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Follow up to VMware how-tos: Oracle

A reader wanted to know about VMware on Oracle. Expert Andrew Kutz searched high and low for a good answer, and ended up quoting a fellow IT-savant in his response.

I was reading Fast guide: VMware how-tos on SearchServerVirtualization.com.

My subject is certainly a hot topic, however only when one needs info on running Oracle DATABASE or doing Oracle development. There is a dearth of information about how to run Oracle Middleware, particularly Application Server (Oracle's java platform), on VMware under Linux, specifically RedHat Enterprise Linux.

We've had problems with this environment seriously under-performing compared to less-powered, real hardware to the point where we've had to temporarily abandon plans to move in this direction. I'd like to see exposes done of particular infrastructures. I understand there are myriad sets out there, but there are a few - as detailed above - which seem particularly worthy of focused discussion.

I tend to give this same answer over and over again when it comes to virtualizing applications that require large amounts of I/O. It may be possible to use Raw Device Mappings (RDM) to give the virtual Oracle servers raw access to physical disks in order to obtain better disk I/O.

You can read more about RDMs at VMware. In addition to this, I also consulted a friend of mine who is an Oracle DBA. A note -- I reveal not his name to withhold praise rightfully due to him but rather to spare him an abundance of e-mails. You can simply thank Impy. Here is his answer:

"I can't speak to the middleware applications, but I have tried running the VMware/Oracle10g/RedHat package that Oracle distributes on Oracle Tech Net and have to agree that performance was unworkably slow (on a P4 3.2GHz/1GB RAM).

For one thing, Oracle database is engineered to do everything in memory - - the typical paradigm being that disk is slow, so any work data is moved off of disk and into memory. I would guess there would be tons of paging to and from disk in a virtual environment.

On raw hardware, Oracle Database requires 512MB of RAM but much prefers 1 GB. I would think that virtualization necessarily affects that unless it is on super hardware. Beyond that, the DB is highly CPU-intensive, so the combination may just not work well under virtualization at the layer that VMware works. And to be certain, there are a lot of hits (though seemingly none with good answers) on googling 'vmware performance site:forums.oracle.com'."

Hope this helps!

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