Monday Oct 26, 2009

Oracle VM 2.2 New Feature: CPU Scheduling Priority and Cap

One of the new features in Oracle VM 2.2 is the ability to set virtual CPU scheduling priority and cap per VM from Oracle VM Manager, which enables you to control access to CPU between multiple virtual machines to align with your IT/business priorities. With this enhancement, users can now control the Quality of Service (QoS) for CPU, network, and disk I/O through the intuitive Oracle VM Manager browser interface.

You log into Oracle VM Manager, then proceed to configure the VMs.

OracleVM-Deployment.jpg


Scheduling Priority -- You can select High (100), Intermediate (50), or Low (1) priority for the virtual CPUs. You can also enter a custom priority by selecting Customize and entering a value out of 100 in the text area. If more than one virtual machine is running on the same managed node, use the Priority setting to give highest priority to one virtual machine, and less (or equal) priority to others. Priority levels determine which virtual machine is allowed to run first, in the event two or more are contending for the same physical processors. 

Scheduling Cap -- The cap optionally fixes the maximum amount (percentage) of CPU that can be consumed by the virtual machines, even if the host has idle CPU cycles. Use the cap to keep low priority virtual machines from consuming too many cycles on a node. You can select a High (100%), Intermediate (50%), or Low (10%) percentage of scheduled time for the virtual CPUs. You can also enter a custom percentage by selecting Customize and entering a percentage in the text area.

If you are using Oracle VM 2.1.2 or 2.1.5, you've had the I/O resource management features - setting bandwidth cap for each virtual network interface and prioritizing the virtual disks.

With network I/O traffic management, you can set bandwidth cap for each virtual network interface. All the virtual network interfaces (VIFs) share the physical network interface card (NIC) to communicate with the outside. If you have several VIFs, and you want to control how much bandwidth is granted to each VIF, you can configure the rate limit from Oracle VM Manager. The network traffic through the virtual network interface will not exceed the limit. The change will take effect without restart.

OracleVM-Deployment.jpg

With storage I/O prioritization, you can also prioritize the virtual disk and enable disk priority, and select an appropriate priority class. The priority class ranges from 0 to 7. The priority class 0 has the highest priority, and 7 the lowest. Rather than being confined to a particular virtual machine, the priority of a virtual disk is global on the entire Oracle VM Server. Virtual disks of the same priority class take the same priority on the Oracle VM Server, even if they belong to different virtual machines.

OracleVM-Deployment.jpg

CPU scheduling priority and cap along with I/O resource management features help assure that the CPU and I/O bandwidth usage are being used according to the priorities you want them to be. For more information about Oracle VM, please refer to the following resources:

Wednesday Oct 21, 2009

Deploying Oracle VM 2.2 and Upgrading Oracle VM from 2.1.5 to 2.2

Oracle VM 2.2 was announced last week, bringing customers more benefits by providing better performance, scalability and security. In the next series of blogs, I'd like to cover some new features of Oracle VM 2.2. But first, how can I get started with Oracle VM 2.2 or upgrade the existing Oracle VM 2.1.5 environment to 2.2?

If you read my previous blog - Basics of Oracle VM, you use Oracle VM Manager to manage many Oracle VM servers. Multiple Oracle VM Servers are grouped into Server Pools in which every server in a given pool has access to shared storage, which can be NFS, SAN (Fibre Channel) or iSCSI storage. This allows VMs associated with the pool to start and run on any physical server within the pool that is available and has the most resources free. Given the uniform access to shared storage, VMs may also be securely Live Migrated or automatically (re-)started across any servers in the pool. Each Oracle VM server or Manager installation just takes a few minutes. You can refer to the Oracle VM 2.2 documentation for details.

OracleVM-Deployment.jpg

In Oracle VM 2.2, it's much easier to configure the shared storage repositories. We provide an improved shared storage configuration and cluster configuration script (/opt/ovs-agent-2.3/utils/repos.py). This new script replaces the previous scripts, ovs-makerepo and ovs-offlinerepo in the /usr/lib/ovs/ directory, and the /etc/init.d/ovsrepositories script. The goal is to reduce storage repositories set up complexity. In addition, the /OVS directory is the cluster root and is a symbolic link mounted to the /var/ovs/mount/uuid directory. You can refer to the "Creating Shared Storage and Cluster" and "Managing Storage Repositories" chapter of the Oracle VM 2.2 Server User Guide.

If you upgrade your Oracle VM 2.1.5 server pool to Oracle VM 2.2, you should plan properly and ensure a smooth upgrade. There are some important factors to consider. You can not mixed Oracle VM 2.1 and 2.2 servers in the same server pool, so there would be planned down time during the upgrade; however, the stored VMs in the repositories remain intact. It only took several minutes minutes to upgrade the Manager, and each server node upgrade would just take a few minutes. So the entire upgrade process should not be long depending on the size of your server pool.

