Oracle Warms up to the Fabric


Looking back, Oracle has been rather quiet over the past few months as far as the data center is concerned. But that came to an end this week as the company unveiled a series of new initiatives aimed at tapping into the growing virtualization and high-speed networking movements.


The company is intent on making it easier to carry its 11g, Enterprise Linux and other offerings under virtual machines, and then distribute them throughout the data center aboard third-party networking gear.


Laying the groundwork is a new set of fully configured software stacks called Virtual Machine Templates. These essentially allow for production deployment of Oracle software on the Oracle VM platform without the often complicated pre-configuration and testing process normally associated with virtual environments. Initial templates are available for 11g, Enterprise Manager, Siebel CRM 8 applications, as well as the Enterprise Linux OS.


At the same time, Oracle has been busy certifying various networking vendors to gain improved performance and scalability over new fabric technologies. In recent days, both Voltaire and Mellanox Infiniband solutions have been certified for both Real Application Clusters 11g and Oracle Enterprise Linux (OEL) under the OpenFabrics Reliable Datagram Sockets (RDS) program. RDS is a high-bandwidth, low-latency protocol designed to improve server cluster interconnect performance.


New ties to storage vendors are also key components of the strategy. 3PAR is one of the newest partners, having accepted Oracle Enterprise Linux for deployment with the 3PAR Utility Storage platform under the Oracle Unbreakable Linux Support program. Users of 3PAR's InServ Storage Servers will see streamlined integration and management of OEL 4 and OEL 5.


As a software company that has sometimes struggled to wedge its way into the Windows-dominated business world, Oracle by now knows the value of strong partnerships and broad technology support. Now that virtualization is on the verge of breaking the OS dominance over the IT environment, there's been no better time for the company to improve its standing in the enterprise.