Oracle VM 3.0 – new features

Overview of the first few new things I found in the Oracle VM 3.0.1 dom0 install.

  • Kernel version bumped to 2.6.32
  • Xen version 4.0.1
  • 170 MB compressed iso
  • disk usage 588MB
  • Installer supports Vlan tagging for management interface (802.1q)
  • fancy (and useful!) status screen upon boot – no need to jump into submenus to find important info
  • xl tmem-set commands are available (boot with xen option “tmem”)
  • multipath enabled per default (including a config for quite new stuff like Fujtisu Eternus)
  • Infiniband support is loaded, Kernel modules for stuff like RDMA are loaded!
  • Infiniband userpace stuff seems to need installation
  • libvirtd is still disabled per default*
  • ksplice seems to be not yet in (for instantenous dom0 kernel updates) – but of course with live migration this is not highly important.
* (thank god. But I’ll check out if it’s possible to make it work with virt-manager and OpenNebula when I get bored enough for it. virt-manager is nice because it auto-reconnects VNC if you reboot a VM, and OpenNebula is the really Open Cloud Stack. As opposed to the thing that is funded with millions from marketing budgets to make sure all goes the way a few big vendors need it.)
There is an official Installation guide at
I didn’t read that yet, also I didn’t yet see the changes to the OVM manager, can’t test that right now. I’ll something with more Oomph than my laptop to do that.
The installation guide would surely cover things as if linux mpath is still the right option for a san boot install

On the download site you’ll find the ISOS for 64bit (only),  the iso with all sources and of course the manager.

Very bad is that there’s no SDK available yet. I figure it’ll show up over the next days.

All over it made a very nice first impression – a very balanced and careful update. The new OVM Manager release will be more interesting to look at, to find out which features made it in, and which ones are left to be added in 3.1.  Many of those were really promising, i.e. automated power management for hosts to couple power management and load balancing. This would be really exciting.


12 thoughts on “Oracle VM 3.0 – new features

  1. You can forget about SAN boot install, it is not available at this time. I threw myself at the .ISO as soon as it appeared on eDelivery and banged my head against multipath SAN booting for almost a day before I was pointed to point 5.4.7 in the release notes.

    I am sorry but OVM gives me the feeling of being utterly rushed through the door without proper testing and a full feature set. The documentation is at best scarce and all the fantastic stuff that worked so well in on OVS without fiddling around in the setup is unfortunately just not there. I can i.e. not make a Kickstart scripted setup to work, PXE boot is undocumented and very different from OVS 2.2.x and then there is this thing about multipath booting from SAN that just is not there at all. And not to mention that there is absolutely no user management in the VM Manager.

    This could have been a full success story considering the amount of time Oracle has taken to finish the product. Unfortunately although it is more feature-full than 2.2.x it is also less polished, lacks important features and the features that it ships are still has not 100% complete.

    Am I disappointed? Yes. I did expect more, or actually, I expected the same smooth install and functionality as today’s 2.2.2 PLUS more features but most af oll a Management GUI that actually works. As of today I still only have faith in the old but working 2.2.2. 3.0 needs at least one major release / service pack before it is useful for serious datacenter operations.

    • One more question, what was the issue aboout kickstarting?

      I am very proud since I got cobbler doing a tweaked OVM kickstart for me now.
      It does it’s job already: not wiping the installed domUs when I reinstall, and installing all the packages I want, and even updating to 2.2.2 at the end of the install. Perfectionism tells me there’s still many lose ends (these aren’t just lazyness, more they cover areas I don’t yet know enough about, i.e. integrating my own repo with OVM software didn’t go 100% well)

      I’m undecided now – ignore 3.0.1 and launch everything on 2.2.2 (as intended) and not prepare for 3.x for another year, or rather look into all quirks early on.

      • Well, I have a kickstart file that gets picked up via parameters in the “default” file at PXE boot, the entry for OVS 2.2.2 and for OVS 3.0.1 looks like this:

        LABEL OVS
        MENU LABEL ^Oracle VM 2.2.2 Server Install
        KERNEL mpath
        IPAPPEND 2
        INITRD ksdevice=bootif ks=

        LABEL OVS3
        MENU LABEL Oracle ^VM 3.0 Server Install
        KERNEL mboot.c32
        IPAPPEND 2
        APPEND ksdevice=bootif ks=

        OVS 2.2.2 works like a charm, 3.0.1 does not care about the kickstart file 😦

        My kickstart file sets language, keyboard, tmiezone, partitions, IP addresses, hostname, passwords. It installs / configures EMC Navisphere Agent, NTP, Syslog, watchdog, IPMI, extra SAN path:s, VLAN:s and some other stuff that makes life with Xen + an EMC Clariion SAN easier. All with the help of a small external file that contains all configuration parameters that each server needs. The ability to install and configure any number of servers completely hands-off is one of the reasons that I got so fond of Oracle’s implementation of Xen.

