Hard Partitioning and Virtualization with Oracle Virtual Machine. An approach toward cost saving with Oracle Database licenses

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1 Hard Partitioning and Virtualization with Oracle Virtual Machine An approach toward cost saving with Oracle Database licenses JANUARY 2013

2 Contents Introduction... 2 Hard Partitioning Concepts... 2 Oracle Support of Virtualized Servers... 3 Oracle VM vs. VMware Comparison... 4 Hard Partitioning with Oracle VM Server for x Oracle Real Application Cluster on Oracle VM Server for x What is RAC?... 6 Cost Advantages... 7 Solution #1 Active-Passive Cluster Using VMware... 8 Conceptual Architecture... 8 Cost Analysis... 9 Solution #2 RAC Cluster with VMware Conceptual Architecture Cost Analysis Solution #3 RAC Cluster with OVM Conceptual Architecture Cost Analysis Summary Contact Dewpoint Today Dewpoint making technology work 1

3 Introduction Virtualization has become the normal method of deploying server workloads in today s data center. This technology has become so pervasive that it is rare to find a data center that is not virtualized at the web and application tier. However, there are two types of environments that have not made widespread use of virtualization technology: Tier 1 applications and database servers. While Oracle supports virtualization of its database, its support of these configurations is somewhat limited on any virtualization platform that relies on the operating system to perform the resource management. This soft partitioning concept allows a very flexible approach toward resource management that can ultimately impact the overall database licensing for a particular server. To account for this flexibility Oracle requires that a server be licensed in its entirety for the database, even if only a small percentage of that server is allocated to a virtual machine running the database. However, organizations are requiring that server resources be more leveraged to spread out the cost of that server over multiple applications, thereby lowering the total cost of ownership of the application or project. In order to provide companies with the ability to use their assets in a more efficient manner while maintaining the integrity of its licensing, Oracle has implemented a hard partitioning concept within its virtualization software. This white paper addresses the advantages and disadvantages of utilizing hard partitioning to control database licensing costs, thereby lowering the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the database environment. Hard Partitioning Concepts Hard partitioning is not a new concept. It was originally implemented in IBM mainframe technology 1 and is used to physically segment a server into several smaller servers with dedicated resources assigned to each of the segmented servers. Technologies from IBM, HP, Oracle and Fujitsu exist that perform hard partitioning on each of their Unix servers. The implementation of this technology provides the ability of the system administrator to dedicate specific compute resources to a virtual machine running on that physical server. This hard partitioning concept has been very prevalent in the big iron Unix servers and has now been implemented in servers that adhere to a much smaller form factor. Even in the smaller Unix server form factors, the implementation of hard partitioning is dependent on purchasing a server from a specific hardware vendor. For example, LDOMs and Dynamic System Domains are Solaris implementations unique to servers created by Oracle. Likewise, Integrity VM, VPAR, npar and Secure Resource Partitions 1 Dewpoint making technology work 2

4 (capped only) are implementations unique to HP-UX and HP hardware. IBM and AIX have LPAR and Micro-Partitions. Since commodity hardware continues to become more important in today s data centers, a method of virtualizing database servers that controls licensing costs is very much needed. Oracle Virtual Machine provides a solution that will allow organizations to take advantage of virtualizing the Oracle database while controlling licensing costs. Oracle Support of Virtualized Servers VMware is the unquestioned market leader in server virtualization. VMware vsphere is a robust virtualization platform that provides an extensive feature set that may or may not be utilized by an IT organization. Some customers question the cost benefit associated with this product, but overall it continues to be the primary virtualization platform in the market. One area where VMware has not gained significant adoption is with the Oracle database. The lack of traction for the database environment is related to a perceived lack of support by Oracle running its database on VMware. In November 2010, Oracle published a formal policy in MyOracleSupport Document ID# In summary, this policy states that while Oracle does not certify its products to run in a VMware environment, they will assist customers running in a VMware environment with issues that are either known to occur in the native OS, or can be demonstrated not to be the result of running on VMware. 2 Oracle VM server for x86 is an enterprise class server virtualization solution that reflects Oracle s commitment to enabling Oracle products to be integrated into a cohesive stack. Oracle VM is built on a concept of Application Driven Virtualization and is designed to make the entire hardware and software stack easier to deploy, manage and support. This entire concept is business focused, enabling IT to be more agile to the business. Oracle VM Server for x86 is the only x86 server virtualization solution fully certified by Oracle to run the Oracle Database and other Oracle applications. 2 MyOracleSupport Note Dewpoint making technology work 3

