“Own the complete technology stack and you own the world.” If you follow Oracle at all, you know (or at least strongly suspect) that this philosophy of complete technology domination pervades its thinking.
Whether these allegations about Oracle are true or not are another story but they make for good conversation, especially when one looks at Oracle VM. After all, Oracle owns the applications, provides a great backend database for those applications, and gives away a virtualized environment to run them on. But is Oracle, with the addition of Oracle VM, ready to own the virtual enterprise data center from top to bottom?
Our initial reaction after reading though some of the Oracle documentation set for Oracle VM is, “No, it is not, at least as a standalone solution.” This is based on the fact that there are definite holes in Oracle VM’s ability to provide data protection and high availability for the enterprise.
Oracle VM’s native high availability features only allow for the failover of a virtual server by configuring a shared storage pool beneath multiple virtual servers. The problem here is that while it works for server failovers, its high availability only enables data mobility at the server level and does not account for any data corruption or data loss. In essence, storage virtualization is non-existent for a virtualized server environment. No data protection, no support for replication or snapshots – not even support for crash consistent or non-quiesced snapshots.
But no more!
Just recently, Oracle called upon FalconStor to provide data protection for the Oracle VM platform. By integrating FalconStor’s storage virtualization and data replication solutions for virtual servers, Oracle VM can now bring a high level of data protection, recoverability, and continuous availability and work within customer’s environments regardless of the underlying storage infrastructure. Specifically, FalconStor recently announced Oracle VM solutions that integrate seamlessly with Oracle VM on two levels:
- FalconStor Application Snapshot Director. The FalconStor Application Snapshot Director sits directly on and has been integrated with the Oracle VM hypervisor. FalconStor Application Snapshot Director communicates with FalconStor’s NSS or CDP resources and with the application snapshot agents on the individual Oracle VMs that coordinates snapshot efforts between multiple machines while maintaining the consistency of the whole stack. These agents quiesce the O/S and application and prompts the virtual machine that could still have writes residing in its memory to commit those writes to disk.
FalconStor Application Snapshot Director provides full visibility into the virtualized environment so it can take a consistent snapshot of this collection of virtual machines and deliver a full breadth of snapshot and replication capabilities. Used in this capacity, companies can take snapshots and recover individual Oracle VMs without going through typical crash recovery modes to correct any non-written or non-committed writes on that LUN.
- Integration with Oracle’s Secure Backup. HyperTrac is a utility that FalconStor provides to its clients to coordinate backups operations between VMware vCenter Server, the FalconStor NSS and backup software. In this update, HyperTrac integrates with Oracle Secure Backup, communicates with the Oracle VM and integrates with Oracle Secure Backup to automate the scheduling of the taking of snapshots and then mount the snapshots onto the backup server where the backup is completed.
Once mounted on the Oracle Secure Backup server, it can do file level backups of that virtual machine to any disk target and then deduplicate the data. The primary benefit this provides is that now all backup processes are completely offloaded from the production environment with zero impact to backup and recovery.
Many companies have a desire to standardize on one technology stack from top to bottom, and Oracle is certainly making its case that it is looking to deliver just such a configuration. But such holistic solutions tend to have a few holes in them that can only be solved by third party products.
Oracle is no different as the native data protection offerings for Oracle VM are still a challenge. The good news is that Oracle and FalconStor have effectively collaborated to address this challenge in Oracle VM environments. By FalconStor integrating and adapting its virtualization and data protection technology with Oracle VM, organizations can put in place a more comprehensive data protection solution for Oracle environments that supports the virtualized top-to-bottom technology stack that they are looking to build.