Before you start the upgrade, you want to make sure that your existing server pool has been configured properly:

  • The hostname in /etc/hosts must be associated with the public IP address instead of 127.0.0.1
  • You have all the server entries in your DNS server; If DNS is not used, make sure the correct setting in /etc/hosts for all the servers in the pool. If you plan to use DNS for all servers, but DNS was not specified during the server installation, please update /etc/resolv.conf file and add your domain name in it.
  • All the servers in the same pool must have the consistent name resolution, either by DNS or by file (/etc/hosts). You should not have mixed name services for the servers in the same server pool. For example, some have DNS, while others use /etc/hosts to resolve host names.

You can follow the simple steps to upgrade your entire server pool:

1) Upgrade the Oracle VM Manager first.
You run the runInstaller.sh script and select the Upgrade option. You can read the Oracle VM Manager 2.2 Installation Guide for details. Note you should back up the Oracle VM Manager database before upgrade.

2) Upgrade non-master Servers, make sure that VMs have been shutdown before the upgrade; After the upgrade, no need to reboot the server at this time if you want to enable sparse file support for OCFS2 cluster in the next step.

Option 1: boot from Oracle VM 2.2 ISO (local or from the network), select the upgrade option, then follow the instructions; refer to the Oracle VM Server Installation Guide.

Option 2: if connected with ULN, you can read the instructions to upgrade the server via ULN.

3) The server pool master should be the last one to perform upgrade. Reboot the server after you complete the upgrade.
If you want to turn on the new OCFS2 1.4 feature support, such as sparse files and unwritten extents, you can enable the feature now: (the device must be unmounted from all nodes before performing the tunefs.ocfs2 command)
# umount <device>
# tunefs.ocfs2 --fs-features=sparse,unwritten <device>

Also, if the user encounters the following error, it means that the volume is still mounted on one or more nodes.
# tunefs.ocfs2 --fs-features=sparse,unwritten <device>
tunefs.ocfs2: Trylock failed while opening device "<device>"

4) Reboot the rest of the servers in the pool, the server pool master agent will communicate with the other nodes in the pool, populate the changes of the cluster and storage repository configurations.

5) If the server pool is HA-enabled and you want the server pool master fail-over feature, be sure to add the virtual IP address for the server pool from the Oracle VM Manager.


Now you've successfully upgraded your environment from Oracle VM 2.1.5 to Oracle VM 2.2. Have fun!

Update (10/23/2009): Roddy Rodstein provided a step-by-step upgrade manual, please refer to The Underground Oracle VM Manual:

Tuesday Oct 13, 2009

Announcing Oracle VM Storage Connect Program and Oracle VM 2.2

At Oracle OpenWorld we had two major announcements for Oracle VM. One is the Oracle VM Storage Connect Program; and other one is Oracle VM 2.2 . Here I'd like to give a brief overview of the Oracle VM Storage Connect Program, also talk about What's New in Oracle VM 2.2. If you attend Oracle OpenWorld this year, please visit the Oracle's Demo booth W-142 at Moscone West (Oct 12-14).

Oracle has been developing a storage discovery and provisioning API in consultation with various storage partners for over a year. The Oracle VM Storage Connect framework will enable Oracle VM Manager to directly leverage the resources and functionality of existing storage systems in the Oracle VM environment, supporting native storage services such as Logical Unit Number (LUN) creation, deletion, expansion, and snapshot. When a storage vendor enables the Oracle VM Storage Connect plug-in, their customers will be able to provision that vendor's storage through the Oracle VM Manager.

The integrated solutions will enable end users to reduce cost and simplify storage maintenance and set-up by allowing virtualization and storage management through a common user interface. This will enable simpler management of virtual infrastructure, as well as faster provisioning of solutions in a cloud environment.

Through the program, partners have access to Oracle's development resources, as well as benefit from joint marketing initiatives.The Oracle VM Storage Connect framework does not require storage vendors to change any of their hardware, array software or client software, thus allowing partners to improve time to market.

Please visit Oracle VM Storage Connect Partner Program web site for further details about the program, partners and schedule.

In addition, we are excited to announce Oracle VM 2.2 release which features the latest Xen-based, industry-standard hypervisor, Xen 3.4, and provides substantial performance enhancement for customers running the latest Intel Xeon or AMD Opteron based processors. For virtualization and management product developers, Oracle VM 2.2 with Xen 3.4 hypervisor and updated dom0 kernel provides a rich platform for "upstream" development of future solutions based on a broad array of new technology including CPU power management, memory management, and direct I/O capabilities.

