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Oracle Is Latest To Take On VMware

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the virtual-virtual-everywhere dept.

Oracle 109

BobB writes "Oracle is going after its piece of the hot virtualization market by introducing an open source Xen-based hypervisor to compete against those from Novell, Red Hat, and VMware. Oracle VM, unveiled Monday at the Oracle OpenWorld convention in San Francisco, enables virtualization on Oracle and non-Oracle software applications and on the Linux and Windows OSs. It also operates on industry-standard x86- and x86-64-based servers. Oracle claims it offers virtualization at a lower cost than competitors can." VMware stock dropped over 10% on the news; Oracle's stock rose. The market was not punishing Oracle for the unpatched zero-day vulnerability (public exploit available) that the company won't patch until Jan. 15.

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Fr0sty P1ss! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21333681)

Pouring up a tall steaming mug of the frosty piss since 1997. Enjoy!
 

Relevance (5, Insightful)

R15I23D05D14Y (1127061) | more than 6 years ago | (#21333695)

I can't see the link between a Xen-based hypervisor and and a company being punished for a "unpatched zero-day vulnerability" that doesn't look like it is part of the hypervisor. Also, I can't see why the stock price would drop based on critical bugs. Stock prices should reflect number of people buying the software anyway. Hence Microsoft stock have value.

Re:Relevance (3, Funny)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#21333719)

never let facts or logic get in the way of bashing a big company!

Re:Relevance (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21334439)

No stock prices reflect the number of people who want to buy the >stock as compared with the number of people who want to sell it. Stock prices may have nothing to do with the viability of the products and services the company sells (at least in the short run). That's why there was a dot com bubble in the first place.

Re:Relevance (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335057)

At the lowest level you are correct. However, what is the reason for people wanting to buy the stock vs. sell the stock. Sure what it really comes down to is that they believe that they will be able to sell the stock for a higher price at some later date, but there has to be some product behind it, or it will eventually collapse, like the dot com bubble. People actually thought all those dot com companies were worth something, and had a chance of selling some kind of product, otherwise, they would have never bought the stock in the first place.

Re:Relevance (1)

Spleen (9387) | more than 6 years ago | (#21341275)

People actually thought all those dot com companies were worth something, and had a chance of selling some kind of product, otherwise, they would have never bought the stock in the first place.
You give people way to much credit. I agree that people thought the dot com companies were worth something.

There are at least 2 groups of people here though:

The first group though the company they were investing in had a product they would be able to sell and be profitable.

The second group simply saw the value of the company as being the rising stock value. The second group didn't have any idea what the product they would sell might be, or how viable it was. The second group most likely caused the bubble by driving up the price beyond it's reasonable market value.

The mentality that: This stock is similar to that stock that went way up. I'll buy some and get rich.

retarded comments in summary (5, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#21333703)

Please try to keep stupid statements like "The market was not punishing Oracle for the unpatched zero-day vulnerability (public exploit available) that the company won't patch until Jan. 15." out of the summaries. the market is NOT a technical forum, so unless this exploit can demonstrate some kind of loss for oracle, they have no reason to "punish"

Re:retarded comments in summary (2, Insightful)

evanbd (210358) | more than 6 years ago | (#21333735)

Exactly.

And why would we expect the market to "punish" them? Does anyone actually expect it to cost them sales or other revenue, or increase their costs, or otherwise have a relevant impact on their financial status?

Re:retarded comments in summary (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#21333825)

bugs etc are just a part of doing business in the software world. if the market punished every vendor with a bug we wouldn't have an industry

Re:retarded comments in summary (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 6 years ago | (#21338133)

"Does anyone actually expect it to cost them sales or other revenue,"

Personally I have no idea. You'd have to ask the virus writers if someone's planning on writing a database transmitted virus. If one of them decides a guaranteed unpatched hole with a finished exploit available is just too good an opportunity to pass up, well, then I could certainly see how the subsequent fallout would affect Oracle's financial status.

I mean, sure, anyone who's actually dealt with Oracle on a daily basis has a fair idea of the number of bugs and the response time of the company, but a situation in which massive amounts of corporate financial data is spread over the world by a nasty virus might actually make it to the CEOs desk.

Re:retarded comments in summary (1)

fatrat (324232) | more than 6 years ago | (#21333847)

Bit of a sense of humour failure there....

Re:retarded comments in summary (1)

c (8461) | more than 6 years ago | (#21334443)

I think the comment was a sort of "yet another 'me too' product, markets rejoice. Consistent failure to handle major security problems in flagship product, markets... meh?"

But, then, Oracle's poor security track record (they certainly redefined "unbreakable") isn't anything new and I'd hope that both markets and customers have long ago corrected for it.

c.

Re:retarded comments in summary (1)

leonbev (111395) | more than 6 years ago | (#21336075)

Exactly. Unless a massive worm can exploit that security hole and deletes a few billion dollars worth of data, I doubt that it will have any impact on Oracle's bottom line.

Investors don't care how secure Oracle's products are, as long as they make money. If you need an example of that mentality, just look at the rise of Microsoft's stock after the release of Windows 95 and 98.

Re:retarded comments in summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21336421)

Please try to keep stupid statements like "The market was not punishing Oracle for the unpatched zero-day vulnerability (public exploit available)

Subby probably works for VMWare

Company performance should effect investors. (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 6 years ago | (#21336823)

To be fair though, the market value jumped because they announced a new product. If those investors were aware of the total and complete 'shittiness' of their existing products (hell, 11 freaking versions and the interface still sucks donkey balls, unpatched exploits, etc...), they may not have been so interested in the new product.

Educating investors on what exactly they are investing in, and what the new product's likelihood of success is, is a very appropriate thing to do. Who wants to invest in a software company that is trying to muscle in on a preexisting field/market with a history of mediocre software design and poor maintenance habits?

