At November 8 2010 Oracle made a small step in supporting running Oracle software inside virtual machines running on VMware. Still Oracle has not certified any of its products on VMware virtualized environments. But Oracle will no longer simply decline support if the software is running on a virtual machine. If the customer can prove the Oracle issue can be reproduced on a physical server, Oracle support will assist in solving the problem, even when running in a VM. A small step in getting full support.
To be able to see if the issue can be reproduced on a physical server using the same server software, settings etc a Virtual to Physical conversion needs to be performed. This copies each and every bit of the virtual machine harddisk to a physical server, or presents a LUN to a physical server. A few products are able to do that, one of them is Novell PlateSpin Migrate. If you are using EMC storage, EMC Replication Manager is ble to perform an quick P2V. See the link a Virtual Geek for more info.
More info on this on the excellent blog Virtual Geek http://virtualgeek.typepad.com/virtual_geek/2010/11/oracle-and-vmware-a-major-milestone.html
Chris Wolf of Gartner adds to this news the fact that Oracle is also very customer unfriendly on the licensing of it’s product. Basically any customer wanting to use Oracle RAC on VMware, Xen, Hyper-V needs to purchase as many licences as there are CPU’s in the cluster. Not a very costeffective way to virtualize. The weird thing is that customers using Amazon cloud service are excluded from this restriction.