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Oracle tag teams Solaris and Linux

Virtual togetherness

Virtual strategy

Sun's virtualization strategy is simple enough: keep everything. So there's Oracle VM on x64 iron, based on the open source Xen hypervisor and a mix of management tools from Oracle and its acquired Virtual Iron carcass. Oracle will continue to push the Oracle VM hypervisor for x64 iron, to virtualize Solaris, Linux, and Windows instances. And on Sparc T series chips made by Oracle, it will push Logical Domains (LDoms), a virtual machine partitioning technology similar in concept to Xen but only available on these Sparc T machines.

LDoms were expected on the UltraSparc-RK "Rock" processors that Sun killed last year, but they are not yet supported on Fujitsu Sparc64 chips. That latter bit needs to change if Oracle is planning to sell the Fujitsu iron for the long term. Fujitsu iron and older Sparc gear supports hardware partitioning called dynamic domains, which are not as dynamic as the name suggests.

Oracle is perfectly happy to push the Solaris containers, a kind of virtual private server hypervisor that allows a single Solaris kernel and file system to look like they are dozens, hundreds, or thousands of virtual Solaris boxes. (They have separate sandboxes for identity management and application runtimes).

And Oracle is happy for the VirtualBox type 2 hypervisor to be used on desktops and in development environments. The goal is to let developers create virtual machines in VirtualBox for testing and development and then let those applications be deployed in Oracle VM or LDom partitions. Oracle VM Manager, the management tool currently sold for Oracle VM and being beefed up with Virtual Iron goodies, will be extended to support LDoms running on Sparc iron.

Thomas Kurian, Oracle's executive vice president of product development, said that on the systems management front, Oracle would get to work on integrating Sun's Op Center systems management, bare metal and hypervisor provisioning, and monitoring tools with Oracle's Enterprise Manager - the tool Oracle created to manage virtual machines, its Linux variant, and its application, middleware, and database software running in production.

Oracle will make these management tools interoperable first, within the next six months, and then merge them into one product over the next two or three releases. (No word on how long that merger of tools will take). Op Center can already manage both Solaris and Linux operating systems, which will help the integration of the tools up a bit. ®

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