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advice on virtualizing oracle servers

dougdog
dougdog asked
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Last Modified: 2015-01-12
we currently have 2 oracle servers running on physical hosts
each box has 16gig ram and 2x12 core cpus (24)
currently the load is not too much
we were thinking of virtualizing these servers for better redundancy etc
we are running vpshere 5.5 on 5 hosts
our hosts have 256gig ram each and 2 x 10 cores cpus (20)
my concerns are around performance and licensing
could i license just 2 hosts for oracle requiring 2 x 2 socket licenses which would be the same licensing costs i currently have
then run both my oracle servers on 1 host and if that host fails they use HA to come up on second host
would the fact that both oracle servers currently have a total of 48 cores be a problem if they were running on 1 esx host with 20 cores
also would i have to dedicate these 2 hosts only to oracle and not allow any other vms to run
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Author

Commented:
i only need to license 2 hosts as i will have drs rules in place that only allow the 2 virtual oracle servers to run on 2 named hosts
Top Expert 2015

Commented:
That assumption is not valid for Oracle. if in doubt talk with Oracle Sales Rep.
Isolated clusters will be OK, DRS rules in same cluster not.
Alex [***Alex140181***]Software Developer
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Please keep in mind that Oracle changed licensing considering VMware 5.1.

There are many hits, one's here:
https://communities.vmware.com/message/2433376
Alex [***Alex140181***]Software Developer
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if in doubt talk with Oracle Sales Rep.
Rather talk to an expert for/at LMS ;-)
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yes im running standard
my sales rep told me that as long as i had rules in place to only allow the oracle servers to run on 2 hosts that was all i had to license
also do i need to buy 2 dedicated hosts or can i run other non oracle servers onthe hosts

Author

Commented:
yes what Andrew has said sounds correct as thats what sales people told me
ok from a performance point of view where do i stand
do i eed to dedicate these hosts to oracle
or can i run other vms?
currently my 2 physical oracle servers have 24 cores each
and my esx host has 20
is the best practice to buy 2 dedicated hosts
Top Expert 2015

Commented:
You can run anything else on free memory on those hosts.
No need to buy anything new (provided existing oracle servers are ESXi compatible)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert PRO / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
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For your environment, with these heavy hitters, I would monitor performance.

You may not find you get the performance required when they are virtual, and return to physical!

Author

Commented:
if i were to buy to high spec hosts would i be ok
do i need to jusy monitor cpu and ram on the physical for a week or so

Author

Commented:
is virtualizing them maybe a bad idea?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert PRO / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
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RAM is RAM, whether physical or  virtual.

The problem is hypervised vCPU does not equal a physical core in the real world.

So your 24 physical cores at present on your physical box, may not equal 24 cores on a virtual box!

and when you consider the cost of licensing two HYPERVISOR licenses per HOST, just for two single VMs, the costs do not add up!

BUT, it depends on the reason of why virtuaslise!

Where is the current performance bottleneck ?

16GB of RAM, I've got 64GB in my desktop!

get some more RAM..... if processing is the bottleneck, this may require a change of server....

HA and Availbility, easily sorted with

Double Take HA!

Two physical servers, and Server 1 replicating to Server 2, in the event Server 1 fails, Server 2 takes over!

Simple....

Author

Commented:
i was told that if i license a host then i can run multiple oracle servers on it
so im thinking license 2 esxi hosts
this means it will be the same licesne cost as currently
the reasons are
everything virtualized
easily add storage when needed
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert PRO / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
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That very much depends on whether the performance is worse on a Host ESXi server.

Virtualisation is a Compromise!

You could argue, connect the physical servers to a SAN, that will allow the easy addition of storage!

Author

Commented:
is it correct that if a esx host is licesned that you can run multiple oracle servers on it
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert PRO / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
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With an ESXi host licensed or unlicensed, you can run as many virtual machines as the host has resources. e.g. CPU and Memory.

Author

Commented:
so the way forward would be
2 esx hosts in a cluster
both hosts have 2 x 10 core processors
license 1 of the hosts with 2 cpus as there are only 2 sockets
run both my oracle servers on it
in the event of a hardware failure i could migrate both oracle vms to the other hosts and use the 10 day rule
so my licesning would actually work out cheaper than paying for 2 physical servers running 2 cpus each
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert PRO / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
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That is correct.
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For standard edition, you can run as many virtual Oracle instances as you want as long as the hardware host is properly licensed.

If your load is not very high (as you say yourself) then you probably need not worry too much about virtual performance. Make sure you have plenty of RAM and don't oversubscribe on RAM or CPU. And a lot depends of course on the performance of your SAN.

At our company, we do run dedicated hardware to avoid discussions about virtual performance (and avoid discussions about the licensing), although this is strictly not necessary if vSphere is carefully configured.
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But even being correct it is a step backwards in terms of resilience as now you have single point of failure - the single host.

Author

Commented:
but with vmware then we just power up on another host (unlicensed we run for less than 10 days)
or we license 2 esx hosts
both esx hosts have 2 sockets so this will work out the same price we currently pay for our 2 physical servers with 2 sockets each
then we can have a rule that says to seperate both our virtual oracle servers

Author

Commented:
"At our company, we do run dedicated hardware to avoid discussions about virtual performance (and avoid discussions about the licensing), although this is strictly not necessary if vSphere is carefully configured2

Exactly right
if this was not dedicated oracle would get blamed for slowing down all other apps
and all other apps would get blamed for slowing down oracle
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Alex [***Alex140181***]Software Developer
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You could argue, connect the physical servers to a SAN, that will allow the easy addition of storage!
Caution here! Keyword is "Remote Mirroring" (regarding licensing)!

Totally agree with slightwv's last comment on Oracle's support position towards VMware based environments. In first instance, I'd go for "Hard Partitioning", second best would be "Soft Part.", but with a officially supported software.
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The supported/unsupported discussion is not as big a problem as it seems.

In the real world, Oracle will not refuse support if the bug is not performance related.  Too many companies run a virtual Oracle for Oracle to refuse support for non-performance issues.

If you have a performance issue, Oracle might ask you to reproduce the problem on a physical server. This does not mean that you need to migrate your entire environment to physical, you probably could simple reproduce the issue in a lab environment.
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Top Expert 2015

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And when you get back to vmware for Oracle support questions they refer to published best practices document - namely no AMM, no Cloudcontrol etc - more like oracle DB 9

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