Update on Virtualizing Oracle

There are no issues with virtualizing Oracle, however customers are sometimes given information by Oracle that appears to contradict Oracle’s licensing agreements. For processor-based licenses, Oracle expects to be paid for any hardware that runs Oracle software. Customers that run Oracle software on more servers than they originally planned to (whether those servers are physical or virtual) can expect Oracle to request payment for the additional use. On the other hand, licenses on older, slower machines, or on machines that are used at less than 15% of their capability, need licenses that cost the same as a heavily used server. Customers typically benefit by consolidating Oracle workloads to a smaller number of high-performance servers and paying for fewer core licenses.

Oracle Database is one of the most widely deployed database platforms in the world, with some of the largest databases in the world, many of which also run on vSphere. VMware is also an Oracle customer; our E-Business Suite and Siebel instances are virtualized; and VMware routinely submits and receives assistance with issues for Oracle running on VMware virtual infrastructure.

Oracle and VMware have a long history of working well together. Unfortunately, VMware has been made aware of Oracle sales people occasionally trying to use misinformation to dissuade customers from virtualizing using vSphere. Based upon reliable reports from the field, the figure below addresses some examples of this misinformation and VMware’s responses:

The following table addresses VMware responses to the confusing accusations made in the sample Oracle slide.

Some companies, notably iQuate, have developed software to help customers manage their Oracle licenses, in a virtualized or non-virtualized context. VMware introduces iQuate to customers that need help managing their Oracle licenses. Learn more about iQuate here: iquate.com/what-we-do.

Although some Oracle marketing documents may imply that Oracle does not support VMware, and Oracle sales might tell you that VMware is not supported, we are pleased to clarify that Oracle does have a support statement in place for VMware. Oracle’s Metalink note 249212.1, published on MyOracleSupport, defines Oracle’s policy for supporting applications on VMware. Here is the support statement:

The second to last paragraph states that Oracle may ask a customer to replicate the issue on non-virtual hardware if an issue hasn’t been previously seen by Oracle. This occurs only once for each issue (the first time), and when it occurs VMware has a Total Ownership Policy to take accountability of that issue and resolve it for the customer. Here is the VMware support statement to that effect: “VMware will accept accountability for any Oracle-related issue reported by a customer. By being accountable, VMware Support will drive the issue to resolution regardless of which vendor (VMware, Oracle, or others) is responsible for the resolution. In most cases, reported issues can be resolved via configuration changes, bug fixes, or feature enhancements by one of the involved vendors.” This statement is available here.

The capabilities provided by vSphere are well beyond the needs of almost all databases, including Oracle. Figure 18 illustrates the standard CPU, memory, disk and network I/O needed for Oracle databases compared with the capacity of each VM.12 As evidenced below, each VM can handle well over the resource requirements of Oracle databases (Source: VMware Capacity Planner analysis of >700,000 servers in customer production environments.).

Here’s an example of Oracle license savings associated with virtualizing, along with an improvement in performance and reliability (source: iquate.com).

Customer Case in Point
“With the help of House of Brick and VMware Professional Services, we have been able to virtualize our most demanding Oracle databases on x86 servers. Where initially we believed that these databases would be too demanding for a virtual machine, we now have the confidence that vSphere can handle our largest transaction-processing databases with ease.” – Rob Lowden, Director of IT at Indiana University

Learn more: Virtualizing Business Critical Applications Whitepaper [39-page PDF]