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Oracle Database Appliance Virtual Deployments Review

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On September 22, 2011, Oracle announced the latest addition to its Engineered System portfolio, the Oracle Database Appliance (ODA). Oracle marketed the Oracle Database Appliance as:
“Simple, Highly Reliable, Affordable Database System for Small/Midsize Enterprises and Departments”
 
As its name suggests, the Oracle Database Appliance was originally engineered as for Oracle Database workloads, but now the Oracle Database Appliance X5-2 also supports Oracle middleware, and applications with Capacity-on-demand (CoD), and Trusted Partitions.
 
The Oracle Database Appliance ships in three configurations.
  1. Oracle Database Appliance X5-2 with 2 compute nodes, direct attached storage, using a physical or virtual deployment with Oracle Linux.
  2. Oracle Database Appliance X6-2S (Small) is a single rack-mountable server with local flash storage using a physical Oracle Linux deployment.
  3. Oracle Database Appliance X6-2M (Medium) is a single rack-mountable server with local flash storage using a physical Oracle Linux deployment.
The Oracle Database Appliance X5-2 is a fixed two node 6U rack-mountable entry level system that consists of two Sun Server X5-2 compute nodes, with one storage shelf containing raw SAS storage, and solid state drives for database redo logs, and frequently accessed data running Oracle Linux physical or as virtual machines. The Oracle Database Appliance X6-2S, and X6-2M are single rack-mountable servers with local flash storage using a physical Oracle Linux deployment.
 
The initial Oracle Database Appliance release only supported the Oracle database using a Physical Configuration, which hindered its adoption. From 2013 through 2015 the number of Intel processor cores doubled, which increased the cost to license Oracle databases on the Oracle Database Appliance 50%. To address the 50% cost increases Oracle introduced virtual deployments using Oracle VM for x86 with hard partition based licensing, followed by Capacity On Demand,and  Trusted Partitions.
 
Hard partition based licensing, and Trusted Partitions allow Oracle software to be licensed at the virtual machine level instead of the physical processor core level. Without Trusted Partitions Oracle software must be licensed at the physical server’s or cluster’s processor core level, which is referred to as soft partitions.
 
Note: Hard partition based licensing predates Trusted Partitions, and today is available with Oracle VM for x86, as well as Engineered Systems using virtual deployments. Trusted partitions require that each virtual machine using a trusted partition to be managed by Oracle Enterprise Manager.
 
Capacity-on-demand (CoD) allows Oracle Database Appliance compute nodes to be installed with a subset of its processor cores turned off so that the Oracle software license costs could be reduced. For an Oracle Database Appliance X5-2 compute node, one can enable and license 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, 32, 34, or 36 cores per server.
 
The Oracle Database Appliance Virtualized Platform utilizes only the Oracle VM for x86 server component. The server component is based on the open source Xen.org hypervisor, named Oracle VM server. The Xen hypervisor is a type 1 hypervisor that installs directly on hardware. Oracle makes subtle changes to the original Xen.org code that create a unique Xen distribution, which Oracle maintains and redistributes as Oracle VM server. Oracle VM server is designed to support the most demanding high I/O workloads like Oracle Databases.
 
The Oracle Database Appliance does not have a dedicated management node, so virtual machine management is done using the Oracle Appliance Manager command-line interface. The Oracle Database Appliance Plug-In for Enterprise Manager provides monitoring of Oracle Database Appliance databases, ILOM, Oracle VM servers, virtual machines, ASM, and the Oracle Appliance Manager.
 
Virtual machines with the Enterprise Manager agent can be monitored and managed directly via Enterprise Manager.
 
Note: The right to use the Oracle Database Appliance Plug-In for Enterprise Manager is bundled with Oracle Premier Support.
 

Key Features and Specifications

The Oracle Database Appliance X5-2 does not have the virtualization feature matrix one might expect from a contemporary converged infrastructure offering. In fact, the Oracle Database Appliance X5-2 does not share the basic features from the Oracle VM for x86 software distribution. For example, Oracle Database Appliance virtual deployments are setup and maintained using a command-line interface.
 
The following two tables show the Oracle, Non-Oracle, and virtualization feature matrices.

Oracle and Non-Oracle Support Matrix

The next table shows Oracle Database Appliance X5-2 Oracle and Non-Oracle workload, hardware and operating system support matrix.
Product
Oracle
Database
Oracle
Middleware &
Applications
Oracle
Business Intelligence
Non-Oracle
Workloads
Oracle/Sun Hardware
[aNon- Oracle/Sun Hardware
Support
Oracle Linux
[b]Non-Oracle
Operating System
Support
Oracle VM for x86 Software
 
 
 
 
The next tables show Oracle Database Appliance X6-S/X6-M Oracle and Non-Oracle workload, hardware and operating system support matrix.
Product
Oracle
Database
Oracle
Middleware &
Applications
Oracle
Business Intelligence
Non-Oracle
Workloads
Oracle/Sun Hardware
[aNon- Oracle/Sun Hardware
Support
Oracle Linux
[b]Non-Oracle
Operating System
Support
Oracle VM for x86 Software
 
 
 
 
 
 

