Friday Jul 03, 2015

Friday Spotlight: Adopting Oracle VM Manager for Oracle VM Server for SPARC guests

Customers using Oracle VM Server for SPARC (formerly called 'logical domains') are increasingly looking at Oracle VM Manager to provide a unified management platform with Oracle VM Server for x86.  While most customers use Oracle VM Server for SPARC's native command line interface or Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center, Oracle VM Manager provides

  • a management solution focused on Oracle VM virtualization supporting server pools, advanced VM life-cycle and policy management, and control over the networks and storage they depend on.
  • a graphical user interface, command line interface, and API common to Oracle VM on the x86 and SPARC platforms. Administrators can use the same interactions to control servers, VMs, networks and storage on both platforms from a single screen.

The natural question is how to move existing Oracle VM Server for SPARC guests domains (virtual machines) and servers to Oracle VM Manager for their existing guests.  There is no direct way to "adopt" existing servers and VMs, but there are ways to move them to Oracle VM Manager control.

The first step is to set up at least one SPARC server in an Oracle VM Manager server pool - more servers can be added later. Guest domains can be individually moved to the server pool. This is a "cold" process (guests must be down while being moved) and applies only to guest domains (domains using physical I/O like SR-IOV cannot be moved).  Optionally, servers can be redeployed under Oracle VM Manager as capacity requirements shift from the original deployment to the new pool.

The main consideration for moving a guest is storage. Virtual disks may be on SAN LUNs (typical for production use), physical disks, ZFS volumes, or files in a file system. Oracle VM Manager supports LUNs defined as "physical disks" presented from storage arrays, so moving those virtual disks is straightforward. If virtual disks are ZFS volumes or files they must be copied to storage under Oracle VM Manager control, typically an NFS-based Oracle VM repository. File-based virtual disk images are easy to import using the Oracle VM user interface. If the virtual disks are based on ZFS volumes or internal disks, use the 'dd' command to create virtual disk images that can be imported. (The virtual disks should not be in use while being copied). 

An optimization can be used for guest ZFS pools. Make the ZFS pool a mirror using a new virtual disk of equal size as ones already in the pool, Wait for the pool to resilver, and then 'zpool split' the new virtual disk from the pool, and upload the image file into Oracle VM Manager. The advantage is that resilvering copies only "in use" disk blocks, not residual erased data, so the resulting disk image may be substantially smaller.

Whichever method is used, customers already using Oracle VM Server for SPARC may further benefit from moving to Oracle VM Manager.


Friday May 22, 2015

Friday Spotlight: Oracle VM Server for SPARC Best Practices White Paper Updated

The white paper Oracle VM Server for SPARC Best Practices has been updated to reflect enhancements introduced with Oracle VM Server for SPARC 3.2.

This paper shows how to configure to meet demanding performance and availability requirements. Topics include:

  • Oracle VM Server for SPARC definitions, concepts and deployment options.
  • Software, hardware, and firmware requirements.
  • Best Practices for optimal performance.
  • Best Practices for resiliency and availability.

The paper includes specific recommendations, describes the reasons behind them, and illustrates them with examples taken from actual systems.

The update for Oracle VM Server for SPARC 3.2 describes enhanced multipath disk group performance, and I/O resiliency for SR-IOV devices. For further information, see the Oracle VM Server for SPARC document library page.

Friday Apr 10, 2015

Friday Spotlight: Oracle VM Server for SPARC 3.2 features

For this week's Friday spotlight, I want to highlight the improvements in live migration and virtual disk multipathin which were delivered as part of Oracle VM Server for SPARC 3.2 released in March 2015. 

  • Provide live migration performance enhancements, including parallel memory-mapped I/O and optimized firmware copying routines. These enhancements reduce the overall migration time and the time during which the migrated guest domain is suspended. 
  • Update virtual disk management for mpgroups to show and specify the selected path to the virtual disk backend. You can see the path that is currently used and dynamically request a path switch.

To learn more details about enhanced features please see the blog entries on live migration improvements and on disk multipathing.

For additional resources about Oracle VM Server for SPARC

Monday Mar 23, 2015

Oracle VM Server for SPARC 3.2 Released

We are pleased to announce the latest Oracle VM Server for SPARC 3.2 release. This update has been integrated into Oracle Solaris 11.2 beginning with SRU 8.4. Refer to Oracle Solaris 11.2 Support Repository Updates (SRU) Index [ID 1672221.1]. 

