Sunday, 21 June 2009

So the Frankenstein Hypervisor begins!

As expected after the recent acquisition of Virtual Iron Oracle have wasted no time in slashing any future Virtual Iron technical development, check out for full gory details of the bloodbath.

The Virtual Iron brand as we know it has also been slashed as a procurable product meaning that any current customers are now hung out to dry and they have to either transition across to the new frankenstein hypervisor of Oracle VM or seek an alternative product. The recent news from Oracle also means that any partners that resell the software will lose out and have this cut from any technology offerings and they will most likely be smaller resellers due to Virtual Iron not being as mainstream and feature rich as market leaders meaning it will hit there sales revenue. Oracle have stated support for Virtual Iron customers will be a lifetime offering (not know what charge though). This support can only be of any use to current customers for only 6-12 months due to it being difficult to virtualise newer applications due to ISV's classing the hypervisor platform as legacy.

Bolt on neck

Oracle have claimed that Virtual Iron technology will be integrated into the Oracle VM, being the skeptic that I am I seriously doubt that we will see much transition of Virtual Iron technology into Oracle VM other than quick wins such as live migrate and a few other current de facto standards for a Hypervisor product. The only statement that may prove this to be total tosh is that they also quoted that they preferred Virtual iron to the xVM Sun offering which I find interesting and will post another on why I think xVM is a better platform at some point in the future. Transition and development of VI into OVM is likely to be quite a while and I expect we are talking yearly time frames rather than periods of months for the change to occur.

One thing this announcement shows is how keen Oracle is to get into the Hypervisor business mainstream, in comparison (and I know its not finalised yet) they have revealed very little planning activity officially on what will happen out of the SUN acquisition, so for them to completely cut off any growth spurt of Virtual Iron and send the message it is becoming part of OVM shows they want to focus on beefing up the Oracle VM platform and get the rubber hitting the road.

Time to capitalise

Various people think this is the right time for VMware, Citrix or Microsoft to gain some more market share of current Virtual Iron customers and I agree with this, lets face it any customers who want to expand current Virtual Iron estates will be faced with only the Oracle VM technology for future roadmaps, some may be coming up to maintenance renewals and considering whether they need to grow up and get into a Hypervisor that is sustainable and capable of virtualising any workload such as vSphere, vSphere also has some great low end product offerings that can get smaller companies onto the Vmware ladder.

Customers who are looking to go elsewhere for a datacenter virtualisation platform will need to know that some of the following may arise;
  • OVM may continue to have a Lack of partners and maturity level in datacentres unless it grows up fast. For over Three years Vmware has worked heavily with hardware and software partners to ensure that high performance levels can be achieved with the various infrastructure components hosting the virtualised environment and the applications that run on top of the virtualised infrastructure,
  • I predict longer term OVM is likely to be more expensive (come on we all know its the Oracle way) and current extended support maintenance with VIron will rocket to false people onto OVM,
  • There maybe a lack of extensive management capability that is currently on offer today with alternatives such as vSphere, and competitors that are slowly behind VMware,
  • Oracle VM may lack within the new OVM the offer of granular licensing plans and levels, this is where VMware is currently very strong and dominant.
  • Performance maybe weak...come on look at results coming from vSphere

Evidence is here to suggest Oracle want to propel themselves into the Virtualisation industry and they are not hanging about, this will hopefully mean good news from a licensing perspective for both the users of Oracle technology that want to virtualise if they run OVM. This may also remove a barrier currently in place by Oracle and allow users of other hypervisor's to also be able to virtualise, this maybe possible as Oracle gain more "happiness" that they are gaining revenue with popularity of OVM and lacks the "rules" to virtualise current apps and DB platforms.

For you and me this also means that at least VMware (and Citrix at a push) are kept on their toes and can take note that eventually they will have another Virtualisation vendor who is going to be biting at their heels for market share in what is going to be a more predominant form than Oracle VM today.

There's a lot of speculation here. Currently OVM/OVS is free to use with cheap annual support - much less than even one VMware license. It's going to be pretty hard to push people to an expensive licensing model if you're starting from free - maybe not impossible, but I don't see that as the real plan - yet.

Personally I see OVM as vehicle to make it easier for Oracle to support it's other products. If customers start with the same VM templates that Oracle QA uses, support becomes easier. If customers with a problem can send Oracle a VM to reproduce it then again support becaomes easier. Charging an annual support fee for OVM is just gravy to cover the costs of the (minimal) marketing.

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