Oracle answers VMware SpringSource acquisition with new WebLogic tools

Oracle claims its Java virtualization solutions increase server utilization, performance, standardization, and operational efficiency

Oracle has taken up a drumbeat similar to something that VMware has been preaching for many years: the idea that virtualization will eventually make today's complex operating system obsolete. In this case, Oracle is announcing a Java Virtual Machine that runs directly on top of the hypervisor without the need for an operating system. But is this latest move really about eliminating operating systems?

Oracle started shipping Oracle WebLogic Suite Virtualization Option and Oracle Virtual Assembly Builder, gained from its acquisition of BEA Systems, to help make running Java applications in a virtualized environment both easy and practical. In an effort to beef up the Java coolness factor, the new technologies also promise to improve system performance and server densities.

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The Oracle Virtual Assembly Builder (VAB) is a new tool designed to quickly and easily deploy entire multitier enterprise applications in a virtualized environment. The VAB captures the configurations (for example, a Web server, application server, and database) and packages them into self-contained, single-purpose virtual machines called appliances. These appliances can then be connected as pluggable building blocks or assemblies, after which the entire assembly -- which comprises the complete multitier application -- gets deployed as a single unit. When the assembly is deployed, the components are automatically configured.

The new Oracle WebLogic Suite Virtualization Option combines the company's standard WebLogic Server (WLS) with JRockit Virtual Edition technology, optimizing the package for virtualization environments. The JRockit Virtual Edition comes from the BEA LiquidVM, a Java Virtual Machine that works with hypervisor software and provides a set of operating system features (such as TCP/IP, hardware device interaction, file I/O, and process scheduling) so that WLS can offer its full range of services without the need for a conventional operating system.

Oracle claims this combination for virtualized Java applications is able to deliver improved application speed and better hardware utilization by up to 30 percent compared to deployments that include an operating system.

"With these groundbreaking products, Oracle has made virtualization a reality for Java enterprise applications. Moreover, we are the only vendor to empower customers with this kind of comprehensive solution," said Steven G. Harris, senior vice president of product development at Oracle.

Instead of a plan to eliminate operating systems, this sounds more like a plan to combat the VMware-SpringSource acquisition. VMware is trying to increase the use of Java applications running on virtual machines by combining virtualization platforms, appliances, and Java Virtual Machines (JVM) that can be deployed on a server, across several servers or even deployed into the cloud.

Like VMware, Oracle also seems to recognize the opportunities around building out applications with virtualization and the cloud. However, the company still seems to be stubborn when it comes to supporting its applications on hypervisor technology other than its own. Oracle VM is still the only x86 server virtualization technology certified to run all Oracle software. And with VMware still controlling the lion's share of the server virtualization market, this could limit Oracle's ambitions of competing in this area.

This article, "Oracle answers VMware SpringSource acquisition with new WebLogic tools," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in business technology news and get a digest of the key stories each day in the InfoWorld Daily newsletter and on your mobile device at infoworldmobile.com.

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