprise class Sun x86 servers, delivering, once again, the industry’s best x86 platform for running Oracle software.  The new Oracle Sun Server X4-2, Sun Server X4-2L and Sun Blade X4-2B systems are built with the new Intel® Xeon® E5-2600 v2 processors, also known as the Intel Ivy Bridge-EP processors. These servers are available immediately for quoting, ordering and shipment.

[Read More]

Wednesday Aug 07, 2013

Oracle VM Named a “Challenger” in Gartner 2013 Magic Quadrant

Oracle is excited to announce continued upward as a second year “Challenger” in the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant for x86 Server Virtualization Infrastructure report. Oracle believes that its application driven virtualization strategy, along with product optimizations, easy software access, and low cost have resulted in strong customer momentum gains.

Read the full report "Magic Quadrant for x86 Server Virtualization Infrastructure" for Gartner's take.

Thursday Jun 20, 2013

Oracle Virtual Networking Now Supports Oracle Solaris 10 on SPARC and x86 Servers


With the release of Oracle Virtual Networking Drivers for Oracle Solaris 10, Oracle Virtual Networking now supports Oracle SPARC T-series servers, M5 servers, as well as Oracle Solaris 10 on x86 servers.

[Read More]

Sunday Mar 10, 2013

Announcement: Oracle Linux Pre-Installed Option on Sun x86 Systems

On Friday 9th of March Oracle announced that the following Oracle Sun x86 systems and Netra x86 systems can now be ordered with Oracle Linux pre-installed. If your customers select this option, it will save them significant installation time and effort.  Also, this will ensure that the operating system image has all of the latest updates and is compatible with the Oracle Sun x86 system or the Netra x86 system and its  installed hardware options.
  • Sun Server X3-2
  • Sun Server X3-2L
  • Sun Blade X3-2B
  • Sun Server X2-8
  • Netra Server X3-2
  • Netra Blade X3-2B
Oracle Sun x86 Systems can now be selected with Oracle Solaris, Oracle Linux or Oracle VM  factory installed.

Please read the Product Bulletin on Oracle HW TRC for more details.

(If you are not registered on Oracle HW TRC, click here ... and follow the instructions..)

For more Oracle Sun x86 Systems product information please visit: Sun x86 family page

Friday Feb 24, 2012

eSTEP: Virtualization@Oracle (Part 3: Oracle VM Server for x86)

After the SPARC virtualization coverage in January we will now cover the x86 side by looking at the

Oracle VM Server for x86

Oracle VM Server for x86 is a technology that’s been inside Oracle even before the Sun acquisition, and is a virtualization product based on the Xen hypervisor.

Just like its SPARC counterpart it is a thin Type-1 Hypervisor and performs Hardware Virtualization on a x86-based system and uses para-virtualization.

To put it into perspective, let’s reuse the image from the first article:

As we can see and has been mentioned above, there is a similar product called Oracle VM Server for SPARC, which was covered in the last episode. Some of the general remarks there also apply to Oracle VM Server for x86, so, even if you’re only interested in the x86-side of things, it’s a good idea to recheck that last episode.

To start with the description, I shamelessly copied the introduction section from the docs at: which reads:

Oracle VM is a platform that provides a fully equipped environment with all the latest benefits of virtualization technology. Oracle VM enables you to deploy operating systems and application software within a supported virtualization environment. The components of Oracle VM are shown below:

  • Oracle VM Manager: Provides the command line interface or shell, as well as the graphical user interface (GUI). The GUI is an Application Development Framework (ADF) web application you use simply through your browser to manage Oracle VM Servers, virtual machines, and resources. Use Oracle VM Manager to:

    • Configure and manage Oracle VM Servers
    • Configure and manage networks
    • Configure and manage storage
    • Configure and manage resources such as virtual machine images, virtual machine templates, assemblies, and installation media
    • Create virtual machines from installation media, a virtual machine template, an assembly, or a virtual machine image
    • Manage virtual machines, including powering on and off, deleting, and live migrating
    • Import virtual machines created with Oracle VM or another solution for server virtualization

