Virtualizing Oracle Databases – The Time Has Come!
Overall, virtualization of IT applications and databases is quite pervasive. Estimates from industry analysts show that some applications and databases have virtualization penetration rates of 80 to 90%. Overall the estimates for datacenter virtualization range from 60 to 70%. One curious exception is the rate of virtualization for Oracle Databases. Some estimates put the Oracle Database virtualization rate below 20%. The big question is why so low for Oracle Database?
While I have never seen any formal research documenting the reasons, ad-hoc discussions with many DBAs and Architects and other Oracle users indicates that some of the major reasons for their reluctance to virtualize include:
Fear of performance degradation
Concern over availability and stability
And an “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” view
And for mission critical Oracle Databases those are valid concerns. Any outage or performance degradation is costly. Status quo is the safest approach. But what I am hearing from customers and the Oracle community at large is that the time has come for virtualization. The improvements in configuration flexibility, reduced deployment times, dramatically improved disaster recovery and cost savings are great motivators for virtualization by themselves. One of the early adopters for virtualizing and Oracle infrastructure was EMC. lets hear what EMC’s Chief Database Architect, Darryl Smith, has to say about the benefits of EMC’s virtualization efforts with EMC’s Oracle Infrastructure.
So EMC found great performance, improved availability and a reduction in database licenses all because of their move to virtualize their Oracle infrastructure. Here is more of Darryl talking about Oracle virtualization and the cloud.
EMC took the next logical step from initial virtualization and moved their Oracle infrastructure to a full cloud implementation with even more benefits thanks to the improved Oracle workload mobility.
EMC is a great example of why there appears to be a growing tide of Oracle users who are ready to ride the wave of virtaulization. To learn more about EMC’s virtualization efforts and results, these two whitepapers on Cisco.com will provide a more complete overview of their journey:
In April the largest conference for Oracle users, outside of Oracle OpenWorld, occurred in Denver. With 6000 attendees “Collaborate”, the annual Oracle user conference sponsored by IOUG (Independent Oracle User Group), OAUG (Oracle Application User Group) and Quest International, is one of the best events For Oracle users, whether it is Oracle Database or any of the other Oracle software products, to learn, network, share and teach. Oh, and have some fun too.
But for companies like Cisco who exhibit and sponsor Collaborate, it is also a great chance to informally “take the pulse” of the Oracle user community. The questions they ask and the sessions they attend provide a clear indicator of where Oracle users are headed, what the trends are and and where they are putting their efforts in the future. Here is what I discovered at this year’s Collaborate.
So unlike past conferences, the Oracle community is actively looking at
a) Virtualization for their Oracle infrastructure, including Databases and
b) Preconfigured/prevalidated hardware solutions (sometimes called converged infrastructure solutions) instead of just the old DIY custom system approach for hardware.
To me these are both major changes in the mindset of those using Oracle Database and applications. And the implications are significant. As virtualization permeates the large Oracle install-base (largest business software vendor), the hypervisor vendors will see significant growth and many operational aspects of Oracle infrastructures will change and improve. That virtualization push includes Oracle who is making inroads with their dramatically updated Oracle VM (virtual machine) product.
The move towards pretested hardware solutions is also a major directional shift which should drive an increased focus on reducing software and database upgrade/version cycle times and downplay the need to do extensive hardware testing. In today’s environment of “do more with less”, pretested hardware solutions may be a great way to help the Oracle IT team address that conundrum.
Can Cisco help with these trends towards more Oracle virtualization and pretested hardware configurations? The answer is a resounding YES! With our storage partners EMC and NetApp, and our software partners Oracle and VMware, we have developed an extensive array of pretested/prevalidated solutions with hypervisors (Oracle VM and vSphere), storage (EMC and NetApp) and software (Oracle Database and applications) all running on Cisco UCS servers and Cisco networking. For more information on Cisco’s Oracle solutions and to see the available Cisco Validated Designs (CVD) for Oracle, go to Cisco.com/go/oracle
Coming up in my next blog, more on the move to virtualize Oracle database and applications.
In a recent interview, the Director of IT Operations at a New York based Enterprise said that one of the biggest problems he was facing was maintaining customer satisfaction on performance as the data deluge grew unabated. According to an IDC 2012 report “..Data creation is taking place at an unprecedented rate and is currently growing at over 60% per year. IDC’s Digital Universe Study predicts that between 2009 and 2020, digital data will grow 44-fold to 35ZB per year..”. One ZB or Zettabyte is 1000 billion gigabytes… you get the picture.
The implications are that more data will be stored and processed on servers. Data could be on local disks or it could be in some large storage arrays, which are connected to the server by a network. It may be pre-processed and stored in a database for faster analysis. The computer (server) or applications must now quickly access the partially processed or raw data. The data could be structured as in ERP solutions or unstructured and handled by scale out Big Data applications. Nevertheless, data will have to flow back and forth through the network connecting servers and the storage. Additionally as Client Virtualization gains traction, data center servers would need to access large files located in storage devices most likely connected through networks. These use cases are addressed by the Cisco UCS and Fusion-IO partnership and therefore generated a whole lot of interest in the June 2012 announcement. In a recent interview at CiscoLive London, Cisco Executive, Paul Perez, reiterated the importance of the collaboration, and benefits to Cisco UCS customers.
So how does Fusion-io ioDrive2 accelerate data access? It optimizes the use of existing network bandwidth for data i/o intensive workloads with a low
Cisco continues its performance leadership with the announcement of its inaugural TPC-C and TPC-H benchmark results on the Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS™) platform . On December 7th 2011, Cisco published two industry standard benchmarks from Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC) on the Cisco UCS platform.
Cisco’s leading TPC-H result demonstrates the enterprise performance for Cisco UCS Servers when combined with Microsoft SQL Server, and Cisco’s leading TPC-C result demonstrates that Cisco UCS systems represent a high-performance, cost-effective enterprise platform for Oracle Database.
Cisco UCS Demonstrates TPC-C Performance and Price/Performance Leadership
Often referred to as the flagship server benchmark that measures online transaction processing performance, TPC-C simulates a complete compute environment where a population of users runs transactions against a database.
In its first TPC-C result, Cisco demonstrates industry leadership in partnership with Oracle, establishing the Cisco UCS as the fastest two-socket Intel Xeon processor-powered platform running Oracle Database. Cisco’s leading TPC-C result demonstrates that Cisco UCS servers, combined with Oracle Database, can deliver industry-leading enterprise capabilities. Cisco’s industry-leading TPC-C result asserts both performance and price/performance leadership. A Cisco UCS C250 M2 Extended- Memory Rack-Mount server achieved 1,053,100 transactions per minute (tpmC) in the standard TPC-C benchmark, with a price/performance ratio of $0.58 USD per tpmC, exceeding the HP two-socket TPC-C result using identical Intel® Xeon® processors and memory capacity by 2.8 percent in performance, at a 11 percent lower price/performance ratio.