An Oracle VM Template is a virtual machine (VM), or group of VMs, containing Oracle or other software that is pre-built, pre-installed, pre-configured and ready to use—no installation required. Simply download the Templates from Oracle E-Delivery, import to an Oracle VM instance, deploy and start-up the VM(s), to begin using the encapsulated product(s). Oracle VM Templates can be created by Oracle, by internal developers, or by third parties such as ISVs or solution providers using software available for download and even free re-distribution without a contract.
• Oracle VM Server: Server virtualization for x86 and x86_64 servers and the base platform for hosting Oracle VM Templates
• Oracle Enterprise Linux, both in its minimized build version known as the “Just enough OS” or “JeOS” edition and also in the full-install version
These products from Oracle provide the platform for any Oracle VM Template, but internal developers or third party solution providers can optionally add their own software to any Template they produce to create and distribute a unique, total solution. Using these components, Oracle, partners, and customers can create powerful enterprise software “appliances” that are fast, easy, and risk-free to distribute and deploy.
In addition to the core Template components mentioned above, Oracle further aids Template development with Oracle Database Express Edition (XE), which includes Oracle Application Express, a rapid web application development tool for the Oracle database, incorporating licensing that permits free redistribution without a distribution contract from Oracle.
Only Oracle, with the most complete enterprise software stack in the industry – from packaged applications such as PeopleSoft and Siebel, through the middleware and database, to the operating system and server virtualization – can provide a complete solution that is ready to go in a production with a few clicks from a browser. Oracle VM Templates are the fastest, easiest, most reliable way to deploy Oracle solutions, whether for production use or for evaluation.
The Challenge Without Templates: Slow and Error-Prone Deployment
The challenge for traditional enterprise software deployment is that it can be complex, time-consuming, and error-prone. Enterprise software often contains numerous components or modules, each of which may need to be installed and configured separately, with its own dependencies on patches, operating system versions, or other packages. Learning how to install products and researching all the patches can be a time-consuming experience and the complexity often generates a significant risk that something will be overlooked or done incorrectly, leading to more lost time or worse.
All of this time and effort is, in many ways, a waste: It’s simply a cost burden on the business that ultimately reduces the return-on-investment for the project by lengthening the amount of time until the application or service is up and running reliably.
Oracle VM Templates Significantly Reduce Deployment Time and Risk
Oracle VM does away with that wasted time and expense by providing the ability to rapidly and easily deploy a pre-built, pre-configured, pre-patched guest virtual machine (or multiple machines depending on the application) in the form of an Oracle VM Template. Templates can contain a complete Oracle software solution, such as Siebel CRM or Oracle Database, including the operating system (Oracle Enterprise Linux) and even your internally developed or third party software. A complete solution: ready to start-up.
Oracle VM Templates produced by Oracle are available from Oracle E-Delivery, while third party developed Templates would be made available via their corresponding channels, ready to download and start-up in an Oracle VM infrastructure. Already licensed for production use, Oracle VM Templates can save users days or weeks learning to install and configure a sophisticated product such as Oracle Enterprise Manager Grid Control or Oracle Fusion Middleware SOA Suite.
Instead, users can focus on simply downloading and starting the VM(s) to begin using the product right away with the confidence that they are deploying an exact, validated copy of their virtual machines and not a virtual machine hand-built from scratch where the risk of human error such as missing a patch dependency, or misconfiguring a parameter is far greater.
Some examples of Oracle VM Templates available today include:
•Oracle Application Server 10g Release 3 Webcenter
•Oracle Database 10g Release 2
•Oracle Database 11g
•Oracle Enterprise Linux
•Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g
•Oracle Fusion Middleware Service Oriented Architecture on WebLogic Server
Easy to Maintain and Customize
Transparent Adoption: No Change to Maintenance Procedures
Within these templates, Oracle software is laid-out in the same manner as the software would be if it were installed and patched manually “the old fashioned way”, meaning the exact same directories and Oracle “homes” are used, and the package and patch inventories are completely standard and up-to-date so that no changes to your normal Oracle operations procedures are required to maintain the instances over time.
This is unlike some third-party “software appliance” packaging solutions where key components such as patch and package inventories may not be maintained appropriately or are maintained based on some third party proprietary scheme, making it impossible to use Oracle tools to perform patching and making it more difficult to troubleshoot should there be any issues. As a result, the time to resolve an issue can actually increase when products are packaged inappropriately.
Directly Customizable and Flexible: Not a “Black Box”
While Oracle VM templates are pre-built to reflect the best practices for the included product(s), you may still want to tailor the solution to your particular environment. Oracle VMs created from Templates are still fully user-accessible and directly customizable in your environment. Some software appliance packaging tools create only a “black box” VM that cannot be directly modified by users once it is deployed, creating an inflexible environment and necessitating new change request/implementation processes. Templates, however, can be fully customized or tuned post-install and then re-saved as “golden image” templates in Oracle VM to serve as a user’s enterprise deployment standard to minimize risks and variation across multiple instance deployments in the enterprise.
Using Oracle VM Templates To Create Guest Virtual Machines
Oracle VM Templates clearly represent the fastest, most reliable way for deploying any enterprise class software solution, so how does this work in practice? The rest of this paper will focus how Templates are downloaded and deployed, and then customized or even created from scratch.