 


  • Updated Xen 3.4 Hypervisor - More efficient power management capabilities, broader hardware support, and better performance, scalability and security for both hardware virtualized and paravirtualized guests;

  • Updated Dom0 Linux Kernel with Newer Drivers - Better hardware support for higher performance, including Intel Xeon 5500 series (known as Nehalem) and AMD Six-Core Opteron "Istanbul"-based processors;

  • Updated OCFS2 1.4 Cluster File System - Sparse file support in OCFS2 1.4 enables significantly faster virtual machine provisioning and cloning, also allows users more control over data allocation, improving performance and storage efficiency;

  • Importing Block Devices as Shared Virtual Disks - Block devices can be assigned to virtual machines, greatly improving performance of applications such as Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC);

  • Virtual CPU Scheduling Priorities and Caps per VM - Control access to CPU between multiple VMs to align with IT/business priorities;

  • Server Pool Master Auto-failover- Maximize the availability of Oracle VM management features including live migration, VM life-cycle management, and HA functions;

  • Virtual Machine Tree View - Gets a better view of the Oracle VM environment at-a-glance and to ease operation;

  • Changing the Group to which a Virtual Machine belongs - Saves time and space and improves ease of use;

  • Improved Shared Storage and Cluster Configuration - Provide new configuration script to streamline the shared storage and cluster setup, reducing setup complexity;

  • Placing a Server in Maintenance Mode - Better serviceability, prevents server from actively hosting VMs during maintenance;

  • Improved Logging - Enables easier audit support and troubleshooting of Oracle VM Manager operations;

  • Importing VHD Disk Images - Ease of migration from Virtual Iron, Citrix or Microsoft to Oracle VM in addition to the existing virtual disk image conversion from VMware;

  • Virtual CPU Scheduling Priorities and Caps per VM - Control access to CPU between multiple VMs to align with IT/business priorities;

  • dm-nfs Enhancement - "dm-nfs" provides loopback-style emulation for a block device using a regular file as backing storage, which resides on a remote system and is accessed via the NFS protocol. In Oracle VM 2.2, it has been augmented to use asynchronous and direct I/O for better performance;

  • Secure VNC Access - Changes in the underlying Xen implementation enable secure and authenticated communication with a guest's VNC console.

 

The Oracle VM Server 2.2 packages have been updated to ULN. You can refer to the FAQ on how to upgrade Oracle VM Server 2.1.5 to Oracle VM Server 2.2 via ULN. The ISO images including Oracle VM Server and Manager 2.2 will be available at Oracle E-Delivery site later this week. Please refer to the Oracle VM 2.2 Documentation on how to plan, install or upgrade your Oracle VM environment.

Update (10/15/2009): Oracle VM 2.2 ISO images are now available for download from Oracle E-Delivery web site.

Wednesday Oct 07, 2009

Oracle VM Templates for 3rd Party Software

Oracle VM Templates are complete, pre-installed and pre-configured software packaged as Oracle VM virtual machines (VMs) complete with an OS (Oracle Enterprise Linux). Customers enjoy the benefits of faster application deployment with Oracle VM Templates - for Oracle software as well as non-Oracle software.

Zeus Technology recently announced the availability of the Zeus Traffic Manager Template - a pre-installed, pre-configured virtual machine, for Oracle VM. The Zeus Traffic Manager is an enterprise-class, layer-7 load balancing and application traffic management solution. It is now available for download as an Oracle VM Template.

Just download and copy the Oracle VM Template image(s) onto your server that has Oracle VM installed on it, import and deploy the Template VM(s) and, after answering some one-time queries relating to the customer's desired environment (DHCP or static IP, passwords, etc.) within minutes you will have a fully installed and configured application environment that you know is completely correct without having to install products from scratch.

To learn more, please visit Oracle VM Templates web site.

Wednesday Aug 12, 2009

Announcing Oracle VM Template Builder

We are pleased to announce the availability of Oracle VM Template Builder, an open source, graphical utility that makes it easy to use Oracle Enterprise Linux "Just enough OS" (JeOS) - based scripts for developing pre-packaged virtual machines for Oracle VM. Now, end-users and ISVs have the option to develop their Oracle VM Templates by using these JeOS-based scripts directly or via the graphical Oracle VM Template Builder.

Oracle VM Template Builder uses "JeOS" to facilitate building an operating system instance with only the absolute minimum packages needed for an Oracle VM Template, helping to reduce the disk footprint by up to 2GB or more per guest virtual machine, and to improve security and reliability. Oracle VM Template Builder is distributed as software packages via the Oracle Unbreakable Linux Network (ULN) and Oracle's public yum repository

See related press releases on Oracle VM Templates:

 

Please refer to the Documentation: Oracle VM Template Builder Installation and User's Guide for more information.

Update: (10/6/2009) Oracle VM Template Builder is also distributed as an Oracle VM Template that you can download from Oracle E-Delivery site, see Oracle VM Template Builder page in details.

Friday Jul 24, 2009

Announcing Oracle VM Manager Command Line Interface (CLI)

We are pleased to announce that Oracle VM Manager Command Line Interface (CLI) was released to Oracle Unbreakable Linux Network (ULN) today.

The CLI is written in Python and uses the Oracle VM Manager Web Services API to communicate with Oracle VM Manager. You can use the CLI to perform the same functions as Oracle VM Manager, such as managing all your server pools and guests. The CLI commands can be scripted, thus bring more flexibility to help customers deploy and manage Oracle VM environment.

