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Disadvantages running Oracle db in a VM?

Posted on 2009-07-14
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Last Modified: 2013-12-19
I am aware there have been some questions like this in the past, e.g.:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Microsoft/Development/MS-SQL-Server/SQL-Server-2005/Q_23568579.html?sfQueryTermInfo=1+databas+physic+server+vm
I am wondering with the latest VMWare softwares such as VMWare Infrastructure 3, has this been resolved or should I stick to running a database on a physical server box?
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Question by:OziTim
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Mark Geerlings earned 250 total points
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Virtualized servers are always slower than the same server O/S running directly on the hardware unvirtualized.  How much slower?  That varies.  With the first versions of VMware some years ago it was often about 15%.  The newer version of VMware may be a bit better.  Parallels (formerly: Virtuozzo) which does virtualization at the O/S level instead of at the hardware level claims only about a 2% performance penalty.  One other thing to watch out for with virtual servers, especially if multiple virtual machines are on the same physical server is I/O capacity.  Oracle databases except test and development databases, tend to use most of the I/O capacity of the server and/or storage system.  If you now virtualize the server and have multiple virtual servers sharing a single physical server and/or storage system, you may find that I/O resources are a constraint.
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by:OziTim
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markgeer, I have heard that VMWare ESX makes use of the resources more directly so I/O speeds are not so much affected, is that true?
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by:Mark Geerlings
Mark Geerlings earned 250 total points
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I don't know.  I haven't tested Oracle with ESX .  I do know of a local business here that recently migrated their older Oracle9 system from an older physical server to a new Oracle10 database running in a virtual machine on a new (and much faster) physical server, and they are very happy with the performance of their Oracle10 / ESX combination.  Maybe they would have been even happier if their new Oracle10 server was running as a physical machine, but they are satisfied with how it performs as a virtual machine on ESX.

We don't know anything about your current Oracle database, your application or your current server hardware.  So, we don't know if the system is well-designed or not, or if there is lots of row-chaining, fragmented free space, etc. or if users are happy with performance now or not.  Also, if you are considering moving your database to another server, whether you do a simple migrate (by copying the data files) or an upgrade to a newer version of Oracle or a complete export and import, can have a very different impact on the performance of the new server.  A migrate or upgrade is easier and requires less downtime.  But, depending on how the application uses the database, a full Oracle export and a full import could give you a *VERY* significant performance boost, or none at all.
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