Oracle: VMware and EMC vs. RAC

4 10 2009

Over the past couple of months I have been working on a very interesting project focused on helping a customer move away from an outsourced model and bring their IT infrastructure in-house.  Their business revolves around Oracle on the backend, so it is very important that, as they move to hosting it internal, the environment is configured with cost, performance, and availability in mind.

Their initial plans included a migration to Oracle RAC.  While there is nothing wrong with this direction, it can tend to be very costly and complex.  RAC provides for the utmost in database availability but can be very difficult to migrate to in heterogeneous Oracle environments.  Upon searching around for some options I found a whitepaper from VMware concerning the benefits of leveraging ESX with Celerra to host Oracle as an alternative to RAC.

Since the customer is moving away from a Solaris specific hardware deployment to an x86 platform for cost saving reasons, it’s kind of a no brainer to continue in the direction of server virtualization.  That combined with the fact that they will be implementing replicated NS-480 arrays gives them a lot of options and flexibility as compared to RAC.  Beyond having a more flexible infrastructure, I was surprised by some of the performance and cost savings outlined in the whitepaper.  According to the document, for comparable deployments using Oracle 10g RAC EE and Oracle 10g SE virtualized, TPS was around 950 vs. 550 and Users were around 19.000 vs. 10,000 both in favor of Oracle on VMware.  On top of the better performance, Software Licensing Cost per TPS was around $2100 for RAC and $250 for the VMware base configuration.

Beyond virtualization the focus on Celerra in the document was mainly around demonstrating the advantages of leveraging multiple protocols for storage connectivity through the different approaches for deployment.  The Celerra platform is key for this reason as it supports NFS, iSCSI, CIFS, and FC in a single, fully redundant, and easy to manage platform.

So if your considering the deployment of RAC in your environment, take a hard look at the following whitepaper.  While the comparison isn’t completely apples to apples, for most environments the virtualization approach can meet the availability and performance requirements at a lower price point.




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