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New VM Templates Leave Oracle's Drawing Board

If setting up and implementing Oracle environments makes your database administrators break out in a sweat, help may be at hand.

Yesterday the company announced its VM Templates suite, which combines Oracle's Database 11G, Enterprise Manager 10g, Siebel CRM 8 and Enterprise Linux. All of the apps come preinstalled and preconfigured.

Database administrators just copy the templates to the Oracle VM hypervisor sitting on a physical server, and, within minutes, they will have a production environment ready to go, according to Oracle.

"It's a really easy way to deploy a fully configured Oracle software stack," Rachel Chalmers, an analyst at 451 Group, told InternetNews.com. "They say you can have a full Oracle environment in minutes."

However, that doesn't mean things will go smoothly for Oracle. "One of Oracle's problems is, it's seen as a fairly aggressive software license vendor, and there's a fear of vendor lock-in," Chalmers said.

Also, Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL), which offers its virtual machine free on its Web site, faces competition from other free virtual machines. "There's no reason why customers would take its virtual machine for free when they can get virtual machines from Citrix or Xen," she said.

"For open source adepts, it's not a challenge to build the Oracle software stack with Xen," Chalmers added. Xen is an open source hypervisor Oracle uses in its VM apps.

If a corporation doesn't want to go the open software route for its virtualized database, it can opt for hypervisors from VMware or Parallels.

Slip-sliding away

Alternative hypervisors may stymie Oracle's bid to expand its market. "While Oracle may be able to push its VM Templates into its installed customer base, it has a real challenge with people who aren't its customers," because they may opt for hypervisors from other sources, Chalmers explained.

Market acceptance of the VM Templates may also be slow among Oracle customers, because, "if you run the Oracle database virtually on the same platform that you did physically, you'll see a performance hit," Chalmers said, adding that users concerned with database performance prefer not to run a virtual environment.

If, however, an enterprise does want to move its database into the virtual environment, it might select the Virtuozzo hypervisor from Parallels, which, according to Chalmers, is known to be good for database compilation.

More Oracle VM Templates for both Oracle software and applications from other vendors, is in the pipeline, Oracle said.