Oracle Will Combine Virtualization Tech With Sun, Compete With VMware


Oracle on Wednesday unveiled details about its technology plans in the wake of its closing the $4.7 billion acquisition of Sun.

As a result of the deal, Oracle said it is investing heavily in a wide range of Sun's hardware and software technologies in a move to build a tightly integrated solution for customers.

Part of that integrated solution is virtualization.

Oracle's primary virtualization technology prior to the Sun acquisition was Oracle VM, which it introduced in 2007. Oracle VM is based on the same Xen open source hypervisor as Citrix's XenServer.

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Oracle last year also acquired virtualization vendor Virtual Iron to gain virtualization management technology. Oracle later terminated Virtual Iron's reseller agreements and ended its technology as a separate offering.

Sun also brings a portfolio of virtualization technology, including its hypervisor-based xVM, the Logical Domain capability in its enterprise-class servers for carving out multiple virtual servers; its container-based virtualization included as part of its Solaris operating system which isolates virtual servers and their applications from other processes; and its VirtualBox virtual desktop and remote desktop offering.

Combining Oracle's and Sun's virtualization technologies will make Oracle the only company that can offer a complete virtualization strategy, said Edward Screven, chief corporate architect for Oracle operating systems and virtualization strategy,

For instance, customers will be able to use Sun's VirtualBox technology to create virtual desktops that can be deployed into Oracle VM pools, Screven said.

Customers can also run Sun's Secure Global Desktop virtualization technology on Sun Ray thin clients as a way to run server-based applications, he said.

Oracle is also moving to integrate its complete virtualization portfolio with its software and ex-Sun hardware products as part of a complete stack in Solaris and Linux environments, Screven said.

That, Screven said, is a key differentiator between Oracle and VMware. "VMware is integrated with nothing," he said. "It's a point solution."

VMware, while a good technology, is more expensive than Oracle VM, and consumes too many hardware resources, Screven said.

Oracle VM is a good technology, but it doesn't keep VMware up at night worrying about the competition, said one Oracle and Sun solution provider who preferred to remain anonymous.

Sun's virtualization technology is also very good, and is a powerful tool for customers on larger servers, the solution provider said.

However, VMware is still the top virtualization vendor, and appeals to the majority of customers, some of whom may test Microsoft's Hyper-V offering, the solution provider said.

Oracle VM, on the other hand, has found its niche only in confined Oracle environments. "But I don't see existing VMware customers throwing VMware out for anybody except maybe Microsoft because of its price points," the solution provider said.