Members of the Wikibon community report five important factors related to virtualizing Oracle-based applications:
- Virtualizing Oracle delivers business value similar to other application environments and dramatically reduces operational expense;
- Despite early signals to the contrary, Oracle's support of non-Oracle hypervisors has been stellar;
- Adoption of virtualization is increasing generally within Oracle shops and specifically is on the rise for production systems;
- VMware is the dominant hypervisor within Oracle environments;
- Oracle practitioners expect virtualization adoption to continue at a steady pace.
In May 2011, Wikibon advised IT executives to ”Damn the Torpedoes: Virtualize Oracle as Fast as Possible”. Earlier this year (2013) we advised Wikibon members that virtualization of Oracle had evolved to best practice for production systems. Wikibon showed that in addition to the infrastructure integration benefits of virtualization, direct savings resulted from reducing or redeploying the number of Oracle licenses could be achieved by spending more on servers with larger DRAM and using storage arrays with increased amounts of flash.
Wikibon concluded that best practice was to develop a private “Oracle-as-a-Service” (OaaS) approach for Tier-1 databases. These databases should be consolidated and virtualized on best-of-breed server & storage infrastructure, and a range of performance and availability options should be developed within OaaS to meet the requirements of the business. Lower availability and lower cost solutions might utilize the virtualized recovery systems of (say) VMware, and applications mandating the very highest recoverability and availability could utilize Oracle RAC and Oracle GoldenGate.
In the past three years, Wikibon has met with dozens of Oracle practitioners to discuss technology adoption trends, cost savings and negotiation tactics and long term plans. In addition, we have recently conducted surveys on virtualization and backup within Oracle shops. Based on these data points, Wikibon has been able to determine the level of virtualization for important production database applications compared with the general level of virtualization in the marketplace. The results of our 2013 surveys are shown in Figure 1 demonstrate that:
- For Tier-1 Production Database Applications (i.e. Oracle & IBM DB2):
- The percentage virtualization of Tier-1 Production DB applications is 55% in 2013.
- From the surveys and other data, Wikibon projects that virtualization of Tier-1 DB applications will be 75% in 2016.
- General Server Virtualization:
- The percentage of virtualization of general x86 servers is 69% in 2013.
- From the surveys and other data, Wikibon projects that virtualization of general x86 servers will be 84% in 2016.
In our 2013 survey of 172 practitioners regarding multi-hypervisor intentions, respondents were asked the number of servers that would be virtualized in the next 12-24 months. Wikibon believes that the respondent level of virtualization was accurate, but based on direct conversations with practitioners, we feel the respondent timescale was overly-optimistic. As a result, Wikibon has extended the projection to 2016. Figure 1 provides our most current estimates of virtualization within Oracle environments as compared to the general market.
Notably, respondents in one of our surveys were asked the question: “What application/workload would you NOT consider virtualizing regardless of hypervisor?” Of those answering the question, less than 20% identified databases as a workload that should not be virtualized. This is significantly lower than interviews done by Wikibon over the past two years. We believe that the maturity of hypervisors generally and VMware specifically, and Oracle's excellent support of non-Oracle hypervisors, have lead to greater adoption than many practitioners predicted 24 months ago. Moreover, while some performance concerns remain regarding virtualization, we believe the availability of high-performance flash-only or flash-enhanced storage will eliminate IO and performance bottlenecks as an issue in most installations by 2016.