1. Download required RPMs from ULN.

 












Package

ULN Channel
ovmcli-1.0-1.el5.noarch.rpm el5_i386_oracle_addons and el5_x86_64_oracle_addons
python-ZSI-2.1-a1.el5.noarch.rpm

el5_i386_addons and el5_x86_64_addons

 

2. Install the RPMs onto a server running Enterprise Linux
# rpm -Uvh ovmcli-0.1-17.el5.noarch.rpm python-ZSI-2.1-a1.el5.noarch.rpm

3. Configure CLI by running "ovm config". The user will be asked for the following information:
- Oracle VM Manager hostname
- Oracle VM Manager port number
- Deploy path (use default)
- Location of vncviewer (required for vncviewer command)
- Enable or disable HTTPS support (depends on Oracle VM Manager setup)

4. Oracle VM Manager CLI is now ready for use. Just type the command "ovm". For example,
# ovm help
# ovm help all
# ovm -u admin -p password svrp ls
# ovm -u admin -p password shell

See additional resources at:
* Blog: Oracle VM CLI RPM is available
* Blog: Oracle VM Manager CLI and Web Services API
* Oracle VM Documentation

Update: Aug 14, 2009, The Oracle VM Manager Command Line Interface: Introduction, Installation, Configuration and Command Examples

Monday Jul 13, 2009

Announcing Windows PV Drivers for Oracle VM

We are pleased to announce the general availability of Windows PV Drivers for Oracle VM to bring customer boosted network throughput and higher disk I/O while running Microsoft Windows guests in a virtual environment on Oracle VM.

You can download the software today for free from Oracle E-Delivery. You choose Oracle VM and select 2.1.5. The Windows PV drivers are included in the Oracle VM 2.1.5 media pack.

You will require Oracle VM 2.1.5 to use the Windows PV drivers. The following Windows operating systems (32-bit and 64-bit) are the currently supported guests with the Windows PV drivers.

* Windows Server 2008
* Windows Server 2003
* Windows Vista
* Windows XP

For details how to install the software as well as the known limitations and workarounds, please see the Oracle VM Windows Paravirtual Drivers Installation Guide. To learn how to upgrade the existing Oracle VM 2.1.x to the latest Oracle VM 2.1.5, please refer to the Oracle VM Documentation.

Saturday Jul 11, 2009

Oracle VM Blog: Xen Virtualization with Oracle: Commitment, Integration, Mission-critical Virtualization

The Xen Directions 2009 event was recently held in Berlin, Germany. Christian Rothe from Oracle presented the topic of Xen Virtualization with Oracle: Commitment, Integration, Mission-critical Virtualization at the event. I'd like to summarize the key points in this presentation.

Oracle is committed to Linux and has contributed significantly to the open-source communities to help make Linux better. Oracle's Linux commitment began in 1998 with the first commercial database on Linux. Not only does Oracle run the whole business on Linux, but also run the base development on Linux for all our products. Today Oracle has over 9,000 developers working on Linux and provides Global Linux Support in over 100 countries. Oracle provides comprehensive indemnification for intellectual property claims raised against our customers, available to all Oracle-supported customers so that customers can deploy Linux with confidence. Moreover, Oracle has made significant technology contributions to the Linux as well as Xen community. You can see community contributions from Oracle at oss.oracle.com. There's nice blog The Real Story on Oracle Unbreakable Linux.

Oracle provides customers an integrated software stack, top to bottom, from applications to Oracle Enterprise Linux and Oracle VM. With Oracle VM Templates, you can simply download and import pre-configured virtual machines containing pre-installed Oracle enterprise applications or other software to get up and running in hours not weeks. We also provide a pre-packaged, small foot-print Oracle Enterprise Linux image for x86 and x86-64, along with a script to customize the image. This minimal install of Oracle Enterprise Linux is also known as JeOS (Just Enough OS). It's the same Oracle Enterprise Linux that is freely re-distributable and backed by enterprise-class support, but has been secured and minimized to facilitate Oracle VM Templates creation - for any software (Oracle or non-Oracle) you want to deploy. Furthermore the entire stack can be managed by a single console Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control.

Oracle VM is about mission-critical deployment. The software certification is based on real-world testing – supported for use with the most sophisticated enterprise workloads under real-world conditions and backed by world-class support organization to cover the entire software stack. Oracle VM has proven production deployments across multiple industries. See Customers Succeed with Oracle VM.

Thursday Jun 18, 2009

Announcing Oracle VM 2.1.5

We are pleased to announce the availability of Oracle VM 2.1.5, bringing customers and partners the benefits of better interoperability with the new Oracle VM Manager Web Services API.

In addition, the latest Oracle VM 2.1.5 release has integrated accumulated bug fixes, security update, and enhanced hardware drivers to help customers confidently deploy Oracle VM with more robustness, better security, higher performance, and broader hardware support.

Both the Oracle VM Server and Manager (ISO image files) are freely available for customer download at Oracle E-Delivery site.

