Friday Jun 24, 2016

Friday Spotlight: Oracle VM Server for SPARC - virtual HBA (vHBA) enhancements

Oracle VM Server for SPARC 3.4 was released in May with enhanced scale and features. One of the areas enhanced was virtual HBA (vHBA), which provides advanced virtual device capabilities and scalability. See the blog entry on enhancements to vHBA. along with a note on controlling  LUN assignment.

For additional resources about Oracle VM Server for SPARC, visit

Tuesday May 31, 2016

Oracle VM Server for SPARC 3.4 Released!

We are pleased to announce the release of Oracle VM Server for SPARC 3.4, which has been delivered as part of Oracle Solaris 11.3 SRU 8.7. Together, they provide new features for virtualization, performance, security, scalability, and system management.

Oracle VM Server for SPARC 3.4 introduces several new capabilities, including the following:

  • The virtual HBA (vHBA) method of doing I/O introduced with Oracle VM Server for SPARC 3.3 has been enhanced to better support I/O resiliency, multi-pathing, monitoring and large configurations.
  • Verified boot can be used to enhance guest domain security by verifying signed boot blocks and kernel modules.
  • Trusted guest domains can be permitted to assign alternate MAC addresses and VLAN IDs, especially for domains running OpenStack.
  • Inter-vnet-link Logical Domain Channels (LDCs) are automatically enabled unless more than a tunable number of virtual network devices are on a virtual switch, in order to conserve use of LDCs.
  • The number of LDCs has been increased to a maximum of 4096, for further scalability.
  • Device properties for InfiniBand SR-IOV devices can now be modified without domain reboot.

For additional resources about Oracle VM Server for SPARC, visit

Thursday Jan 21, 2016

Oracle VM Server for SPARC 3.3.0.1 Released

We just released a maintenance update 3.3.0.1 to Oracle VM Server for SPARC. This update has been integrated into Oracle Solaris 11.3 beginning with SRU 4.5. Refer to Oracle Solaris 11.3 Support Repository Updates (SRU) Index [ID 2045311.1].

For additional resources about Oracle VM Server for SPARC

Friday Nov 20, 2015

Friday Spotlight: Virtual I/O with Performance and Flexibility

Oracle VM Server for SPARC 3.3 adds an important new feature: virtual HBA (vHBA). vHBA adds flexibility, extends virtual device support, and eliminates prior limitations of virtual I/O without sacrificing performance. See this blog entry for a description of this new feature and example of how to use it. For other features introduced by Oracle VM Server for SPARC 3.3, please see the What's New page.

Friday Nov 06, 2015

Friday Spotlight: SPARC T7 and M7 with Oracle VM Server for SPARC 3.3

Last week's Oracle OpenWorld had important announcements on our product families, including our new SPARC M7 and T7 servers, accompanied by the release of Oracle VM Server for SPARC 3.3 and Oracle Solaris 11.3 that fully exploit the new hardware's capabilities. This demonstrates the results of our research and development investment to deliver increasingly powerful and efficient systems.

In addition to the above links, here are new and updated blogs and white papers that describe the new product features and performance:

Monday Oct 26, 2015

Oracle VM Server for SPARC 3.3 Released!

We are pleased to announce the release of Oracle VM Server for SPARC 3.3, which has been delivered as part of Oracle Solaris 11.3. Together, they provide substantial new features for virtualization, performance, security, data and system management, and platform support.

Oracle VM Server for SPARC 3.3 introduces multiple new capabilities, especially a new method of doing I/O, virtual HBA (vHBA) which expands the ability of guest domains to perform I/O to devices with the full functionality of non-virtualized systems. For the new Solaris 11.3 features, please see the page What's New in Oracle Solaris 11.3.

For additional resources about Oracle VM Server for SPARC

To speak with the experts and attend sessions, join us at Oracle OpenWorld 2015:

Wednesday Sep 30, 2015

Hiring an Oracle VM Server for SPARC Curriculum Developer

Oracle VM Server for SPARC is highly efficient, enterprise-class virtualization enabling the creation of 128 virtual servers on one system, leveraging Oracle's SPARC servers and the Oracle Solaris operating system.

Oracle is looking for a motivated individual to extend our Oracle VM Server for SPARC customer technical training.

The successful candidate will:

  • Have significant experience designing and developing customer training
  • Have technical competence in areas including the Solaris operating system, system administration, virtualization and networking
  • Be able to write clear and precise technical instructions in fluent professional English
  • Have a high level of technical autonomy to design, develop and maintain complex training environments
  • Be passionate in continuing to learn new technologies

If you have the relevant experience, apply for this position on Oracle's Career Site, searching for requisition numbers 15001B6T or I5001B6I.

For more information on Oracle Virtualization, go to http://oracle.com/virtualization.

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

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