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Oracle's Virtual Iron Roadmap

As expected, earlier this week Oracle gathered together Virtual Iron customers for the official rundown on how their hypervisor-of-choice would fare under the company's big red umbrella.

So the deal is done, and development of Virtual Iron's Xen-based hypervisor is no more. Oracle won't sell any new licenses but will support the Virtual Iron hypervisors already serving up workloads. Should a Virtual Iron customer have been planning an expansion of its virtual infrastructure with Virtual Iron, it best come talk to an Oracle rep, said Wim Coekaerts, vice president of Linux and virtualization engineering at Oracle and chief presenter at the customer Webcast.

What Oracle really wants Virtual Iron customers to do is start playing around with the Oracle VM today to complement its existing virtual server environment or sit tight and migrate fully to its hypervisor once integration is complete. That process is underway now and will manifest it itself initially in the Oracle VM 2.2 release planned presumably for availability later this year. The last 2.x release, this version will "lay the groundwork" for full integration of the Virtual Iron technology into Oracle's suite.

From the Virtual Iron perspective, that means incorporation of resource management technology, for setting CPU capping for virtual machines, and import of Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) images. In other areas, 2.2 updates include the latest Xen hypervisor, new guest OS and processor support, better storage availability and a new Linux kernel.

The 3.0 release, expected in fiscal 2010 (ending May 31, 2010), would provide full integration of the Virtual Iron technology. The goal is improved capacity and power management, automated network and storage configuration, a more scalable and modular management framework and full-management stack, as well as enhancements for availability, reliability and scalability. Oracle also will expand its portfolio of templates for easy deployment of its own and third-party software, Coekaerts said.

Overall, it's not a bad strategy, at least for Oracle's traditional customers. Oracle needs enterprise-strength virtualization management and Virtual Iron technology gives it a big boost and development shortcut. What's not so clear is how welcome Virtual Iron's small and medium-sized customers really will feel as part of the big enterprise Oracle fold.

Posted by Beth Schultz on 07/24/2009 at 12:49 PM


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