Oracle VM Review

Free hypervisor, enables me to move VMs, while Site Guard automates failover to DR sites

Video Review:

How has it helped my organization?

The big benefits to Oracle VM that I see in users that I work with are, first of all, performance. You don’t have what I call the "virtualization tax" like you do on other hypervisors. The CPU that you buy actually becomes more and more useful. You don’t have all that overhead. You get really good disk performance, almost comparable to bare metal when you configure it correctly. That’s an important feature for people that are using it. 

Overall, the biggest performance is around virtualization and automation, you can build private clouds with Oracle VM using Enterprise Manager.

What is most valuable?

Oracle VM is a great free product from Oracle. I love that, when I can say "free from Oracle." It’s a full feature hypervisor. It competes well with other hypervisors in the market. However, it’s free. You don’t pay anything to use it. You can, however, pay for support if you need support. 

It offers all the features you expect in a hypervisor, using technologies that they call Live Migration. It allows me to move VMs from one machine to another. I have a technology called Site Guard which is an automation tool for automating failover to disaster recovery sites. Feature for feature, it does almost everything VMware does but cost a lot less.

What needs improvement?

One is the hypervisor. Right now, it’s all using Xen. What would be really helpful is to have some choice, and the underlying hypervisor technology use KVM which is very popular with certain workloads. 

There are also some features around it, extracting virtual machines and managing it, that could show some improvement.

There’s still some area for improvement with some of the newer technologies.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It’s actually very stable. In the later releases, you can even patch the hypervisor without a reboot. That adds to the up-time of the environment. When you run Oracle Linux inside as guest VMs, you can also use the Ksplice technology and patch the VMs without any outage.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scaling in Oracle VM is an interesting prospect because you have two ways you can scale it. You can, first of all, use really, really big hosts with large numbers of CPUs. Four-socket, eight-socket CPUs are fully supported with it. But you could also scale it with a large number of servers in the environment, so you can scale horizontally and vertically. I have not had any issues with the scalability of Oracle VM. It scales really well.

How was the initial setup?

Setting up Oracle VM depends on what you want to do with it. If you want to do a basic install and use the normal management console, I’ve done that in a couple of hours. I’m experienced with it. 

But if you want to build private clouds with it, you want to interface the Enterprise Manager, have chargeback functionality for users, you want to do cloud automation; that’s a little more complicated. If you haven’t done it, it takes about a week. However, there’s a book from Oracle Press about Oracle VM 3 and building private clouds, and that helps a lot with what's involved in this task, to build and support a system.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
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