Managing the stack from top to bottom, including virtualization

The press release for the release of Oracle Enterprise Manager 10gR5 came out yesterday, but that’s not all: the Oracle VM Management Pack for Enterprise Manager was also announced yesterday. What this illustrates is that, in addition to the commonly-cited “one neck to choke” benefit of getting the entire stack from one vendor (from the hypervisor to the application, including the OS, DB and MW), there is also the benefit of getting a unified management environment for the whole stack. Here is how my friend and Oracle colleague Adam Hawley (director of product management for Oracle VM and previously with Enterprise Manager) describes it in more details:

So what’s so big about it and why does this give us a clear advantage over others?

  • No other company can offer management of the virtualization AND the workload that runs inside the virtualization at this depth and scale: not anyone. We now offer a single management product…Enterprise Manager Grid Control…that manages your entire data center from top-to-bottom:  from the packaged application layer (Siebel, PeopleSoft, Beehive, etc.) through all the middleware and database layers to the OS and virtualization itself. And we do that for the both physical and virtual worlds together seamlessly.

    • Other virtualization vendors either ONLY do virtualization management or to the extent they do anything else, it is typically one other category in the stack…virtualization plus the OS or virtualization plus some very specific applications (but no OS…), etc.
    • No one else can provide the entire picture the way we can with Oracle VM
  • So what does that mean for users?
    • It means Oracle VM is virtualization with a difference:
      • It is virtualization that makes application workloads faster, easier, and less error prone to deploy with Oracle VM Templates as pre-built, pre-configured VMs containing complete product solutions maintained in a central software library for easy re-use:  download from Oracle, import the VMs, use the product.  Simple.
      • It is virtualization that makes workloads easier to configure and manage:  Automate deployment of the VMs, installation of the management agent, and enable powerful, in-depth monitoring of guests and Oracle VM Servers including configuration management…
        • Set-up configuration policies to track how your VMs and servers are configured and to alert you if that configuration changes or “drifts” over time
        • What about if you have one VM running perfectly and another supposedly identical one not doing as well?  Run a configuration compare to check for differences not only in packages or application versions in the VM, but also down to OS parameter settings and other key items to rapidly identify differences and address them from the same console
      • It is virtualization that makes workloads easier to troubleshoot and support:

        • Not only is Oracle VM support very affordable compared to anyone out there, management of Oracle VM servers in Enterprise Manager makes it so much easier to rapidly track down issues across the layers of your data center from one UI With other vendors, to troubleshoot an issue with applications or the database, you have to trace it down through your environment, possibly to the virtual machine, but then how do you get all the info about the VM itself like its parameters and which physical server it is hosted on?  You have to jump to another tool entirely… whatever stand-alone tools you are using to manage the virtualization layer… to get the information and then go back-and-forth:  tedious and time consuming With Enterprise Manager, it is all there in one UI.  Need to tweak the number of virtual CPUs based on your database performance analysis report indicating a CPU bottleneck?  Navigate from the performance page for the database to the home page of that virtual machine and adjust the configuration in the same UI.  Done.  Well, OK, you may have to restart the application for the new vCPU setting to take effect but you can do still do that all within Enterprise Manager, saving time and minimizing risks.
        • This can dramatically reduce the time to troubleshoot as well as reduce the chances of human error navigating between multiple products with different structures and concepts to help you maximize your up-time.

So this is where it starts to get interesting. This is where the game starts to really be about not just the virtualization itself, but how it makes the rest of your overall data center better and more efficient.  The Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control Oracle VM Management Pack is a huge step forward for users.

[UPDATED 2009/3/21: An Oracle Virtualization blog has recently been created. So now you can hear directly from Adam and his colleagues.]

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Filed under Application Mgmt, Everything, IT Systems Mgmt, Manageability, Mgmt integration, Oracle, OVM, Virtualization

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