At House of Brick, these are the reasons we typically discuss with our clients considering a tier-1 virtualization project. We say that any one of these would be sufficient reason to proceed, but most organizations get them all.
- Cost Reduction — This comes in the form of both CapEx reductions from hardware and hardware-based software licensing, and OpEx reductions from improved manageability, shorter development cycles, improved QA, etc.
- Near 100% Reliable Disaster Recoverability — Historical recovery from a DR image has been dicey at best. VMware provides a near 100% recoverability by encapsulating the application, settings, operating system, and all patches inside the VM without the need for manual synchronization of systems. That recovered VM can go on any appropriate hardware.
- Product Release Cycle Optimization — Full clones at the push of a button for QA/UAT testing without using application vendor cloning tools; Isolated test environments; Quick server provisioning; Improved development server management, etc.
- High Availability (HA) — VMware HA and RAC working side-by-side for optimal availability; Use VMware HA only for SLA’s of 5 to 10 minutes at a fraction of the cost of Oracle RAC.
- .Oracle (or other hardware-based) License Optimization — Load up the hardware with more Oracle workloads without paying for more licenses; comingle pre-production and production workloads on the same servers with performance isolation; use SRM and array-based replication to maintain recoverable DR copies in remote data centers without licensing the standby servers (until and unless they are needed).
- Production Error Capture — When there is a production problem, create a snapshot (after a brief down) to capture the reproducible error state. That production capture can then be triaged and diagnosed in a safe environment.
- Security Considerations — Complete isolation between systems on the same host; smaller attack target footprint; processor-based VM security assist, VMKernel hardware isolation; randomization of executable locations; Dynamic Binary Translation; zero-based memory; storage isolation between VM’s that prevents wide-scale data corruption; virtual switches less vulnerable to MAC spoofing, random frame, and other types of attacks; etc.
Action Item: The reasons for virtualizing Tier-1 workloads are more rich and complex than those for virtualizing less critical systems. Evaluate these reasons to see if your organization could benefit from an Oracle or other Tier-1 virtualization strategy.