Oracle switches stance on VMware RAC support

Oracle no longer specifically excludes the clusterware from its VMware support policy

Oracle has reportedly changed its position on support for its RAC (Real Application Clusters) software running in VMware virtualized environments, saying it will provide it under certain circumstances.

The shift was flagged and hailed by EMC's vice president of VMware Strategic Alliance, Chad Sakac, on his personal blog Tuesday.

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While Oracle has not actually certified any of its products running on VMware, it will provide support for issues that "are known to occur on the native OS, or can be demonstrated not to be as a result of running on VMware," according to a Nov. 8 Oracle support document Sakac posted to his blog.

"If a problem is a known Oracle issue, Oracle support will recommend the appropriate solution on the native OS," the document adds. "If that solution does not work in the VMware virtualized environment, the customer will be referred to VMware for support."

It also states that "Oracle will only accept Service Requests as described in this note on Oracle RAC 11.2.0.2 and later releases." This apparently new wrinkle caught Sakac's attention.

"The key is that previously Oracle explicitly excluded support for Oracle RAC -- which is no longer the case," he wrote. This "may seem like a minor change -- but [in my opinion] it's material, and a change in a very positive direction."

RAC allows a single database to be deployed across a pool of servers, improving fault tolerance and scalability.

Oracle database administrator Jay Weinshenker also praised the adjusted policy, calling it "fantastic news" in a blog post. "Think of the possibilities of combined Oracle RAC and VMware vSphere," he wrote.

But while Oracle "should be applauded" for its decision, "RAC support has not been the top customer requirement," Gartner analyst Chris Wolf said in a blog post.

In addition, Oracle's licensing policy for VMware environments remains too expensive compared to other options, according to Wolf, who addresses the topic at length in his post.

An Oracle spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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