In June Oracle released version 3.1.1 of the VDI solution inherited from Sun along with several other virtualization products.
At that time the company introduced support for Microsoft Hyper-V as back-end hypervisor but not yet support for its own hypervisor: Oracle VM.
Version 3.2, released yesterday, doesn’t change things: Oracle VM remains unsupported and the company continues to recommend its other virtualization platform, VirtualBox, as replacement.
Oracle believes so much that its type-2 (aka hosted) virtual machine monitor (VMM) can work for virtual desktop infrastructures that it’s bundling it with Oracle VDI.
Interestingly, the only version bundled is the 32bit one for Solaris 10.
It’s striking that, after more than one year since day Oracle moved to acquire Sun, and the release of Sun xVM VDI 3.0, there’s still no support for Oracle VM.
During a pre-briefing with virtualization.info, Oracle clarified that support for Oracle VM is coming but that VirtualBox is absolutely qualified for VDI, and in fact some customers are using it in production.
At this point there’s no doubt that Oracle is committed to become a relevant player in the virtualization space, but the company has to provide benchmarks and customer references to support its statement, so to understand critical details like the VirtualBox VMs / core ratio or the scalability limits.
Without them customers have no capability to understand if the product can fit their needs: excluding Red Hat and Virtual Bridges, both using KVM, in fact there’s no other virtualization vendor that is using a type-2 VMM for VDI in the market at the moment.
Even in Oracle VDI 3.2 the architecture remains open to 3rd party hypervisors and presentation virtualization platforms, including Microsoft Hyper-V and Remote Desktop Services (RDS) as well as VMware ESX.
Despite that, Oracle significantly limits its support when one of these 3rd party hypervisors is used.
As shown in the diagram below, all Linux guest operating systems are supported only when VirtualBox is used.
This may be not a big deal for most customers as most virtual machines run Windows, but it’s still true that if Oracle wants to compete with VMware and Citrix, it has to provide a similar feature set.
Nonetheless, Oracle VDI is progressing and this 3.2 release introduces a number of new interesting features, including:
- Memory over-commitment with Shared Memory and Memory Paging
The version of VirtualBox bundled with Oracle VDI 3.2 introduces memory ballooning (called Shared Memory) and memory de-duplication (called Memory Paging) over-commitment techniques.
- Support for Generic Desktop Providers
Oracle VDI Manager 3.2 can broker any virtual or physical desktop that has an RDP connection.
- Global hot-desking
Oracle VDI Centers across multiple geographically separated sites can be federated, allowing a user to access his remote desktop everywhere after a single initial authentication (available only with a global user directory infrastructure).
- Support for multi-company environment
Enable multiple user directories to be configured for one Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure environment. This feature provides privacy between multiple groups within the same Oracle VDI environment.
- Active/Active Clustering and iSCSI networking when used with Oracle OpenStorage
- Support for Auto-Logon and Rapidly Changing Area (RCA) Video Redirection (VRDP)