Oracle VM Review

Low cost robust VM soln with ability to patch with no downtime and free Live migration

What is our primary use case?

A disclaimer: Though I have been working with various flavours of Linux since Slackware 1.2 in 1996, and I more recently focus in more enterprise computing and Oracle Database, my opinions tend to be colored with those use cases. We use this Virtualization platform to host our internal development training and PoC environments. 

How has it helped my organization?

  • Oracle has now made it available as a hypervisor on Oracle cloud to be deployed on Bare metal servers.
  • Ability to patch with no downtime.
  • Ability to ensure all prerequisites are satisfied without manual intervention saves time, effort, and makes the systems that we deploy for our clients more secure. 
  • Licensing costs are less for Oracle Linux and for clients moving to the Oracle Cloud, as it is included in the price of the subscription.

What is most valuable?

The ability to live migrate VMs on the fly from one hypervisor to another has been very useful.The ability to pin cores to reduce licensing costs for our clients runnning core based oracel producs is also invaluable.

What needs improvement?

  • We do have a little trepidation with systemd, as it does have a learning curve. 
  • Changing the binary logging format feels like a retrograde motion to us, but sadly almost all Linux variants have moved in this direction.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Initially, we had some teething troubles that we found were due to use of an unsupported storage solution. We switched to an Oracle ZFS appliance, and since then, we have had no issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We did not encounter scalability issues. However, we are constrained by our hardware since this is a development setup.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have found support personnel of the EMEA region with whom we have interacted to be very knowledgeable. They were very supportive and had a very good grasp of both Linux and the product.

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

We have used Vmware in the past be faced challenges with supportability , compatibiollity with oracle products and licensing costs and complexity.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was quite simple. We also were able to upgrade to various newer versions with minimum handholding.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented in-house.

We are certified implementors of this technology now.

What was our ROI?

We were able to deploy our solution at near zero cost compared to other vendors since the licenses come with our Oracle hardware. Therefore, it is difficult to calculate ROI, as it is a very large number.

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

If you choose Oracle hardware, then this virtualization software is included along with support. Licensing of various oracle applications is one of the more expensive components of any implementation, the ability to hard partition it is a major advantage which outweighs any other disadvantage for various x86-based solutions.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated using Oracle VirtualBox, but it was more for desktop virtualization and did not fit with server virtualization. We also tried KVM, but the complexities in migration from one host to another deterred us, and the management was not as seamless for multiple hypervisors.

Given Oracle VM's favorable licensing policy allowing hard partitioning using virtualization, we found this to the the most optimal method to recommend to clients.

There are compelling reasons why one might prefer Oracle Linux to Red Hat Linux. Some of the major factors are:

  1. One throat to choke. It is very useful to have one vendor on the pointy end of the stick. No finger pointing, and all buck passing is internal. Also, given the dev team is often using the same OS flavor, it can be a benefit in the first place. 
  2. Optimised for databases. Many of the options: RPMs and settings which are best used to run a database are packaged into a single RPM that can be automatically deployed on Oracle Linux, but must be painfully and manually setup on RHEL
  3. Ksplice: The ability to patch all aspects of a running Linux system, including the kernel with zero downtime is something that no other Linux provides. The UEK is enough of a differentiator to get the nod.

What other advice do I have?

I recommend this for any customer wanting to reduce their licensing costs for packaged applications.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are Oracle Diamond partners (oracle platinum cloud elite ). We also have alliances with Red Hat and other linux vendors

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