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VMWare vSphere and Oracle VM: Fight!

Oracle VM is much more scalable because it supports 128 virtual CPUs on each guest virtual machine.

Oracle VM is making inroads into the server virtualization space, putting it head to head with VMWare vSphere.  If you are deciding on a solution, it is without doubt that you have come across both and may have whittled down your list to just these two solutions.  So what do you need to know?

1. Oracle VM costs much less than VMWare vSphere.

It is more affordable to get Oracle VM than it is to get VMWare vSphere. Oracle has a calculator at http://www.oracle.com/us/media/calculator/vm/vm-home-2132015.html for you to find out just how much you would save, and it is a lot!

For example, you are bound to spend up to three times more with VMWare vSphere than Oracle VM if you:

  • include OS support costs using Oracle Linux for both setups
  • are using five servers with up to two processor sockets
  • are using five servers with more than two processor sockets
  • are using 20 processor sockets all in all
  • allow for five virtual guests
  • want three years’ worth of support

With this set up, you can expect to pay around $42,000 using Oracle VM and $63,000 using VMWare vSphere 5 Standard Edition.  If you need to use VMWare vSphere 5 Enterprise Edition, you would need to pay around $124,000 more.  That means that you would need to pay $82,000 more for the enterprise option.

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2. Oracle VM is application driven.

Oracle uses Xen hypervisor technology that throws in a Linux kernel, a VM agent that can support a lot of file systems and devices. On the other hand, VMWare’s vSphere is not based on Linux kernel.  Instead, vSphere makes use of VMWare’s own vmkernel, which is built specifically for virtualization.  While this means that Oracle VM is bulky, it also means that it is more compatible to use because it has a comprehensive application to disk stack.  Oracle VM is also aware of all the things running in the virtual machine, including running applications, middleware and database.

What’s more, you get integrated management with Oracle VM.  With VMWare vSphere, you need to get tools from different vendors to manage the physical server, the hypervisor and the applications that run on your virtual machines.

3. Oracle VM does not support that many Guest OSes.

One of the weaknesses Oracle has with Oracle VM is that it has limited support for guest OSes.  With vSphere you can use SCO OpenServer, Ubuntu, Debian, FreeBSD, CentOS, eComStation, Windows 2000 and other guest OSes.

4. Oracle VM is more scalable, but…

On paper, Oracle VM is much more scalable because it supports 128 virtual CPUs on each guest virtual machine.  VMWare vSphere 5.1, on the other hand, can only handle half of that.  That means that Oracle VM is much more scalable than VMWare vSphere.  But there is a catch.  Oracle has admitted that a guest machine with more than 32 virtual CPUs may hang when you boot.  This is a bug that still has no workaround.

Admittedly, this is not a complete list, but this represents the pros and cons for each side of the server virtualization top contenders.  To get a clearer picture, you should consider availability, speed of application deployment, efficiency, support and platform support.  Oracle VM is sure to come up on top.

Want to know more about Oracle VM, its benefits, processes and architecture? Call Four Cornerstone today!

Photo courtesy of Marcin Lachowicz.[/expand]

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