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

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 Sep 20, 2010

Announcing Oracle VM Server for SPARC 2.0

Oracle VMToday, at Oracle OpenWorld, we are pleased to announce Oracle VM Server for SPARC 2.0. Oracle VM Server for SPARC allows you to create up to 128 virtual servers on one system to take advantage of the massive thread scale offered by the SPARC T-Series servers. The combination of Oracle Solaris and SPARC helps to increase flexibility, isolate workload processing, and improve the potential for maximum server utilization.

Oracle VM Server for SPARC 2.0 delivers:

Enhanced performance: A low-overhead architecture provides scalable performance under increasing workloads.  The performance is further accelerated by the PCIe direct I/O that assigns individual PCI cards to guest domains, removing the restrictions to only assign an entire PCI bus, while also providing native I/O throughput. CPU whole core allocation and core affinity enable organization to optimize the assignment of virtual CPUs to deliver higher and more predictable performance for all types of application workloads.
Advanced resource management: Dynamic memory reconfiguration allows memory to be added or removed on an active domain. Customers now have the ability to add/remove vCPU, virtual I/O, cryptographic units (aka MAU), and memory on an active domain. These capabilities help organizations to better align IT and business priorities.
Improved power management: CPU clock speed adjustments, memory power management and power limit settings ensure that energy consumption is optimized with utilization.
  • CPU clock speed adjustments - increase or decrease clock speed based on CPU utilization (per socket)
  • Memory power management - put under-utilized memory in a deeper idle mode
  • Power limit - set a power limit for the system and reduce the power state of manageable resource if the limit is reached.

Greater flexibility: Oracle Solaris has been optimized for guest domain migration with Oracle VM Server for SPARC, enabling more flexible migration of an active domain.
Higher availability: Improvements to virtual disk multipathing enhance the availability of a virtualized environment by helping to ensure that the virtual disk failover capabilities can handle I/O domain, storage and storage-path failures.
Faster processing of secure data: Oracle VM Server for SPARC takes advantage of SPARC T-Series systems' integrated on-chip cryptographic accelerators that deliver wire speed encryption capabilities, providing customers with critical data and services protection and delivering better response times.

Read more:
Attend the session:
Meet with Oracle's virtualization experts at Oracle Demogrounds during the Exhibition hours.

Look forward to seeing you there at Oracle OpenWorld.

Monday May 17, 2010

Introducing Oracle VM Server for SPARC

Oracle VMAs you are watching Oracle's Virtualization Strategy Webcast and exploring the great virtualization offerings of Oracle VM product line, I'd like to introduce Oracle VM Server for SPARC --  highly efficient, enterprise-class virtualization solution for Sun SPARC Enterprise T-Series Systems.
SPARC Hypervisor
Oracle VM Server for SPARC, previously called Sun Logical Domains, leverages the built-in SPARC hypervisor to subdivide supported platforms' resources (CPUs, memory, network, and storage) by creating partitions called logical (or virtual) domains. Each logical domain can run an independent operating system. Oracle VM Server for SPARC provides the flexibility to deploy multiple Oracle Solaris operating systems simultaneously on a single platform. Oracle VM Server also allows you to create up to 128 virtual servers on one system to take advantage of the massive thread scale offered by the Chip Multithreading (CMT) architecture.

Oracle VM Server for SPARC integrates both the industry-leading CMT capability of the UltraSPARC T1, T2 and T2 Plus processors and the Oracle Solaris operating system. This combination helps to increase flexibility, isolate workload processing, and improve the potential for maximum server utilization. Oracle VM Server for SPARC delivers the following:

