From the Editor

Virtual and Physical

Virtualization and database appliances are both winners.

By Tom Haunert

November/December 2011

The cover feature of the August 15, 2011, issue of InformationWeek, “Virtual Vs. Physical,” posited, “In the battle for data center supremacy, virtualization doesn’t always win. The top challenger: high-end database appliances.” The article sets up virtualization and database appliances as direct competitors, describes the flexibility and economy of virtualization that makes it a winner, and then goes on to discuss the opportunity for database appliances and some winning database appliance offerings.

In a little more than a month after this head-to-head challenge article was published, Oracle had announced major virtualization and database appliance releases—different winners for the datacenter.

Virtualization 3.0 On August 23, 2011, Oracle announced the release of Oracle VM 3.0, Oracle’s server virtualization and management software solution. Server consolidation has driven the adoption of virtualization in the datacenter, but Oracle VM 3.0 makes virtualization more than a consolidation enabler. With its focus on application-driven virtualization and management features—including Oracle VM Manager 3.0, Oracle VM Templates, and VM Storage Connect—Oracle VM 3.0 simplifies the deployment and management of applications. Oracle VM 3.0 enables automated end-to-end virtual machine provisioning, which streamlines IT processes and helps to reduce costs.

Oracle VM 3.0 is engineered for use with Oracle software and hardware and is more scalable than other virtualization offerings. (See “Application-Driven Virtualization,” for more information.)

Enter the Appliance

The August 15 InformationWeek article mentioned that Oracle does not refer to any of its current engineered systems as appliances. On September 21, however, Oracle introduced a true appliance: the Oracle Database Appliance. The appliance hardware includes two dual-socket servers, 24 processor cores, 192 GB of main memory, 292 GB of solid-state storage, and 12 TB of disk storage. The appliance software includes Oracle Linux; Oracle Database, Enterprise Edition 11g; Oracle Real Application Clusters; and Appliance Manager, a software feature that provides one-button automation for provisioning, patching, and diagnosing database servers.

Simple, reliable, and affordable, the Oracle Database Appliance is an engineered system for consolidating databases and replacing aging database servers for midsize companies and departmental systems. Appliance Manager delivers simple but complete management for the appliance’s hardware and software. Oracle Real Application Clusters, redundant hardware, and a single vendor for appliance support deliver reliability. And pay-as-you-grow licensing for the Oracle Database Appliance means that you license only the processor cores that you use—from 2 cores to 24. (See “Simple. Reliable. Affordable.” for more information.)


Oracle VM 3.0 and the Oracle Database Appliance are different solutions for different business needs. With these solutions, there’s no battle in the datacenter. Everybody wins.

Next Steps

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Photography by Tim Scharner, Unsplash