Oracle VM more about politics than technology, experts say

As Oracle is on the cusp of announcing Oracle VM 3.0, two experts say Oracle shops tend to move to Oracle VM for licensing and political reasons, and not because of its technical features.

Oracle will announce technical improvements to Oracle VM in an event today, but two experts said that most Oracle shops move to Oracle VM for political rather than technical reasons.

According to the experts, Oracle shops move to Oracle VM because their IT department is going with everything Oracle, or for licensing considerations.

“We had a virtualization summit not too long ago and one of our analysts talked about virtualizing Tier 1 applications,” said Julie Lockner, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group. “When asked about their No. 1 concern, the audience all said Oracle licensing. It really didn’t have so much to do with the technology.”

Dave Welch, chief technology of House of Brick, agreed.

“I think OVM is more of a political offering,” he said. “I think it’s all about Oracle trying to lock up the market. Oracle has made no secret that they want to lock up the stack.”

For licensing purposes, Oracle considers VMware to be soft partitioning and Oracle VM to be hard partitioning, and so Oracle VM can be a cheaper way to deploy virtualization for Oracle shops, especially on multi-processor, multi-core servers.

House of Brick consults organizations that want to run Oracle on VMware, but Welch said he wished there was a better virtualization competitor for VMware. He doesn’t expect that any technical announcement on Oracle VM today will catch up with VMware.

“VMware is doing wonders for the world but they need competition,” he said. “I’m disappointed that it’s been all but missing from all fronts technically, and especially from a tooling perspective.”

Oracle today will announce the official release of Oracle VM 3.0, which has been a long time coming and in beta with customers for about a year. According to the event page, “Oracle will unveil the latest in application-driven virtualization – the new way forward.”

There was some talk that Oracle VM 3.0 would be released in 2009, and then again in 2010, but it didn’t happen. A beta program started last November. Technical features to expect, according to presentations from Oracle employees, include:

  • Incorporation of technology from Virtual Iron, a company Oracle acquired in 2009
  • Dynamic resource management
  • Dynamic server power management

Oracle VM is Xen-based, and as such, Welch said it relies heavily on the technical development of that open-source virtualization hypervisor. He added that he hasn’t really seen Oracle develop Oracle VM significantly beyond Xen. Whether Oracle does do that with Oracle VM 3.0 remains to be seen.

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