The Oracle VM Server can also be updated via ULN (Unbreakable Linux Network). For Oracle VM Manager, you'll need to download the Oracle VM Manager media, and perform Install, Uninstall, or Upgrade task by executing the runInstaller.sh script.

To learn more about Oracle VM and how to upgrade to Oracle VM 2.1.5, you can read Oracle VM Documentation and also refer to the following blogs provided by Roddy Rodstein:
* Blog: How to update an Oracle VM Manager
* Blog: How to update an Oracle VM Server

You can sign up here to receive notification on software update delivered to ULN for Oracle VM, or you can browse the email archive.

More Blogs
* Roddy Rodstein: Oracle releases Oracle VM 2.1.5
* Sergio Leunissen: New Oracle VM 2.1.5 Web Services API
* Wim Coekaerts: Oracle VM Manager CLI and Web Services API , Oracle VM 2.1.5

Customers and Partners
* Customers Succeed with Oracle VM
* Customers Succeed with Oracle Unbreakable Linux Support
* Partners Endorse Oracle VM

Oracle VM Support

Oracle performs real-world testing on its broad portfolio of products with Oracle VM to ensure bulletproof reliability and streamlined support. Consult Support Note 464754.1 on My Oracle Support for the latest information on exact product versions certified.

* Purchase support at Oracle Unbreakable Linux and Oracle VM Store
* Support for Partners: Enterprise Linux and Oracle VM

We have exciting roadmaps for Oracle VM to deliver even more compelling functionality over the next several months. For customers to leverage these new functions, you need to implement it today and start to experience the benefits of Oracle VM. For more information on Oracle VM, please visit oracle.com/virtualization.

Friday May 29, 2009

Oracle VM Blog: Upgrading Oracle VM Template for Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control from 10g R4 to 10g R5

I read the OTN Virtualization discussion forum. There's a question about upgrading the Oracle VM Template for Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control from 10g R4 to 10g R5. The question was answered and you can refer to the Metalink Doc ID 805706.1.

If you don't have access to My Oracle Support, you can still prepare yourself for a smooth upgrade by applying the workarounds or fixes described in the Known Issues section of the Readme file of the Oracle VM Grid Control Template 1.0 Media Pack for x86 (32 bit, 10.2.0.4) from the Oracle E-delivery site. You don't need to download the entire template again, except for the small Readme file. Once you resolve the known issues, you simply follow the instructions provided by Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g R5 Readme to perform the upgrade.

I also want to share more information about the Oracle VM Templates relating to Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control.

Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g Release 5 (10.2.0.5) was released in March 2009. It introduces the Oracle VM Management Pack, providing a comprehensive management solution that spans the entire lifecycle of applications and their virtual infrastructure, including end-to-end monitoring, configuration management, and lifecycle automation of virtualized infrastructure to capture and maximize the benefits of virtualization.

Oracle VM Templates are pre-installed and pre-configured software packaged as Oracle VM virtual machines (VMs) complete with an OS (Oracle Enterprise Linux). Oracle VM Templates for Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control 10g R5 (10.2.0.5) and R4 (10.2.0.4) have been provided for customer downloads from Oracle E-delivery site. Customers download and copy the software images onto the server that has Oracle VM installed on it, import and deploy the Template VMs and, after answering some one-time queries relating to the customer's desired environment within a short period of time you will have a fully installed and configured Oracle Enterprise Manager environment without having to install products from scratch. In most cases, deployment times for Oracle Enterprise Manager can be reduced from days to hours.

For new deployments, I'd recommend that you directly download and deploy the Oracle VM Templates for Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g R5 (10.2.0.5). However, users who have been using Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control 10g R4 (10.2.0.4) created from Oracle VM Template may want to upgrade the instance to 10g R5. The detailed instructions are documented in the Metalink Doc ID 805706.1.

Friday May 08, 2009

Oracle VM Blog: Basics of Oracle VM

I'd like to cover some basics about Oracle VM, what's the difference between Oracle VM and RHEL Xen and how it's related to the open source Xen hypervisor.

Oracle VM (http://www.oracle.com/virtualization) is Oracle's server virtualization and management solution for x86/x86-64 platforms. The components of Oracle VM are Oracle VM Manager and Oracle VM Server.

* Oracle VM Manager: Provides the web based user interface to manage Server Pools, Oracle VM Servers, virtual machines, and resources. Oracle VM Manager not only provides life cycle management of virtual machines such as creating and configuring guest VMs, but also performs advanced functionality to load balance across resource pools and automatically reduce or eliminate outages associated with server downtime.

* Oracle VM Server: A self-contained virtualization environment designed to provide a lightweight, secure, server-based platform for running virtual machines. Oracle VM Server is based on open source technology (Xen hypervisor for example) tailored by Oracle, and includes Oracle VM Agent to communicate with Oracle VM Manager for management of virtual machines. Oracle VM Server is installed on bare metal server hardware.

