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Oracle quadruples capacity of virtualization software

Oracle VM now can support up to 128 virtual CPUs per server

Oracle has updated its server virtualization software with greater policy control and more connectors for storage systems, the company announced Tuesday.

The newly released Oracle VM 3.0 will feature "enhancements that are aimed to make it more scalable in terms of performance and management," said Adam Hawley, Oracle senior director of product management for Oracle VM.

Chief among those enhancements are new policy controls, better support for third-party storage management and the ability to run more virtual machines per server.

Based on the open source Xen hypervisor, Oracle VM is Oracle's x86 server virtualization software, one customized for running other Oracle software products. The codebase comes from Oracle's acquisition of Virtual Iron in 2009. Oracle offers 90 templates for running other Oracle enterprise software, such as PeopleSoft, on Oracle VM. Users can also deploy Oracle VM as a Linux-based stand-alone virtualization manager, as an alternative to other products such as VMware's vSphere.

"Virtualization is moving beyond being a tool for server consolidation to become an enabler for application management," said Monica Kumar, Oracle senior director virtualization marketing.

Oracle VM can now support up to 128 virtual CPUs per server. The previous version, version 2.2, could only run 32 virtual CPUs per server. By way of comparison, VMware's recently released vSphere 5 can support 32 virtual CPUs. Both Oracle VM and vSphere can support up to 1 terabyte of memory per virtual machine.

Oracle VM 3.0's new capabilities in policy management allow administrators to script events to take place whenever some trigger condition is reached, Hawley explained. For example, live virtual machines can be automatically moved from one server to another whenever CPU usage or network traffic reaches a critical threshold. Or, workloads can be consolidated on fewer servers for times of slow usage, which can save energy.

With this release, Oracle also introduces a storage connect framework, which should give virtualization managers greater control over back-end storage systems, Hawley said. Administrators "can use storage features from our management interface, so they don't have to use multiple tools," Hawley said.

Previous versions of the product offered basic storage accessibility, while the new version permits access to advanced vendor specific features, such as virtual machine cloning or snapshotting, in which a copy of a virtual machine is saved at a pre-defined time. Oracle has specific plug-ins for storage vendor products from EMC, NetApp, Fujitsu, Hitachi, as well as Oracle's own storage systems.

Oracle VM, and associated support, is free for existing customers of Oracle's x86 system customers.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com


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