Oracle Bets on KVM-based Virtualization.

Six months ago, Oracle adopted a new course for their virtualization strategy. The innovations they have implemented are a response to the latest market trends and streamline management of virtualized environments.

Oracle Virtual Machine (VM), based on Xen Hypervisor technology, first saw the light of day thirteen years ago. At its premiere during the OpenWorld Oracle conference, representatives assured us that the system would provide three times greater efficiency than competitors’ virtualization platforms. But Oracle VM was never in a position to challenge VMware or Microsoft products, and remained a niche product for many long years.

Server virtualization trends - the most commonly used virtualization software in companies

According to Open Virtualization Pro, Oracle VM’s share of the virtualization software market in the first quarter of 2020 was 4.5%. In comparison, VMware controls almost 26% of the same market segment, and Microsoft 14%. In recent years, Oracle has consolidated its virtualization software portfolio, moving to four products instead of six by removing the Exalogic and Exalytics solutions from Engineered Systems. However, this was merely a cosmetic change that had no significant impact on strengthening the company’s position in this market segment.

Choice or necessity: moving from Oracle VM to Oracle Linux Virtualization Manager

It was only in the second half of last year that the company took decisive action, changing Oracle VM to Oracle Linux Virtualization Manager (OLVM, also called OLV). Simultaneously, the Oracle VM Xen hypervisor has been replaced by Oracle Linux KVM. This move should come as no surprise to anyone who follows the IT market closely. For some time, the company had shown a growing interest in open source solutions, and the virtualization market is in line with this trend. Entrepreneurs are beginning to protest and don’t want to pay for VMware or Microsoft licenses seeing as there are free solutions available on the market. Among the latter, systems based on KVM are particularly popular, and are especially liked by the largest cloud services providers.

The changing requirements, preferences, and expectations of the market are also a challenge for the security of the processed data. The need, and sometimes the necessity to migrate virtual environments to another platform, usually entails the need for additional changes. Changing the backup and disaster recovery solution is such an example. Storware vProtect protects against such scenarios as changing OVM to OLVM, which supports most commercial and open solutions under one license.

vProtect - backup and distaster recovery solution supported hypervisors and backup destinations

One thing is sure, Oracle’s decision must have been influenced by the fact that Linux KVM can be used in the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. In this way, administrators can easily migrate resources from the Linux Virtualization Manager environment to the Oracle Cloud platform. What’s more, the new Oracle solutions offer an administration portal, a virtual machines portal and a role-based structure. Linux Virtualization Manager can manage many local hosts using the Oracle Linux KVM system, and enables the import and export of software devices based on Open Virtualization Format and Open Virtualization Archive standards.


Feature Oracle VM Oracle Linux Virtualization
Hypervisor XEN KVM
Manager Oracle OpenSource
Parallel Job Operation No Yes
Multiple User Cloud No Yes
Snapshot No Yes
Advanced Features (SR-IOV, moVirt etc.) No Yes
HA and LM without manager Yes No (Self Hosted Engine)
Solaris Guest Support Yes No
Full CLI Yes No
Automated Manager DB backups Yes No (scripting solutions)


oVirt – a solid foundation for Oracle and Red Hat

Oracle Linux Virtualization Manager, similarly to Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHV), is based on the oVirt open source project, initiated by the company Red Hat.

It must be emphasized that apart from supporting OLVM and RHEV, oVirt also functions as an independent solution. The system offers many functions seen in commercial products intended for corporate clients. An organization that uses oVirt incurs no costs related to virtualization management software or server operating systems. As a result, it is extremely popular among smaller firms, large financial institutions and academic establishments. Among oVirt users are: Brussels airport, Florida State University RCC, Universidad de Sevilla and Keele University. Importantly, the founders of oVirt made sure that it was easy to migrate virtual machines from VMware, Microsoft and Xen environments. To do this, they developed the virt-v2v tool that converts machines to the libvirt format, which is the foundation for KVM, oVirt and OpenStack virtualization, as well as Red Hat Virtualization. An important aspect of oVirt is the large community that watches over its development – writing code, reporting bugs, co-creating projects and improving documentation.

Added value from Oracle

According to Open Virtualization Pro, 20% of respondents who are considering implementing new virtualization software intend to choose oVirt, while almost 9% prefer OLVM. You might therefore ask whether it would be better to move from Oracle VM to oVirt. Is it really worth implementing OLVM? Sandro Bonazzola from Red Hat admitted on the company blog that he believes cooperation between two competing firms on developing virtualization tools is a real possibility and could drive innovation. And his words were not purely out of courtesy. There is a distinct possibility that with the increasing spread of OLVM software, oVirt will attract new followers from among the Oracle community. After all, Oracle Linux Virtualization brings extra added value to the software.

For example, experts are drawing attention to Oracle Ksplice technology, which increases infrastructure security using smooth, rapid installation of upgrades. Importantly, this process does not interfere with ongoing activity, nor does the system require a restart. Another distinguishing feature of OLVM is that it can be integrated with Oracle Enterprise Manager. This requires just one panel for managing the Oracle Linux system, Oracle virtualization, as well as other Oracle products such as databases or Middleware software.

Simon Coter, Senior Manager, Oracle Linux and Virtualization Product Management at Oracle, summarizes the value of Oracle Linux KVM:

  • Oracle software Certifications
  • Includes open-source KVM backed with award winning Oracle Support
  • Flexibility on Oracle Software Licensing with Oracle Hard Partitioning
  • Oracle Ksplice support – zero down time security patching for hypervisor, kernel, and user space packages
  • Rapid application deployment with Templates for Oracle Linux KVM
  • Same Technology available on-premises or in the Cloud
  • Integrated Management Tools (Oracle Enterprise Manager)
  • Open API and Partner Ecosystem: maintain compatibility with oVirt; integrations including backup and restore
  • Single Stack Support
  • Included with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure or Oracle Linux Premier Support subscription

Backup for OVM and OVLM

Oracle VM will slowly go out of date. Basic technical support ends in March 2021, while clients who have an extended support package have a guaranteed service even up until May 2024. Some clients have already begun the migration process. According to Open Virtualization Pro, in the first quarter of this year the share of OVM in the virtualization software market was 4.5%, while for OLVM it was 2.8%. Detailed information on how to conduct migration from Oracle VM to Oracle Linux KVM can be found on the Oracle company blog under Simon Coter’s post, Oracle Linux and Virtualization Product Management [HERE]


Release GA Date Premier Support Ends Extended Support Ends Sustaining Support Ends
VM2 2007 Nov 2015 Not available Indefinite
VM3 2011 Mar 2021 May 2024 Indefinite


Users who drop Oracle VM in favor of OLVM are often faced with changing their virtual machine backup tools, which means additional costs. The difference is significant as we are talking about two completely different systems. The first is based on the Xen hypervisor, while the second uses KVM. Storware vProtect software is designed to work in both environments. Companies conducting backup in the Oracle VM environment make use of the basic method, that is the export of the mass storage repository. This option is also available for OLVM users, although in this case there are also three additional methods for creating backup copies: disk attachment with Proxy VM, disk image transfer API and SSH transfer.

More details on the topic can be found in our blogpost ‘How to backup Oracle VM and Oracle Linux Virtualization Manager environment’ [HERE]

Paweł Mączka Photo

text written by:

Pawel Maczka, CTO at Storware