5 Oracle VM vs. VMware Comparison The following table illustrates how Oracle VM for x86 compares favorably to VMware in terms of features. 3 Reason Oracle VMware Application-Driven Oracle offers a complete applications-to-disk stack, and virtualization is fully integrated across all layers Oracle's virtualization solutions are aware of what's running inside the virtual machine and can provision and manage applications, middleware, and databases VMware's virtualization/ hypervisor has no awareness of the database, middleware, or the applications running inside of it Lower Cost Scalability Integrated Management Accelerating Application Deployment Unlike VMware, Oracle VM is free to download, use, and distribute Affordable support fees Simple licensing Oracle VM 3.0 is 4 times more scalable than VMware with support for 128 vcpus per guest VM Full stack management Manages the hypervisor, physical server, and the applications running in it Oracle VM Templates offer pre-installed, pre-configured virtual machines of enterprise software including CRM, ERP, clustering, and management, enabling you to deploy in minutes and hours as opposed to days and weeks Oracle Virtual Assembly Builder makes it easier to package multi-tier applications and then deploy them with the click of a button Best practices for accelerating deployment of complete virtual infrastructure via Oracle VM Reference Configurations High cost of ownership Very high license, support, and management costs Complex licensing VMware vsphere 5 only supports 32 vcpus per guest VM Multiple vendor tools needed for managing the hypervisor and what s running inside it Virtual appliances are via a community marketplace, not vendor supported 3 Dewpoint making technology work 4

6 Oracle VM vs. VMware Comparison Continued from previous page Reason Oracle VMware High Availability Oracle offers high availability for the entire stack not just the hypervisor level Oracle views clustering and virtualization as complementary technologies Oracle VM customers can achieve additional high availability from using Oracle Clusterware and Oracle Real Application Clusters (Oracle RAC) High availability is only at the hypervisor level; VMware is completely unaware of application crashes Architected for Efficiency Integrated Support Virtualization Built into the System Comprehensive Platform Support Architected for low overhead when moving from physical to virtual servers Aggressive testing with real Oracle Database and application workloads Oracle has a single engineering team for Linux and Oracle VM, leading to better optimization between Xen and Linux One call to Oracle; no finger pointing at another vendor Full stack is certified and supported Faster time to resolution In addition to Oracle VM, Oracle offers virtualization built into its hardware and the Oracle Solaris operating system Oracle Solaris Containers and Oracle VM for SPARC allows multiple applications to be run on a single system Dynamic Domains are included in SPARC Enterprise M- Series servers, enabling greater hardware utilization and providing a high level of isolation from other domains Oracle VM is available for both x86 and SPARC architectures Architecture is prone to inefficiency Need to deal with numerous vendors for the complete stack and management Only offers x86 virtualization Only x86 platform is supported Dewpoint making technology work 5

7 Hard Partitioning with Oracle VM Server for x86 While Oracle has clarified its support policy and will, for the most part, support customers running the Oracle database on VMware, it does not recognize VMware s partitioning as a valid method of controlling licensing costs. Oracle s VM server for x86 is specifically recognized by Oracle as a valid hard partitioning virtualization server that allows for licensing, a subset of CPU s known as sub-capacity licensing. Oracle has published a white paper entitled, Hard Partitioning with Oracle VM Server for x86 4 that describes the specific approach an implementer must follow to take advantage of Oracle s sub-cpu licensing scenario. While a full description of this approach is beyond the scope of this paper, a summary, including limitations, are provided below. Oracle VM Server for x86 utilizes CPU pinning to bind Virtual CPUs (vcpus) to physical CPUs. This prevents the vcpus from running workloads on physical CPUs other than the ones specified. Utilizing the hard partitioning features of Oracle VM Server for x86 does limit some of the functionality that can be utilized on these pinned CPUs. Specifically, live migrations are prohibited and therefore Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) and Distributed Power Management (DPM) cannot be utilized for server pools containing pinned CPUs. Oracle Real Application Cluster on Oracle VM Server for x86 A key criterion in today s business-centric IT environment is a highly available and scalable database environment. Oracle provides two different kinds of high availability mechanisms in an Oracle virtual environment. Oracle VM High Availability is an implementation that is external to the database, while Oracle Clusterware (used for Oracle RAC) is an implementation that is internal to the database. Oracle overcomes the limitations inherent with server virtualization by clustering the database using Oracle Real Application Cluster (RAC) and underlying technology such as Oracle Clusterware and Oracle Automatic Storage Management (ASM). This combination of products running on a platform that is using Oracle VM Server for x86 provides customers with a highly available and scalable architecture that leverages all of the advantages of virtualization that is fully certified to work with the Oracle Database. When properly configured, this architecture can also take advantage of hard partitioning. What is RAC? 5 A RAC database is a clustered database implemented on a series of independent servers architected to work as a single system. A clustered database differs from a single instance database in a way that the database can be accessed by multiple instances concurrently. Each instance runs on a separate server in a cluster formed by Oracle Clusterware. When additional resources are required, additional nodes and 4 Hard Partitioning with Oracle VM Server for x86, an Oracle White Paper, June Oracle Real Application Clusters in Oracle VM Environments,An Oracle Technical White Paper March 2012 Dewpoint making technology work 6