This new release introduces the following features:

  • Improved multipath virtual disk I/O (mpgroup): view, set active I/O path
  • Improved domain observability to show dependencies between domains
  • Improved network observability, quality of service and security management, and PVLAN
  • I/O Resiliency (IOR) for physical I/O
  • Dynamic Bus (dynamically assign PCI bus to domains)
  • Live migration performance and security improvements
  • Guest additions (VM API to interact with host environment)
  • Guest access to SPARC performance counters

For additional resources about Oracle VM Server for SPARC

Monday Dec 15, 2014

Latest Update to Oracle VM Server for SPARC

We just released a maintenance update 3.1.1.2 to Oracle VM Server for SPARC. This update has been integrated into Oracle Solaris 11.2 beginning with SRU 5.5. Refer to Oracle Solaris 11.2 Support Repository Updates (SRU) Index [ID 1672221.1]. 

For additional resources about Oracle VM Server for SPARC

Friday Dec 05, 2014

Friday Spotlight: Oracle VM Server for SPARC certification for Oracle RAC 12cR1 with Oracle Clusterware, and tips on SPARC server configuration

Oracle RAC 12cR1 (12.1.0.2) with Oracle Clusterware (12.1.0.2)  is now certified on Oracle VM Server for SPARC with Oracle Solaris 11 guest domains. Visit http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/database/virtualizationmatrix-172995.html for details.

Also, two technical notes for Oracle VM Server for SPARC users configuring root domains on SPARC T5-2, SPARC M5-32, and SPARC M6-32 servers for resiliency. Please see My Oracle Support note Doc ID 1948940.1 for SPARC T5-2, and Doc ID 1942045.1 for SPARC M5-32 and SPARC M6-32 on details for PCI bus assignment requirements for Fault Management Architecture (FMA) fault proxying.


Friday Oct 17, 2014

Friday Spotlight: Oracle VM Server for SPARC Best Practices White Paper

A new white paper has been published: Oracle VM Server for SPARC Best Practices.This paper shows how to configure to meet demanding performance and availability requirements. Topics include:

  • Oracle VM Server for SPARC definitions, concepts and deployment options.
  • Software, hardware, and firmware requirements.
  • Best Practices for optimal performance.
  • Best Practices for resiliency and availability.

The paper includes specific recommendations, describes the reasons behind them, and illustrates them with examples taken from actual systems.

Thursday Sep 18, 2014

New update to Oracle VM Server for SPARC

We just released a maintenance update 3.1.1.1 to Oracle VM Server for SPARC. This maintenance release delivers enhanced networking, better scalability and improved flexibility.

For additional resources about Oracle VM Server for SPARC

Friday May 23, 2014

Friday Spotlight: Oracle VM Server for SPARC Virtual Disk Performance Improvement

A new Solaris update dramatically improves performance for virtual disks on Oracle VM Server for SPARC, providing near-native I/O performance. With this change, virtual I/O is suitable for the most demanding I/O intensive applications under Oracle VM Server for SPARC. Read this article to see more details.

Tuesday Mar 18, 2014

Oracle VM Server for SPARC 3.1.1 Released

We are pleased to announce the latest Oracle VM Server for SPARC 3.1.1 release. The major changes for this release are as follows.

For information about the hardware and software requirements for the Oracle VM Server for SPARC 3.1.1 release, see the Oracle VM Server for SPARC 3.1.1 and 3.1 Release Notes.

Oracle VM Server for SPARC 3.1.1 has been integrated into Oracle Solaris 11.1 beginning with SRU 17.5. To download the software, refer to Oracle Solaris 11.1 Support Repository Updates (SRU) Index [ID 1501435.1]  from My Oracle Support.

Oracle Premier Support for Systems provides fully-integrated support for your server hardware, firmware, OS, and virtualization software. Visit oracle.com/support for information about Oracle's support offerings.

For additional resources about Oracle VM Server for SPARC

For more information about Oracle's virtualization, visit oracle.com/virtualization.

