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Sun adds Oracle Linux to ops tools

Management tool roadmaps still MIA

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Sun Microsystems’ xVM server virtualization hypervisor has not yet seen the light of day as a commercial product, but the company is continuing to enhance the management tool. Now, the latest version of Ops Center has arrived featuring enhancements for running Solaris-based virtualization.

Perhaps more significantly, given the endorsement that Oracle has slapped on the new Ops Center 2.5 system management tool, thanks mainly to Sun's weaving in support for Oracle's Enterprise Linux - a knockoff of Red Hat's Enterprise Linux - it is reasonable to guess that that Ops Center will survive (in some shape or form) the $7.4bn acquisition by Oracle of Sun. Neither company has provided any product roadmaps relating to the acquisition.

As El Reg has previously reported, Oracle has been mum about how it plans to make use of Sun's xVM and Ops Center tools even as it has laid out its plans to integrate the management tools from the Virtual Iron hypervisor Oracle acquired in May with its own spin on the Xen hypervisor, which is called Oracle VM. The future Oracle VM 3.0 stack will include the open source, standalone Oracle VM Server and its companion, Oracle VM Server, which is not open source but which is available as a free download and with commercial support.

Oracle also peddles a tool called Enterprise Manager, which interfaces with virtual machines and their hypervisors and which is also used to manage databases, middleware, and application software. The Virtual Iron goodies will no doubt be added to Oracle VM Manager, and there is a distinct possibility that Sun's Ops Center will end up being called Oracle Ops Center Manager and be used to manage physical infrastructure, patching BIOSes, operating systems, and such while Oracle VM Manager takes care of the hypervisors and VMs. That's just a guess, of course, but the pieces all fit together somewhat neatly.

Back to Ops Center 2.5, which Sun has quietly released. In addition to now being able to discover, monitor, provision, and patch Oracle Enterprise Linux on x64 iron, the Sun management tool can now create, delete, monitor, and migrate Solaris containers (Sun's implementation of virtual private servers for Solaris running on x64 and Sparc iron) and LDoms (short for logical domains, which are the logical partitions available on servers that use Sun's Sparc T family of multicore and multithreaded processors).

Ops Center 2.5 can now patch Solaris operating systems on servers making use of Sun's Solaris Live Update facility, and can patch Windows servers by integrating with Microsoft's System Center Configuration Manager. This is just a way for Solaris admins to cope with Windows boxes without having to leave the Ops Center pane. What the software does not yet support is the patching and management of Windows Server 2008 iron. This needs to change, and change soon, obviously.

Ops Center 2.5, according to Sun's data sheet, supports the patching of Solaris 8, 9, and 10 on Sparc iron and Solaris 9 and 10 on x64 servers. RHEL 3, 4, and 5 and SUSE Linux 8, 9, and 10 are supported, too, but it is not clear if mainframe, Power, or Itanium versions of these two commercial Linuxes able to be tickled by Ops Center 2.5. Windows Server 2003 machines are also supported, as are boxes running Oracle Enterprise Linux 5.3.

The tool can also be used to provision these operating systems on bare metal servers and, presumably with the Sparc T machines, inside of LDoms. The tool needs to be able to provision server instances inside of virtual machines, which would undoubtedly be a goal once Oracle eats Sun and they can integrate the various management tools as outlined above.

Ops Center 2.5 comes in two flavors. The premium management pack costs $500 per server node under management and it includes server provisioning and patching. The enterprise management pack adds in virtualization tools, and it costs $1,000 per server node. ®

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