  • Leading Price/Performance - The low-overhead architecture provides scalable performance under increasing workloads without additional license cost. This enables you to meet the most aggressive price/performance requirement
  • Advanced RAS - Each logical domain is an entirely independent virtual machine with its own OS. It supports virtual disk mutipathing and failover as well as faster network failover with link-based IP multipathing (IPMP) support. Moreover, it's fully integrated with Solaris FMA (Fault Management Architecture), which enables predictive self healing.
  • CPU Dynamic Resource Management (DRM) - Enable your resource management policy and domain workload to trigger the automatic addition and removal of CPUs. This ability helps you to better align with your IT and business priorities.
  • Enhanced Domain Migrations - Perform domain migrations interactively and non-interactively to bring more flexibility to the management of your virtualized environment. Improve active domain migration performance by compressing memory transfers and taking advantage of cryptographic acceleration hardware. These methods provide faster migration for load balancing, power saving, and planned maintenance.
  • Dynamic Crypto Control - Dynamically add and remove cryptographic units (aka MAU) to and from active domains. Also, migrate active domains that have cryptographic units.
  • Physical-to-virtual (P2V) Conversion - Quickly convert an existing SPARC server running the Oracle Solaris 8, 9 or 10 OS into a virtualized Oracle Solaris 10 image. Use this image to facilitate OS migration into the virtualized environment.
  • Virtual I/O Dynamic Reconfiguration (DR) - Add and remove virtual I/O services and devices without needing to reboot the system.
  • CPU Power Management - Implement power saving by disabling each core on a Sun UltraSPARC T2 or T2 Plus processor that has all of its CPU threads idle.
  • Advanced Network Configuration - Configure the following network features to obtain more flexible network configurations, higher performance, and scalability: Jumbo frames, VLANs, virtual switches for link aggregations, and network interface unit (NIU) hybrid I/O.
  • Official Certification Based On Real-World Testing - Use Oracle VM Server for SPARC with the most sophisticated enterprise workloads under real-world conditions, including Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC).
  • Affordable, Full-Stack Enterprise Class Support - Obtain worldwide support from Oracle for the entire virtualization environment and workloads together. The support covers hardware, firmware, OS, virtualization, and the software stack.

SPARC Server Virtualization

SPARC Server Virtualization

Oracle offers a f
ull portfolio of virtualization solutions to address your needs. SPARC is the leading platform to have the hard partitioning capability that provides the physical isolation needed to run independent operating systems. Many customers have already used Oracle Solaris Containers for application isolation.

Oracle VM Server for SPARC provides another important feature with OS isolation. This gives you the flexibility to deploy multiple operating systems simultaneously on a single Sun SPARC T-Series server with finer granularity for computing resources. For SPARC CMT processors, the natural level of granularity is an execution thread, not a time-sliced microsecond of execution resources. Each CPU thread can be treated as an independent virtual processor. The scheduler is built into the CPU, without the extra overhead for scheduling in hypervisor. What you get is a lower overhead and higher performance virtualization solution.

Your organizations can couple Oracle Solaris Containers and Oracle VM Server for SPARC with the breakthrough space and energy savings afforded by Sun SPARC Enterprise systems with CMT technology to deliver a more agile, responsive, and low-cost environment.

Management with Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center

The Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center Virtualization Management Pack provides full lifecycle management of virtual guests, including Oracle VM Server for SPARC and Oracle Solaris Containers. It helps you streamline operations and reduce downtime. Together, the Virtualization Management Pack and the Ops Center Provisioning and Patch Automation Pack provide an end-to-end management solution for physical and virtual systems through a single web-based console. This solution automates the lifecycle management of physical and virtual systems and is the most effective systems management solution for Oracle's Sun infrastructure.

Ease of Deployment with Configuration Assistant

The Oracle VM Server for SPARC Configuration Assistant can help you easily create logical domains. After gathering the configuration data, the Configuration Assistant determines the best way to create a deployment to suit your requirements. The Configuration Assistant is available as both a graphical user interface (GUI) and terminal-based tool.

Oracle Solaris Cluster HA Support

The Oracle Solaris Cluster HA for Oracle VM Server for SPARC data service provides a mechanism for orderly startup and shutdown, fault monitoring and automatic failover of the Oracle VM Server guest domain service. In addition, applications that run on a logical domain, as well as its resources and dependencies can be controlled and managed independently. These are managed as if they were running in a classical Solaris Cluster hardware node.

Supported Systems

Oracle VM Server for SPARC is supported on all Sun SPARC Enterprise T-Series Systems.

