In case you haven’t seen, Oracle issued a major product support update last month – Platform Vendor Virtualization Technologies and Oracle E-Business Suite – Metalink Note 794016.1 (note that an Oracle support account is needed to view the update). The bottom line – Oracle now offers best effort support for all of its E-Business Suite applications on any x86 hypervisor. Shocked? Here’s a snippet of the support statement:
The use of platform vendors’ virtualization technologies (both software and hardware based) to host Oracle E-Business Suite 11i and R12 is covered by Oracle’s policy with regards to 3rd-party products – that is, they are ‘not explicitly certified, but supported’.
What this means is that while these technologies are not certified, Oracle will not turn away a customer reporting an issue solely due to the use of these technologies. When possible Oracle will triage and attempt to diagnose the issue reported – Oracle support may attempt to replicate the issue in a non-virtualized environment and work with the customer to verify if the problem exhibits in such an environment.
Any specific problem isolated to the virtualization software (i.e. a problem that cannot be reproduced in a standard, non-virtualized environment) will need to be referred to the specific vendor for resolution.
Customers should review all relevant Oracle documentation on the use of such virtualization technologies for known issues and limitations with respect to EBS technology components such as the database, RAC, etc.
Customers intending to use 3rd-party products covered under this policy in production environments should conduct appropriate levels of testing and also have contingency plans to revert to a standard certified configuration (that is, non-virtualized environment)…
So there you have it. Back in December I suggested that Oracle make two New Year’s resolutions:
- Offer best effort support for all major x86 server virtualization hypervisors
- Offer virtual CPU-based licensing for all of its server applications
The year isn’t even half way over, and Oracle can cross the first resolution off its list. Next up has to be software licensing. Oracle considers its own x86 hypervisor, Oracle VM (OVM), a platform capable of supporting hard partitioning (see the Oracle “Partitioning” document for more information). By its definition of “hard partitioning” Oracle allows virtual CPU-based licensing on OVM, but does not allow it on other popular x86 hypervisors such as VMware ESX, Microsoft Hyper-V, or Citrix XenServer. Oracle also allows virtual CPU-based licensing on Amazon EC2, which runs the open source Xen hypervisor (you can read more about that policy here). Updating the support policy was a great first step, and Oracle should be commended for responding to the needs of its customers.
Now how about knocking out New Year’s resolution #2 before the end of June? Oracle, I know you can do it. Your friends in the enterprise software space that offer CPU-based licensing, such as IBM and Microsoft, both allow licensing to virtual CPUs on any major hypervisor. Binding a license to a physical CPU is “so 2007.” Oracle, no doubt you’re in the middle of a major makeover, and acquiring Sun was a good move. I must say, with the Sun portfolio, I love your wardrobe. However, your licensing policy doesn’t reflect your new look or attitude. To stay with the wardrobe analogy, you’re wearing some great clothes, but you need to lose the mullet.
Oracle, let’s complete the makeover. Modernize your licensing policies and your body of actions will show that you are a company that is truly one with the times.
Note: Within two days of this post’s publication, Oracle made a massive revision to the support document “Platform Vendor Virtualization Technologies and Oracle E-Business Suite – Metalink Note 794016.1. Please see my latest post for the most up to date analysis of Oracle licensing and support.