-Rick

Re:Company performance should effect investors. (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 6 years ago | (#21341305)

Does it matter to the investors how crap it is, as long as they sell lots of copies of it?

What the investors would be interested in is if their customers discovered there was a better product out there.

Re:retarded comments in summary (1)

aerotux (898095) | more than 6 years ago | (#21339229)

In fact, any dba can easily patch such "threat". First, it's in a package used for XDB, a feature that 99.9% of the database users do not use (so just restringing access to it for db users is enough). Second it's a local explote, you have to have a username and password plus execute priviledges on the package. And third, if you use that package and you are concerned about your users you can: a) audit the execution of the package or b) create a wrapper package, with appropiate synonyms and grants, and sanitize yourself the user parameters.
Regards,
Jose
4Team Oracle Support [4tm.com.ar]

Can they compete? (1)

RJBuild1088 (968537) | more than 6 years ago | (#21333723)

It seems like everyone is trying to jump into too many new markets these days. Google with Android, OpenSocial, Microsoft with the Zune ... you get the idea. Does have what it takes? I don't know, but it does seem odd that they have jumped into such a different market for them.

Re:Can they compete? (1)

KillerCow (213458) | more than 6 years ago | (#21333765)

It seems like everyone is trying to jump into too many new markets these days.


That's really the only way for a large company to grow.

Re:Can they compete? (0)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335127)

Not really. Let's look at Oracle's core business. Databases. They currently have a super huge enterprise level database and that's about it. If they really wanted to corner the market on databases, they would put out products to compete with Access, SQLLite, as well as an object oriented database. Or maybe they do have these products, but they just aren't that popular. But them they just need to do more marketing. There's plenty of ways to expand your customer base, without creating completely different products, outside your realm of expertise. Cisco used to only make heavy duty routers and switches for businesses. Then they went and bought Linksys, and now they are selling routers for the home market. See how that works?

Re:Can they compete? (1)

andreyw (798182) | more than 6 years ago | (#21337177)

No. You do not want to be tied down to any particular market niche. Because at some point your schoon will become a sinking barge. Diversification is the only way for a company to reliably grow. Doing the opposite of diversification (*cough* Motorola *cough* by exiting as many markets you were even slightly competitive in *cough* damn I seem to have gotten a bad cough, or something) is a surefire way to die. ...which is why Microsoft is a booming business. Which is why Google is not sitting in the search closet but trying to expand. And which is why Motorola is slowly flushing down the toilet bowl.

Look at Asia. You have massive corporations that make everything from toilet paper to gasoline, guitars and cars. By spreading across multiple markets, you minimize the chance of impact on your business by changing conditions (or new competitors) in any of your markets.

Re:Can they compete? (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 6 years ago | (#21338285)

This is a really classic management philosophy conflict (and one that appears to go in popularity waves), and the 'right' answer really depends on your position in the market. For an employee who doesnt want to change jobs, or for a family/few-owner business, diversification and protection of total assets is a priority.

But for the diversified stock-owner you dont want each and every one of your stocks weighted down by the dead fat they're trying to protect. You want lean companies generating high profits in a single area. If you wanted diverse, you'd _buy_ diverse. And then _sell_ it when a niche looked about to tank.

Diversification is for those with a sentimental attachment to an organization. Understandable, but not necessarily the way it always works.

Re:Can they compete? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21339079)

Most of the time, when we see companies try to diversify, and go outside their area of expertise, they end up doing a really poor job at it, and losing a lot of money in the process, or even if they get a profit, the money spent to obtain the profit could have been better invested in their core business, and returned a bigger profit. Look at some examples like the Zune, XBox, and Corel Linux. Plus there's other examples of places where a company gets too many products and has internal conflicts ruining it's own products. One example of this would be Sony creating great portable music devices, in terms of hardware and features, but that are completely ruined by all the DRM they throw into them, just to satisfy their entertainment division.

Re:Can they compete? (2, Interesting)

Estanislao Martnez (203477) | more than 6 years ago | (#21341029)

But for the diversified stock-owner you dont want each and every one of your stocks weighted down by the dead fat they're trying to protect. You want lean companies generating high profits in a single area. If you wanted diverse, you'd _buy_ diverse. And then _sell_ it when a niche looked about to tank.

That's a pretty good point, but I think we can take it further.

If you're an investor, you have two ways to diversify your investments:

  1. You can buy into the stocks of a wider, more diverse set of companies.
  2. You can convince the companies you have shares in to diversify their business.

The former will always be easier to do--you just buy more stocks (or just go ahead and buy everything [vanguard.com] --and everything else [vanguard.com] , too.

The latter is the only option available to people who are hyper-concentrated in one company's stock and can't trade out--i.e., people [wikipedia.org] who control companies [wikipedia.org] that are really big [oracle.com] .

This is not to say that diversifying a company's business makes no sense--there's no reason in principle why it can't work, and in fact, bringing many things under one roof can achieve efficiencies that separate companies can't. But the point is that there is a definite potential for a conflict of interest between majority and minority shareholders.

Diversification [within a single company] is for those with a sentimental attachment to an organization.

And here, as you can guess, I think you're wrong. If you control a company, and that company forms the bulk of your net worth, there is nothing sentimental behind your desire to diversify your business. The only way you can retain all that wealth is by holding on to your stock, and diversifying the business can protect its value.

Re:Can they compete? (1)

Estanislao Martnez (203477) | more than 6 years ago | (#21341213)

Doing the opposite of diversification (*cough* Motorola *cough* by exiting as many markets you were even slightly competitive in *cough* damn I seem to have gotten a bad cough, or something) is a surefire way to die.

You're seeing it from the point of view of the continued existence of a single company, and not from the point of view of an investor that has thousands of different stocks to choose from.

Yes, companies without internal diversification have a bigger risk of going south. But for you as an investor, that isn't automatically bad. If the only stock you owned was Motorola, and the company went to hell, sure, you'd end up in a bad shape. If Motorola was only one of 3,500 companies you owned stock on, and it went bad, but you also owned stock in all the companies that benefit from Motorola's demise, you might actually end up ahead when you take everything into account.

