While the x86 virtualization market has been growing significantly, general interest in Oracle VM Server for x86 has been declining with Gartner customers (based on inquiries and client meetings). Oracle is focused on an application-driven virtualization strategy that goes beyond the hypervisor to provide full integration across the Oracle software portfolio. This integration is driving a strong execution in the Niche Players quadrant.
Gartner continues to receive a limited number of inquiries from clients considering VMware alternatives (such as Oracle VM) because of Oracle certification, license and support issues. Clients report that difficulties around live migration and storage recovery have generally been resolved — tied to improvements in both Oracle VM and Oracle Linux as they are integrated within Engineered Systems, where we do see increased Oracle VM activity.
Oracle VM is Oracle’s implementation of the Xen hypervisor, which leverages intellectual property tied to Oracle Linux. Oracle has further integrated these technologies into a more coherent and packaged solution with the Oracle VM 3.3 release, tied to “Application Aware Virtualization,” that offers more integration to RedStack as well as heterogeneous support. Oracle VM is managed by Enterprise Manager 12c, Oracle’s system management product. Enterprise Manager can monitor and manage the entire stack — from applications to infrastructure — allowing application and platform administrators to get contextual insight into their virtualization environment. Enterprise Manager 12c also acts as the service delivery platform for cloud services, leveraging the infrastructure and virtualization resources provided by Oracle’s VM product portfolio. This portfolio includes Oracle VM Server for x86, Oracle VM Server for SPARC (based on Sun Logical Domain [LDOM] technology), Oracle Solaris Zones, Oracle Linux Containers, and potential software appliances using Oracle VM, storage and other related virtualized infrastructures. This management unification is an important foundation for Oracle virtualization and builds an integrated approach to selling virtualized DBMSs (including Oracle RAC), Oracle WebLogic Server and other Oracle software solutions, as well as attached storage with Oracle-based management solutions.
Most customer references that Gartner talked to stated that certification and licensing remain the primary reasons for choosing Oracle VM. Oracle has now certified its software on Hyper-V; this certification has gained a few Gartner client inquiries and limited momentum. Oracle still favors Oracle VM for software licensing and pricing — for example, with processor pinning (allowing the specification of a limited number of processors being used by a VM, which can reduce software costs when live migration is not required). This approach and flexibility do not extend to the Hyper-V certification.
Oracle Solaris Zones offer shared OS virtualization capabilities for tactical x86 deployments (the same capabilities as provided on the SPARC platform, although that is out of scope for this market evaluation). All zones and container technologies provide differentiated benefits for x86 Oracle users — higher virtualization density and reduced operational costs due to fewer OS instances, something that hypervisor-based solutions cannot do. In this case, Oracle Solaris Zones alongside Oracle VM can be a complementary solution, targeted at different application requirements. Solaris Zones also contain a new Solaris optimized virtualization layer that allows for the flexibility of a Type 2 hypervisor that is optimized to run Solaris as a guest.
- Oracle provides preferential licensing and certification of Oracle software using Oracle VM.
- Oracle has a large overall software installed base and financial strength, allowing Oracle to test and tune the hypervisor for optimal application performance, including VM templates for Oracle Linux, Oracle DBMS, Oracle RAC and Oracle applications.
- Oracle Solaris Zones and Oracle Linux Containers complement Oracle VM as lightweight alternatives to a hypervisor — only for Solaris and Linux deployments.
- Gartner client interaction regarding Oracle VM has declined in the last year.
- Oracle’s push for an Oracle-only stack limits its general market potential.
- The third-party ecosystem for Oracle virtualization is smaller than that of the market leaders.