  • Oracle VM Server: A managed virtualization environment providing a lightweight, secure, server platform which runs virtual machines. At least one Oracle VM Server is required, but several are needed to take advantage of clustering. Oracle VM Server is based upon an updated version of the underlying Xen hypervisor technology, and includes Oracle VM Agent. It also includes a Linux kernel with support for a broad array of devices, file systems, and software RAID volume management. The Linux kernel is run as dom0 to manage one or more domU virtual machines, each of which could be Linux, Oracle Solaris, or Microsoft Windows.

Going back to the terminology and order used in the last episode, we still need to provide some information on the


in use here. Xen started as a university project and its architecture is similar to the architecture of the logical domains on SPARC, with one important difference. On the SPARC side the hypervisor is part of the OBP, whereas on the x86-side the hypervisor is a separate software entity and needs to be installed as a complete system directly from CD/DVD onto the server. This is usually just a matter of a few minutes. Once that’s done, the virtualization server platform is available. After that we need to look at the


side of things. Also unlike the OVM Server for SPARC approach here we need an additional management server called OVM Manager. Contrary to the way the server part is installed, the manager part is installed on top of an already installed operating system.

Both installation steps (Server and Manager) are described in detail in the documentation (link at end). Also the usage of OVM Manager is described there in detail.

Types of domains

In the last episode we had been describing different types of domains. Here, there is no such distinction, we’re only dealing with the dom0 (Control, Service and I/O Domain) and a domU (Guest Domain) (definitions see last episode).

The ease of use is even more simplified by additional tools like “OVM Templates” or “Oracle Virtual Assembly Builder”.

OVM Templates

OVM Templates are pre-installed and pre-configured ready-to-run images of diverse software stacks. These can also be downloaded (currently more than 90 such templates exist) directly from the same page were Oracle VM for x86 can be downloaded (link below). With this it gets real easy to setup and run for example a single Oracle Database server in less than 15 minutes. Download, import into OVM Manager, deploy and run.

Oracle Virtual Assembly Builder

In many cases single server environments aren’t enough, as multi-tier environments consist of many servers. So, the Oracle Virtual Assembly Builder is the tool to create such multi-virtual-server environments out of single systems, and allows such an assembly to be exported as one single building block and then be imported into OVM Manager. This then makes even the management of complex multi-tier environments very easy.

Things to consider

With features like Server Pools, virtual network switches and more, the setup and management of large virtualization environments gets complex. Therefore again here careful planning is needed. Specifically careful evaluation and TCO and/or ROI analysis is a good thing. Keep in mind, that over time the underlying infrastructure becomes more and more a commodity, therefore elements on higher levels become more and more important in the decision making progress and getting the “commodity” part from the same vendor supplying the higher level elements might become an advantage.


  • Easy installation and setup

  • No licenses needed

  • OVM Manager included free of charge

  • Support included in Oracle HW system support or separately
    available for non-Oracle Hardware

  • Ease of use due to templates

  • Physical-to-virtual migration/conversion tools available

  • Up to 128 virtual CPUs per virtual machine

  • Up to 1TB RAM per virtual machine

  • Up to 160 CPUs per physical server

  • Up to 2 TB RAM per physical server

  • Up to 128 virtual machines per physical server

  • Cold, warm and hot (live) migration possible

  • Accepted as licensing-limit/boundary (Hard Partitioning) by Oracle

  • All Oracle software certified

  • Many different guest OSes supported

  • Para-virtualized drivers for Microsoft Windows included


Oracle VM for x86 offers a complete, easy-to-use and affordable environment for all server virtualization requirements.

With that we'd like to close this article on Oracle VM Server for x86 and hope we've kept you eager to read the ones coming in the following newsletters.

With that we'd like to close this article on Oracle VM Server for SPARC and hope we've kept you eager to read the ones coming in the following newsletters.

