Oracle is making some bold claims for its hypervisor v VMware: that it scales four times better and costs less
You know Oracle’s getting serious about competing in an uphill battle with a dominant market leader when it starts claiming its products are lower-priced. Oracle, as the largest enterprise database vendor in the world, has always been known as a premium-pricing company.
The market in this case is virtualisation, the competing products are hypervisors, and VMware, with a huge market-share advantage (an estimated 90 percent of the enterprise market runs some version of VMware’s hypervisor), is Oracle’s target. Some sort of price war might be developing as a result.
Bold Claims On Scaling, Management And Cost
In launching version 3.0 of Oracle Virtual Machine (VM), the company’s server virtualisation and management package, Oracle is making some pretty bold claims: that it scales up about four times better than VMware does, delivers all the storage-management features that VMware offers and costs less to boot.
Oracle VM 3.0 is the lead product in an initiative the company calls “Application-Driven Virtualisation”. This would certainly make sense, since Oracle is an applications company. To put this in some sort of context, whichever IT company is doing the virtualising tends to tilt it toward its own speciality.
For example, VMware, Citrix, Microsoft and Red Hat all have hypervisor-based virtualisation packages; Cisco Systems features network-driven virtualisation in its Unified Computing System; Hewlett-Packard and IBM focus on server-based virtualisation; and EMC, NetApp, Symantec, Fujitsu and others put storage first in their virtualisation platforms.
“As our customers are deploying more and more complete solutions, such as cloud environments, virtualisation strictly for consolidation purposes is no longer enough,” Monica Kumar, Oracle senior director of product marketing, told eWEEK. “And it’s not just for running operating systems in virtual machines. It’s becoming more about using virtualization as a tool for improving application deployment.”
Oracle VM focuses on making it easy to deploy and manage applications, Kumar said. VM 3.0 features new policy-based management capabilities, advanced storage management via the Oracle VM Storage Connect plug-in API, centralised network configuration management, improved ease-of-use and Open Virtualisation Format (OVF) support, Kumar said.
Because VM 3.0 centralises storage management alongside logical network configuration and management, it allows administrators to streamline and automate end-to-end virtual machine provisioning for a noticeable reduction in time and overhead, Kumar said.
“Oracle VM 3.0 is four times more scalable than the latest VMware [vSphere 5] offering,” Kumar said. “What I mean by that is VMware supports up to 32 processors in a single virtual machine, whereas Oracle VM 3.0 supports up to 128 processors in a single virtual machine. That makes a lot of difference to a customer with large workloads that require more processing power.”
Also, Oracle VM 3.0 has demonstrated support for up to 160 physical CPUs and 2TB memory using Oracle’s Sun Fire X4800 M2 servers.
Another new feature in VM 3.0 is something called Oracle VM Templates, which are taken from the appliance model in that they are preconfigured software installation files available for free download. Starting this week, 19 templates – including those for Oracle middleware, the two operating systems (Solaris and Linux) and databases – will become available on the Oracle site.
“So rather than have to install Oracle VM, PeopleSoft or JD Edwards [packages] from scratch, you copy these templates onto your server and have fully installed instances in your environment,” Kumar said.
How Oracle Compares Itself To VMware
When compared to VMware vSphere5 running Red Hat Enterprise Linux guest VMs, Oracle VM 3.0 running Oracle Linux guest VMs is seven times less expensive, Kumar said.
Oracle did a cost comparison of 100 two-socket servers, each running six virtual machines, and 648GB of data per server, Kumar said. “The numbers we came up with are that VMware is seven times more expensive than VM 3.0,” Kumar said.
Oracle VM is free to download and has zero licence cost. Enterprise-quality support is offered through a subscription model per server.