Server virtualization allows IT administrators to maximize the efficient use of server resources. However,a virtualization project should also focus on avoiding unintended consequences such as the creation of additional management processes that add complexity and inefficiency. The overall economic gain an organization can realize from a virtualization project depends a great deal on the way virtualized servers are deployed.
As a specific case in point, Evaluator Group studied the creation and use of virtualized server templates as an administrative process for server deployments in an Oracle RAC environment—a process that can be surprisingly complex if done manually within any database environment.
This study was done in two ways:
1. Evaluator Group conducted an independent lab1 comparison of template creation methods in an Oracle database application environment. We first built templates “from scratch” and deployed virtualized servers for Oracle RAC under VMware while tracking the time consumed for each step in the process. We then repeated the same process of deploying virtualized Oracle RAC servers, but in this second iteration we used Oracle Virtual Machine (Oracle VM) and the templates that are included with Oracle VM to create clones of virtual machines. Again, we tracked the time consumed for each step in this process.
2. We also interviewed an Oracle systems administrator as a basis for additional comparison of building templates in a production environment. For this customer, templates were a “game changer” because of an ability to deploy database and business intelligence services up to twenty times faster for their customers.
Evaluator Group conducted this study of both methods to compare the two on the basis of management complexity, risk resulting from administrative error, and overall time consumed. We first present the results of this study where we found that we could build Oracle RAC templates five times faster in the lab vs. building them “from scratch” In a VMware environment. We then use the results to compare the economic impact of using Oracle VM-based template creation on enterprise IT administrative processes as well as overall business impact vs. doing the same thing in a VMware environment. We also compared our results with the “real world” experience of an Oracle VM customer and equate that customer’s experience to economic impact.