By Chris Kawalek-Oracle on Jul 25, 2014
Happy SysAdmin day and happy Friday!
Happy SysAdmin day and happy Friday!
Happy Friday! Our Friday Spotlight this week is about a new virtual appliance for Oracle VM:
The Oracle Virtual Assembly Builder team has been busy! You can now take a self-guided tour to see the power of Oracle Virtual Assembly Builder.
Oracle VM Templates allow you to easily and quickly deploy pre-configured Oracle Database and applications. Oracle Virtual Assembly Builder accelerates and simplifies provisioning of complete multi-tier application topologies by packaging them as standard Open Virtualization Format (OVF) Assemblies for deployment into Oracle VM environments. It is capable of capturing application topologies comprised of Oracle and non-Oracle products. With a single keystroke, applications are fully deployed using application and user defined metadata. Two example use cases are replicating an entire application topology from one datacenter to another or deployment of entire stack of application into Oracle VM as a foundation for your private cloud environment.
Please note: this appliance is not meant for production use.
The OVAB team has done a great job in packaging this appliance. Download the Oracle Virtual Assembly Builder 126.96.36.199.0 Demo Appliance and take your self-guided tour today!
Have a great week and we'll see you next Friday!
First, if you haven't already, read Chris Kawalek's fine summary of today's announcements below. But, as the head of virtualization product management at Oracle, I thought I'd add some comments.
Our goal, and what we are delivering with the Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance, is to perform all the necessary installation and configuration for the hardware and software to allow you to go from power-on to a running application (or database or middleware) in about an hour. Already, one press headline has declared "Oracle tar ledningen på nyckelfärdiga servrar". Now, just in case your Swedish is a bit rusty, that translates to "Oracle Takes the Lead in Turnkey Servers" So what's all the fuss about?
Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance...or "OVCA" as it likes to be called....is a general-purpose, converged infrastructure appliance focused on providing rapid deployment of not-only your hardware infrastructure but also, by virtue of Oracle VM, of all the application stack it hosts. Unlike anything else on the market, Oracle has a large portfolio of ready-to-run Oracle VM virtual machines with enterprise applications, databases, and middleware that have already been installed and configured. So you just need to download the VMs from Oracle and deploy them into your environment and they are ready to go as soon as the VM starts.
Aside from fully automating it to allow it come up and be ready for use very, very quickly, OVCA has been designed to fit easily into your existing data center. As a general purpose appliance, it supports all the OSes you want to run on x86: Linux of various flavors, including our favorite Oracle Linux, but also Oracle Solaris, and Microsoft Windows. And it also provides choice and flexibility for external storage by supporting the use of the excellent Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance as well as storage from major 3rd parties including NetApp and EMC.
Oracle has a great line of engineered systems to pretty much meet your every need, whether it is the "Exa-" class systems that are engineered explicitly for extreme performance with specific applications/workloads or whether you are looking at the " -Appliance" class systems focused on extreme ease of use as we are doing with the Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance. We've been hearing from our customers how much they love their Exa- machines but then they ask us what we've got for "the rest of their stuff", by which they mean legacy software or versions of software, Microsoft servers, or just generally anything that does not demand the extreme performance of the Exa systems.
I tell people that the "Exa-" systems are the supercars of the engineered systems world: exceptionally fast and very tailored for their purpose, while the Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance is sort of like your favorite minivan: very easy and convenient to use, with a great set of general purpose features for every day, general purpose use. Their focus is very different between them, but they are both excellent at what they do. And, in this sense, they are also very complementary and we expect these products to be companions to each other in a lot of data centers.
One of the aspects about OVCA that is very interesting and increasingly important over-time is that the infrastructure it delivers is software-defined. The hardware itself is "wire-once": We wire it up completely in the factory, including pulling cables for ethernet, InfiniBand, and power up to each individual slot in the rack regardless as-to whether you have ordered a server to go in that slot or not. Everything is pre-positioned. This means you will never have to add or move cables inside the rack as you grow. If you add a new node in the field, you just push that node into the slot and the cables are already in-place to push into the connectors on the back of the server....Done. To those of you reading this that have tried to do cabling in a completely full rack, you know why this is important. Racks today are often packed so densely with cables, it is almost impossible to even squeeze two fingers through to connect or remove an ethernet cable, much less a thicker power- or InfiniBand cable.
But let's get back to how the compute and network are software defined, which means you can more easily automate it to configure and expand and change it without ever having to walk into the data center to move cables. This makes you more agile and flexible but also reduces risks of mistakes or damage that come with moving things around in a very densely packed rack. It also presents the opportunities for adding capabilities down the road without having to change the hardware.
Some of the crown jewels of technology in OVCA that enable this are Oracle VM server virtualization on the Sun servers and Oracle SDN software for the Oracle Virtual Networking Fabric Interconnect hardware. In effect, Oracle VM enables "software defined servers" while Oracle SDN enables "software defined networking". This combination allows us to fully automate the system bring-up using the OVCA controller software that serves as an automation and orchestration layer to coordinate the bring-up and on-going configuration activities of OVCA, e.g. discovering servers, putting Oracle VM on them, discovering network hardware, putting software-defined private neworks on them, and then putting the servers into the newly created networks.
Collectively, these capabilities not only produce a great product today but also provide a powerful base for future enhancement and expansion through software.
Since I've only scratched the surface here, to learn more details, a replay of the webcast, including a demo showing the deployment of an Oracle 12c Database in about 52mins from power-on can be found here.
All the information on oracle.com can be found here or by going to www.oracle.com/ovca
And for those of you that are thrilled by the gripping prose usually found in press releases, click here.
