Run KVM highly optimised on OCI

By | October 28, 2019

OCI has been offering bare metal servers from the start. Besides just running a single OS with maybe containers on it, you can also run your own virtualization stack on it. Just to be clean, this can be done without nested virtualization, but natively on the bare metal hardware.

OCI support bringing your own hypervisor for Oracle VM, Microsoft Hyper-V and KVM. Last Open World the partnership with VMware was announced, so soon you can also run fully supported VMware on OCI. (Technically you can already do it today).

But let’s talk specifically about KVM. In the last 2 weeks Oracle has seriously bumped up the support for KVM on OCI.

Oracle Linux KVM Image 1.5

In the OCI Market place you will find an updated release of the Oracle Linux KVM image. It now comes with some integrated tools to create virtual networking, integrated with the actual OCI networking. If you want a VM to talk directly to the network (bridged mode), you need to add a vnic to the actual instance and use the assigned IP/MAC to the VM. The new build-in kvm-oci tools help you do this easier.

Here is what is new in the 1.5 release:

  • Updated base OS to Oracle Linux 7 update 7
  • Support for AMD BM shapes
  • Creation and deletion of virtual networking for an OCI VNIC
  • Support creation of storage pools on OCI block volumes and File Storage Service (FSS) allocated storage

Ideally you want to run KVM natively, but surprisingly enough, OCI also supports running KVM nested inside VMs. Here the list of supported shapes:

  • BM.Standard2.52
  • BM.DenseIO2.52
  • BM.Standard.E2.64
  • VM.Standard2.X (Only Intel for nested VM support, no AMD)
  • VM.DenseIO2.X (Only Intel for nested VM support, no AMD)

Oracle Hard Partitioning Support for KVM

On October 7th, Oracle has also updated their Partitioning Policy. Until then only Oracle VM was recognised as a platform to support hard partitioning (on x86 using virtualization). With this update, they now also recognise Oracle Linux KVM as a platform for hard partitioning.

Oracle Linux KVM or Oracle VM Server may be used as hard partitioning technology only as
described in the following documents:

https://www.oracle.com/assets/partitioning-070609.pdf

The “following documents” will still explain you need to pin you VM to a CPU and will explain for each platform how to do this.

But Key about this updated policy is of course that you can run an Oracle Application/Database workload on a subset of the physical server and only need to have licenses covering the size of the VM shape.

BTW: This updated policy is of course not only valid on the Oracle Cloud, but also for any on-premise deployment of Oracle Linux KVM.

For more information you can visit: https://community.oracle.com/docs/DOC-1023677

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