  2. You might know I gave up on using the GUI and just use the dom0 bits. I had assumed the GUI actually working would be the #1 improvement now. Seems they had to push back feature to get 3.0 out of the door, but I feel they would do a lot better with a less-closed beta the next time.

    Anyway, thanks for the additional insight!

  3. I have put a considerable amount of time into different XEN management GUI’s hoping to find one that works well with OVS 2.2. without success (descriptions of some of my tests are at I also tried to modify the community version of Convirture so that it would play nice with the excellent benefits that OVS gets from OCFS2 but the sourcecode was quite messy so I lost interest in ConVirt.

    Neither XenServer nor XCP is useful because of their lack of multipath SAN boot (no, it does *not* work) and the lack of scripted setup. In a slightly more perfect world XenCenter would be able to manage OVS. Or Abiquo or Archpel or Karesansui or ConVirt or OpenQRM or any other of the promising front-end’s for Xen that have popped-up never to be quite finished.

    • When you say “multipath san boot” what do you mean by that? Because I have FC based multipath working in XCP and i can boot VMs so I suspect that you mean something else?

      • Booting the Xen host off a san lun including multipath (for using a “diskless”) vm host node.
        Oracle VM used to have a special flag for this not available in any standard distro.
        You just entered “linux mpath” and the installed would install on a /dev/mapper/36001….. something lun.

        That way, there is no split second in which the dom0 does not have multipathed disk access.
        This wasnt available anywhere else (and is a different thing from the SAN SR in XCP – but it makes use of a SAN repository a lot easier)

      • The ease of installation on multipath SAN + the flexibility of 100% hands-off kickstart installation of the Xen host + OCFS cluster automagically installed thus providing live motion of VM:s between hosts made OVS 2.2.2 to the one and only free Xen inmplementation woth installing. The rest is actually crap, I am sorry to have to say this but none of the other (Xen) distros belong in a datcenter.

        Unfortunately the management GUI for OVS 2.2.2 is utterly useless and there is no Xen front-end on the market that could handle the fact that with OCFS there is no need to physically move the VM:s disk(s) when doing a live motion between Xen hosts. Some managed to understand this with NFS mounted storage but none had any support for OCFS. I even dug myself into re-writing / converting Convirt 2.0 because the GUI looked slick and was easy to install but gave up after a while because the code behind was so fugly 😦

  4. Can’t reply up there:

    Please try and extract the initrd. Sounds like there is a hardwired kickstart file in there. Should be easy to fix if you have a sunny mood and a rainy day.


    • I have to give up on OVS 3.0.1 for the time being, the servers need to be put to work. Since I could not get virtualization to work like I needed / wanted I concentrate instead on a totally hands-off installation of a very tweaked version of Windows Server 2003 that installs via PXE / HTTP(!) to the servers booting from SAN. Everything gets installed and configurated automagically, including VLAN’s, EMC’s Powerpath, IIS, PHP, DNS and MySQL. All-in-all the boot partition with all services installed / configured can be smaller than 2(!) GB.

      I have actually managed to create a RAM-disk based boot-image of Windows Server 2003 that boots via PXE / HTTP to RAM, the image is 400MB and running well 🙂
      (c:\ is 100% in RAM, the server has no drives attached)

  5. Wow, you should really write down the run-from-ram scenario for 2003
    I’d love to try that.

    The hackathon was quite great, I’m sad I had to leave early. I have also pointed out that a “restricted” dom0 would take away a big incentive for Oracle VM – since people like us have chosen it over XenServer or VMWare due to the more powerful dom0.

    We have to remember it’s mostly there to offer the fastest possible platform for running virtualized Oracle DBs, and from Oracles point of view not that, but the templated virtual machines are the killer feature.
    Which is valid – if you compare “XenServer templates” and OVM “templates” one merely brings up an installer, whereas the other brings up the actual software (and autoconfigures on first boot).

    But Oracle would of course benefit if their platform finds its own place as the high-end datacenter and cloud distro. This is something Citrix can’t do since they don’t got the same HA-concerned userbase, much more they’re busy catering to Windows Terminal Server and XenAPP shops 🙂

  6. I can give you a description and some scripts that trim down W2K3 into a nice and small and smooth in-RAM beast. I do however not have a complete step-by-step description yet, you need to have some knowledge about how Windows work 😉

    The process involves a lot of different tools, i.e. nLite, Virtualbox, imgdisk,.cmd scripts and VSS for snapshoting. The end result is amazingly small and nice.

    So if you have the time to spare I can gladly help you, be prepared though that it is time consuming. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s