The point is that, as an investor, you can always diversify your holdings on your own simply by buying a wider variety of stocks. A single company that has many diverse businesses under one roof doesn't necessarily offer you any more diversification than if you buy many companies with very different businesses.

Re:Can they compete? (3, Insightful)

Bacon Bits (926911) | more than 6 years ago | (#21333769)

I don't see how it could ever be conceived as anything bad for us consumers. Too many thumbs in the pie is what drives competition for a bigger slice. They will compete on price, features, stability, etc.

Never question the stupidity of a corporation when it's only ever going to improve the products you actually buy (or buy into).

Re:Can they compete? (1)

jsolan (1014825) | more than 6 years ago | (#21336615)

It may not be bad for consumers in general, but for Oracle customers it limits choice.
While virtualizing a database may not be the best idea from a performance standpoint, virtualizing a middle tier or 2 may be very attractive.

Oracle is only supporting virtualization with their VM product. While this makes sense from their perspective, consumers are now choiceless if they use Oracle. For instance, we've implemented open source Xen to consilidate several other servers, if we planned to virtualize any of our Oracle servers at any point we'd have to use Oracle's VM to do so, making management of VM solutions more complicated.

This also means Oracle doesn't *have* to compete in performance if they don't want to. "Use us or don't use virtualization at all with our products".

This is the exact fear I have with their "Unbreakable Linux". Thankfully they came to the game too late to pull that card with linux... but then again this is Ellison we're talking about and he could change his mind at any second.

Unbreakable Xen (2, Insightful)

passthecrackpipe (598773) | more than 6 years ago | (#21333787)

Of course they cant. They can't compete with serious distro's and they wont be able to compete with serious Xen players. Thats not the point. wearing my tin foil hat, I'd say that their point is to fragment, or at least give the illusion to fragment, open source work. Oracle has lost a hell of a lot of real money to open source, and have been been brought to the enterprise open source table kicking and screaming. There is no money to be made here for them, they will gain little to no credibility in this space (not core business, blah blah) and they have never been known to have a warm spot in their hearts for open source in general.

Re:Unbreakable Xen (4, Insightful)

prichardson (603676) | more than 6 years ago | (#21333919)

Are you suggesting Oracle is doing this out of spite? Entities run by committee aren't exactly the breeding grounds of emotional decisions.

I'd wager that Oracle is just adding another product for the purposes of presenting some sort of purely Oracle virtualized database solution. Petty grudges are not profitable.

Re:Unbreakable Xen (2, Insightful)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 6 years ago | (#21334169)

Say what you want about Ellison, but he's the boss and he's very much a human being. If he has a petty grudge then there can be a hundred committees in Oracle but none will be in the way.

Re:Unbreakable Xen (1)

saleenS281 (859657) | more than 6 years ago | (#21340169)

I think you underestimate the influence, and ego of Ellison.

Re:Unbreakable Xen (1)

whatsisface (921894) | more than 6 years ago | (#21337605)

Oracle is the #3 contributor to the Linux kernel, behind Red Hat and IBM.

Re:Unbreakable Xen (2, Informative)

passthecrackpipe (598773) | more than 6 years ago | (#21338655)

are you pulling that number right out of your ass? This survey [lwn.net] from feb 2007, begs to differ. It puts Oracle on 0.8% contributions. That means Oracle comes after(Unknown), RedHat, (None) IBM, QLogic, Novell, Intel, MIPS Technologies, Nokia, SANPeople, SteelEye, Freescale, Linux Foundation, MontaVista, Simtec, Atmel, HP, and SGI (in order of contributions) in terms of contributions.

Re:Unbreakable Xen (1)

jadavis (473492) | more than 6 years ago | (#21338665)

Oracle has lost a hell of a lot of real money to open source

Not due to linux, nor virtualization. In fact they have probably gained a lot from linux, and why not? The less someone spends on their operating systems, the more they can spend on Oracle licenses.

They may have lost a few sales to MySQL and PostgreSQL, but that's no reason to attack linux or Xen.

Re:Can they compete? (5, Insightful)

martyros (588782) | more than 6 years ago | (#21333885)

I think this quote from their Oracle VM FAQ is more telling:

Recognizing enterprise customers' demand for fully supported server virtualization, Oracle now offers Oracle VM backed by a world-class support organization, as well as a full suite of Oracle product certifications.

In other words: they recognize that customers want virtualization. But, they don't want to support running on just any hypervisor. Doing so places them in the position of having to rely on another company's software product to run well, which is just not a good idea from Oracle's point of view. The solution? Take an open-source solution and tweak it to their own specifications. Since they have control, they're not dependent on anyone else for good performance.

They claim to do Windows virtualizaiton, but the fact is that without paravirtualied Windows drivers, any performance is going to royally stink. I'd be surprised if they invest the time to actually make those work.

What would be a good idea for them in the long run, I think, is to allow their management tool to integrate with some others -- RedHat's or XenSource's, for example -- so that customers can manage all their servers from one console, while taking advantage of Oracle's specialized distro.

Re:Can they compete? (2, Interesting)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 6 years ago | (#21334181)

I'd be surprised if they invest the time to actually make those work.

Yeah, me too. I spent some time at Oracle and while marketing paid lip service to the Microsoft stack, the division that did projects couldn't be less interesting. In a big department meeting, I asked the department head whether we will do something with C# besides Java. The room actually laughed. The department head didn't know what C# was.

Re:Can they compete? (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#21336887)

In a big department meeting, I asked the department head whether we will do something with C# besides Java. The room actually laughed.

I can see supporting MS, as in making their software run on that platform. I can't see them locking themselves into MS's proprietary development system, though. What possible benefit would that have for them?

