Tag Archives: support

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 ( 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.

Software. Hardware. Complete.

So recently I was browsing Walmart.com ‘s Electronics section and was amazed at the selection they have.

You want to buy a computer? They’ve got it.

You want an operating system for that computer? They’ve got it.

You want to buy a network switch and cables to link multiple computers together? They’ve got it.

You want to buy 4TB of NAS storage? They’ve got it.

You can get them all from one vendor. The switches say their certified with the OS. The computer says its certified with the OS. Your storage is certified with your OS.

You can even install Oracle database on the hardware and be fully supported by Oracle (thought not certified by Oracle because Oracle doesn’t certify 3rd party hardware).

Have you ever bought a wireless Microsoft keyboard and mouse that didn’t work right with your Microsoft Windows OS running on a PC with a sticker on it that said “Designed for Windows” ? It’s all from one vendor. Just one throat to choke, right?

So why isn’t most of your data center running off of what’s at Walmart?

Because those products might not be leaders in their category.

Because the technical support backing those products might be crappy.

Because the software might not be enterprise ready .

Just because you can buy everything from one company doesn’t mean you should.

A support story with EMC and Oracle

Like I’ve said before, my three main job duties involve Oracle, Linux and VMware.  This also tends to extend to the hardware this all runs on.  I sometimes need to open support tickets on these products and recently had two support experiences I wish to share.  In both cases, my initial support request didn’t get the attention it needed, but in both cases, support managers went above and beyond to give my client and I exemplary support.

In these days of off-shoring, near-shoring, and other other cost avoidance initiatives, I’m reminded that it’s the performance of support individuals who deal with end users that most greatly influence customer opinions.

The first experience involves EMC support with our SAN.  We’ve recently expanded our primary server room.  Part of that expansion involved adding additional UPS resources and an UPS bypass.  For awhile, we were running our SAN on non-redundant power.  When we provided redundant power, one of the power supplies in our SAN failed and I opened a support ticket with EMC.  Somehow the ticket didn’t get routed or assigned correctly and even after placing two additional support calls, here I was two days in and still with a failed power supply.  Not a comfortable feeling.  At that point I reached out to our sales rep (Bryan Coston of PBS Now) at the end of business day who in turn reached out to EMC’s area support representative ( Scott Marnell).  Even though I hadn’t even contacted them till close of business, I received calls and emails from them that night and had the option to get the defective part replaced that night.  It’s that sort of above the call of duty support that makes me very happy to have EMC products in my environment.  These two individuals (and perhaps others behind the scenes) in a couple of hours turned around an unpleasant support situation into a support success.  Thank you PBSNOW and EMC.

The second support experience involves Oracle Support with Oracle Agile software.  I’m currently migrating our Agile system to the latest versions in a test environment.  I’ve run into some issues I’ve been unable to resolve on my own, and opened a couple of technical support tickets with Oracle.  Both tickets ended up being assigned to same analyst.  On one ticket involving data migration errors, I received no updates for a whole week.  On the other ticket, the analyst and I got into a disagreement regarding Oracle’s support of EXPort and IMPort utilities with Oracle Database 11g.  After getting frustrated and not receiving any updates to either issue, including my written request that the requests by duty managed, I called in and requested a call from a duty manager.  Within an hour I had the duty manager on the phone.  Not only did he apologize for the delays and reassign my support tickets to a senior level support analyst, the duty manager (I’m sorry, I didn’t write down his name) also spoke with me at length regarding my experiences with the upgrade and asking specific questions on what could be done to make the upgrade documentation and experience better.  I’ll be posting my experiences and notes from the upgrade once it’s complete.  The analyst that the duty manager assigned to my tickets,  Mehdi Hamzezadeh, was fantastic.  Not only did he take ownership of my support tickets and resolved both issues in a matter of hours, it turns out he wrote many of the data cleanup scripts that Oracle Support provides to their end customers.  I’ve very grateful to the duty manager for assigning Medhi to my tickets and to Medhi for his quick and complete assistance.


I press Help for help… and get a 404?

A quick heads up to other Oracle Applications DBAs out there who apply the quarterly security (CPU) patches from Oracle to their Apps 11i instances – the patches break the online help for the end users.  Luckily, Oracle has released a patch for this (yay!) but they haven’t updated the CPU documents (which have a section just for that – Section 5, Document Modification History) nor have they re-released the patches or notified people who downloaded the patches – things easy to do and things that would make customers better value Oracle Support.

Failures like this by Oracle to get their documentation in sync drive DBAs and clients crazy and makes customers question why they pay 20% a year for Oracle Support.

For those looking to fix the issue, check out My Oracle Support document ID 1080465.1  .  It’ll tell you you need patch 9506302.

This was an issue caused by the OCT 09 CPU patches and was also in the JAN 10 CPU patches.  You can check for yourself that Oracle didn’t update the documents – Note IDs are 880170.1 and 985520.1 respectively.