Virtualization and E-Business Suite

[Editor Sep 8 Update:  Added section to discuss virtualization recommendations for client/server Apps components]

I don't know if VMware has launched a new marketing campaign recently, but there's been a notable surge in questions lately about support for their virtualization software with the E-Business Suite.

VMWare ESX Architecture:

Our standard support policy for third-party products applies to E-Business Suite application and database servers running on virtualization software such as VMware, Microsoft Virtual Server, and Citrix, namely: 
  • Oracle will triage and attempt to diagnose issues reported for these configurations. 
  • Specific problems isolated to virtualization software that cannot be reproduced in standard Oracle environments -- i.e. environments without virtualization software -- may need to be referred to the third-party vendor for advanced debugging and resolution.
Use in Production Environments

I've heard a number of anecdotal reports from Apps customers using VMware and Citrix, but the Applications Technology Group doesn't have formal recommendations or guidelines for this configuration. 

If you plan to use virtualization software for your application and database servers in a production environment, the usual advice applies:  conduct thorough functional tests, perform peak load-testing, and have detailed fallback plans in case of issues with production environments.

Special Case:  Use with Client/Server Apps Modules

The information above applies to the E-Business Suite's application and database servers.  There is a special case for E-Business Suite client/server modules, which make direct connections to the E-Business Suite database.  These should be deployed on servers rather than end-user desktops, so remote server configurations are recommended for the following products:
  • Account Hierarchy Manager
  • Applications Desktop Integrator
  • Balanced Scorecard
  • Configurator Developer
  • Discoverer Administrator
  • Financial Analyzer
  • Financial Dimension Hierarchy Manager
  • Financial Services Suite
  • Sales Analyzer
  • Warehouse Builder
  • Workflow Builder
  • XML Gateway Client
Related

Comments:

Thanks much Steven. This is very useful information.

Vamsi Mudumba
Sr. Manager, Architecture and Security
Cisco Systems.

Posted by Vamsi Mudumba on August 23, 2006 at 09:31 AM PDT #

Vamsi,

You are not serious, are you?
VMWARE are useful for EDUCATION porpoise ONLY!!!!
PROD & VMWARE you are kidding me ?!
I have 2 VM-s (RH 3.0 & Suse 9.3) but ONLY and ONLY for education purpose.
I don’t see any significant benefit in going LIVE with VMWARE.
Especially if you will take into account Oracle Licensing policy.
Paying for a CPU you have to make sure that you physical CPY is dedicated to Oracle SW as much as possible and do not share any COU cycles with any other software.

Please correct me if I am wrong.

PS Only reason why Steven (Oracle) getting more question regarding VMWARE (to my mind) is the fact that HW powerful enough to run Apps in HOME environment become available enough to allow installation of Apps for education purposes. Many Oracle enthusiasts are trying to install Apps.

Yury

Posted by Yury Velikanov on August 23, 2006 at 10:42 AM PDT #

That's interesting, Kevin.  Can you comment on the VMWare version used, and the nature of the poor results?Regards,Steven 

Posted by Steven Chan on August 24, 2006 at 03:16 AM PDT #

We've tried to run 11i on VMWare with very poor results. All our instances are now on physical machines. Test very thoroughly before rolling this out anywhere.

Posted by Kevin Krause on August 24, 2006 at 04:23 AM PDT #

Just to clarify: We are not looking at vmware from a Production perspective.

-- Vamsi.

Posted by Vamsi Mudumba on September 06, 2006 at 08:14 AM PDT #

John, thanks for taking the time to put this fascinating writeup together.  I'll be forwarding this to other folks in Development interested in this area.Regards,Steven 

Posted by Steven Chan on September 07, 2006 at 07:42 AM PDT #

We've been running a handful of Dev/Test 11.5.10 instances under VMWare ESX Server 2.5.x (SLES9 guest OS) for the last 18 months or so, and the experience has been mixed. It was certainly helpful to be able to deploy our three CRP instances during implementation without having to schedule time (or find money in the budget) to approve, purchase, rack and configure hardware, and in theory, the ability to spin up a new instance whenever we needed to test something new is a godsend.