Tuesday Aug 20, 2013

Announcing Oracle VM Server for SPARC 3.1 Release

We are pleased to announce the availability of Oracle VM Server for SPARC 3.1. The new release delivers significant virtual networking performance improvements, more flexibility to configure I/O virtualization, and further enhancements for cross-CPU secure live migration to help customers take advantage of the massive thread scale offered by SPARC servers and the Oracle Solaris operating system.

See the key features and benefits delivered in Oracle VM Server for SPARC 3.1:

  • Virtual network performance improvements: Significantly improve the virtual networking performance up to 5 times faster. For example, guest to external network approaches wire-speed at ~9Gb/s; while for the guest to guest within the same host, it's measured up to 16Gb/s. For more details, read the blog.


  • Dynamic Single-Root I/O Virtualization (SR-IOV): Bringing configuration flexibility to I/O virtualization with native I/O throughput. For more details, read the blog

  • Cross-CPU secure live migration enhancements: Perform secure live migration across different generations of SPARC servers, including the new SPARC T5 and SPARC M5. For more details, read the blog.
  • Extends the Direct I/O and SR-IOV features to non-Primary root domains. For more details, read the blog
  • Adds InfiniBand device support to the SR-IOV feature in addition to the Ethernet devices.
  • Adds the Fault Management Architecture (FMA) blacklisting feature. When FMA detects faulty CPU or memory resources, Oracle VM Server for SPARC places them on a blacklist. A faulty resource that is on the blacklist cannot be reassigned to any domains until FMA marks it as being repaired.
  • Adds a recovery mode feature that automatically recovers domain configurations that cannot be booted because of faulty or missing resources.
  • Adds the ldmpower command to show per-domain, power-consumption information.
  • Adds support for VNICs on virtual networks.
Read the blog to learn the in-depth details of the new release and how to upgrade to the latest release. Please review the What's New section and the documentation about specific details of required and minimum software and supported platforms. Visit the download page for instructions to download the required software.

Oracle Premier Support for Systems provides fully-integrated support for your server hardware, firmware, OS, and virtualization software. Visit oracle.com/support for information about Oracle's support offerings for Sun systems.

For additional resources about Oracle VM Server for SPARC

For more information about Oracle's virtualization, visit oracle.com/virtualization.

Thursday Apr 04, 2013

Oracle VM Templates now available on SPARC platforms

Oracle VM Templates provide an innovative approach to deploying a fully configured software stack by offering pre-installed and pre-configured software images. Use of Oracle VM Templates eliminates the installation and configuration costs, and reduces the ongoing maintenance costs helping organizations achieve faster time to market and lower cost of operations. Customers have been enjoying the benefits of accelerating software deployment with Oracle VM Templates on x86 platforms. Now we have made Oracle VM Templates available when deployed with Oracle VM Server for SPARC.

Oracle VM Manager 3.2 introduced the ability to discover SPARC servers running Oracle VM Server for SPARC, and perform virtual machine operation tasks - just the same experience as Oracle VM Server for x86. Thus you can take full advantage of Oracle VM Templates.

To create a virtual machine from an imported template / assembly. You download an Oracle VM template that contains an assembly file (.ovf file), and importing it into Oracle VM Manager as an assembly, then creating a template from the assembly. You can read the related documentation: Creating a Virtual Machine and the white paper: Oracle VM Manager 3.2: Quick Start Guide for Managing Oracle VM Server for SPARC (PDF).

1) Download Oracle VM Templates

  • Visit Oracle Software Delivery Cloud 
  • Complete your registration information (Name, Company Name, Email Address and Country) and click on the download agreement
  • Select "Oracle VM Templates" from the "Select a Product Pack" pull-down menu
  • Select "SPARC" from the "Platform" pull-down menu
  • Download and unzip the files and read the readme

2) Place the downloaded Oracle VM Template into a location where it's accessible by Oracle VM Manager using HTTP, HTTPS or FTP. After logging into Oracle VM Manager 3.2, click Repositories tab, identify the repository to use and select Assemblies. Then click the icon to import an Assembly. After a few minutes (depending on the network / server speed),  the assembly would be imported then.

3) Create a VM Template from the Imported Assembly - Select the imported assembly, then click the icon "Create VM Template ...". After a few minutes, depending on the server/storage configuration, a VM template is now created.