OracleVM-Architecture.jpg

Although Oracle VM server uses the Xen hypervisor, it's not the same as the one used in RHEL Xen. Similarly, both RHEL and SLES use the Linux kernel, but you won't say that one is repackaged from the other. Our development team compared the Xen source code between RHEL 5.2 Xen (3.1.0+ patches) and Oracle VM Server 2.1.2 (Xen 3.1.4), the diff file is 1.6MB, or 48,880 lines of code. It's not just a set of bug fixes or patches, there are big differences in what's actually deployed.

From a deployment perspective, multiple Oracle VM Servers are grouped into Server Pools in which every server in a given pool has access to shared storage, which can be NFS, SAN (Fibre Channel) or iSCSI storage. This allows VMs associated with the pool to start and run on any physical server within the pool that is available and has the most resources free. Given the uniform access to shared storage, VMs may also be securely Live Migrated or automatically (re-)started across any servers in the pool. The underlying core technology to form a server pool is the OCFS2 that Oracle developed and contributed to the Linux community, and accepted into Linux kernel 2.6.16. Obviously it's different in how the server pool is implemented in RHEL Xen or other Xen based solutions.

OracleVM-Deployment.jpg

Oracle is a member of the Xen Advisory Board which serves in an advisory capacity to the Xen project leader for all community and development activities as well as management for the Xen trademark. Oracle's Linux and Oracle VM engineering team contributes heavily to feature development of Xen mainline software. The most significant contributions are in the area of hardware virtualized timers, guest and hypervisor debugger and bugfixes, transcendent memory, SSL live migration and xend locking, as well as participation in XenAPI changes; Oracle is also working on Windows Paravirtualized drivers. The Oracle QA team also provides stabilization efforts through testing Xen configurations with Oracle workloads and Oracle Enterprise Linux kernels.

See additional resources:

* Oracle's technical contributions to Linux and open source communities
* May 2009, OTN TechCast Linux Engineering Update with Wim Coekaerts: Part 2 - Virtualizing the Oracle Stack (8 minutes)
* May 2009, OTN TechCast Linux Engineering Update with Wim Coekaerts, Part 1 - Linux Kernel Development at Oracle (8 minutes)

Tuesday May 05, 2009

Oracle VM Blog: More Oracle VM Templates are available for download

Last August we released Oracle VM 2.1.2 and started providing customers free downloads of Oracle VM Templates that are pre-configured virtual machines containing pre-installed Oracle enterprise applications. Now more Oracle software are available as Oracle VM templates that can be downloaded from Oracle's E-Delivery (http://edelivery.oracle.com/oraclevm), and the list is growing:

* Oracle VM Templates for Oracle Database 10g (10.2.0.4)
* Oracle VM Templates for Oracle Database 11g (11.1.0.6)
* Oracle VM Templates for Oracle Enterprise Linux 5 (5.2 and 5.3)
* Oracle VM Templates for Oracle Enterprise Linux 4 (4.6 and 4.7)
* Oracle VM Template for Siebel CRM SIA 8.1.1
* Oracle VM Template for Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control 10.2.0.4
* Oracle VM Template for Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control 10.2.0.5
* Oracle VM Template for Oracle Application Server 10gR3 Webcenter
* Oracle VM Template for Oracle Fusion Middleware SOA 10.1.3.3 on Weblogic Server 9.2
* Oracle VM Template for Oracle Fusion Middleware SOA 10.1.3.3 on Oracle Containers for JEE 10.1.3.4
* Oracle VM Template for Oracle VM Manager 2.1.2
* Oracle VM Template for Oracle Weblogic Server 10gR3
* Oracle VM Template for Oracle Identity Management (IDM) 10.1.4.2.0
* Oracle VM Template for Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE) 10.1.3.4.0

OracleVMTemplates.jpg

You just download and copy the above software images onto your server that has Oracle VM installed on it, import and deploy the Template VM(s) and, after answering some one-time queries relating to the customer's desired environment (DHCP or static IP, passwords, etc.) within minutes you will have a fully installed and configured Oracle environment that you know is completely correct without having to install products from scratch. In most cases, deployment times for complex applications can be reduced from weeks to hours. You can watch a flash demo and see how easy to create a VM from the Oracle VM Template.

In addition, we also provide a pre-packaged, small foot-print Oracle Enterprise Linux image (either OEL 4.7 or OEL 5.2, Oracle Enterprise Linux for building Oracle VM Templates) for x86 and x86-64, along with a script to customize the image. This minimal install of Oracle Enterprise Linux is also known as JeOS (Just Enough OS). It's the same Oracle Enterprise Linux that is freely re-distributable and backed by enterprise-class support, but has been secured and minimized to facilitate Oracle VM Templates creation.

