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Complicated partitioning tools assign physical CPU, memory, and I/O resources to specific domains that run independent OS instances. The granularity of resource assignment is dictated by the hardware and is often based on printed circuit board boundaries or subboard domaining. Providing isolation down to the hardware layer, hard partitions keep faults in one partition from affecting applications running in other partitions, thereby increasing reliability.
VMs enable a physical system to run multiple different OSes simultaneously and make it possible to partition compute resources on conventional hardware safely and effectively, without significantly sacrificing performance or functionality. One or more OS execution domains host multiple diverse OSes simultaneously to increase flexibility and server use. Several types of VM technologies are available.
Oracle VM Server for SPARC:
Provided as a no-cost facility on Sun SPARC Enterprise T Series systems – Sun servers incorporating processors with chip multithreading (CMT) technology, Oracle VM Server for SPARC (previously called Sun Logical Domains) provides an entire VM that runs an independent OS instance and contains virtualized CPU, memory, storage, I/O, console, and cryptographic devices.
A hypervisor, written as firmware and tightly integrated with the hardware, sits between the physical hardware and the VM layer to manage resources’ control and isolation. Many aspects of logical domains technology are virtualized, such as disks and networking, whereas other resources, such as virtual CPUs and memory, are not shared between parts. With the ability to create multiple independent VMs quickly using the hypervisor built into every Sun SPARC Enterprise T-Series server, Oracle VM Server for SPARC makes it easy to deploy various OSes simultaneously on a single system.
OS virtualization allows multiple private execution environments to be created within a single instance of an OS. With flexible, software-defined boundaries, virtual OS environments are independent of the hardware layer and are available to all platforms that support the OS. On Sun platforms, OS virtualization is made possible by Oracle Solaris Containers technology. Oracle Solaris Containers uses Oracle Solaris features to provision compute power into secure, isolated runtime environments for individual applications using flexible, software-defined boundaries. Each environment holds a unique identity and maintains resource and namespace isolation. Also, administrators can configure separate network connections with exclusive IP stacks and allocate disk and storage for individual containers. Applications can be managed independently of each other, even while running in the same instance of Oracle Solaris.
Oracle VM Server for x86
Linux applications can even run within an Oracle Solaris Container on x86 platforms without modification, enabling organizations to consolidate Oracle Solaris and Linux applications on one system for better resource use. With Oracle Solaris Containers technology, organizations gain new resource containment and security isolation to prevent unauthorized access and malicious intrusions. Because all containers run under a single Oracle Solaris kernel, this methodology allows for fine-grained control over rights and resources within a consolidated server without increasing the number of OS instances to manage. This reduces the administrative burden of patching and maintaining multiple OS images; however, it can create a single point of failure for multiple services and introduce operational dependencies.
Oracle VM Blade Cluster
The Oracle VM blade cluster reference configuration provides a complete hardware and software stack that can accelerate deployment and reduce the risk of errors. The Oracle VM blade cluster reference configuration is a single-vendor solution that addresses every layer of the virtualization stack with Oracle hardware and software components.
The solution uses pre-configured virtual machines that contain optimized configurations for running applications on Sun Blade 6000 Modular Systems from Oracle with Oracle’s Sun ZFS Storage Appliances. Oracle conducted tests to validate the reference configuration using the Oracle Validated Configuration test suite. The components have also been tested with Oracle VM by the respective product teams.
Oracle VM Templates are used to simplify and accelerate the deployment of the reference configuration software stack.
The Templates include pre-installed versions of Oracle Linux and Oracle Solaris, Oracle VM Server, and Oracle VM Manager. Best practices for optimizing the environment are built into the Templates, which define configurations for all software stack components. To deploy the Oracle VM blade cluster reference configuration, customers order the recommended hardware components and then download the Oracle VM Templates for the reference configuration. The Oracle VM Templates contain ready-to-run software stacks, so the entire virtualized infrastructure can be up and running in hours instead of weeks.
Key Benefits Key benefits of the Oracle VM blade cluster reference configuration include:
Faster time to value – Begin deploying applications immediately because the optimized software stack is pre-configured for best practices and is ready-to-run on the recommended hardware platforms.
Reduced deployment cost and risk: The entire hardware and software stack has been tested and supported by Oracle.