4) Edit VM template - you can edit the VM template to verify the general setting, such as the network setting.

5) Clone a VM from the Template - Next it's to clone a virtual machine from the newly created template.You click the icon "Clone or Move Template ..."

6) Start the VM - After the VM is cloned, it is placed under the server pool (defined in the target server pool option when cloning the template) and the VM status is "stopped". Then start the VM, and it's ready to use.

7) After the VM is started, you can access the VM serial console by clicking the "Launch Serial Console" icon. You need to go through the initial Solaris configuration if it is the first time to start the VM, for example, to configure the network, hostname, time zone, user name, and so on. Serial console access works for both x86 and SPARC based virtual machines. For additional options of accessing the guest VM console, such as VNC based console access for x86 virtual machines, read the user guide: Connecting to a Virtual Machine.

To learn more about Oracle's virtualization solutions, visit oracle.com/virtualization.

Thursday Jun 28, 2012

Power Management with Oracle VM Server for SPARC

With the introduction of Oracle VM Server for SPARC 2.2, it includes power management features which can be set via the service processor (ILOM) of the supported SPARC T-Series systems.

Watch this video to learn about the hardware power savings capabilities available on SPARC T4 systems, and how Oracle VM Server for SPARC makes use of them. The video will show you how to choose a power management policy and set a power cap.

For more information, read the OTN technical article "How to Use the Power Management Controls on SPARC Servers".

Thursday May 24, 2012

Announcing Oracle VM Server for SPARC 2.2 Release

We are excited to announce Oracle VM Server for SPARC 2.2, the latest release of Oracle’s enterprise-class server virtualization solution. The new release delivers significant enhancements that improve workload agility and performance, maximize the availability of business-critical applications, and increase flexibility in provisioning and deployment. Oracle VM Server for SPARC takes advantage of the massive thread scale offered by SPARC T-Series servers and the Oracle Solaris operating system.

See the key features and benefits delivered in Oracle VM Server for SPARC 2.2:

  • Secure live migration is now available across different generations of SPARC T-Series servers for flexibility of workload deployment and migration. Customers continue to benefit from their existing investment as they add SPARC T4 servers into the environment for increased capacity with minimal downtime or disruption to their operation. Secure live migrations are as simple as point and click using Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center’s console. Read more about Cross-CPU Secure Live Migration here and watch a video demo.
  • Single-Root I/O Virtualization (SR-IOV) delivers superior I/O throughput to guest domains that have SR-IOV on Oracle's SPARC T4 and SPARC T3 platforms. SR-IOV enables the efficient sharing of PCIe network devices among I/O domains so application workloads can achieve native I/O performance. Read more about SR-IOV feature and SR-IOV Virtual Function (VF).

  • Integrated optimization with SPARC T-Series servers, especially for SPARC T4 and SPARC SuperCluster T4-4, provides administrators with fine-grained control of server resources and the ability to tailor CPU performance across business-critical enterprise workloads for better throughput. Read more about whole core allocation enhancements here.

Please review the Oracle VM Server for SPARC 2.2 Documentation for specific details of required and minimum software and supported platforms. Visit the download page for instructions to download the required software.

Oracle Premier Support for Systems provides fully-integrated support for your server hardware, firmware, OS, and virtualization software. Visit oracle.com/support for information about Oracle's support offerings for Sun systems.

For additional resources about Oracle VM Server for SPARC

For more information about Oracle's virtualization, visit oracle.com/virtualization.

Wednesday Feb 15, 2012

Implementing Secure Live Migration with Oracle VM Server for SPARC

One of the notable benefits that customers are using Oracle VM Server for SPARC is the ability to migrate an active domain to another host machine while maintaining application services to users. In addition, on-chip cryptographic accelerators deliver secure, wire speed encryption capabilities for live migration – without any additional hardware investments.

We published a white paper to illustrate the complete process of implementing secure live migration with Oracle VM Server for SPARC, including the creation and configuration of guest domains as well as the storage configuration and layout plus software requirements that were used to demonstrate the secure live migration between two SPARC T4 systems running Oracle Database workloads on Oracle Solaris

To learn more about Oracle VM Server for SPARC and Oracle's virtualization solutions, please visit

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