For more information, you can visit Oracle VM Templates web site, and read Oracle Technical White Paper:

* Creating and Using Oracle VM Templates: The Fastest Way to Deploy Any Enterprise Software
* Oracle VM Templates Developer's Guide: Creating Pre-built VMs for Rapid Software Deployment
* Oracle VM Manager Template white paper

Tuesday Apr 28, 2009

Oracle VM Blog: Converting Linux and Windows Physical and Virtual Machines to Oracle VM Virtual Machines

Oracle VM provides functionality to allow customers to easily convert and move Linux and Windows servers to run as guest virtual machines (VM) in Oracle VM Server Pools. We have the technical white paper: Converting Linux and Windows Physical and Virtual Machines to Oracle VM Virtual Machines, which describes the virtual machine conversion functions built into Oracle VM in Release 2.1.2, and how you can plan and execute the virtual machine conversions using Oracle VM.

Here I'd like to give a brief introduction about how P2V and V2V work and the basic requirements to get started. You can refer to the white paper for detailed instructions.

P2V.jpg

The P2V conversion utility allows administrators to perform an off-line conversion of any physical machine running supported versions of Windows or Linux to an Oracle VM hardware virtualized guest virtual machine. The P2V utility is integrated into the install program on the Oracle VM Server CD. It can be run in interactive mode prompting for necessary parameters, or in an automated fashion using a configuration file with syntax very similar to kickstart install files. This conversion will create a VM configuration file (vm.cfg) and allow you to make some modifications in terms of sizing the virtual hardware, and then replicate the physical image and transfer it over the network to the resource pool using Oracle VM Manager. The image on your physical server is not changed in any way. You use Oracle VM Manager to import the converted image as an Oracle VM virtual machine template or virtual machine image. The converted image is a hardware virtualized guest image.

In order to have a successful P2V conversion, please make sure that
* Operating system is among the supported guest operating systems;
* Physical server to be converted supports PAE;
* The target server running Oracle VM is HVM capable.

If you know the specific CPU model, you can find out if it supports HVM from Intel or AMD web site. You'll need modify the system BIOS setting to enable the HVM feature. By default, HVM is not enabled.

If your server runs Linux, you can check the /proc/cpuinfo file and look at the flags section for one of two values, vmx or svm.

* vmx - (Intel)
* svm - (AMD)

You use grep to quickly see if either value exists in the file by running the following command:

# egrep '(vmx|svm)' /proc/cpuinfo

For the V2V conversion function, Oracle VM Manager allows you to import virtual machines in the VMDK format. When you import VMware virtual machines, Oracle VM Manager converts them to Oracle VM virtual machines automatically. This is known as a virtual to virtual machine conversion or, "V2V". You can watch the flash demo: Converting VMware virtual machine images (vmdk) to Oracle VM virtual machines, which provides you step-by-step guide to perform V2V conversion for a Windows image as an example.

When importing a VMware virtual machine, make sure you have enough free disk space to convert the VMware virtual machine to an Oracle VM virtual machine. Oracle VM requires at least twice the disk space of the VMware virtual machine under /OVS/running_pool directory because it will copy the original VMDK image as well as create a new Oracle VM image. Once you converted .vmdk files to Oracle VM image (.img), you no longer need the original .vmdk files from Oracle VM perspective.

In addition, the Oracle VM servers that perform V2V conversion must be HVM capable, since the converted the VM image is hardware virtualized VM, so it requires the server to be HVM capable (Intel VT or AMD-V).

To import VMware VMDK images using Oracle VM Manager, follow the same process you would to import any other virtual machine image resource, generally from an external source (HTTP or FTP location), using the Import wizard. Or you can copy the VMDK image files manually into /OVS/running_pool directory. Oracle VM will automatically detect that the image is in the VMDK format and convert the image file to an Oracle VM format and deploy it to the specified Server Pool.

As a best practice, you should make sure that Oracle VM software is up to date. If you have subscribed to ULN, you can follow the instructions prepared by Roddy Rodstein to update your Oracle VM to the latest software release:

* Oracle VM: How to update an Oracle VM Manager
* Oracle VM: How to update an Oracle VM Server

Oracle VM server agent plays a central role in performing V2V conversion. The latest agent software has integrated a number of bug fixes. You can verify the agent software version from the Dom0 of the VM server.

# rpm -qa ovs-agent
ovs-agent-2.2-70

As of April 2009, the revision -70 is the latest build that we released to the ULN. You can get the latest agent software from http://oss.oracle.com/oraclevm/server/RPMS/. Once you upgrade the agent software, remember to restart the agent.
# service ovs-agent restart

Some customers may come across the blue screen issue when starting a converted Windows image. It may be related to HCL dealing with ACPI/APIC scenarios or device drivers (SCSI or IDE virtual disk in VMware). You can look at Ian Blenke's blog and see if the workaround is applicable for your situation.

In summary, Oracle VM provides you the integrated P2V and V2V capabilities so that you can quickly convert existing Linux or Windows physical servers or VMware virtual machines to Oracle VM virtual machines. You not only reduce license expenses, but also enjoy all the benefits such as lower TCO, higher efficiency, full software stack certification and world class support that Oracle VM brings to you. For additional resources about Oracle VM, please visit http://oracle.com/virtualization.