Re:Can they compete? (1)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 6 years ago | (#21339591)

I wasn't really clear, but I was working at the time in the business unit that did projects (for hourly rates) for customers. So there is no lock-in argument there. I agree that such a business unit could have the purpose 'no projects with MS software', that seems a bit odd. What was especially funny was the PHB not knowing about C# at all.

Re:Can they compete? (1)

CandideEC (953336) | more than 6 years ago | (#21334725)

They mention that the windows performance is garbage and that they are working on paravirtualized drivers. Obviously this thing is half baked until they get there.

Re:Can they compete? (1)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | more than 6 years ago | (#21334839)

Why half baked?

Are you trying to claim that anyone (in their right mind, of course) would run a real database server on Windows?

Nah - Oracle know their market, and Windows is and always has been a very low priority for them.

Re:Can they compete? (3, Interesting)

CandideEC (953336) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335003)

Do you work in the real world? Who the hell have you met with a *right* mind? Everything I see is backwards and upside down...and people seem happy to have it that way. Plenty of places run mission critical systems on Windows. Nobody said it's smart or recommended. When I see something done smart around the businesses I work with, I do a handstand. Its an amazing moment indeed. Its half baked because they are coming after VMWare. Not supporting the most used Operating System at a reasonable speed yet is just half baked. Many tech centers we install at are just windows only. I can't dictate anything different to them.

Re:Can they compete? (1)

renegadesx (977007) | more than 6 years ago | (#21334641)

My question is why would you want virtualization on a database server?

Re:Can they compete? (1)

jaweekes (938376) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335031)

The only reason I can think of, and have see companies do, is for VMotion fall over. Install an ESX server with just the DB running, and if it has problems, or you need to take down the physical box, you just move it to another one temporarily, without a break in transactions. Works well, but that is the only reason I can think of for doing it.

Re:Can they compete? (1)

iperkins (974060) | more than 6 years ago | (#21338611)

Exactly. Fault tolerance. if the physical server tanks, you move the image to another box. This can also eliminate downtime due to hardware maintenance. Move the image to another box, take the physical box down, do what you have to do, bring it back up and move the image back. This can be done during normal hours - no waiting for nights/weekends, which makes the IT staff happy.

Re:Can they compete? (1)

Donny Smith (567043) | more than 6 years ago | (#21339983)

>Exactly. Fault tolerance. if the physical server tanks, you move the image to another box.

Bzzzz! Wrong.
There's nothing to move here - the OS and/or database remain on the shared storage, the OS can optionally be started on another box.
(Apart from this, Oracle already has built-in RAC clustering which does not depend on 3rd party fail-over solutions for fault tolerance of database applications.)

Re:Can they compete? (2, Insightful)

deroby (568773) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335569)

Testing, testing & testing ?

You only need to set up a specific environment once. Then, in order to do any testing, take a copy of the environment, run whatever is needed and when happy about it, simply revert back to the original 'image' again. Do next test etc... rinse & repeat.
It also makes it easier to spread the exact identical environment to different machines/people in order to do tests in parallel and still be 'certain' that they all will be done identically. If needed you can even (temporarily or not) archive test results in order to work on them later again... eg, when someone needs to find out why things went wrong...
Personally, I like it a lot, it saves me heaps of time and while the test team can happily continue testing on their testing machine(s), they sent me the *entire* environment to delve into... filters out a lot of : "but it works on my machine" frustrations.

Re:Can they compete? (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 6 years ago | (#21335855)

It seems like everyone is trying to jump into too many new markets these days.

Yes, it's called diversifying your risk away. Companies do this so they don't have all of their eggs laying in one basket.

This is only a good thing... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21333731)

Because their accountancy software sucks.

Isn't this just Oracle re-branding RHEL 5.1 (5, Interesting)

BestNicksRTaken (582194) | more than 6 years ago | (#21333757)

Seems a bit strange how RHEL 5.1 offers Windows virtualisation with Xen 3.1 and just days later Oracle does the same.

And how can this make VMWare stock drop by 10%? Xen ain't new (or great).

Re:Isn't this just Oracle re-branding RHEL 5.1 (2, Insightful)

I kan Spl (614759) | more than 6 years ago | (#21333833)

Yup.

"Unbreakable Linux" is simply RHEL with a bunch of tweaks to make Oracle apps run better.

The tweaks are nice, but it is the same OS.

UnFAKEable Linux (1)

abecede (1097981) | more than 6 years ago | (#21333899)

Yep. That is why Red Hat made these t-shirts [livejournal.com] . Red Hat does not seem to have problems with Centos, but I'm not so sure about Oracle's copy of their distribution...

Re:UnFAKEable Linux (2, Insightful)

Drinking Bleach (975757) | more than 6 years ago | (#21334093)

That's because CentOS isn't competing with Red Hat. Red Hat's market is the enterprise customers that *will* pay tens of thousands of dollars per year for support, and this is exactly the same market Oracle is catering too with Unbreakable Linux. CentOS is for users that can fix problems on their own and/or cannot afford an RHEL license. This is not the market Red Hat is aiming for.

Re:UnFAKEable Linux (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21334193)

Oracle aren't competing with Redhat either. Someone would actually have to be running Unbreakable Linux for them to be competing, and I haven't seen anyone doing it yet: if anything, the market seems to have treated Oracle as a slightly embarrassing uncle who wants to convince you that he's still "hip and cool" and can do Linux just as well as that upstart Redhat can. They just sort of wish they'd be quiet, go home & stick to what they know.

The idea of Oracle supplanting VMWare in the enterprise virtualisation market is even more laughable. No one is rushing to replace VMWare with Xen, and if they were, they wouldn't do it through Oracle. Oracle make databases (Oh and they do middle wear now too. Buying WebLogic was a rare smart move, provided they can stop JBoss commoditizing their market) Honestly though, Oracle should leave the rest of the software stack to the rest of the industry.