So keep an eye out for new information over time on this blog or drop us a Comment below. And, of course, your friendly Oracle account manager or partner would be glad to discuss how you might be able to benefit from standing up a complete application stack in about an hour.
BriForum 2012 in Chicago includes great sessions from industry experts and consultants focused on VDI and Server Based Computing. One session delivered by Ron Oglesby of Unidesk presented "How you can solve common problems with VDI". As VDI deployments have increased in size a major challenge as been optimizing storage to deliver the IOPS required for desktop workloads. This requirement often is in conflict with the goals of reducing the CAPEX investment of implementing VDI.
Ron Oglesby recommends the use of "Hybrid Storage Arrays" that provide a combination of large controller memory, Solid State Disk (SSD) for high IOPS, combined with lower cost array disks. He then asks if anyone has heard of ZFS?
When you consider this general recommendation from Ron, it aligns with the Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure solution that for years has taken advantage of the Sun ZFS Storage Appliance. Otherwise considered a "Hybrid Storage Array" that as Ron generically suggests works very well for desktop workloads.
Ron goes on to mention the option of using local storage for lowering the CAPEX cost for VDI that can provide high IOPS with the lower cost of internal disks within the hypervisor server. Local storage is not for all deployments but can certainly be used for deployments such as flexible desktops without high availability requirements.
The latest release of Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure aligns well with this recommendation by supporting fast local storage installed on servers running the Oracle VM VirtualBox hypervisor. The Oracle VM VirtualBox hypervisor when installed on Oracle Solaris can provide the local storage with ZFS combined with the large server memory footprint available with Oracle Servers. Additionally, the Oracle VM VirtualBox hypervisor can be deployed onto Oracle Linux and leverage the Oracle Cluster Files System V2 (OCFS2) combined with the large memory available with Oracle Servers.
The Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure strategy that leverages hardware and software optimized for delivering virtual desktop workloads clearly is lining up with recommendations from virtual desktop experts.
The industry has talked of the power of “virtual appliances” for some time but despite the promise of being able to just download, start-up and use software, virtual appliances have not been widely deployed in the enterprise, so why is that? First and foremost has been the lack of availability of anything other than toy appliances to use. If you look at VMware’s Virtual Appliance Marketplace, you will see about 1,100 appliances. Spend some time clicking through there…go ahead …I’ll wait. What do you think? See anything you want to use in your production enterprise as-is? No? Me either.
How can this be? Why can you find a lot of things like this…
The virtualized Mepis desktop is the ideal supplement for Windows adepts. This cosmic location chose Mepis as the first distro to be VMware-packaged, because its pyramids have the right inclination and are pointing perfectly to Point Omega in the outer orbit. On top of that, you will find more info at the home of other coming virtual machines running under VMware.
…and very little enterprise-class production software like this?..
Oracle WebLogic Server 10g Release 3 Oracle VM Template (x86 32 bit and 64 bit):
Oracle WebLogic Server is a standards-based lightweight application infrastructure designed to scale to the largest mission-critical deployments requiring the highest performance, manageability, reliability, security, and availability. This template contains the following components:
-Oracle Enterprise Linux JeOS Operating System (Oracle Enterprise Linux 5 Update 2 JeOS 1.0.1)
-Oracle JRockit JRE (Oracle JRockit JDK 6.0 R27.6)
-Oracle WebLogic Server (Oracle WebLogic Server 10.3.0.0)
-Read the Reference Instructions
-Download Oracle WebLogic Server 10gR3 Template
(By the way, I’m sure Mepis 8.0 is awesome and that they’ve done an excellent job at pyramid pointing so no offense intended: it just happened to be the first one on page 1 of VMware’s Virtual Appliance Marketplace as I’m writing this...)
The failure (so far) of Virtual Appliances to generate big volumes has not been in the concept but rather in the ability to execute: there simply have been few companies or communities that have all the components, the expertise, and the legal right to package and distribute everything you need to use it in real-world production (and if you can’t use it in production without redoing it, what’s the point?).
For the production enterprise, you need an enterprise server operating system (not a workstation OS), that is supported by a real company (not just forums), and you need real enterprise applications (not “crippleware”) that are officially supported and licensed for production. Go ahead, go back and look at the Operating System Appliances category on VMware’s Marketplace: how many of these appliances contain server- (not workstation-) operating systems backed by a commercial company? What about the “Certified Production Ready*” appliances…surely that’s better, right? Er…well…some good software for sure, but again the included OS is almost always a workstation version and/or forum supported: not production-ready. (*Author’s Note: Couldn't link to that: Since I originally drafted this blog entry offline a few days ago, but before I got around to posting it, it looks like VMware got rid of the “Certified Production Ready” category and now just has the “VMware Ready Virtual Appliance Program” in its place as they describe here. I guess they didn’t like that “Production” word…)
None of this is about the quality of the individual pieces of software in the Marketplace – not at all – but it is about ability to execute on the total solution. At Oracle, we’re the first to effectively deliver on the promise of enterprise-class virtual appliances today with Oracle VM Templates and Enterprise Linux from Oracle. The reality is that it is the OS, rather than the virtualization layer per se that is the key to creating and delivering successful enterprise appliances. Oracle has the whole stack: enterprise virtualization, enterprise OS, and enterprise applications: All configured and licensed for production server use. And, by the way, its not just for Oracle’s software. Oracle VM server virtualization and Enterprise Linux are free and can be freely redistributed (even without a distribution contract) so that anyone, not just Oracle can build and distribute Oracle VM Templates with their own software included, enabling the community even if the Template doesn’t include Oracle software.
This is a core reason that Oracle is in the virtualization business: to deliver on products that make the total application solution easier to deploy, manage, and support.
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