Elastic scalability: As capacity needs grow, the system can be easily scaled in multiple dimensions with the ability to add compute, storage, and networking resources independently.
Oracle VM server virtualization is designed to efficiently virtualize business-critical database and application workloads and fully support Oracle and non-Oracle applications. It delivers more efficient performance and makes enterprise applications easier to deploy, manage, and support. Oracle VM is available for free download and use without a licensing fee.
Oracle VM enables a physical hardware server to be logically divided into multiple virtual machines (VMs). Each virtual machine has its virtual CPUs, network interfaces, storage, and operating system. These resources are managed using Oracle VM Manager, the management interface for the virtual environment.
Oracle VM Templates offer a means to accelerate the deployment of enterprise software and eliminate installation and configuration costs by providing pre-installed and pre-configured software images. Oracle VM is backed by the Oracle worldwide technical support organization and is fully certified with all Oracle software and hardware.
Oracle VM Manager
Oracle VM Manager lets administrators create, clone, share, configure, boot, and migrate virtual machines using an easy-to-use graphical interface. It enables administrators to streamline tasks that would otherwise be time-intensive and highly manual. Oracle VM Manager can help reduce data center complexity by making it easier to manage the virtualized infrastructure. For example, administrators can quickly create new virtual machines and deploy operating systems and applications using Oracle VM Templates. Oracle VM Manager also helps reduce the cost and complexity of virtual machine failover through automatic failover and restart capabilities.
Oracle VM Server
Based on available technology, Oracle VM Server includes a VM agent, enabling the communication channel with the Oracle VM Manager for management purposes. It provides a self-contained virtualization environment designed to provide an agile, secure, server-based platform for running guest virtual machines.
Oracle VM Templates
Oracle VM Templates provide an innovative approach to deploying a fully configured software stack by offering pre-installed and pre-configured software images. The Templates save valuable time in deployment and benefit from delivering gold images of piles that are well tested, configured, and popular. To begin using the encapsulated software in an Oracle VM Template, download the Template from Oracle E-Delivery and import it to an Oracle VM instance. (Third-party developed Templates are made available via their corresponding channels.) Users can immediately begin using the software right away. No additional installation is required.
Fast I/O Throughput for Virtualized Environments
Sun ZFS Storage Appliances support many concurrent I/O threads due to an innovative architecture that leverages SSDs, multiple CPU cores, and 10 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity. This high level of I/O throughput enables Sun ZFS Storage Appliances to support more virtual machines without sacrificing service levels. While the appliances support many additional storage I/O protocols including, Common Internet File System (CIFS), Internet Small Computer System Interface (iSCSI), InfiniBand (IB), and Fibre Channel (FC), NFS over Ethernet is recommended for attaching the storage in the Oracle VM blade cluster reference configuration. This is due to NFS’s extreme simplicity and the fact that it scales nicely on Sun ZFS Storage Appliances.
Flexibility Through Configuration
Choices To meet various needs for capacity, price, and performance, Sun ZFS Storage Appliances are available in different configurations that include high availability (HA) cluster configurations for the Sun ZFS Storage 7320, 7420, and 7720 system models. In a clustered configuration, the head node resources failover to the surviving node in the event of node crash, thus ensuring near-continuous availability. All systems come bundled with the same software, including data protocols, replication, compression, and DTrace Analytics software for system troubleshooting and performance optimization.
Faster and Easier Deployment
The typical process for deploying a virtualized infrastructure involves assembling a mix of hardware and software technologies from multiple vendors and includes several steps that can either be eliminated or greatly simplified with the Oracle VM blade cluster reference configuration. Many IT organizations have separate teams for deploying server, network, and storage systems. If any one of these teams gets busy and is delayed in completing their part of the virtualized infrastructure, it becomes a bottleneck for the entire deployment schedule. The risk of delays is minimized with the Oracle VM blade cluster reference configuration where the software is pre-installed and pre-configured, and the hardware components have already been tested together.
Most IT organizations don’t want to spend weeks building a multi-vendor virtualized infrastructure. Yet until now, they’ve had little choice because running IT without virtualization is too costly. The Oracle VM cluster reference configuration offers a better alternative that reduces the time and cost of deployment and reduces risk, and makes it easy to scale the virtualized infrastructure.