Thursday May 24, 2012

The case for Oracle VM

As I mentioned a few days ago, at a customer visit earlier this month we were discussing Oracle VM and Oracle Linux advantages and the customer was surprised to hear how many features we include in our offerings. My previous write up was about Oracle Linux, this one is about Oracle VM.

In many ways, the Oracle VM solution has similar advantages. For us to deliver a solution and for our customers and partners to have a stack that's built to work together across products. Because Oracle VM subscriptions include the right to use a number of products, such as Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c and Oracle Enterprise Manager OpsCenter, we end up with an impressive, all-in set of features. Often times however this is not obvious to our users or evaluators and it is important to look at the total package and not just sub components. What I am going to describe is included in our Oracle VM subscription.

First of all, pricing... our virtualization and infrastructure management solution has a very simple model :

  • Oracle VM premier limited (for 1 or 2 socket servers) : $599 annual support subscription per server
  • It doesn't matter how many VMs you run, it doesn't matter how much RAM is in the box, it doesn't matter how many cores or threads the sockets have. 1 or 2 sockets in the box. That's the price. Annual support subscription fee. No license. Including all the products I will be detailing below.
    So if you have a 2 socket server with 256GB RAM... $599. case closed. 24/7 support.

  • Oracle VM premier (for larger than 2 socket servers) : $1199 annual support subscription per server
  • Same deal. If you have a 4 socket server, or even an 8 socket server with 4 TB of RAM... $1199 subscription. period. No virtual RAM, no per 2 sockets, no multiple options, no starter pack for 2 servers... Simple pricing. 24/7 support.

    Also, as with Oracle Linux, if you purchase an Oracle Server with the Premier support for Systems, it also includes everything I am talking about without the need for extra per server subscriptions.

    Oracle VM support subscriptions for both premier and premier limited comes with the following products and right to use :

  • Oracle VM server
  • Oracle VM server is the product that is installed on each server. It contains the hypervisor and the management console/agent to talk to Oracle VM Manager. This is effectively what you get a support subscription for. A tiny installation of about 200Mb worth of RPMs on a local hard drive or flash drive.

  • Oracle VM Manager
  • Oracle VM Manager is our centralized management console. It is an Oracle WebLogic Server 11g application that uses an Oracle Database as data repository. You typically only need 1 instance to manage a very large set of servers and virtual machines. Oracle VM Manager is the management hub for Oracle VM. It has a web-based admin interface and the management product can be installed on a Linux server, typically outside the Oracle VM server pools. We do not charge extra for this, the use and support of Oracle VM Manager is included in the server subscriptions. More details further down...

  • Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Cloud Control
  • OEM 12c is our complete management product which can manage from application to disk. It contains management for our various applications, database, middleware, operating systems, virtualization layer, it offers configuration management, lifecycle management, physical and virtual environments, cloud portal and so on. The product consists of many management packs, the components that manage Oracle Linux and Oracle VM (cloud portal, private cloud, self-service portal, VM management, IaaS layer services, cloud API....) are included with Oracle VM subscriptions. These are not extra licensed components, they're part of the package!

  • Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c
  • EMOC is a very powerful management product that's focused on infrastructure management, our Oracle systems (X86 and SPARC) (firmware, switches, hardware fault analysis, My Oracle Support integration, bios configuration etc...), our Operating Systems (Oracle Solaris, Oracle Linux), Virtualization products (Solaris Containers, Oracle VM SPARC, Oracle VM x86) and a connector into OEM12c to tie them together. Again, when you have an Oracle VM server subscription, you have the right to use EMOC as part of the stack included with its feature set It also contains an IaaS layer and a cloud API and cli.

    Both EM12c and EMOC connect to Oracle VM Manager instances behind the scenes. They can discover or sync up the information from an existing Oracle VM Manager/Server configuration and you can literally switch back and forth. So you start out installing a bunch of Oracle VM servers, install an Oracle VM manager instance, discover the servers, then install EM12c and/or EMOC, discover Oracle VM Manager and now you have access to their feature sets on top. You can still connect to / log into Oracle VM Manager and so on.

    So when we say "Oracle VM" and when you compare "Oracle VM" without various competitors, we really provide you with all of the above, and our feature checklist and offering is all of the above. Often times people just use Oracle VM Manager/Server without also including the use of EMOC and/or EM12c. Our competitors have many products that are all separately licensed pieces and bits that have to be installed together. Look at the solution bundle. We have no per VM, per 96GB, per socket, per feature pricing... remember, $599 and $1199 subscription.

    Here's a few features that are part of all this :

  • Cloud Infrastructure administrator portal
  • Set up and manage the lowerlevel infrastructure, hypervisor, provisioning of storage...