Further Reading


This series already had the following articles:

  • December 2011: Introduction to Virtualization (Matthias Pfützner)
  • January 2012: Oracle VM Server for SPARC (Matthias Pfützner)

The series will continue as follows (tentative):

  • March 2012: Oracle Solaris Zones and Linux Containers (Detlef Drewanz)
  • April 2012: Resource Management as Enabling Technology for Virtualization
    (Detlef Drewanz)
  • May 2012: Network Virtualization (Detlef Drewanz)
  • June 2012: Oracle VM VirtualBox (Detlef Drewanz)
  • July 2012: Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) (Matthias Pfützner)
  • August 2012: OpsCenter as Management Tool for Virtualization (Matthias Pfützner)

If you have questions, feel free to contact me: Matthias Pfützner

Read more:

<<< Part 2: Oracle VM Server for SPARC
>>> Part 4: Oracle Solaris Zones and Linux Containers

Friday Jan 20, 2012

eSTEP: Virtualization@Oracle (Part 1: Overview)

Welcome to the first articel of our series Virtualization@Oracle. In the following months we want to discuss several aspects of Virtualization and what can be used with Oracle technology.

Let us know what you think, give feedback.

Thanks in advanced

Part 1: Overview

As a starter let's see, what Virtualization means.

Wikipedia ( describes it as:
"Virtualization, in computing, is the creation of a virtual (rather than actual) version of something, such as a hardware platform, operating system, a storage device or network resources."

Virtualization areas can then be categorized:

  • Hardware
  • Desktop
  • Software
  • Memory
  • Storage
  • Data
  • Network
We will at least address Hardware, Desktop and Operating System (as part of Software) and may add Network and Storage later on...

But before we dive into the specific layers and topics in more detail, this introductory article  explains the basics, what Oracle is capable of doing, and how it's done.

Before looking at the hardware layer, we introduce some concepts. These are called:
  • Full Virtualization
  • Paravirtualization
Then we define the term
  • Hypervisor
and talk about the differences between
  • Thick Hypervisor
  • Thin Hypervisor
  • Type 1 Hypervisor
  • Type 2 Hypervisor
Before starting into definitions, it should be mentioned, that this series will not cover software virtualization. In order to explain, what can be understood by software virtualization, here are some examples:
  • Application servers are means of virtualizing the application by spreading the task of running an application (or a business transaction, or many such parallel transactions) across multiple so-called instances of the application, possibly spread across multiple physical servers.
  • Even at the time, when the definitions of some internet software protocols were created, they already allowed for software virtualization, like the definition of the MX-records (list of servers for internet Mail Exchange - not to be confused by Microsoft’s e-mail program by the name of Exchange) in the DNS (Domain Name System, the directory of all servers on the Internet), where there can be secondary servers useful if the primary servers are not reachable.
  • Also an Oracle RAC implementation can be seen as software virtualization, because it allows for the distribution of the task across multiple instances and/or servers.
So, there is a broad range of such software virtualization technologies, which will not be covered in this series.

Let's start the definitions section with the term

Full Virtualization

Again, Wikipedia has a complete article on that (, but for our purposes here it should be sufficient to define it as a technology, that 100% abstracts the underlying layers, so that the layer and its interfaces can be 100% similar. So for "stuff" being programmed (be it an Operating System or an application) there is no need to know anything about the possible different implementations of the underlying layers. This then enables the easy migration from one fully virtualized environment into another fully virtualized environment.

Back to the definition section, and to the term


Again, here also, we have something from Wikipedia (, but for us here it shall suffice to say, that Paravirtualization differs from Full Virtualization in a way that it might expose some of the underlying elements directly. With that, different implementations of Paravirtualization might differ in small things, making the portability harder, as in the upper layers there needs to be an understanding of these differences. The advantage might in contrast be, that with the direct exposing of underlying stuff, these can be used to better serve specific needs. Therefore Paravirtualization adds into the upper layers of a stack specifics of the technology being virtualized. Typically this can increase the efficiency of the virtualization, because it often e.g. eliminates latency, which might be added through the full virtualization. On the other hand the knowledge and use of specifics of the underlaying virtualization technology makes it harder to change later to another virtualization technology.

