Oracle VM Review

Live migrations work as advertise and, if set right, it moves VMs around to balance out the resources.

What is most valuable?

Live migrations work as advertised and, if set right, it moves VMs around to balance out the resources.

What needs improvement?

Development of the product seems slow, but then again, I do not want a rushed product. Oracle states that this is their solution for their products, but Windows is fully supported. It may not have all the features of VMware, but those features come at a cost (monetarily and performance-wise). I want a rock solid foundation, and I don't want a bunch of hooks into the foundation of my Windows infrastructure.

For how long have I used the solution?

The system we set up has two nodes (hosts) and one manager. We are using an HP DL 380 for the manager and 385s for the hosts, which, at the time, were not on the compatibility list, but it still works.

We have most of our Windows domain on OVM. One host has one domain controller, the other host has another domain controller. So just in case we lose a host, we do not loose an authentication server.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We had problems with the PV drivers setting CPUs above eight, but this limitation is noted in the ReadMe file.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Once the system was up and running, the VMs ran great! We have Windows 2003, 2008 and 2008R2 servers. At the time, in July 2013, 2012 was not supported.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We've had no issues scaling it for our needs.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I was using Oracle OEM and Dell Foglight on virtual machines that were already on the market. When Oracle came with its own VM product that was better suited to an Oracle environment and easy to use with Oracle builds, we switched.

How was the initial setup?

I set up the manager first. Since this is an Oracle installation, I chose to install the manager software on Oracle Linux 6.1. Nothing fancy needed, but I installed the desktop to make things easier for me. I have two NICs set up, one to connect to my network, and the other to connect to the hosts (for management, VM live migrations, and the heartbeat). I then installed the manager software and you just need to click Next>Next>Next. Be sure to write the password down, as this is the password needed to gain access to the management console (via web).

The hosts were a snap. We do not have any hard drives in the host, but do have a flash card to boot from. So I chose the "minimal" install for the flash card install, and you need to set a root password and a discover password. Make note of them as you will need the discover password to make the connection in the manager. Keep the discover password the same for all hosts to make it easier. Once in the manager, before you discover all the hosts you need to manage, you will need to set what the VLANs are, bonds to the network, how many virtual NICs you will need, etc. After you discover the nodes, you will need to set up a pool repository that keeps all the info on the VMs. This repository should go on the SAN. Another repository should be set up for all your ISOs and other VM volumes if you chose not to use raw LUNs. Connect all the storage you will use (we have HP P4300s). We use all raw iSCSI LUNS for our VMs. We lose some functionality in OVM, but gain others via the SAN (snapshots, etc).

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

You get enterprise features for no cost or low cost if you chose to purchase support.

What other advice do I have?

Do not attempt to run OVM on old hardware as it only runs on 64-bit systems. Check with the hardware compatibility guide for more details.

This is a great solution and, in my opinion, it's a rare jewel that more Windows shops should be looking at.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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