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Virtual Servers and Containers at Oracle OpenWorld 2016

Observations from the show, and a fire drill.

San Francisco, Calif. -- Oracle isn't often thought of as a virtualization company, so I was pleasantly surprised to find a lot of emphasis on it at Oracle OpenWorld 2016.  

Oracle Virtual Machine Server
Let's start with Oracle Virtual Machine (VM) Server. It runs on either x86 or SPARC hardware, but I limited my investigation to the x86 version. Oracle VM Server, which is open source and free to download, uses Xen as its hypervisor. It's a modern hypervisor and supports many of the functions expected these days, including VM and storage migration and Windows 10 guests. It also has some nice features, particularly its ability to upgrade and patch a running kernel, thereby ensuring minimal down time.

I was also surprised to learn that it supports Site Guard, an end-to-end disaster recovery automation tool which seems to offer many of the same functions as VMware's Site Recovery Manager. Oracle makes installable VM images available for Oracle VM server to simplify the installation of Oracle software. I'll be looking further into Oracle VM server in the future.

Containers
On the container side of the house, it's apparent that Oracle knows that containers are hot, and they have moved forward with a few initiatives to integrate them into an Oracle datacenter. They have tools that allow the management of containers from a single management console.

Fire Drill
I was looking forward to attending a session on this topic, but the hotel where that particular session was scheduled for had a fire alarm go off and needed to be cleared out as a standard safety measure (a first time experience for me at a convention). It was an interesting opportunity to examine human nature and behavior; some people rushed for the doors, others slowly ambled towards the door, while others tried to enter the building. Strange.

Short and To The Point
Many of the sessions I attended were 20 minutes long, resembling the presentation style of a TED talk. I have mixed feelings about this format. On the plus side, it is nice that you are only captive for twenty minutes and that the presenter needs to get directly to the point. On the downside, the presenter doesn't have time to give much background information or do much Q & A at the end of their presentation. There is also a problem with logistics: changing venues every twenty minutes can lead to more walking and less talking.

About the Author

Tom Fenton works in VMware's Education department as a Senior Course Developer. He has a wealth of hands-on IT experience gained over the past 20 years in a variety of technologies, with the past 10 years focused on virtualization and storage. Before re-joining VMware, Tom was a Senior Validation Engineer with The Taneja Group, were he headed their Validation Service Lab and was instrumental in starting up its vSphere Virtual Volumes practice. He's on Twitter @vDoppler.

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