FRIDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2014
Tuesday, 13 August, 2013 19:30

Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance

I truly believed in the virtualization productions brought to us from Sun Microsystems.

Included in the product lines were
VirtualBox
Solaris Zones/Containers
Sun Logical Domains (LDOMs)

I was quite pleased to see that Oracle kept and provided significant enhancements to these products.
LDOMs are now OVM Server for SPARC as well as augmented these technologies with solutions like OVM for x86.

Their engineered systems work really well. Solutions include
Exadata
Exalogic
Sparc SuperCluster
Exalytics
Oracle Database Appliance

These engineered systems utilize a number of Oracle’s virtualization solutions, but I was a bit surprised that there wasn’t a true engineered system for OVM for x86. Given their acquisition of Xsigo they can bring the concept of virtualization to networking. Xsigo is now called Oracle Virtual Network (OVN) so the pieces were there, but the customer had to build the solution themselves.

Today, Oracle announced their newest Engineered System, the Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance, to address this.

The FAQ is located here.

The datasheet here.

Oracle introduced its Virtual Compute Appliance, an integrated, “wire once” stack for the data center that integrates compute, network, and storage resources in a software-defined fabric. It is designed for rapid deployment of both infrastructure hardware and application software, and runs Linux, Oracle Solaris, or Microsoft Windows.

The Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance can be scaled linearly, one server at a time, from 2 to 25 compute nodes per rack. Oracle VM Templates enable application scalability across virtualized resources. Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance controller orchestration software automatically powers up, installs, and configures the hardware and software environment. The appliance includes Oracle (Software Defined Network) SDN software for virtualizing network resources.

Infiniband: Each Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance hardware configuration contains multiple redundant QDR InfiniBand switches and Oracle Fabric Interconnect systems that serve as gateways to the data center’s ethernet network.

x86: Compute nodes comprise Oracle’s Sun Server X3-2 systems containing Intel Xeon CPUs, high-speed dual inline memory modules (DIMM) memory, redundant, 40 Gb/sec InfiniBand host channel adapters (HCAs), and redundant disks.

Storage: Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance features a fully integrated, enterprise grade Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance for centrally storing the management environment as well as providing data storage for VMs.

Some of the more interesting questions given during the webcast:
  • Q: Will this new system be recognized by Ops Center 12c and OEM 12c or will we have to wait for feature update.
    A: EM 12c will be able to be used with it just as you would use it with standard Oracle VM. That certification is being finalized now and should be available in the next few weeks.
  • Q: Are there plans to move OVM to KVM based virtualization (away from XEN)?
    A: No, no plans at all. While we continue to watch KVM closely, we continue to believe that Xen based hypervisors continue to provide the best overall mix of performance, reliability, security, and features for enterprise class customers. By the way, this is why companies like Amazon Web Services continue to use Xen as well.
  • Q: What version os Oracle VM runs on this new appliance?
    A: It runs the latest Oracle VM 3.2 release.
  • Q: Do you need to bring down the machine to add nodes?
    A: No. You can add machines without an outage to existing servers or VMs. You can also start adding VMs as soon as the very first VM comes on-line, i.e. you can be adding VMs while the system is adding servers.
  • Q: Is Oracle VM certified for Exalogic today?
    A: Yes, Oracle VM is certified for Exalogic
  • Q: What is the max number of nodes that this can expand?
    A: The OVCA base rack can support a maximum of 25 compute nodes
  • Q: Hot plugable compute nodes?
    A: The compute nodes are hot plugable.
  • Q: Can you run RAC across the appliance? Does it have to be all rAC like Exadata?
    A: You can deploy Oracle VM Templates for RAC on OVCA.
  • Q: What is the maximum number of external vlans that can be attached to the ovca ?
    A: 4096 total.
  • Q: What should I do, if I need more than 25 compute nodes, for our Weblogic applications. Do I need to install another rack?
    A: We are planning to introduce the ability to expand to additional racks but at this time the OVCA rack is limited to 25 nodes.
  • Q: Can you use Oracle Traffic Director with this appliance.
    A: No, this appliance has its own controller software.
  • Q: Does this have OVN integrated?
    A: Yes, OVN is pre integrated.
  • Q: What’s the secret sauce/Why cant i just build this from Oracle components?
    A: The secret sauce is the OVCA controller software which is a new piece of software that Orchestrates/automates the interaction between the servers, storage, and network that would otherwise have to all be done manually. Further, the manual cabling of such a system should not be under estimated. At the end of the day, you could do all of this manually, but it would take a lot of time and be significantly error prone.
  • Q: Will a single instance of OVCA manage a maximum of a single rack, or can it manage multiple racks simultaneously?
    A: At this time the controller supports only the base rack but has been designed to scale up
  • Q: Is external infiniband for example to exadata available?
    A: No. Right now, all InfiniBand connectivity is completely within an OVCA unit itself.

I’ll dig a little (OK a lot) more and post more as I gain some familiarity with the product.