Update:

Sometimes you may come across the blue screen issue (Stop 0x0000007B error) when starting a converted Windows image the very first time. The main reason is that Windows memorizes which IDE/ATA controller it was installed on and fails to boot in case the controller changes. The solution here is to perform several modifications to the Windows registry. This should be done on the original system and all it does is to relax the IDE checks. Therefore the installation will continue to work on the original system after the modification. The easiest way is to use the MergeIDE utility, or refer to Microsoft support kb314082.

See Simon Thorpe's blog (7/16/2009): Migrating a VMWare Server 2 Windows 2003 guest to Oracle VM

Tuesday Apr 21, 2009

Oracle VM High Availability - Hands-on Guide to Implementing Guest VM HA

We just released a new White Paper: Oracle VM High Availability – Hands-on Guide to Implementing Guest VM HA. Guest VM HA functionality provides a powerful, easy-to-manage solution for maximizing up-time for virtually any guest VM workload, without requiring any tailoring inside the VM, making it simple to set-up, use, and maintain.

This white paper focuses on best practices of the Oracle VM Guest VM High Availability (HA) design and implementation. It's complementary to the previous White Paper: Oracle VM – Creating & Maintaining a Highly Available Environments for Guest VMs, and serves as a practical guide to help customers design the HA environment and experience the benefits of Oracle VM. It provides a step-by-step guide to plan and set up the Oracle VM environment so you can implement the guest VM HA feature to assure predictable, reliable, and accurate restarting of failed VM and Servers.

To implement HA, you must create a cluster of Virtual Machine Servers in a server pool and have them managed by Oracle VM Manager or Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control. Some basic steps include:

1. Installing Oracle VM Server and Manager
2. Creating Shared Storage for the Server Pool
3. Enabling HA for the Server Pool
4. Adding a new Server to the Server Pool
5. Enabling HA for the Virtual Machines

The most important part is to create shared storage for the server pool. You can set up shared storage for the server pool in the following configurations:

* OCFS2 (Oracle Cluster File System) using the iSCSI (Internet SCSI) network protocol
* OCFS2 using SAN (Storage Area Network)
* NFS (Network File System)

The procedures for creating shared storage for HA are essentially the same as what's described in the Oracle VM Server User Guide for creating a shared virtual disk using the above storage configurations for live migration. But you have fewer steps to go through when creating shared storage for HA. For example, you don't need to manually modify /etc/fstab for enabling HA since the configuration files will be handled by Oracle VM server agent automatically when you run /usr/lib/ovs/ovs-makerepo utility. In addition, the startup of related cluster services (o2cb) will also be handled when you run /usr/lib/ovs/ovs-cluster-configure utility.

One of the common mistakes is that when the network is not configured properly, the cluster configuration files such as /etc/ocfs2/cluster.conf won't be propagated correctly to each server of the server pool. For example, the loopback address (127.0.0.1) may show up in the /etc/ocfs2/cluster.conf for some servers. You should verify your network settings (DNS, routing table, etc.), replace the loopback address with the public IP address for each server and make sure that the ocsf2 cluster configuration file (/etc/ocfs2/cluster.conf) be the same across all the servers within the same pool.

In summary, Oracle VM Guest VM HA functionality provides the following benefits:

* Auto-restart unexpectedly failed individual VMs on other servers in the server pool;
* Auto-restart all the guest VMs on another server in the server pool when an unexpected physical server failure occurs;
* Powerful cluster-based network- and storage heartbeat algorithms quickly and deterministically identify failed and/or isolated servers in the server pool to ensure rapid, accurate recovery;
* Sophisticated distributed lock management functionality for SAN, NFS, NAS, and iSCSI storage ensures VMs or entire servers can be rapidly restarted with no risk of data corruption.

For more information about Oracle VM and how customers are deploying it, please visit
http://oracle.com/virtualization.

Introduction - Honglin Su

As my first blog entry to the Oracle's Virtualization Blog, please allow me to introduce myself. I work in the Oracle VM product management team led by Adam Hawley. My main responsibility is to drive Oracle VM product requirements as the Principal Product Manager. I also take the product management lead in working with customers to assist them in their deployments. I have 16 years of experience with virtualization and system software and have had real-world experience working with financial services and telecommunications customers in China, Canada and US.

Previously I worked in the product definition team of the Systems Group at Sun Microsystems. I was responsible for the software requirements and the strategy, covering Solaris, Linux and Server Virtualization. I led the product marketing efforts to productize the server virtualization solution - Logical Domains - for Sun SPARC CMT systems. Prior to Product Management at Sun, I also worked in the field to provide technical consultative services and successfully helped deploy various solutions in Banking and Telecom. Before Sun, I was a System Programmer at Bank of China, managing large-scale data center in an IBM centric environment.

It's been an exciting and rewarding experience since I joined Oracle in September 2008. In the following blog entries, I'd like share my perspective on virtualization and the best practices of how customers are using Oracle VM. Stay tuned.

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