As stated in the Preface, Oracle VM Manager is a management product developed by Oracle that complements the Oracle Grid Control. Oracle VM Manager is increasingly popular within the Oracle community. In addition, firms that weren't Oracle customers are now adopting it, due to its low cost high-end support. This is clearly good news for Oracle as it really needs to find its place in this new and emerging market.
At the time of writing this book, Oracle has joined the Xen.org advisory board, thus joining the companies IBM, HP, Sun, and others who understand the need of Open Source hypervisors in this increasingly commoditizing market. This is great news as Oracle's VM is derived from the Open Source project Xen. This is a very important development for the Open Source Virtualization revolution and Oracle is poised to benefit from it tremendously.
In this chapter we will be covering the following topics:
Virtualization: A general introduction
Oracle VM components: This will comprise of Oracle VM Manager, Oracle VM Server, and Oracle VM Agent
Xen hypervisor: Domains, VMs, and much more.
I have assumed that you know what virtualization is and now want to explore Oracle's version of virtualization. Still we feel that a quick introduction and a brief history of virtualization can never hurt. It is very hard to compact the past 50 years of IT achievements about virtualization, but I will attempt to cover it (very) briefly.
To take a look at x86 virtualization—a concept that often confuses a lot of IT Managers (even today) when they are confronted by consultants, vendors, or even internal staff, we have to go back to the 60's when IBM first introduced "Time sharing". Time sharing is basically sharing resources of expensive machines among several users, something we also call multi-tasking. Back then the machines were so expensive that it was necessary to come up with something creative. Fast forwarding 50 years we have come a full circle with the re-introduction of virtualization—only this time it has come to dominate the x86 servers. This was done, or should we say initiated, by VMware, which went on to create this huge ecosystem around it. Then came Xen, an Open Source project that began its subtle penetration into the ASP space and hosting providers, and which was later to be acquired by Citrix. Microsoft, not to be left behind in the process, carried on to acquire Connectrix, and after conducting several rebranding exercises on its hypervisor, later introduced Hyper-V.
Oracle worked on Xen's Open Source technology and introduced its Xen-flavored virtualization software as well. The list is quite exhaustive as the virtualization market has become rather huge. You might even say that in the drive to battle the oversubscription monster, the mushroom effect of all of the start-ups has created the over-subscription dilemma for themselves.
The introduction of virtualization is definitely the most significant event in the history of IT. It can drive down the costs dramatically and provides several open and public platforms to general public in the form of "public clouds". VMware, Microsoft, and several other firms are constantly fighting for the "private cloud" space where the mother-of-all virtualization, IBM, is also fighting. There has been a huge data center build-up across the world where all IT firms are battling to spread their wings and go after the Cloud Computing space.