Because the size and complexity of enterprise IT infrastructures
can make it difficult to find the right combinations of operating
systems, applications, and middleware for optimal performance,
Oracle offers two ways to simplify your implementations:
validated configurations and Oracle VM Templates.
Developed with industry partners, Oracle Validated Configurations
are pretested, validated architectures, including software, hardware,
storage, and networking components, along with documented best
practices for deployment. The tests result in a published document
of what was tested, the kernel parameters, and settings on the
OS level, according to Wim Coekaerts, vice president of Linux
engineering at Oracle. “We also list the bug fixes that we recommend,” he says. There are now more than 100 Oracle Validated
Configurations that organizations can choose from.
In addition, a catalog of preinstalled and preconfigured
Oracle VM Templates can take the guesswork out of deploying
Oracle Enterprise Linux, Oracle VM, and Oracle Applications.
Oracle VM Templates enable organizations to deploy a fully
configured software stack of enterprise software, from Oracle
Enterprise Linux to Oracle Database, Oracle Enterprise Manager,
Oracle’s Siebel Customer Relationship Management, Oracle
Fusion Middleware, and more.
The templates are developed after weeks of testing using
various combinations of products and versions. Maintenance
is also simple with the templates. Within each template, Oracle
software is structured the same as it would be if it were installed
and patched manually, and the package and patch inventories
are standard and up-to-date so that no changes to normal
Oracle operations procedures are required to maintain the
instances over time.
Organizations can choose from more than a dozen templates, and more are on the way. With Oracle Enterprise Linux
JeOS (Just Enough OS)—a secure, minimized OS that is freely
redistributable and backed by enterprise-class support—
developers and independent software vendors can also create
their own Oracle VM Templates.
our applications are from Oracle,” says Poole, “so if Oracle can
provide support from top to bottom, it makes sense for us to
take advantage of that.”
Patch management was another consideration. “If there’s a
specific problem related to running our databases and Oracle
fixes it, there’s no guarantee that the patch will be adopted by
Red Hat,” says Rick Cote, UMass lead architect. “But Oracle
will push that solution forward in its future releases of Oracle
The migration to the new facility is already in progress,
with a new version of Oracle’s PeopleSoft human capital management applications having gone live in early May 2009,
protected by Oracle’s identity management system. By the time
the entire project is completed early next year, the university
expects to reduce 500 physical servers to fewer than 300
boxes, even though it’s adding several large new applications,
such as Oracle Business Intelligence Suite, Enterprise Edition
Plus, and Oracle enterprise performance management applications. The smaller investments in hardware, accomplished
by using Oracle VM, will reduce operational expenses for the
university, and, as an added bonus, virtualization will improve
availability and promote the university’s ecofriendly initiatives,
which will also save money.
“One of the goals going into this project was greater server
utilization,” Cote says. “From a power-consumption perspective, there’s no reason why the servers should use 10 percent
of their processing capabilities 95 percent of the time, which is
where we were during the day.”
Cote estimates that the new hardware will achieve processor
utilization rates of 50 percent or more during normal operations.
That means big cost savings, according to Poole. “Compared
to a more traditional environment, we’ll probably save close to
[US]$100,000 a year in power and cooling costs,” he says.
With fewer boxes, even though quite a few new applications will be added to the mix, Oracle VM will help keep
personnel budgets under control. “We’re taking on a vastly
larger amount of work without significantly increasing staff,”
Poole says. “We estimate that we’ll avoid adding three to
Best of all, while the university continues to look for ways
to squeeze more services out of constrained IT budgets,
academic departments won’t have to settle for subpar computing power.
“People are just blown away by the performance on the
virtualized platform, which is noticeably faster even to end
users,” Poole says. “One of our biggest challenges is how to
schedule our deployments. We’ve got people banging on our
door saying, ‘Can I move sooner?’” O
Alan Joch ( email@example.com) is a technology writer based in New England who
specializes in enterprise, Web, and high-performance-computing applications.
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Oracle and Linux
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