8 instances can easily be added to the cluster with no downtime. Once a new instance has been started, applications using services can immediately take advantage of it with no changes to the application or application server. Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC) One Node is a new option to the Oracle Database 11g Release 2 Enterprise Edition. It improves upon many of the benefits of server virtualization and extends them to databases running in physical server environments. It allows customers to virtualize database storage, standardize their database environment and if required upgrade to a full RAC implementation without downtime. RAC One Node is fully compatible with Oracle VM Server, allowing customers to architect environments that leverage the strengths of both RAC and server virtualization. There are several reasons customers will want to run an Oracle RAC database in an Oracle VM environment - one of the most important being the ability to use sub-capacity licensing. Other reasons include consolidating workloads on under utilized servers, creating virtual clusters for test and development, and rapidly provisioning new database instances. Cost Advantages Oracle s favorable database licensing constraints combined with Oracle VM Server for x86, and a very low cost for the hypervisor itself, in many instances Oracle delivers more value to customers than VMware. To illustrate the cost advantages of an Oracle HA configuration compared to a standard VMware configuration, the following scenario is presented: Two database instances need to be clustered for high availability; the level of high availability is to be presented to the customer in the solutions For high availability, the CPU utilization for the Oracle database instances should be less than 50%; if a failure does occur, the database performance will not be impacted The database instances are sized as follows (including required capacity for failover): o Instance #1 4 cores o Instance #2 2 cores Hardware needs to be purchased to allow for an increase of 50% at the 24 month mark Additional capacity shall also be provided to allow for unexpected growth Present a Total Cost of Ownership (direct costs only) for each solution In order to solve this scenario three solutions are presented for consideration: Active Passive cluster using VMware RAC cluster using VMware RAC cluster using OVM Dewpoint making technology work 7

9 Solution #1 Active-Passive Cluster Using VMware Conceptual Architecture The diagram below depicts a conceptual perspective of a VMware cluster that will solve the business scenario addressed above through an active-passive cluster. In this solution two Sun Server X3-2s were purchased and built in a dedicated database cluster using VMware and Oracle Enterprise Linux as the underlying operating systems/cluster solution. To properly account for a failover condition, each server was sized with 16 cores to provide the required capacity for the database workload, planned growth and unplanned growth. See next page for Cost Analysis Dewpoint making technology work 8

10 Cost Analysis Oracle s licensing scenario requires that all cores in the solution be licensed regardless of the capacity requirements of the underlying database. Combining the Oracle DB licensing requirements with the cost of VMware results in a 3 year Total Cost of Ownership of $1.32M. VMware Cluster Solution Server Cost Data Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Total Cost Servers each $11,350 $- $- $- Quantity 2 $- $- $- Capital Server Cost $22,700 $- $- $22,700 Annual Server Maintenance Cost $2,724 $2,724 $2,724 $8,172 Vmware Licensing $13,980 $- $- $13,980 Vmware support $3,336 $6,672 $6,672 $16,680 Linux Support Included Included Included $- OVM Licensing N/A N/A N/A OVM Support N/A N/A N/A DB Cores Total 32 DB Cores Licenses purchased 32 Core Factor 0.5 Oracle DB Licensing $760,000 $- $- $760,000 RAC Licensing $- $- $- $- Oracle Support $167,200 $167,200 $167,200 $501,600 Total 3 year TCO $1,323,132 Dewpoint making technology work 9

11 Solution #2 RAC Cluster with VMware Conceptual Architecture This solution builds on Solution #1 by implementing a true active-active database cluster using RAC. In this scenario VMware is allowed to manage the application virtual machines fail-over using its native failover mechanisms.. See next page for Cost Analysis Dewpoint making technology work 10

