Oracle VM Server is a server virtualization and management solution that enterprises use to deploy, manage, and maintain virtual machines (VMs) for both x86 and SPARC hardware architectures. If you’re considering Oracle VM Server, it’s important to pay careful attention to the software’s unique features, advantages, and disadvantages to make the right choice when buying server virtualization software.
What is Oracle VM Server?
Oracle VM Server is an enhanced version of the Xen hypervisor technology that comes with a Linux kernel. It supports a wide range of devices, file systems, and RAID volume management software.
The hypervisor (or monitor, or Virtual Machine Manager) in Oracle VM Server is the sole fully privileged entity in the system, and it has a very small footprint. It merely manages the system’s most basic resources, such as CPU and memory utilization, privilege checks, and hardware interrupts.
Oracle VM further abstracts the hypervisor by offering a user interface that allows for the same logical tasks to be performed across various server types. The Oracle VM Agent, which is deployed on each Oracle VM Server in the system, provides a lot of this abstraction:
Oracle VM Server functions
The Oracle VM Server can perform one or more of the following functions:
- Server Pool Master: The server pool’s activities revolve around Server Pool Master and it serves as the server pool’s point of contact with the Oracle VM Manager, as well as a dispatcher for other Oracle VM Servers in the server pool.
- Utility Server: The utility server’s primary job is to create and remove virtual machines, Oracle VM Servers, and server pools.
- Virtual Machine Server: The virtual machine server’s main purpose is to run virtual machines.
Oracle VM Server features
Your virtualization solution must boost data center flexibility, fulfill your price/performance needs, and make applications easier to deploy, administer, and maintain when faced with rising operational expenses and inefficient resource consumption.
Oracle VM Server offers the following features to set it apart from the competition.
Oracle VM Server’s high availability (HA) feature automatically restarts failing VMs to other hosts in the server pool. This minimizes downtime and avoids interruptions to business processes.
Read more: How to Achieve High Availability Architecture
Scalability and performance
Low-overhead architecture using the Xen hypervisor allows for scalable performance as workloads grow. It supports up to 384 physical CPUs and 6 TB of memory to serve the most demanding enterprise and cloud workloads, with each guest VM supporting up to 256 virtual CPUs and 2 TB of memory.
Advanced management for zero extra cost
Oracle VM Server offers centralized, browser-based management of resource pools, virtual machines, storage, and networking features at no additional cost. It provides extensive event tracking and virtualized system health status that enables simplicity of use.
Broad guest OS support
This product supports a wide range of operating systems such as Oracle Linux, Oracle Solaris, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, CentOS, and Microsoft Windows.
Secure live VM migration
With Oracle VM Server, you can transfer operating VMs to other hosts over secure SSL links. This means you can completely avoid service disruptions associated with planned maintenance and swiftly scale up your resources when needed.
Oracle VM Server: Pros and cons
The following are some of Oracle VM Server’s advantages and disadvantages:
- Supports x86 and Solaris servers, as well as VM cloning
- Oracle VM Manager command-line interface (CLI) and Web Services API (WS-API) allow for greater automation and interoperability
- Simple installation and configuration
- Scalability and high performance
- Up to 128 virtual machines can be installed per physical server
- Oracle VM Templates enable rapid enterprise application deployment
- Free virtual machines to test the service and work on development and proofs of concept (POC)
- Not ideal for non-Oracle infrastructures
- Complicated firewall configuration
- Templates for provisioning database nodes should be improved slightly
- Complex user interface
- Building private clouds and implementing cloud automation can be complex and requires a lot of maintenance
Is Oracle VM Server right for you?
Potential buyers considering Oracle VM Server should answer one question: are we an Oracle shop? If so, data center managers should look at this as their first option. The price is hard to beat, and certainly Oracle—with its long legacy in enterprise IT—knows how to build a powerful virtualization platform.
Vendor lock-in aside, businesses may lower their total cost of ownership in the data center, boost IT flexibility, and gain more business agility by virtualizing using Oracle VM Server. Oracle VM’s new capabilities enable enhanced scalability, manageability, and ease of use, allowing clients to build, operate, and maintain even the most demanding enterprise applications.
However, Oracle VM Server may not be right for all organizations. Feature limitations and low usability scores may lead some to consider VMware, Citrix, Red Hat, or an open-source platform. Additionally, Oracle VM Server lacks some of the flexibility offered by other options and users sometimes report issues with certain patches.
If Oracle VM Server doesn’t seem like the right fit for your organization, explore alternative solutions on our list of Best Server Virtualization Software.