UltraSPARC T2 Plus Systems

· Sun SPARC Enterprise T5140 Server

· Sun SPARC Enterprise T5240 Server

· Sun SPARC Enterprise T5440 Server

· Sun Netra T5440 Server

· Sun Blade T6340 Server Module

· Sun Netra T6340 Server Module

UltraSPARC T2 Systems

· Sun SPARC Enterprise T5120 Server

· Sun SPARC Enterprise T5220 Server

· Sun Netra T5220 Server

· Sun Blade T6320 Server Module

· Sun Netra CP3260 ATCA Blade Server

Note that UltraSPARC T1 systems are supported on earlier versions of the software.

Sun SPARC Enterprise T-Series Systems come with the right to use (RTU) for Oracle VM Server for SPARC, and the software is pre-installed. If you have the systems under warranty or with support, you can
download the software and system firmware as well as their updates. Oracle Premier Support for Systems provides fully-integrated support for your server hardware, firmware, OS, and virtualization software. Visit for information about Oracle's support offerings for Sun systems.

For more information about Oracle's virtualization offerings, visit

Friday Feb 26, 2010

The Oracle VM Product Line Welcomes Sun!

Now that the Sun acquisition has closed, and we are one company, we can start talking to you about all the exciting things available in today's Oracle VM product line and where we are going. In the coming days and weeks, you can expect to see a number of new blog entries from a number of voices that may be new to this Oracle blog, but are definitely not new to virtualization.  We are tremendously excited to combine our portfolios and work side-by-side with our extremely talented Sun brethren to advance the state-of-the art in virtualization.

As others have said across the industry, particularly with the Sun acquisition, Oracle has the greatest collection of products and technologies in the industry to take virtualization to the next level and enable truly integrated, comprehensive solutions for customers. From the beginning, we've said that Oracle virtualization is not about virtualization for virtualization's sake: it's about creating virtualization products and technologies that make applications and other software easier to deploy, easier to manage, and easier to support.  That strategy is unwaivering and is bolstered with the addition of the Sun products.

First, let's dispel some rumors right off the bat to make it crystal clear what we are driving forward and continuing to invest in vigorously in the virtualization space (in no particular order...):

  • Oracle VM Server for SPARC (Logical Domains): Hypervisor-based virtualization for SPARC servers
  • Oracle VM Server for x86/x64: Hypervisor-based virtualization for x86/x64 servers
  • Oracle VM VirtualBox: Hosted workstation and server virtualization for x86/x64
  • Oracle Secure Global Desktop: Presentation / desktop services for server resident applications
  • Sun Ray software and hardware: Thin client computing but oh so much more
  • Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure: VDI for Windows, Linux, and Solaris desktops
  • Solaris Containers and Zones:  Highly scalable Solaris virtualization
  • Sun Dynamic Domains:  The ultimate in OS instance isolation
If anyone tells you they heard one of these products is no longer important or not moving forward at Oracle, it is simply not true.  Please point them to this blog entry. 

But - Adam - what about the Sun xVM server you ask?  Sun's xVM server was never fully released and productized by Sun while Oracle VM, Oracle's own x86 server virtualization with a Xen-based architecture has been shipping and running in production for just over 2 1/2 years and thus Oracle VM for x86/x64 will continue to be Oracle's target of strategic investment in the Xen-architecture space.

Last, but very definitely not least, management:  Management is, in fact, a huge part of our focus with Oracle VM Manager, Oracle Enterprise Manager and Oracle Ops Center so rest assured on that front as well that these products and investments will flourish. 

Not only are we investing in all these things, you'll see quite a bit of activity in the space in the coming months and across the year, so please keep an eye on this blog.  We'll have a number of entries to go into more thoughts on each of the products I've listed above and then some.

Finally, if you haven't already, you should definitely watch our strategy webcast with Oracle's Chief Architect Edward Screven talking about our virtualization direction.  That can be found here (opens a new Flash window) to hear a more detailed presentation covering these products.  You should also take a look at the Management strategy here.


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