With that definition we can now also introduce the concept of a


Again, Wikipedia has a full article on that ( but suffice it to say, that a hypervisor is the layer that abstracts the underlying elements, so that the stuff above it doesn't know, what's underneath, and only sees the interfaces exposed by the hypervisor. One could also call it a virtual machine manager, and, yes, this also is possible on different levels of the stack.

Back to the definition section and to the term

Thick Hypervisor

Every hypervisor needs something to configure itself or be configured. So, if the hypervisor itself contains all these configuration tools directly, accessible via interfaces to configure itself, than we call it a thick hypervisor.
Thin Hypervisor
In contrast, if the hypervisor itself requires some external entity to be configured, than we call it a thin hypervisor.

Then we have the term

Type 1 Hypervisor

A Type 1 hypervisor runs directly on top of some hardware, whereas a

Type 2 Hypervisor

requires an already running operating system, and therefore runs inside that Operating System.

Now, with the definitions done, let's go back and look at Oracle and its product portfolio, w.r.t.

Hardware Virtualization

Again: Wikipedia has an Article:

When we look at the hardware layer, Oracle has a couple of different products, based on different technologies.

Oracle offers SPARC and x86 based systems, and divides those on the SPARC side into  T- and M-series. The x86 systems have names like X????.

Looking at these three system-series, we have the following Oracle virtualization technologies, which can be used on the systems:
  • M-Series: Dynamic System Domains
  • T-Series: Oracle VM Server for SPARC (aka: Logical Domains)
  • x86-based systems: Oracle VM Server for x86, Oracle VM VirtualBox
While both Oracle VM Servers (SPARC and x86) are type-1 hypervisors, Oracle VM VirtualBox is a type-2 hypervisor.

If we move up the stack, we have to look at what's available from the Operating System. Wikipedia calls that

Operating System-level Virtualization


This technology provides applications a secure and isolated runtime environment, that acts like an exclusive OS instance, but shares some resources of the operation system like devices and the kernel. Resource management is need, if Operating system-level virtualization is used.

Before we dive deeper, we first need to classify the different Operating Systems, that can run on the different types of hardware:
  • M-Series: Oracle Solaris
  • T-Series: Oracle Solaris
  • x86-based Systems: Oracle Solaris, Linux, Microsoft Windows.
In the articles to come, we will mainly look at what's available inside Oracle Solaris and Oracle Linux. For Oracle Solaris that technology is named Oracle Solaris Zones (aka Oracle Solaris Containers).

Another major area of virtualisation centers around the desktop.

Desktop Virtualization

In order to describe that, let’s first define, what a desktop is. Also Wikipedia has articles on that (, and Let's stick to the term: A Desktop is, what a person sees on his computer monitor and interacts with a keyboard and mouse.

Desktop Virtualization then in turn describes technologies, that separate the "provider of the desktop" from the system, that controls the monitor, keyboard and mouse. More on that also in articles to come.

To finish, let’s add a small picture to help to understand the positioning:

With that we'd like to close this first introductory article and hope we've made you eager to read the ones coming in the following newsletters.

The series will continue as follows (tentative):

January 2012: Oracle VM Server for SPARC (Matthias Pfützner)
February 2012: Oracle VM Server for x86 (Matthias Pfützner)
March 2012: Oracle Solaris Zones and Linux Containers (Detlef Drewanz)
April 2012: Resource Management as Enabling Technology for Virtualization (Detlef Drewanz)
May 2012: Network Virtualization (Detlef Drewanz)
June 2012: Oracle VM VirtualBox (Detlef Drewanz)
July 2012: Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) (Matthias Pfützner)
August 2012: OpsCenter as Management Tool for Virtualization (Matthias Pfützner)

If you have questions, feel free to contact me: Matthias Pfützner

Read more:

>>> Part 2: Oracle VM Server for SPARC

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