Oracle Database Appliance X5-2 Virtualization Feature Matrix

Oracle Software Product Certification and Support
Oracle Product Certification and Support
Oracle Software License Management
Hard Partitions
Soft Partitions
Trusted Partitions
Capacity-On-Demand
Key Features
Supported Guest Operating Systems
Oracle Linux
Centralized Management
 
Application Management
Available with Enterprise Manager
Monitoring, Alerts and Notifications
Available with Enterprise Manager
RBAC / AD-Integration
Available with Enterprise Manager
Cross-Vendor Management
 
Browser Based Management
 
Self Service Portal
Available with Enterprise Manager
Chargeback
Available with Enterprise Manager
Hypervisors Patching
Virtual Machine Patching
 
Live VM Migration
 
Automated Live Migration
 
Power Management
 
Integrated HA (Restart VM)
 
VM Fault Tolerance
 
Storage Migration
 
Live VM Snapshots
 
Backup Integration API
Integrated Backup
 
VM Templates
Replication and Site Failover
 
Virtual disk thin provisioning
 
Memory Dedupe
 
Memory Oversubscribe
 
CPU Oversubscribe
I/O Pass-Through (SR-IOV)
 
Centralized Backup
 
Disaster Recovery
 
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)
 
Software Defined Storage (SDS)
 
Software Defined Network (SDN)
 
Logical Volume Manager
 
Virtual Switches
 
V2V
 
P2V
 
Oracle VM Server Capabilities
Max CPUs - Host
2x 18-core (36 Cores)
Max vCPUs - Host
 
Max Memory - Host
256 GB expandable up to 768 GB
SAN Multipath
 
EMC PowerPath
 
Raw Device Mapping
 
Boot From SAN
 
Boot from USB
 
Virtual Disk Format
Raw Image Files (*.img files)
NIC Teaming
VLANs
PLANs
 
Private Networks (Xen Bridges)
 
Jumbo Frames
 
Virtual Machine Capabilities
Max vCPUs
No Published
Max Memory
No Published
Max vDisk Size
No Published
Serial Ports
 
USB Support
 
Hot Add/Plug
 
Graphic Acceleration
 
Dynamic / Over-Commit
 
Memory Page Sharing
 
Large Pages
OVF Support
Scripting API
 

Acquisition and Maintenance Costs

 
The Oracle Database Appliance ships in three configurations.
  1. Oracle Database Appliance X5-2 with 2 compute nodes, direct attached storage, using a physical or virtual deployment with Oracle Linux.
  2. Oracle Database Appliance X6-2S (Small) is a single rack-mountable server with local flash storage using a physical Oracle Linux deployment.
  3. Oracle Database Appliance X6-2M (Medium) is a single rack-mountable server with local flash storage using a physical Oracle Linux deployment.
 
Configuration
Nodes/Storage
List Price
Oracle Premier Support for Systems
(Annual)
Premier
Support for
Operating
Systems
(Annual)
Oracle Database Appliance X5-2
2 compute nodes with one storage shelf
$68,000.00
$8,160.00
$5,440.00
Storage Expansion
1 storage shelf
An add on for the Oracle Database Appliance X5-2
$40,000.00
$4,800.00
$3,200.00
Oracle Database Appliance X6-2S
1 Server w local Storage
$18,000.00
$2,160.00
$1,440.00
Oracle Database Appliance X6-2M
1 Server w local Storage
$24,000.00
$2,880.00
$1,920.00
 
Oracle Database Software (Sold Separately)
  • Choice of Oracle Database software, depending on the desired level of availability:
  • Oracle Database 11g Enterprise Edition Release 2 and Oracle Database 12c Enterprise Edition
  • Oracle Real Application Clusters One Node
  • Oracle Real Application Clusters
  • Support for:
  • Oracle Database Enterprise Edition database options
  • Oracle Enterprise Manager Management Packs for Oracle Database Enterprise Edition
To use an Oracle Database Appliance, customers will need to purchase the following:
  • Oracle Database licenses
  • Oracle Application Licenses
  • Oracle Middleware and WebLogic Licenses
  • Oracle Premier Support
 

The Competition

The Oracle Database Appliance is an entry level solution with no Non-Oracle competitors. The Oracle Database Appliance competition comes from within Oracle from Oracle VM for x86.

Oracle VM for x86

Oracle VM for x86 has the broadest Oracle software support, the most comprehensive features, and is the only solution with 3rd party (Cisco, HP, Dell, EMC, NetApp, etc..) hardware, storage, and operating system support. With Oracle VM for x86 you can build your own single node, or multiple node high performance virtualization solution that supports not only Oracle database workloads, but also middleware, application, and business intelligence using the same compute, network and storage as your VMware systems. Oracle software on Oracle VM for x86 can be licensed at the virtual machine level as well as the physical processor level.
 
Oracle marketing, and sales do not position Oracle VM for x86 against the Oracle Database Appliance, but nevertheless it's a low cost high performance competitor that supports not only Oracle middleware, and application, but also database and business intelligence with hard partition based licensing.

The Oracle Database Appliance introduces a unique x86 Oracle/Sun compute, network, storage, virtualization, operating system, and management stack stack into the data center. The Oracle Database Appliance requires unique technical skills, and integration into existing IT Policies, Standards, and Procedures. Conversely Oracle VM for x86 software provides standardization across the Oracle applications stack using existing hardware and infrastructure.

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