Oracle Takes Aim at VMware

Michael Vizard

Oracle today signaled its intent to compete across the board with VMware in virtualization technologies in the enterprise.

Following its acquisition of Sun Microsystems, it was unclear how aggressive Oracle would be in competing with VMware, given the widespread proliferation of virtual machine software from VMware in the enterprise. But rather than stress a partnership with VMware, Oracle said today it is taking a more comprehensive approach to virtualization that is substantially easier to manage than a 'point solution' such as VMware.

To that end, Edward Screven, chief corporate architect, says Oracle is committed to breaking the current associations between applications and underlying IT infrastructure as part of an overall effort to open up a world of new enterprise possibilities where data centers evolve into integrated 'service centers.'

Screven said that customers will see more substantiation of that vision before the end of the year with a beta release of the next major 3.0 upgrade of OracleVM. That release will add tighter integration with a range of management tools for applications running on both Windows and Linux guest operating systems.

OracleVM, which is based on open source Xen virtual machine software, can be packaged with templates from Oracle and deployed using Oracle Virtual Assembly Builder software that makes it easier to deploy Oracle applications on top of OracleVM that can run on multiple tiers of Intel or Sparc servers.

Screven said that OracleVM is also tightly coupled with Oracle clustering technologies and Oracle Enterprise Manager, which allows IT organizations to manage large implementations of OracleVM in high-performance scenarios. Oracle also noted that the company has a jRocket implementation of Java that runs directly on top of the hypervisor in OracleVM to significantly improve the performance of Java applications on virtual servers while removing the need for an underlying operating system.

As part of this latest virtualization thrust, Oracle also took pains to stress that OracleVM allows customers to create a virtual IT infrastructure that spans everything from the desktop to the data center.

Finally, Screven's parting VMware shot came down to pricing; there are zero license fees for OracleVM and support costs from Oracle are relatively modest.

Until now, the virtualization wars in the enterprise have primarily been between VMware, Microsoft and Citrix, with VMware getting the best of both Microsoft and Citrix. Starting today, Oracle is letting IT customers know that it intends to take VMware head on in the enterprise.

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