12 Cost Analysis The costs associated with this solution incrementally add the RAC licenses to the costs specified in Solution #1. Since VMware is still handling the failover of the applications, an additional application specific server is not required. VMware RAC Cluster Solution Server Cost Data Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Total Cost Servers each $11,350 $- $- $- Quantity 2 $- $- $- Capital Server Cost $22,700 $- $- $22,700 Annual Server Maintenance Cost $2,724 $2,724 $2,724 $8,172 Vmware Licensing $13,980 $- $- $13,980 Vmware support $3,336 $6,672 $6,672 $16,680 Linux Support Included Included Included $- OVM Licensing N/A N/A N/A OVM Support N/A N/A N/A DB Cores Total 32 DB Cores Licenses purchased 32 Core Factor 0.5 Oracle DB Licensing $760,000 $- $- $760,000 RAC Licensing $368,000 $- $- $368,000 Oracle Support $248,160 $248,160 $248,160 $744,480 Total 3 year TCO $1,934,012 Dewpoint making technology work 11

13 Solution #3 RAC Cluster with OVM Conceptual Architecture The diagram below depicts a conceptual perspective of an Oracle RAC Cluster with OVM that will solve the business scenario addressed above through an active-active cluster. In this solution, two Sun Server X3-2s were purchased and built in a database cluster using Oracle RAC, Enterprise Linux and Oracle Virtual Machine as the underlying operating systems/cluster solution. In order to properly account for a failover condition, each server was sized with 16 cores to provide the required capacity for the database workload, planned growth and unplanned growth. Since hard partitioning is deployed, Dynamic Resource Scheduler and Distributed Power Management cannot be utilized for server pool Distributed Power Management (DPM). Therefore, an additional OVM Server pool would need to be added specifically for the application failover. Dewpoint making technology work 12

14 Cost Analysis Oracle s licensing scenario allows for hard partitioning of a server to limit the cores that are needed for the database workloads. Since the RAC licenses need to match the database licenses, the customer also gains the cost effects of hard partitioning with RAC. To ensure that the comparison between a VMware and OVM-based active-active clusters was consistent, an additional server pool was added to confirm that DRS and DPM were available to support application failover. RAC Cluster Solution with OVM Server Cost Data Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Total Servers each $11,350 $- $- $- Quantity 4 $- $- $- Capital Server Cost $45,400 $- $- $45,400 Annual Server Maintenance Cost $5,448 $5,448 $5,448 $16,344 VMware Licensing N/A N/A N/A VMware support N/A N/A N/A Linux Support Included Included Included OVM Licensing Included Included Included OVM Support Included Included Included DB Cores Total 32 DB Cores Licensed 12 6 Core Factor Oracle DB Licensing $285,000 $- $142,500 $427,500 RAC Licensing $138,000 $- $69,000 $207,000 Oracle Support $93,060 $93, $139,590 $325,710 Total 3 year TCO $1,021,954 Dewpoint making technology work 13

15 Summary Server virtualization is a mainstream method for deploying many applications in an enterprise. Tier 1 applications, which often include the Oracle database, have been the last holdout. With Oracle VM Server for x86, Oracle has created a solution that is engineered specifically to work with Oracle products, including the database. Oracle Virtualization Machine is a robust virtualization solution that provides features similar to VMware, but has been engineered to be application aware. This application aware concept provides Oracle virtual machines with visibility into what is running inside the virtual machine and can provision and manage applications, middleware, and databases. OVM unlike VMware is free to download and use, resulting in an overall lower cost. One of OVM s more valuable features is its ability to implement hard partitioning in such a way that supports Oracle s sub-capacity licensing requirements. Combining OVM with Oracle RAC for a database cluster can have a dramatic positive impact on a database environment s overall Total Cost of Ownership. The table below provides a summary of the TCO for the 3 solutions: Solution # Description Database Clustering 3 year TCO 1 VMware Cluster Active-Passive $1,323,132 2 VMware with RAC Active-Active $1,934,012 3 OVM with RAC Active-Active $1,036,342 In summary, Dewpoint understands that Oracle database licensing is a complicated and costly part of an overall IT infrastructure. In order to limit costs while providing a highly available database environment, the proper implementation of OVM with RAC can provide a significant cost savings over a three-year period. Dewpoint also understands that each company s environment is different and unique. Therefore, we have developed a process and proprietary application to that uses Total Cost of Ownership to help customers understand the true costs associated with their database environment and to create solutions that will allow them to limit that cost. Contact Dewpoint Today For more information and to begin investigating how your company can take advantage of these technologies to reduce costs and improve efficiencies DEWPOINT Dewpoint making technology work 14

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