Re:UnFAKEable Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21337065)

I think the point is that this is another company backing / investing in Xen - which will eventually make it better my bet is on a par with vmware in the coming years - which should quite rightly devalue the overvalued VMware.

also as far as i can see any isp / datacentre type linux rollouts are gravitating to xen on a cost basis. Being bundled with redhat and derivatives helps to.

Re:UnFAKEable Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21340447)

which will eventually make it better my bet is on a par with vmware in the coming years

I wouldn't even put a single dollar on that bet.

as far as i can see any isp / datacentre type linux rollouts are gravitating to xen on a cost basis

Cheap package VPS & web hosts, sure. Real enterprise data centres? No.

middle wear vs. middle wear (1)

sevarg (1168967) | more than 6 years ago | (#21341163)

middle wear is a belt. middle ware is software.

Re:UnFAKEable Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21344063)

FYI, They haven't bought WebLogic quite just yet. BEA is still a separate company for now

Re:Isn't this just Oracle re-branding RHEL 5.1 (1)

jsolan (1014825) | more than 6 years ago | (#21336457)

Actually Oracle's VM is much more akin to the xenserver product from citrix or ESX from vmware. Its not a hypervisor that runs on an existing OS, it is a stand alone OS. Oracle's VM is not a rebrand of RHEL this time. And btw, I'm pretty sure oracle's "unbreakable linux" (the red hat clone) already has Xen as a virtualization option, as it is based on RHEL 5 which includes Xen (even in the 5.0 release).

Re:Isn't this just Oracle re-branding RHEL 5.1 (1)

tjjfv (994025) | more than 6 years ago | (#21337833)

It wasn't just Oracle's announcement. It was the market press trumpeting the relatively insignificant entry of Oracle, coupled with MSFT's announcement of Hyper-V (and 28$ pricing), causing investors to realize that the share price of VMW had been hyperinflated based upon poor understanding of the virtualization market and presumption that their current market-share dominance was largely unassailable despite competition from every other industry player, both software (MSFT, IBM, RHAT, CTXS) and hardware (DELL, IBM, HP). It recovered today once investors calmed down a bit, and realized that while there is strong competition, VMW has a very strong position.

Full disclosure: I purchased VMW after hours on the 9th, (due to to recent decline in the price, and personal involvement in using virtualization to fully leverage my investment in a dedicated server for my small businesses), was subsequently dismayed at the 12.5% decline, learned a valuable lesson on not fully researching a stock before investing based upon industry knowledge, and gladly took a chance to get out today at a 2.5% profit. Additionally, I am currently holding DELL, CTXS, IBM, RHAT for related reasons.

How long till the patent lawsuits begin? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21338513)

In 3. . . 2. . . 1

Not rebranding, respinning (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#21338659)

There's probably more here than rebranding. Oracle has the resources to create their own Xen-based solution, and is certainly not going to rely on Red Hat's work.

That said, you're right to wonder at all the reaction to this announcement. Everybody and his dog are doing virtualization solutions, and the Oracle version is hardly groundbreaking. Indeed, since Xen only supports guest OSs that are hypervisor aware, it's not quite as robust as the "pure" virtualization that VMware does. And yet Oracle has managed to spin this as a solid challenge to VMware. Some marketeer really earned their pay on this.

VMWare still better. (1)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 6 years ago | (#21340323)

Our company uses VMWare simply because it's still the best virtualization platform I've been able to find for the x86 Linux platform and has the best upgrade path. We'd love to use open source but we've yet to see an open source product that can offer the same stability and features and host so many platforms.

When an open source competitor can run as reliably and fast on my dual quad-core Xeon server, can host at least Linux, FreeBSD, Windows 2000, Windows 2003 Server, and Windows XP, can do clustering with live migration, and do live backups then we'll seriously think about switching. Until then we're not interested because these are the features we need.

When an open source competitor can offer those though then there is a very good chance we'll switch. If VMWare wants to keep our business they either need to create new features we need, which is doubtful since this solution works great for us, or open source their code. We'd pay for support ven if their code was free.

Sorta makes sense (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21333789)

for Oracle to get into the VM business.

Then they can ship pre-built VM images with oracle already installed and configured. Thus, the database server becomes a VM appliance (not quite a dishwasher yet...)
Easier to support (ie lower costs) especially if the VM runs Linux. As much as I hate Oracle, this following their 'legal theft' of RHEL it all starts to hang together.
However, it remains to be seen if they can build up their support side so that is basically 'sucks less' than it does now. There is a danger that they are spreading themselves too thin.

I don't think VMWare should get too worried by this. The overall market for VM's is huge. As long as the quality of their product stays high then their market will grow along with the overall market for VM Systems.

 

Sorta makes sense to worry too (1)

cumin (1141433) | more than 6 years ago | (#21337447)

One of the major selling points for VMWare is that it is ideal for development and if a major player in the development world, which Oracle is because they have the database, then there is much more appeal and legitimacy to doing virtualization through Xen. Now, personally I just got our company to buy a VMWare license for a couple of us because it is so easy and we're working with Macs. The issue wasn't a question of which VM system was better, it was a simple question of which was cheaper. I preferred VMWare by about a $10 margin over Parallels, and it turned out to be the less expensive of the two.

Now imagine thousands of people developing for Oracle asking themselves the same question, only now there is an official VM solution for Oracle development.. what do you think they will choose?

As to why it should reflect in stock prices, it's about name recognition. Most investors don't perceive Red Hat or SUSE or XenSource (Citrix) to be a competitor to VMWare, because they don't know who they are. Those same investors do recognize Oracle and as far as your average investor is concerned, virtualization is virtualization. Some of this may stabilize later as the difference in the products and the other competitors show up in stock market publishing, but don't expect it to disappear just because the people with the money realize there are other players on the field.

Re:Sorta makes sense (1)

ToasterMonkey (467067) | more than 6 years ago | (#21342693)

They already did that [blogspot.com] . They seemed to have moved it though.

