Oracle listened, customers WIN! RAC supported on VMware

As I was flying home last night and downloading tweets before takeoff, I found out some amazing news. Ugh, not the time to have intermittent internet access! But eventually I got home, did the reading and confirmed the news.

Oracle RAC 11gR2 (11.2.0.2) is now supported by Oracle under VMware.

You can read the updated My Oracle Support (MOS) announcement yourself in note 249212.1 which now states:

NOTE:  Oracle has not certified any of its products on VMware.
For Oracle RAC, Oracle will only accept Service Requests as described in this note on
Oracle RAC 11.2.0.2 and later releases.

(Remember:  Certified is different than Supported .  Oracle doesn't certify hardware that isn't Oracle's own )

This is simply fantastic news.  I talked to an petroleum company in Houston earlier this year who wanted to virtualize their Oracle EBS system and move platforms from Sun Solaris to x86 architecture.  Their big concern was that they were using 8 SPARC Processors and they knew that 8 x86 CPUs is the limit for a virtual machine under VMware vSphere 4.1.  We discussed various steps they could take to ensure their environment would thrive under this limitation, but now it's a non-issue. In the event they need more computing power, they can implement Oracle RAC under vSphere and start up another RAC instance as necessary. 
I do need to point out that as of this moment, 11.2.0.2 database is not certified or supported with Oracle Application (Oracle EBS) 11i or R12.  These certifications usually come out a few months after the initial database announcement (which was Sept 10th for 11.2.0.2).  If you check out the blog of Steven Chan (a Senior Director in Oracle's Applications Technology Group - the group responsible for the Oracle E-Business Suite technology stack) and specifically these comments , you'll see that Steven wrote:

We haven't certified 11.2.0.2 with Oracle E-Business Suite Release
11i yet.  This project is underway now.  11.2.0.1 is the latest
certified database release for the E-Business Suite.
Oracle's Revenue Recognition rules prohibit us from discussing
certification and release dates, but you're welcome to monitor or
subscribe to this blog for updates, which I'll post as soon as soon as
they're available.



So 11.2.0.2 database certification with EBS 11i and R12 is coming.My main client doesn't use RAC (our business can survive the downtime associated with a HA event and we aren't near the 8 CPU limitation of VMware vSphere 4.1), but knowing its an option can only give upper management even more confidence that virtualizing our entire Oracle environment under VMware vSphere was the right thing to do.


For those wanting more information on Oracle RAC under VMware vSphere, I'd suggest watching this Oracle virtualization webcast put on by Embarcadero and VMware a few weeks ago. I'd also highly recommend following VirtualTodd on Twitter.  Todd Muirhead was at Oracle OpenWorld in the VMware booth and presented some very interesting performance data from running RAC under VMware.  I can't find a link to the presentation, but you can follow Todd's postings and perhaps find his testing results at his blog on the VMware communities site .

Think of the possibilities of combined Oracle RAC and VMware vSphere:

o  Multiple RAC nodes on different vSphere hosts means no database downtime during a hardware failure.

o  Combining multiple RAC databases on same vSphere host to consolidate workloads but still segregate environments 

o  Much faster provisioning of new RAC nodes with vSphere virtual machine cloning and VMware VAAI (vStorage APIs for Array integration)

o ... and many more I still need to wrap my head around

4 thoughts on “Oracle listened, customers WIN! RAC supported on VMware

  1. Hi.

    OK. So now they will accept SRs relating to RAC on VMware, but the support position is the same as before. If you have a problem, you may well get sent to VMware support to “prove” it is also a problem on the real hardware. That’s not exactly reassuring for most people.

    Also, as far as I’m aware the licensing policy is unchanged. If you run a VM using 1 virtual CPU on a box with 8 physical cores, you are liable for a licensing the 8 cores. So VMware is only a viable solution for server consolidation of Oracle products if you are only using the same product on all VMs on that box. No mix and match DB and App server unless you want to pay lots of extra cash (named users caveat accepted 🙂 ) for cores you are not using.

    Oracle VM is still the only x86 software virtualization environment where you can license for the cores used, rather than all cores on the server (assuming you have set the CPU affinity properly).

    If Oracle solved these two issues I would feel a lot happier about the situation.

    Cheers

    Tim…

  2. Honestly, I think we’re in agreement on almost every point. I’m very happy that Oracle has changed it’s support policy regarding RAC with VMware, but its not enough. Oracle needs to (continue to) listen to its customers and consider VMware hard partitioning. Do I think it’ll happen soon? No, I don’t.

    As far as licensing, yes the licensing policy is unchanged – if your VM is using one virtual CPU but the hardware has 8 CPUs, for Oracle Enterprise Edition you need to buy 8 licenses. However, VMware is a viable solution for server consolidation of Oracle products like database. It’s rare in my experience (where I generally come to clients because of my Oracle E-Business Suite expertise) for a customer to only have one Oracle database. Heck, just for my current main client’s EBS system they have multiple Oracle databases (one for the ERP, one for Email Center, one for Wireless, one for a tax product that ties into the apps, two for a regulatory EBS bolt on) – and that’s not counting development environments, reporting environments or any other Oracle products they run. In a non virtualized world, just to run their EBS system, I’d be buying 4 servers worth of Oracle Enterprise Edition and 2 servers worth of standard edition. Compare that to running all these instances along with many others all on two physical servers currently. It’s quite the cost savings. Same goes for the App server licensing.

  3. Hi J
    Sorry to highjack this post for another topic 🙁
    Did you had any success in upgrading 11i 32-bit to R12 64-bit in one go. I saw your post on an oracle forum, but could not find details on the process.
    Thanks

  4. I think you’re referring to the comments on the post at http://blogs.oracle.com/stevenChan/2010/04/ebs_64_bit_linux.html ? I am actually working on this (finally!) in a test environment today. For the first go round I’m just building a new 64-bit box and laying down the R12 rapid install there, without copying anything over from my old R11 32-bit app node. I’ll keep you up to date on what I figure out.

    Note that the DB is already 64-bit and so only the application tier is going through a platform migration.

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