Oracle (finally) talks to the Virtual Iron customers, discloses the integration roadmap

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Last month reported how Oracle killed the Virtual Iron brand immediately after the acquisition, firing every employee but 10, terminating the reseller program and severely limiting the capability for existing customers to buy new licenses or upgrade licenses.

The move was so quick and brutal that Oracle gave the impression to completely disregard the loss of 1000-3000 SMB customers. And this represented an opportunity for VMware which launched a discount program to attract those customers on vSphere.

It’s possible that the pressure from competitors (also Microsoft jumped in recently) had a positive impact on the Oracle strategy, which finally decided to talk to the Virtual Iron customers through a semi-private webcast held today by Wim Coekaerts, Vice President of Linux and Virtualization Engineering.

During the online event Coekaerts disclosed the integration roadmap that Oracle plans to deliver over the 2010 fiscal year (June 2009 – May 2010).

This integration will begin by including the Virtual Iron resource management capabilities in the Oracle VM 2.2 (already on internal testing and QA).
Everything else will be integrated in the Oracle VM 3.0 platform.
Oracle is specifically interested in the Virtual Iron capacity management, power management, APIs, and partially in its live migration technology. 
The company plans to use the APIs to improve the integration between Oracle Enterprise Manager and the virtualization platform.

OracleVM30That said, Virtual Iron customers don’t have many (painless) options.

For the ones that want to move their virtual machines on Oracle VM, the company will release a Virtual-To-Virtual (V2V) migration tool as part of the Oracle VM 2.2 release, to move away from the Microsoft VHD format that Virtual Iron uses. It’s unlikely anyway that the tool will support live migrations.

Otherwise the customers can stay on the platform they have and wait for Oracle VM 3.0, but there are several “but”.
First of all there’s no chance for get any update, not even the ones already out before the acquisition (like version 4.5 if they are using the 4.4), and this implies that the hypervisor will not support any new hardware the customer purchases. There’s not even the chance to have a replacement media of the purchased product if needed, which implies an immediate backups of the existing DVDs).
Secondarily, even if Oracle VM 3.0 will provide some support for the VHD format, the Virtual Iron virtual machines will still need the Oracle V2V migration tool to be moved.
Last but not least, Oracle is refusing to disclose its pricing strategy for Oracle VM 3.0, so the Virtual Iron customers can only hope that the software will continue to stay free and the support price will be reasonable.

In both these scenarios, Oracle is migrating the Virtual Iron General Support agreement to the its Premier Support agreement for one additional year.
The others will be protected by a lifetime Sustaining Support agreement.

The alternative of course is to run away from Virtual Iron and Oracle but the company message during the webcast was: we are huge, we have thousands of support engineers, we can localize the product in any language you need, we are in the Xen advisory board, and we are fully committed to make Oracle VM a competitive product.
Unfortunately this doesn’t answer the key question: how much does it cost to wait for Oracle?