Sun also releasing Xen-based virtualization (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21333809)

"Oracle is going after its piece of the hot virtualization market by introducing an open source Xen-based hypervisor to compete against those from Novell, Red Hat, and VMware.

Sun is also rolling out a Xen-based virtualization solution called Sun xVM [sun.com] .

More info at http://opensolaris.org/os/community/xen/ [opensolaris.org]

This is a feature separate from Solaris Zones (OS virtualization [opensolaris.org] ) or
Brands (run Linux or Solaris 8 zones on Solaris 10 [opensolaris.org] ) or hardware domains.

Re:Sun also releasing Xen-based virtualization (-1, Offtopic)

mandy2007 (1188329) | more than 6 years ago | (#21334301)

Great job by Oracle!!!
Mandy [oureasyshop.com]

Re:Sun also releasing Xen-based virtualization (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 6 years ago | (#21334537)

Is this the first comment spam on Slashdot? It's strange, I haven't seen it before.

Re:Sun also releasing Xen-based virtualization (2, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21336543)

No, most of us are smart enough to hide our spam carefully in the form of the insightful or informative commentary. For instance, did you know that Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle, uses H3RB4L V1@GRA!!!! [wikipedia.org]

Re:Sun also releasing Xen-based virtualization (1)

jadavis (473492) | more than 6 years ago | (#21338783)

Even if the post was written by a shill for Sun*, it's certainly not "spam". "Spam" is completely non-targeted marketing, while the post in question is about as targeted as marketing gets.

Also, he was pointing to opensolaris, which is free of charge. You didn't call posts about RedHat's products "spam", even though both RedHat and Sun are open source oriented companies, and all the posts in question are about their open source offerings.

Re:Sun also releasing Xen-based virtualization (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 6 years ago | (#21343783)

Um... check the parent of my post. That's the comment spam. Nothing to do with OpenSolaris, Sun etc.

Re:Sun also releasing Xen-based virtualization (1)

jadavis (473492) | more than 6 years ago | (#21343963)

Oh, oops, my comment settings made it appear you were replying to someone else. Whoops.

Re:Sun also releasing Xen-based virtualization (1)

Jeppe Salvesen (101622) | more than 6 years ago | (#21339291)

I was going to say pretty much the same thing: Oracle Unbreakable Linux is positioned to compete with Solaris for database hotels. Will this be a cheaper database hotel solution than a Sun/Solaris solution? Does anyone know?

the not game (-1, Troll)

onescomplement (998675) | more than 6 years ago | (#21333845)

Oracle is an expert at 3 things: The not game. What are they _not_ telling me? The relentless pursuit of nothing. Our aspirin is better than yours. Fear, fear, always. Because that's their organizational model and you must be fearful, too! Our sales people are scared shitless, they feed off pointy-haired execs, ideologues sans reason, and now you must be afraid, too. Reason is not sense. Sense is not reason. Yield to our reality. BTW, Dick Cheney's been appointed to their board.

Any word on if it works (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21333895)

It's been my experience that the one thing Virtual Servers aren't good at it's io intensive applications like I don't know.... DATABASE SERVERS? At work we looked into virtualizing our development/testing environments the only thing we couldn't virtualize was the databases - too much of a performance hit. This seems interesting to me - why would oracle do this when they have fought the logical conclusion for so long - pre-packaged linux distro with their Oracle stuff built right in - deploy and go. Seems like one would be easier than the other.

Also - really can we get more retarded biased comments about stock prices in the summaries. It's good for a WTF chuckle.

Re:Any word on if it works (2, Interesting)

jobsagoodun (669748) | more than 6 years ago | (#21334077)

We had interesting experiences of virtualising network services. Its all OK until you try to push lots of small interactions through your VM; then you start to push up against whatever way & freq the CPU is shared between VMs. Its less of a problem if you have more CPUs though.

Re:Any word on if it works (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 6 years ago | (#21334831)

I used to work in a big Telecom supplier and they never dreamed about using virtualization. We already had enough performance problems using raw hardware and software.

I moved to enterprise solutions and they are all happily using virtualization. Bad thing is that almost everybody here is a Microsoft drone, I miss my shell scripts.

Re:Any word on if it works (2, Interesting)

larstr (695179) | more than 6 years ago | (#21334345)

Critical servers are not typically virtualized because they get good performance or for consolidation reasons, but http://download3.vmware.com/vmworld/2006/bct9468.pdf [vmware.com] because of http://download3.vmware.com/vmworld/2006/bct0107.pdf [vmware.com] DR. Since storage IO is http://communities.vmware.com/thread/73745?tstart=15&start=275 [vmware.com] slower inside a virtualized enviroment you will need to spend some more time to plan your storage environment and implement it right in order to get the expected performance even if it might a bit be more expensive.

Lars

Re:Any word on if it works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21335491)

Since storage IO is http://communities.vmware.com/thread/73745?tstart=15&start=275 [vmware.com] slower inside a virtualized enviroment you will need to spend some more time to plan your storage environment and implement it right in order to get the expected performance even if it might a bit be more expensive.
Have you used Xen? Storage I/O is very close to native. Especially if you don't use loop files and go straight to hard drive partitions. With VMWare, if you set it to use the an hd directly rather than the .vmdk files, it also runs quite fast (Xen is still faster).

Re:Any word on if it works (2, Informative)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 6 years ago | (#21334567)

At work we looked into virtualizing our development/testing environments the only thing we couldn't virtualize was the databases - too much of a performance hit.
Where did you put your storage then? I've seen a 5-10% performance hit with a Xen LVM'ed RAID-1 backend. When using a SAN of some sort (even cheap ass ones) this disappears.

Re:Any word on if it works (1)

Donny Smith (567043) | more than 6 years ago | (#21340111)

>I've seen a 5-10% performance hit with a Xen LVM'ed RAID-1 backend.

