2.5.2. Usage of Storage Elements

Whatever the Oracle VM Server configuration in your environment is, Oracle VM always requires a location to store environment resources that are essential to the creation and management of virtual machines. These resources include VM templates and assemblies, ISO files (virtual DVD images), VM configuration files and VM virtual disks. The location of such a group of resources is called a storage repository. You present a storage repository to the Oracle VM Servers that need access to those resources; typically all servers in a server pool.

Storage repositories can be configured on an NFS file system or on a physical disk (LUN) of a storage array. However, for storage repositories on physical disk, the servers with access to it must be members of a clustered server pool. For unclustered server pools only file server storage is available. For details about the use of storage repositories, see Section 4.8, “Preparing and Configuring Storage Repositories”.

Clustering adds another storage element to the environment: the server pool file system. During server pool creation, the server pool file system specified for the new server pool is accessed and formatted as an OCFS2 file system, whether the file system is accessed by the Oracle VM Servers as an NFS share, a FC LUN or iSCSI LUN. This formatting creates several management areas on the file system including a region for the global disk heartbeat. The server pool file system plays a key role in clustering and therefore in the high-availability configuration of the Oracle VM environment. For details about server pool clustering, see Section 6.2, “Server Pool Clusters”.

The storage element that is most tangible and visible to all users of Oracle VM is the virtual machine disk. A VM disk is either a disk image file in a storage repository or a raw physical disk. If a physical disk (LUN) is used, it is attached directly to the VM in the same way it would be to a physical machine. For details about virtual machine operation, see Chapter 7, Managing Virtual Machines. Again, the availability of VM disks in a storage location with shared access from all Oracle VM Servers in the server pool is essential for VM high-availability.