  • Self service administrator
  • Set up higher-level services, users, roles, access boundaries (assign roles and users to zones)
    Set up charge back plans, publish software components (VMs, full application stacks for self service users)

  • self service user portal
  • end user, developer can log in and see their assigned infrastructure quota and create application setups based on software component from the libraries

  • Consolidation planning physical server assets and P2P or P2V advisories
  • Since EM12c has a view of physical and virtual servers and applications inside, it can provide very detailed planning of which systems are good targets to consolidate, because it has an application view and a complete end to end stack overview, it is much more detailed and capable than simple VM analysis.

  • Zone management (multiple pools of servers into a larger grouping)
  • Depending on administrators needs its possible to configure larger zones (pools) of systems as units

  • Storage management through Oracle VM Storage Connect
  • We can manage iscsi, fibre channel, NFS servers from our management console. It is possible to just provision large chunks of storage and provide credentials to Oracle VM Manager and we can handle the details behind the scenes. Add a new lun? no problem, we will do it. EM12c and EMOC expose this functionality and connect through Oracle VM Manager to the storage.

  • Oracle VM assemblies and templates
  • pre-created virtual machines that include complete Oracle product installations, database, siebel, peoplesoft, ebusiness suite etc... these can eb downloaded from the Oracle website and uploaded into Oracle VM Manager or the EM12c software library for easy deployment of complete solution stacks.

    With assemblies we provide complete multi-tiered environments, including scale-out options. Need more webservers, need more database nodes? We can add/remove them on the fly, based on the application and business need, not just based on what the blackbox VM is doing.

  • Chargeback
  • It is possible to create charge back plans, either your own or using existing models. Whether it's basic charge back for virtualization or depending on management packs and oracle products up the stack for other products as well.

  • build, test, deploy
  • Because of the templates and configuration management for applications support, we can let developers build and create solutions which then get uploaded into the software library for use in product deployments. Since EM12c understands the entire product stack, application to disk, we can automate and reproduce not just simple VM deployments but include application configuration on top as well. Creating a VM with an OS is easy. Deploying a VM with an OS is easy. Deploying and configuring an entire software stack with various applications and database(s) is error prone and can take a lot of time. We can automate it for you, reproduce it, exactly the same steps, every time. Top to bottom.

  • Various abstraction layers
  • Through EM12c, EMOC and Oracle VM Manager you have an easy to use, graphical user interface.
    Through EM12c and EMOC you have access to a complete cloud API.
    EMOC offers an IaaS RESTful interface, a JAVA API library and a complete CLI.
    EM12c offers an IaaS RESTful interface

  • complete monitoring and management
  • EM12c manages and monitors every target in the stack, the applications, the operating systems, the VMs, the hypervisors. You can define jobs, metrics, thresholds, corrective actions. Because we collect information across the entire stack, you can set up auditing rules, you can compete systems top to bottom, you can do change management across the entire infrastructure, physical and virtual. To make it easy, it is possible to create groups of systems to manage as a unit. Configuration management is now more critical than ever. In a cloud infrastructure the number of VMs, and as such, the number of deployed applications, grows exponentially. We keep track of every aspect through a single source/database :) of truth.

  • Roles, LDAP directory services
  • Complete integration of LDAP with EM12c and EMOC. The ability to define fine grained access to all these components. Storage, servers, functions.
  • integration with My Oracle Support
  • Patch advisories, service request management, downloading new templates into the software library

  • standard virtualization features
  • Not to forget the fact that this obviously also includes Live migration, Dynamic Power Management (DPM), Dynamic Resource Management(DRS), storage management, network management(setting up bonding, creating virtual networks, vlan support, built-in HA (VM failover, server failover), cpu pinning, clustered filesystem for storage repositories, direct lun/storage access,...

    Installs on the largest X86 servers available. 4TB RAM, 160 threads, virtual machines up to 2TB of ram and up to 128 virtual CPUs or as many virtual CPUs the guest operating system can handle. Support for Linux, Oracle Solaris, Windows (including Windows logo signed drivers).

    So this is the Oracle VM offering, this is a summary (and I am not even trying to be complete here) of our features. Need an API, need a cli, need a UI, need a cloud portal, need monitoring or management, need roles and responsibilities, need centralized account management, we have it all. So when you compare Oracle VM with our competition out there... compare the included feature set in the subscription.

    A few useful links :

  • EMOC API/CLI reference
  • EM12c API
  • Oracle Virtualization page
  • About

    Wim Coekaerts is the Senior Vice President of Linux and Virtualization Engineering for Oracle. He is responsible for Oracle's complete desktop to data center virtualization product line and the Oracle Linux support program.

    You can follow him on Twitter at @wimcoekaerts

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