Oracle enhances server virtualization platform with Oracle VM 2.2 release

Oracle VM 2.2 is the first step for the company to offer Virtual Iron capabilities within its platform

During the Oracle OpenWorld 2009 extravaganza taking place this week in San Francisco, Oracle made its latest server virtualization move by announcing the release of Oracle VM 2.2. With this product, the company claims its customers will be able to accelerate deployment and simplify management of enterprise applications.

"The release of Oracle VM 2.2 enables customers to capitalize on the latest advancements in server virtualization technology to better manage their virtual environments and reduce both cost and power consumption in the data center," said Wim Coekaerts, vice president of Linux and virtualization engineering, Oracle. "Additionally, this release further delivers on Oracle's virtualization road map by providing existing Virtual Iron customers the first phase of a migration path to Oracle VM."

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Oracle VM 2.2 is the first step toward bringing in the Virtual Iron management tools and feature set acquired back in May. Supposedly, Oracle is on track to deliver Oracle VM 3.0 sometime in the first half of next year, and this release is expected to have all the bells and whistles in the Virtual Iron server virtualization stack. Rather than ask existing Virtual Iron customers to wait that long, Oracle VM 2.2 appears to be on the right track to bring these users into the fold. If anything, Oracle VM 2.2 delivers the ability for customers to easily migrate Virtual Iron virtual machines over to Oracle VM images.

This latest release is based on the open source Xen 3.4 hypervisor and uses Oracle Enterprise Linux 5.3 as the new dom0. Thus, Oracle VM 2.2 boosts performance enhancements for customers running Intel Xeon processor 5500 series or Six-Core AMD Opteron processors.

It also provides broader hardware support, as well as better scalability and security for both hardware virtualized and paravirtualized guest operating systems on both 32-bit and 64-bit x64 processors. Oracle supports Oracle Enterprise Linux 4 and 5; RHEL3, 4, and 5; and Windows Server 2008 SP1, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP Pro, and Windows 2000.

Oracle's latest hypervisor supports up to 1TB of main memory and 64 logical CPUs. A VM can span as many as 32 cores and 63GB of virtual memory on a 32-bit server and up to 510GB on a 64-bit server. It adds support for up to 128 virtual disk devices per VM pool and up to 31 virtual network interfaces for paravirtualized guest operating systems or eight virtual network interfaces for hardware virtualized guest operating systems.

Oracle VM 2.2 also adds additional features and support, such as:

  • Support for the Oracle Cluster File System (OCFS2) 1.4: Leverages advanced features such as sparse file support to enable faster virtual machine provisioning and cloning, and gives users more control over file data allocation, improving performance and storage efficiency
  • Direct support for multipath storage devices that can be assigned to virtual machines and enhances performance of clustered applications
  • Provides more efficient CPU power management
  • Allows users to set the scheduling priority for virtual CPUs in virtual machines and cap the maximum percentage of CPU time each individual VM can access
  • Improved high availability with automatic failover of server pool master agents
  • Includes a number of user interface enhancements

Oracle VM 2.2 is distributed for free. However, support for the Oracle hypervisor is not. Oracle offers its Oracle VM Premier Support plan for $599 per year. This plan is available on single- or dual-socket servers. To go beyond that configuration, Oracle offers the same one-year support plan for $1,199, and it covers a server with an unlimited number of sockets.

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