On Clouds and Virtualization in EBS Environments (OpenWorld 2009 Recap)

[Dec. 31, 2013 update: Note 465915.1 has been withdrawn.  Refer to the Certifications system on My Oracle Support for the latest certified combinations of EBS + Oracle VM]

[Editor: This is the third of a five-part series on virtualization and cloud topics from Ivo Dujmovic, an architect in our Applications Technology Integration group.]

In my two previous articles, we announced the availability of our EBS Oracle VM (OVM) templates, and then announced the availability of the EBS Virtualization Kit. So now let's go through some highlights from my OOW'09 presentation:


Oracle_vm_platform_architecture.png

Q:  Why use virtualization?

A: 
To increase CPU utilization at the cost of more disk

This answer uncovers my roots in software performance.  Physical hardware resources are frequently sized for -- and locked into -- a particular configuration that might be sub-optimal for a project's overall lifecycle.  For example, during a single development cycle for a given project, the project's environment can go through a number of stages: preparation (patching, configuration, spot testing), broad testing (all hands, RT tools, consultants), and wrap-up (trailing issue resolution, spot testing).  The project's hardware was sized to accommodate the maximum load, despite the fact that the intensive testing period with a hundred testers would last only a few weeks.  In this case, the hardware would lie mostly-unused for the majority of the environment's life.

Another example is different environments being used in different time zones. Physical-world time-slicing is hard, as it's hard to capture all runtime components and their integrations' dependencies on other servers.  In the virtual world, shutdown, suspend, and startup actions are much faster and cleaner.

Of course, home-grown tools and manual optimization tries to compensate for some of this.  And they still fall short!  In the virtual world, moving resources is faster and easier.  It will spoil you -- you will feel as if you have more hardware.  And your customers will feel spoiled once you can quickly provision environments.

Q. What is a cloud?

A:  Virtual resource swarm present on your network, on somebody else's, or on the internet

Well, I did help with beekeeping a number of times, but that is not why I chose the word swarm.  I agree with Larry's view that we could have used other words like net, grid, cluster or cloud. Even the word swarm could be used, although it implies self-repairing, management, and intelligence.  I would argue that this is the direction we are heading.  But let me start with the basic properties people associate with clouds:
  • Utility pricing: pay as you go, per usage vs. per user or per cpu
  • Self service provisioning: easy and fast to get a resource
  • Self-preservation of resources:  the resource platform will worry about the little stuff like failover, system administration
Private clouds run on your own hardware, and public clouds run on someone else's hardware. 

Today's clouds are missing a lot of the "magic" features that one could dream up, but cloud infrastructure providers are starting to work on those.  My favorite missing feature:  integration automation and intelligence.  What good is a quickly-provisioned app if it is not integrated into the right identity management, business intelligence, workflow, or portal system? 

So even short of the future features, private or public clouds provide effective provisioning and resource-management platforms.

Q. What Virtualization Platform should I choose for E-Business Suite?

A. Funny you should ask: Oracle VM.

Oracle VM has been fully certified with EBS for 2 years. It's got a couple of things going for it: it is free, it is certified and optimized for Oracle products, and Oracle supports it. Here's the latest list of certified EBS releases and platforms:
  • Linux x86 32-bit
    • EBS 11.5.10 CU2 with 11i.ATG_PF.H.RUP5 (Patch 5473858) or later
    • EBS 12.0.2 (RUP2) or later (including 12.1)
  • Linux 64-bit - OEL 4 and RHEL 4 on x86-64
    • EBS 12.0.3 or later (including 12.1)
  • Linux 64-bit - OEL 5 and RHEL 5 on x86-64
    • EBS 12.0.4 or later (including 12.1)
  • Windows Server 2003 (32-bit) with PV driver v1.0.8 or higher
    • EBS 12.0.4 or later (including 12.1)
References
Listening to the Session

If you registered for OpenWorld, here's a link to the OpenWorld On Demand page where you can download the presentation or listen to the live recording of this session.

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Comments:

Good point regarding the necessity for an Integrated Cloud Stack for IdM, BI etc.

Couple of things that come up w.r.t the adv. architectures:
1. Will the deployment to a cloud or "swarm" (private/public/hybrid) always be through OVM only?
2. Given that these other components are also part of Oracle Stack, is there a roadmap for achieving this vision, in a future release of the OVM templates?

Posted by Krishna on January 06, 2010 at 05:58 PM PST #

Hi Krishna,

Here are my thoughts on the points you bring up:

1. No, this is broader than just OVM. My goal is to enable all deployment tools & infrastructures to do their provisioning tasks irregardless of the underlying platform being virtual/physical/hybrid. In reality, different provisioning infrastructures might have specific actions and constraints (e.g. in AMZN, you need to setup a security group and elastic block storage), which might need to be implemented and called with pretty low level data, so our code cannot do all of the last-mile provisioning, but as long as we architect things well, so they can be extended easily, different provisioning platforms could plug in their specific actions.

2. Yes, there is a roadmap. Some of it has been made public in recent presentations by Richard Sarwal and Ed Screvin at OOW'09, and later cloud conferences. The latest communication on this is in Oracle Private Cloud Webcast added above to the References link. The bottom line is that there is a number of tools, from us (unreleased), FMW (Assembly Builder), and EM (unreleased) that are going to gel together to do this job fully.

Posted by Ivo Dujmovic on January 07, 2010 at 04:01 AM PST #

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