The folks at Oracle have done a pretty good job of trying to not pay attention to the big elephant in the room. If you haven't see the elephant Oracle's been trying to ignore, here it is.
For as long as I've been with Burton Group, I have been listening to clients passionately complain about their attempts to get Oracle to officially support running their products on VMware environments. In fact, some have even told of their trials with negotiating "best effort" support with Oracle, knowing that such negotiations occur on a case-by-case basis. Following Oracle's recent announcement regarding the availability of Oracle Virtual Machine (OVM) templates, I felt compelled to ask Oracle my big elephant question - "Will you provide templates for non-Oracle virtualization platforms, namely VMware ESX?" The answer I received was "No." When I inquired about support for Open Virtualization Format (OVF), thinking that Oracle would leverage OVF to distribute Oracle application virtual machine appliances that could run on a number of hypervisors, I again received the answer I wasn't hoping for, "No." Oracle's OVF plans include using OVF to import VMs to their OVM platform, but have no plans to package their own applications using OVF to run on other virtualization platforms. So if you are looking for Oracle support on any x86 virtualization platform other than OVM, you will need to keep waiting.
Now let's turn this around and replace Oracle with another vendor. Suppose Microsoft refused to support their applications on any x86 virtualization platform except Hyper-V? Microsoft today provides "best effort" support for VMware platforms and officially supports Citrix-, Novell-, Sun-, and Virtual Iron-based virtualization platforms. Refusal to support other x86 virtualization platforms is clearly an anti-competitive move on Oracle's part and one that places an unnecessary burden on its customers.Today Oracle is giving their customers two choices: run Oracle applications on their preferred hypervisor and have an unsupported configuration, or split their virtual infrastructure at least two ways and use OVM exclusively for virtualizing Oracle applications. Of course, some large customers have the clout to negotiate support as part of an Oracle software license renewal, but that should not be necessary. Personally, I see such strong arm tactics as doing more harm than good for a vendor.
Oracle - it's time to offer "best effort" support for all virtualization platforms. Practically all enterprise vendors do this today; the vendors will help organizations troubleshoot application faults, but faults related to performance require a virtual to physical (V2P) migration. A small conciliation could go a long way.
Posted by: Chris Wolf