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Guide to Oracle's virtualization strategy

This guide to Oracle virtualization strategy covers how Oracle VM fits into the virtualization market, and Oracle's recent acquisition of Virtual Iron.

In this Oracle virtualization guide, get an introduction to Oracle virtualization, learn about Oracle's virtualization strategy, understand Oracle virtualization licensing and support and learn the pros and cons of Oracle VM vs. VMware. This section takes a look at Oracle's virtualization strategy, including how Oracle VM fits into the virtualization market , Oracle's recent acquisition of Virtual Iron, and more on Oracle's latest virtualization plans and releases, such as its Oracle VM Template Builder.

Read the other sections of this guide on Oracle virtualization

Oracle virtualization introduction guide
Guide to Oracle's virtualization strategy
Oracle VM vs. VMware: A closer look
Guide to Oracle virtualization licensing and support

Understanding Oracle's virtualization strategy

When it comes to the virtualization wars, many users and analysts don't see Oracle as a frontrunner and note that other vendors, most notably VMware, have friendlier licensing and support policies. Also, when Oracle released Oracle VM it announced it wouldn't support virtualized systems that weren't running on its virtualization software. It also failed to provide benchmarking proof on its claim that Oracle VM was three times more efficient than "other server virtualization products"; however, later provided benchmarking information from The Tolly Group on Oracle VM performance.

At LinuxWorld '08, Oracle deepened its commitment to Oracle VM and released preconfigured Oracle VM virtualization templates, which makes Oracle VM installation easier a well as faster for users of specific software. The templates can be used for Oracle Database 11g, Oracle Enterprise Manager, Oracle Siebel CRM 8.0 and Oracle Enterprise Linux.

A year later Oracle released its Oracle VM Template Builder. These VM Templates are essentially virtual machines that contain pre-installed and pre-configured enterprise-class software. They also show Oracle's commitment to open source as they take advantage of the Oracle Enterprise Linux "Just enough OS" (JeOS)-based scripts and can be used to create, package up and deploy applications significantly faster. At the same time, Oracle announced its VM template for Siebel CRM, which allows users to quickly start a Siebel CRM Environment on an Oracle Database running under Oracle Enterprise Linux.

Oracle buys Virtual Iron

Oracle added to its virtualization management capabilities with its acquisition of Virtual Iron Software Inc. last May. The Xen-based Virtual Iron, which focuses on small and medium-sized businesses, is a maker of server virtualization management software.

Specifically, Virtual Iron offers management capabilities to measure and control server power consumption. Oracle said it would combine Virtual Iron software with its own Oracle VM to enhance the company's full stack of enterprise software and supplement its basic virtualization offerings.

Just over a month after the acquisition, however, Oracle announced that it would be getting rid of Virtual Iron's products. Oracle wrote in a letter to sales partners that it would "suspend development of existing Virtual Iron products along with delivery of orders to new customers." While Oracle said it would be releasing a new combined product, it has yet to say what the product is and when it's arriving.

Oracle and Sun virtualization

Are Oracle's plans for Virtual Iron any indication of what it will do with Sun's virtualization products? What does Oracle's planned acquisition of Sun Microsystems mean for its virtualization offerings?

While these questions have yet to be completely answered, it's clear that many think the Sun acquisition could greatly strengthen Oracle's position in the virtualization market. Sun's virtualization product, the Xen-based SunxVM, is a broad portfolio that includes desktop virtualization, server virtualization and hardware-based virtualization capabilities.

Some even think that the Oracle-Sun combo could be a threat to VMware, the virtualization market leader, as the two vendors together offer something that VMware doesn't (without the help of OEMs) – both hardware and software.

While many think Oracle/Sun is virtualization's next big thing, others don't think that Oracle and Sun can overpower VMware in the virtualization space. In the article, Oracle and Sun: A virtual sweetheart deals for VARs, one CTO says that the new 800-pound gorilla in the virtualization arena is Microsoft, not Oracle.

"Everyone is waiting for Hyper-V. We're hearing a lot more buzz about that than we'd ever heard about Xen. To be honest, neither Sun nor Oracle ever showed up on the radar of our enterprise customers when it came to virtualization," he said.

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