2.2 Key Features in Release 1.0.1

This section describes the key features offered in Release 1.0.1 of Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance X3-2.

Speed and Ease of Use

The Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance X3-2 is assembled, cabled and pre-installed at the factory, thus eliminating configuration errors and reducing setup time. Administrators are free to focus on transforming the IT infrastructure and delivering flexible services to respond to the organization's requirements. By leveraging the advantages of an integrated system, they save the time normally required for planning and configuring the infrastructure from scratch. Provisioning new applications into flexible virtualized environments, in a fraction of the time required for physical deployments, generates substantial financial benefits. Within approximately one hour after power-on, the appliance is ready to create virtual servers.

Automated Deployment

With the Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance, users only need to move the rack into place in the data center, connect power, network and management Ethernet cables, and power on the system. The controller software orchestrates the installation and configuration of the entire hardware and software environment. At the end of the provisioning process, the user enters the basic configuration properties of the data center environment in the Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance Dashboard, so that the controller software can prepare the appliance for integration with your existing infrastructure.

Compute capacity is extended by adding more compute nodes, one server at a time. The integration of expansion compute nodes is seamless: slide the server into the next available rack unit, connect the cables, and let the controller software discover the new hardware.

For a detailed description of provisioning and orchestration, refer to the section Provisioning and Orchestration in the Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance X3-2 Administrator's Guide.

Network Virtualization

High-performance, low-latency Oracle Fabric Interconnect with Oracle SDN, two products in the Oracle Virtual Networking family, allow automated configuration of the server and storage networks. Oracle SDN dynamically connects servers to networks and storage. It eliminates the physical storage and networking cards found in every server and replaces them with virtual network interface cards (vNICs) and virtual host bus adapters (vHBAs) that can be deployed on the fly. Applications and operating systems see these virtual resources exactly as they would see their physical counterparts. Oracle Virtual Networking simplifies complex data center deployments with a wire-once solution and simple software-defined network configurations.

Integrated Storage

Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance features a fully integrated, enterprise-grade Sun ZFS Storage Appliance 7320 for centrally storing the management environment as well as providing data storage for VMs. This storage subsystem is built using Oracle’s enterprise-class storage products and technology and is designed to be fully redundant for maximum fault tolerance and serviceability in production. In addition, each compute node offers extra disk space that can be used as local storage for the virtual infrastructure deployed on it.

The storage capacity of Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance can be expanded beyond the internal, included storage, to external data center racks containing more than one Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance or supported storage available from other storage vendors.

High Availability

The Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance X3-2 is designed for high availability at every level.

During the factory installation of Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance X3-2, the two management nodes are configured as a cluster. The cluster relies on an OCFS2 file system exported as a LUN from the ZFS storage to perform the heartbeat function and to store a lock file. The management node that has control over the lock file automatically becomes the master or active node in the cluster. The master management node is always available via the same virtual IP address, thus ensuring continuity of service up to the level of the Dashboard user interface. In case the active management node fails, the cluster detects the failure and the lock is released. Since the standby management node is constantly polling for control over the lock file, it detects when it has control of this file and brings up all the required Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance services. The management node failover process takes up to 5 minutes to complete.

In addition, all configuration databases are stored on the Sun ZFS Storage Appliance 7320, to which components have shared access. The risk of data loss or interruption of service is further reduced by redundant network hardware, clustered storage heads, and a RAID-Z disk configuration that tolerates media failure and automatically detects and corrects bit errors.

For more information about high availability, refer to the section High Availability in the Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance X3-2 Administrator's Guide.

Templates and Assemblies

Within a matter of hours, the system is ready and users can start adding VMs. These can be created from scratch, or deployed from ready-to-run Oracle VM templates and assemblies. As a result, Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance offers out-of-the-box support for thousands of Oracle and third-party applications. This way, complex Oracle software stacks can be rapidly deployed.

The ability to quickly and easily deploy applications to a highly scalable virtualized environment reduces time to market for the business, and allows IT to rapidly deploy and scale test, development, and staging environments. Oracle Virtual Assembly Builder can be used with Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance X3-2. More information about Oracle Virtual Assembly Builder is available at http://www.oracle.com/us/products/middleware/exalogic/virtual-assembly-builder/overview/index.html.

Operating System and Application Support

Support for many operating systems and your choice of storage protects your investment and provides easy deployment into your data centers. Getting applications to users requires a lot more than just hardware provisioning. End-users need their applications provisioned as well. Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance accelerates deployment of the full hardware-to-applications stack so you can get applications to users within hours of power-on, rather than days or weeks.

Oracle VM supports up to 128 vCPUs and a variety of guest OSs such as Oracle Linux, Oracle Solaris, and Microsoft Windows. Entire Oracle application stacks can be deployed in minutes to hours using Oracle VM templates and assemblies. By default, all Oracle software that has been certified for use with Oracle VM is certified for Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance, which includes the Oracle Database, Oracle Fusion Middleware, Oracle Applications, and Oracle Real Application Clusters.