Why "in theory?" Well, we've had our share of problems, which boil down to two things: 1) system stability (random, too-frequent crashes) and 2) user experience (painfully poor application performance). The stability problems, I'm convinced (and I'm starting to convince our sysadmins), stem from problems with the OS. This is not a knock on Novell/SUSE at all; we run SLES9 in production and are quite pleased with it; there are just some strange things going on w/ SLES9 under ESX Server that we haven't had time to deeply investigate. As far as user experience goes, I think it's just a fact of life that when dealing with a system as resource-intensive as Apps, it's difficult to even approximate the performance of physical hardware in VMware. In general, our IT folks and higher-end functional users are able to live with the limitations, it can be frustrating for Joe User to be pulled from his relatively speedy physical test environment to help test something in one of the virtualized instances. Users expect test systems to be slow, but the difference between our VMs and our single physical test system with similar specs is palpable.

In general, despite the performance issues, Apps on VMWare has been a win for us, though we still have a long way to go before I can comfortably say it's a low-pain endeavor. For production, though? Ask me in 5 years; the answer is currently "no way." ;-)

Posted by John Piwowar on September 07, 2006 at 10:27 AM PDT #

Glad to be able to contribute. We have a strong commitment to both Oracle and VMWare products, so the more vendor interest there is in making them play nice together, the beter it is for us. :-)

Cheers,

Posted by John Piwowar on September 07, 2006 at 11:59 AM PDT #

John,

Why you haven’t considered running two or more environment on the same physical server under different Linux user accounts, instead of using VM machines? We have up to 10 different test environments running on the same server. No issues at all, except you need plenty of RAM and quite naturally environments��? processes conflict on CPU and IO resources. But most of the cases only in one environment something significant going on at one point in time, depending on project current focus and phase.

Yury

Posted by Yury Velikanov on September 11, 2006 at 01:19 AM PDT #

Kevin/John,

Am interested in best practices for deploying vmware for the Oracle env. Would be awesome if you could share some tips with our teams. If you are willing and able, please send me an email: vmudumba@cisco.com

Thanks,
Vamsi Mudumba
Sr. Manager, Technical Architecture & Security
Cisco Systems.

Posted by Vamsi Mudumba on September 23, 2006 at 07:51 AM PDT #

Thank you for the comments in the blog,

I have a hard time understanding that non of you mentions the benefits in running a virtual environment.
My company is currently about to invest in OEBS v12.x and I'm in a situation where we are running almost all our servers in VMWare v4, from where we have gained extensive reduction in powercosts, very easy administration, documented 24/7 SLA, easier backup, easier disaster recovery etc.

I'm facing either to introduce new physical hardware and go back in history, or making the desicion to install OEBS12.x on a non Oracle supported VMWare platform, or setting up a brand new Oracle VM ware enviroment which is virtualized set-up equal to the functionality to VMWare, but is supported and proved to work with OEBS12.x

I hope you have some comforting words, that will release me from my pain.

Regards
Frank Poulsen - PM

Posted by Frank Poulsen on May 06, 2010 at 09:26 PM PDT #

Hi, Frank,

Thanks for sharing your experiences here. Glad to hear that's working out for you.

Not sure whom the "non of you" refers to, but we're very enthusiastic about the use of virtualization with E-Business Suite environments. You may have missed some of our most-recent articles on virtualization benefits for EBS sysadmins. A five-part series starts here:

E-Business Suite 12.1.1 Templates for Oracle VM Now Available
http://blogs.oracle.com/stevenChan/2009/12/ebs_1211_oracle_vm_templates.html

Regards,
Steven

Posted by Steven Chan on May 10, 2010 at 03:08 AM PDT #

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