Well, someone else saw yet another different hit with a XYZ xyzVM'ed RAID-1 backend.
The fact that you saw a single-digit hit doesn't mean that everyone will see the same hit.

Re:Any word on if it works (1)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 6 years ago | (#21341397)

My tone seemed a little harsh in the parent post. Anyway, the single digit LVM performance hit is pretty well known. But the main point is that this particular problem is pretty much solved.

Re:Any word on if it works (1)

BestNicksRTaken (582194) | more than 6 years ago | (#21334581)

disk and even network i/o is completely crap under virtualisation, so why people are virtualising databases and lately, storage (!) is beyond comprehension.

vms are good for things that use mostly ram and cpu (which are easy things to upgrade - you can't really make disks just go faster)

Where'd you get the idea VM I/O MUST suck? (1)

cumin (1141433) | more than 6 years ago | (#21338139)

You're thinking of VMWare, not Xen I suspect.

With a VMWare machine all communication with the processor must be interpreted, that is how the machine essentially works, it provides a fake communication channel that it can control. It does a really slick job of that, but it is still having to go through the extra step.

Not so with Xen, because it uses modified kernels that don't have to be interpreted (Which is why you can't just install your favorite OS in any old Xen like you can with VMWare.) This is why the overhead on Xen machines is 1% to 10% rather than 15% to 20% with VMWare. Essentially the only overhead you have is a minimal kernel that can not do much at all.

Further, VMWare has done some things recently that they say will put them in the same performance range as Xen if you're paying for their server product. I have not tried it.

It sounds to me like you've used VMWare and the defaults for a desktop or old server install and that means you used virtualized disks, which really, really sucks. If you're using VMWare player, you're doing the same thing essentially. IO most assuredly does not suck with Xen using drive partitions directly. Red Hat's implementation does something funky that way, but that may be why Oracle is making a big deal of theirs', it may be using the drive partitions directly, or even raw (without a format) as some databases, and I think Oracle does this, are prone to do. That means that they may be doing their own VM precisely because they can get better performance that way than with RH's product and if they can engineer the entire environment, I'd be shocked if their experts can't get better performance from a VM than most people setting it up even with significant experience.

Re:Any word on if it works (0)

ultranova (717540) | more than 6 years ago | (#21334887)

It's been my experience that the one thing Virtual Servers aren't good at it's io intensive applications like I don't know.... DATABASE SERVERS?

Well, of course. With virtualization, each system call has to go through an extra layer before reaching the host kernel, and the cache might also be affected.

Now fix the licensing (4, Informative)

MartijnL (785261) | more than 6 years ago | (#21333927)

Yadda yadda, if Oracle doesn't fix it's own licensing policy than they still will be looking to take you hard for database licenses. They don't recognize software partitioning as a valid means of buying less licenses than there are CPU's in the physical box and when you run VMware in a cluster they want you to license your whole cluster.

Re:Now fix the licensing (1)

lakeland (218447) | more than 6 years ago | (#21334009)

That was exactly my thought. I'm betting this new Oracle virtualised linux will have proper licencing while none of the others do, but I can't find any details anywhere.

I'm thinking of installing Oracle Linux on the server I'm putting together next week just in case it means I can try out virtulisation in case they fix the licencing. We run all servers on the bare metal entirely because of this... crazy!

Re:Now fix the licensing (1)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 6 years ago | (#21334927)

I bet the licensing is a lot more flexible when you're not yet a customer.

VMware support by Oracle (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 6 years ago | (#21334419)

On this topic, Oracle also refuse to provide support for Oracle installations on VMware hosts.

I wondered why that was so, because VMware provides a common emulated hardware foundation, and logically ought to be *easier* to support than the wild variety of actualy physical hardware out there.

Anyway, now I know why.

you're probably right (1)

alizard (107678) | more than 6 years ago | (#21334485)

I've managed to run Windows 98SE stably and reliably in Win4Lin 9.x on a Fedora Core host and VMware Server on a Debian host, though this is a desktop, not a server environment.

If virtualization can stabilize Windows 98, I'm sure that it can provide any help with stabilizing Oracle it can possibly use. If I had to run Oracle, I think I'd look for third-party support for Oracle and thumb my nose at Oracle Corp in the hope of getting more uptime than I can get with a native Oracle environment.

Any Oracle admins care to comment?

Re:you're probably right (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21334535)

I'm not the DBA here, but we have most of our Oracle servers running on Redhat ES on VMWare ESX 3, and they're perfectly fine. Which is exactly what you'd expect, frankly.

I've not heard that Oracle refuse to support systems installed on VMWare though. I think the last time we actually tried to get support from Oracle was, er, never. Our developers report bugs to them, and that's about it.

I suspect that if their refusal to support is true, then it's for bullshit reasons. Exactly what you'd expect from a company like Oracle, really.

Re:VMware support by Oracle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21335827)

And yet they use VMWare extensively on their training workshops for technology...
go figure

Expect non-support-except-on-our-VMs to be normal (1)

swb (14022) | more than 6 years ago | (#21336995)

All the major application vendors recognize that VMs are valuable and they also recognize that by refusing support for 3rd-part VMs *AND* offering a VM (even if it is someone else's with a new paint scheme), they can both make more money and squeeze competitors. Microsoft is already doing this with Exchange 2007 (note coming hypervisor/VM tech in 2008 server), and I expect other major application vendors might try the same thing.

This is clearly a monopolistic practice, but I don't expect our corporate overlords in the FTC to ever do anything about it.

Oracle Is Latest To Take On VMware (2, Insightful)

Alex (342) | more than 6 years ago | (#21334749)

Oracle Is Latest To Take On VMware

Please - Xen does not a vmware copy make - vmware is so much more than a virtualization product, VMware are trying to make it THE datacenter management tool.

Alex

Virtualization is headed the wrong way! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21334991)

I'm too lazy to locate my slashdot login. If you post to me, I'll try to remember to check this thread tomorrow.

