Oracle offers VMware users partial, grudging support

Oracle has attempted to clarify its support policy for customers running non-Oracle virtualisation platforms, after conflicting statements during its Oracle OpenWorld conference earlier this month left users scratching their heads.

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Oracle has attempted to clarify its support policy for customers running non-Oracle virtualisation platforms, after conflicting statements during its Oracle OpenWorld conference earlier this month left users scratching their heads.

In response to an inquiry from Computerworld, Oracle said there is "no change" to its support policy for customers running Oracle applications under virtualisation from VMware -- primarily because they were never guaranteed full support in the first place.

"Oracle has not certified any Oracle software on VMware virtualised environments," the company said. "Oracle support will assist customers running Oracle software on VMware in the following manner: Oracle will only provide support for issues that either are known to occur on the native OS without virtualisation , or can be demonstrated not to be as a result of running VMware.

“If a problem is a known Oracle issue, Oracle support will recommend the appropriate solution on the native OS without virtualisation . If that solution does not work in the VMware virtualised environment, the customer will be referred to VMware for support."

In other words, customers can expect Oracle's help only if they can prove that a bug is totally unrelated to the virtualisation platform they are using.

Oracle's statement did not name other virtualisation platforms, such as Citrix Systems' Xen (which is also offered by Linux providers Red Hat and Novell or Virtual Server from Microsoft. But Oracle executives said during OpenWorld that it would not support its applications running under virtualisation .

The one exception, of course, is when a customer is running Oracle software under Oracle's own virtualisation, which it announced at OpenWorld. Those customers can expect full support from Oracle.

Microsoft appeared to be taking a step in the other direction when it announced that it would work with third-party virtualisation vendors to support mutual customers. However, Microsoft is, for now, only offering to tackle problems arising from virtualizing Windows Server -- not any of its actual server applications, such as SQL Server or Dynamics CRM.

That means for most customers, Microsoft's support for alternative virtualisation platforms won't, in effect, be much better than Oracle's, said Amy Konary, an analyst at IDC.

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