More support available when virtualizing Oracle under VMware

What if your management wants more assurances about support for Oracle under VMware?

I’ve talked with many consultants and a few companies over the last year who have been concerned about getting support for their Oracle environment once it’s virtualized under VMware. I’ve written about this multiple times (Oracle listened, customers win! RAC supported on VMware, Oracle support on VMware, and Number One question at VMware booth at Oracle Openworld)

Oracle database, including the latest version (11.2.0.2) of Real Application Clusters (RAC) IS supported under VMware. It’s not certified by Oracle, but neither is almost any other hardware not made by Oracle (i.e. Your Dell servers and Cisco switches aren’t certified by Oracle). What this means is that (according to My Oracle Support (MOS) note 249212.1 ), in the unlikely event Oracle Support determines your known problem’s solution doesn’t work when virtualized, or if the problem is determined not to be a known Oracle issue, Oracle Support may refer you to VMware Support and will continue to work the issue when the customer can demonstrate the issue occurs on native (non-virtualized) hardware.

This has caused some organizations to give pause to virtualizing their Oracle environments under VMware. No organization wants to pay thousands of dollars in support only to find it isn’t there when they need it the most. To help reduce this anxiety over virtualizing Oracle products under VMware, VMware Global Support Sevices (GSS) provides support for VMware customers running Oracle 10g or 11g on VMware vSphere. You can read more about VMware’s Oracle Support policy at on VMware’s dedicated Oracle Support page.

In the event you are running into an issue with Oracle 10g or 11g issue under VMware vSphere 4, you should not only open a ticket with Oracle Support, but also a separate ticket with VMware Global Software Support (GSS). VMware will then use their expertise and resources to troubleshoot your issue to determine if the virtualization layer is the cause of the issue. If VMware deems the issue is not related to virtualization, VMware will escalate the ticket back through TSANet to Oracle Support.

TSANet (thankfully not associated with that TSA) is a vendor-neutral infrastructure that allows members such as Oracle, RedHat, Microsoft, NetApp, EMC and VMware to collaborate behind the scenes when a possible multivendor problem exists to resolve the customer issue. Typically customers aren’t even aware TSANet is being used between the vendors for communication.

In addition to support from Oracle and VMware, your storage vendor also has expertise you can leverage when experiencing issues.

If you’re running NetApp storage, check out their best practices for Oracle on NetApp. I’ve also been in contact with numerous people at NetApp regarding support resources and every NetApp person I contacted was extremely quick and resourceful in helping me find information. In a matter of hours, I had responses from a Virtualization Solution Architect, the Director of Global Support Services and Solutions, and the Senior Vice President of Support. Wow. Anyhow, NetApp has dedicated Virtualization and Oracle teams and also has a Joint Escalation Team (JET) with Oracle, VMware, Cisco etc. Even if you’re running a NetApp v-series controller in front of an EMC array, NetApp will support you and help you out. One final note, Oracle Corporate runs their Global Single Instance (their EBS instance) on NetApp according to the last published documentation I can find.

If you’re running EMC storage, they also have a Virtual Escalation Team process for Oracle on VMware vSphere on EMC. You can read more about EMC’s support of Oracle under VMware vSphere at Chad Sakacc’s blog post on Oracle, x86, VMware and update on support.

Odds are, whatever issue you’re running into or concerned about with virtualizing Oracle has been seen by someone else at VMware and your storage provider. With all the major vendors talking to each other under TSANet, you won’t be left to fend for yourself.

Don’t be scared to run your Oracle products under VMware vSphere. It’s supported by Oracle. It’s supported by VMware. Your storage vendor probably even has a specific team dedicated to Oracle on VMware.

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