When Intel released VT technology, I experimented with a host OS-less VT implementation. It makes MUCH more sense than virtualizing on a *nix or Windows like Xen, VMWare, or all the others do.

A VM implementation is an OS within itself for the most part. It contains two major components and not much else. It contains :
  1) A process scheduler (yes, it's a fair comparison, the VT extensions make guest instances more or less a process with a different task switch mechanism)
      This in itself can be accomplished in a VT aware microkernel, so the scheduler itself can be miniscule and more importantly can be much easier to manage and maintain vs. a full general purpose OS hosting a VM
  2) Virtualized hardware access
      a) Virtualized network occurs primarily at layer II, and half way into layer 3 for NAT, so a full TCP stack is irrelevant
      b) Virtualized screens, this is easily accomplished by just providing a flat frame buffer (max 4megs) per guest OS
      c) Virtualized USB is a bit trickier, this requires implementing the majority of the OHCI interface and typically requires that the stack is device aware, especially in the case of keyboards and mice since they need to be available to all systems. But the good part is, implementing a USB stack of this sort is actually easier than implementing a real USB stack. With the exception of keyboard and mouse, which could be implemented on a "different layer" of the USB stack, it would be mostly a matter of device ID mapping to separate machines. Shared devices would have to have a thicker emulation, but that's another problem.
      d) Virtualized hard disk. This is much much easier than it sounds. The virtual machine would run its' own guest which would contain an iSCSI targer/router. Then the virtual machines would simply use a virtualized iSCSI host controller with boot functionality to access the block devices.

Well, I can go on an describe the entire implementation, but for the most part, I can safely say that I have either implemented as proof of concept or properly designed each function necessary to implement an entire VM. I used the source of a well known commerical microkernel for the basic design, but gutted everything from it that wasn't needed. A fully functional virtual machine manager with initial support for real time extensions fit into a 700K footprint and contained virtual screen, network, input support, and VERY limited hard drive support.

If I actually wanted to make a career out of it, I would search for funding, but system-level coding is my hobby and I don't want it to take over my life.

My learnings from the experiment were :
    a) Virtual machine managers are no longer rocket science. Intel and AMD have taken the rocket science out of it.
    b) My implementation could easily fit in flash, and in known hardware configurations would easily replace the first level boot BIOS if a proper boot loader with made.
    c) Much higher guest performance can be achieved by removing the fat of the host OS.
    d) MUCH higher network and USB device performance can be easily achieved by replacing full protocol stacks with "layer II" stacks
    e) Building a VMM on top of an OS is 100 or 1000 times more complex than coding it as an OS replacement. It should be an option on every machine and shouldn't cost more than $5-$10 a copy.

I also did another test which proved incredibly fruitful for pushing along UEFI adoption, I made a UEFI boot loader for the VMM and tested it on QEMU implementation with EFI. Since the QEMU version I had installed did not handle VT completely, it didn't work too well, but for the most part, it proved that by shipping a VMM as the "boot loader" of the system. The legacy BIOS included with the VMM would make it possible to boot legacy operating systems, then when configuring a new VM guest, the user would be able to select their desired firmware type.

To summarize, I feel it nothing else, VMWare and Xen are just first generation crap that we have to live with until some guy in his/her garage takes the time to implement more than just the basics which I hacked into a design like this. VMWare and Xen are there for no other reason than to make us like virtualization. The real thing has yet to come. VMWare and the commercial version of Xen are far too expensive and in my opinion, far too heavy and wasteful. Companies line VMware are actually stealing money from companies and people by changing what they do for their VMs.

P.S. - I really wish Andrew Tanenbaum would take an active role in virtualization. While I am not his biggest fan, I believe he's played a bigger role in educating students in OS design than anyone else. If anyone reading this post knows him personally, please beat him senseless until designs a course on this topic.

Re:Virtualization is headed the wrong way! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21336057)

VMware ESX 3i is pretty much that. They have reduced the controlling part to a chip.

Re:Virtualization is headed the wrong way! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21342919)

Companies line VMware are actually stealing money from companies and people by changing what they do for their VMs.
Um, sorry, VMWare's software does a BIT more than just run a virtualized OS. If what VMWare provides is really so easy to implement yourself, go for it, show me the money.

Much higher guest performance can be achieved by removing the fat of the host OS.
So, our virtualization problems can be solved with... diet pills?

I don't think you fully understand the SW/HW virtualization solutions available today and where they're headed. You're exaggerating the problems with today's virtualization.

10% down? Sounds good. (1)

Katatsumuri (1137173) | more than 6 years ago | (#21336131)

Looks like a nice opportunity to buy some VMW stock.

A lot of customers want this (1)

ChrisA90278 (905188) | more than 6 years ago | (#21338559)

Why is Oracle getting into so many new markets? I think it adds value to some of their customers. The reason is service contracts. Many companies will not buy software unless they can also get service with it. What they don't like is having to buy 15 different service contracts and then watch the various vendors all say "The problem is in the other guy's stuff, ours works fine." These customers want a single point of contact for software problems and Ocracle wants to be that single point.

I used to work with older CDC mainframe equipment. It really was nice. There were full time CDC customer engineers always right there on site. I think Oracle and many others would like to be able to get back to providing this level of customer service.

Boo Oracle (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 6 years ago | (#21338729)

Aside from the trendy corporate bashing that happens when any billion dollar crackpot-led company is on the menu, I lost all faith in Oracle the day they deprecated the term "database" in favor of "application platform", and added a couple zeros to the price.

Oracle, much like Microsoft, has lost its purpose. They absorb, invade and cheapen every single area of computing with their predatory acquisitions. It used to be that Microsoft was an OS company, and Oracle was a DB company. Oh, and Google was a search engine company. The lines have since been blurred and they're all trying to take over whatever's profitable.

Eventually we might see Oracle Burgers and Microsoft Shawarma. Anybody up for some IBM Pizza ?
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