Is the Age of Virtualization upon us?

Posted on by Steve Tout in Current Events

This week I relished in the announcement here and this Metalink article that Oracle recently made about support for running Oracle on VMware virtualized environments. Then again, for those of us who have been doing the same for awhile now, it’s not *that* big of a deal. Or is it?

Having spent a fair amount of time at the VMware booth at Oracle Open World and witnessed the intense interest in virtualizing everything Oracle, from RAC and Database servers; at the VMware Booth Dave Welch from House Of Brick Technologies attests it has had Tier 1 workloads on VMware since 2006 (and seen $ millions of capex/opex reductions), there were no shortage of folks from the audience taking note; to Middleware and as I have discussed Oracle IdM on VMware as well. Sadly, there are others from various industries who have not even begun to virtualize their Oracle infrastructures due to Oracle’s previous stance on support running their products on VMware.

VMware Snapshot Manager

VMware Snapshot Manager

The value proposition for running production loads on VMware was crystalized while still with Oracle Consulting (circa 2007) where my first 2 gigs were assisting clients with their upgrade to OAM 10g. Both clients had agreed to a 4 week stint for the upgrade. One company was from the Bay Area, who was running VMWare, and a global beverage company from Atlanta who was not on VMware. In spite of best laid plans, it’s always wise to hope for the best and plan for the worst. During upgrade experiences at the smaller Bay Area company, the issues we encountered were quickly and easily rolled back. In contrast, the same issue occurred at the larger client not running on VMware, and half days, sometimes entire days were wasted rolling back to a known good state, IN A LAB ENVIRONMENT! And we could not attribute the failed attempts to the size of the environment either, because one year prior another consultant had spent time documenting and creating the upgrade strategy. Regardless who’s to blame for upgrade failures, it’s a no brainer reverting to a previous ESX snapshot is a huge time saver, especially when modifying schemas on AD which are painfully difficult to remove!

Beyond the benefits of snapshots and virtualization for the Upgrade scenarios there are the extraordinary stories for consolidation itself to be told. Infrastructure consolidation invariably leads to other interesting possibilities such as cloning (which I talk more about here) for building out new environments, making your infrastructure portable to make building out cloud infrastructure more efficient, to even being the key to your cloud security, as Art Coviello talked about at the RSA conference this week.

So in all honesty, I don’t feel that the announcement from the Evil Empire in Redwood Shores is for me so much as it is for other large companies I know exist out there with sizable physical infrastructures. I have seen success and failures due in large part to the virtualized environment (or lack thereof) so to encourage those of you who have not gone down that path, that now you have an open doorway to bring your support issues and take another hard look across your IT infrastructure of prime opportunities for consolidation and to better realize benefits from this Age of Virtualization, which arguably is already giving way to the Age of Cloud Computing or Agility as VMware executives like to describe it.

With that being said, a huge thanks is due to Oracle, who is now only slightly less evil, for getting out of the way of IT innovations, economic recovery and for giving the power of choice back to the customer.

As always, feel free to leave your comments here in the blog thread. And if you are in need of assistance or want more resources on virtualizing your Oracle environment with VMware, head over to for more information.

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