Re: Question - Oracle and IBM PowerVM Editions/Advance Power Virtualization

From: Mark Brinsmead <>
Date: Sat, 15 Mar 2008 14:03:47 -0400
Message-ID: <>

The last time I worked with IBM p-Series virtualization, it was still referred to as LPAR and micro-LPAR, so any specific advice I might offer is likely to be of limited value.

Here is some "general" advice that *may* be of value to you:

  • Make certain you fully understand how Oracle's licensing rules apply to PowerVM. IBM has probably done a nice job of muddying the waters (more than they were already) by combining LPAR and micro-LPAR capabilities into a single product. Basically, the way it *used to be* was that LPARs were considered "hard partitions" and micro-LPARs were considered "soft partitions". With "hard partitions", you need license Oracle for only the CPUs in the partitions running Oracle; with "soft partitions", you must license Oracle for all CPUs in the server, without regard to how many (fractional) CPUs are or are not running Oracle software. Have the rules changed since last I checked (three or four years ago)? Maybe. But probably not. Oracle Corp *might *have changed the way they interpret those rules, though.
  • Even with "hard-LPARs", you ability to license Oracle Standard Edition (or SE1) is determined by the size of the *physical server*, not by the size of the *partition*. For Enterprise Edition, "1 CPU"
    • "1 processor *core*". Possibly depending on the processor architecture, on Standard Edition you may find that "1 CPU" == "1 socket" (true of Intel, maybe not of PowerPC) or that "1 CPU" == "1 processor core". Getting a correct and reliable answer to this question will be difficult; rather than *asking*, I suggest that you read (very carefully) the "Oracle Services and License Agreement" (OLSA) and/or the Oracle 10g (11g) "Licensing Manual". If you go resort to "asking questions" (don't waste your time on Oracle Support; questions of this type must go to the sales organization), be sure to ask respondents to identify the appropriate section(s) of the OLSA to substantiate their answers.
  • You asked about "Virtual I/O Server". I am in no position to comment on this in any authoritative way, however, when I googled on your subject line "Oracle and IBM PowerVM Editions/Advance Power Virtualization", I got exactly two hits -- the Oracle-L post to which I am replying and an IBM powerpoint presentation. In that presentation (about page 8 or so) it clearly states that "Virtual I/O Server" is not recommended for I/O intensive workloads. If your databases do nothing the majority of the time, this recommendation *might* not apply to you, but in most cases, it is fair to assume that Oracle databases *will* constitute an "I/O intensive workload". For best database pefrormance, I would suspect that you will need (at least) dedicated disks, dedicated disk controllers, and dedicated network interfaces. Your actual mileage may vary...

Please share your eventual findings with the list.

On Sat, Mar 15, 2008 at 10:10 AM, DIANNA GIBBS <> wrote:

> Our AIX administrators are looking at IBM PowerVM Editions/APV moving
> forward.
> I've googled but found very little information on it relating to running
> Oracle.
> Any thoughts, comments, good, bad, performance gochas would be
> appreciated.
> A concern is the disks coming from the virtual I/O server and not the SAN.
> Is this a good thing? Should we consider ASM because of this?
> TIA.
> --

-- Mark Brinsmead
Senior DBA,
The Pythian Group

Received on Sat Mar 15 2008 - 13:03:47 CDT

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