Big Ideas

Virtualize Your Enterprise

Oracle VM delivers scalable, efficient, lower-cost server virtualization.

By Rich Schwerin

May 2008

As the volume of information in your data center continues to grow, you're faced with myriad challenges—increased hardware, energy, and cooling costs; real estate, facility, and space expansion costs; resource underutilization; and availability issues, just to name a few. One solution to these challenges is server virtualization—disaggregating a single physical server into multiple logical servers (virtual machines) or partitions. Recently Oracle launched a free, scalable server virtualization software product, Oracle VM, which supports both Oracle and non-Oracle applications and is backed by enterprise-quality, low-cost support. Profit sat down with Monica Kumar, Oracle's senior director of open source product marketing, to get the inside story on Oracle VM.

PROFIT: What motivated the release of Oracle VM?

KUMAR: Oracle's data center was running out of space, and we decided to deploy virtualization technologies to overcome the space issues. In testing what was available out there, very soon we realized that none of these existing x86 server virtualization technologies were robust enough to handle mission-critical applications and database workloads. Oracle VM emerged out of that exercise. It fully complements our grid computing solutions portfolio.

Oracle has a history of enabling our customers to exploit low-cost hardware through grid computing. With Oracle VM, Oracle now provides customers integrated clustering, virtualization, storage, and management for grid computing, as well as unified, full-stack support for virtualization, Linux, database, middleware, and application products.

PROFIT: Take us under the hood: what is Oracle VM?

KUMAR: Oracle VM consists of open source server software and an integrated Web browser-based management console. It includes an easy-to-use graphical interface for creating and managing virtual server pools, running on x86- and x86-64-based systems, across an enterprise with support for Linux and Windows guest operating systems.

PROFIT: How do customers benefit from Oracle VM?

KUMAR: Oracle VM enables faster and more-efficient server consolidation and optimization throughout the enterprise. It helps lower costs related to power, space, cooling, and hardware. At the same time, it eases the deployment of applications in a grid environment. Oracle VM is a free product so there is no licensing cost, and with simple and affordable enterprise-class, 24/7 support, Oracle VM provides even more cost savings to customers.

Oracle VM allows customers to grow or shrink the physical server resources dedicated to an application without downtime through Oracle VM live migration. And Oracle VM is three times more efficient than the competing server virtualization product.

PROFIT: Three times more efficient?

KUMAR: Oracle has run many performance benchmarks comparing Oracle products running with Oracle VM against the existing leading x86 server virtualization products. We've also compared it to Oracle products on nonvirtualized operating systems on x86 and x86-64. And we consistently see much better resource utilization with an average of three times less overhead using Oracle VM.

PROFIT: How are Oracle customers currently using Oracle VM?

KUMAR: As I alluded to earlier, we are deploying Oracle VM in our data center to support Oracle On Demand Managed Services Grid, which provides a portfolio of applications on a subscription or managed basis. This will allow Oracle to better optimize each On Demand customer's configuration, more fully harness server capabilities, maintain operational enhancements deployed over the last several years, and introduce new benefits—not to mention significant savings in terms of space, power, and cooling.

PROFIT: How much does support for Oracle VM cost?

KUMAR: Oracle VM software is free for download. And for customers who want support, its pricing is on a per-system basis, with 24/7 support for a system with up to two CPUs priced at [US]$499 per year per system and a system with unlimited CPUs priced at [US]$999 per year per system. With a complete solution from Oracle, not only do customers save on support costs; they also have a single point of enterprise-class support for their entire virtualization environments, including the Linux operating system, Oracle Database, Oracle Fusion Middleware, and Oracle Applications software—all of which are certified with Oracle VM.

For More Information

Oracle Database 11g
Oracle VM
Putting Oracle Database 11g to Work
Inside Oracle Database 11g

Photography by Shutterstock