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Get to know Oracle Linux Virtualization Manager

Oracle released Linux Virtualization Manager, a platform that lets admins configure, manage and monitor their virtual server environments.

With Oracle Linux Virtualization Manager, IT administrators can control all aspects of their virtualization environments, including compute, storage and network resources, as well as the VMs consuming those resources.

Oracle announced the general availability of Linux Virtualization Manager in June 2019. Linux Virtualization Manager is a comprehensive platform for configuring, managing and monitoring virtual server environments based on the Oracle KVM hypervisor. Oracle provides admins with Administration Portal, VM Portal and a role-based structure to better virtualize their data centers.

Introducing Linux Virtualization Manager

Linux Virtualization Manager can manage multiple on-premises hosts running Oracle Linux KVM. Oracle enhanced Linux KVM in the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK) Release 5, an OS kernel tested and optimized for Oracle Linux 7 Update 5.

Because Linux KVM is the same hypervisor used for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, admins have an easy migration path from the Linux Virtualization Manager environment to the Oracle Cloud platform. Linux Virtualization Manager also supports importing and exporting software appliances based on the Open Virtualization Format and Open Virtualization Archive standards.

Oracle based Linux Virtualization Manager on the oVirt project, an open source virtualization platform developed by Red Hat. Linux Virtualization Manager relies on the oVirt engine for discovering KVM hosts and configuring storage and network resources. The platform supports KVM administration for multinode environments, offering a large-scale, centralized management platform for server and desktop virtualization.

Linux Virtualization Manager also provides a highly available, fault-tolerant platform that includes tools for backing up and restoring the engine's database and configuration files, as well as creating snapshots of running VMs. In the event of an outage, the platform can automatically restart failed VMs across the server pool.

Linux Virtualization Manager provides administration

Linux Virtualization Manager comes with Administration Portal for carrying out management tasks. Admins can use the portal to configure virtual environments, provision VMs, add or remove users and assign permissions that control access to resources. Administration Portal also provides dashboard views of key metrics about clusters, hosts, VMs, and storage and network resources; and it includes event tracking and health status monitoring of the virtualized systems.

Oracle Linux Virtualization Manager is a comprehensive platform for configuring, managing and monitoring virtual server environments based on the Oracle KVM hypervisor.

Admins can take advantage of the live migration capabilities provided by Linux Virtualization Manager. The platform supports live migrations between hosts according to how admins configure the policies and VM settings and allocate VMs to KVM hosts in the cluster. Admins can define scheduling policies, such as enabling automatic load balancing between hosts, which control VM usage and distribution across all available cluster hosts.

Linux Virtualization Manager also includes VM Portal, a lightweight tool for managing VMs, and provides support for the Cockpit administration tool for monitoring KVM host resources. Admins can access the Cockpit interface directly through the host or through Administration Portal. Linux Virtualization Manager also offers a REST API for managing the Linux KVM infrastructure. The API lets admins script out repetitive tasks and integrate Linux Virtualization Manager with other management tools.

Oracle designed Linux Virtualization Manager to rely on a role-based structure for controlling user access to resources. The security roles are granular and inheritable and are available for all platform actions and objects. Linux Virtualization Manager supports two types of roles: administrator and user. The administrator roles control access to Administration Portal and the features available for managing the physical and virtual resources. The user roles control access to VM Portal and the features available for accessing and managing VMs and VM templates. Administrators can also create custom roles to meet specific access needs.

Linux Virtualization Manager components

Linux Virtualization Manager uses the concept of the data center for managing resources. A data center is a high-level logical entity that incorporates the environment's physical and virtual resources. Admins can group these resources into three main categories: compute, storage and network.

Oracle organizes the compute resources into one or more clusters. A cluster is a grouping of Linux KVM compute hosts with compatible processors, either Intel or Advanced Micro Devices. The hosts are the physical computers that run the KVM hypervisor and its VMs. Oracle Linux Virtualization Manager can support up to 64 Oracle Linux KVM hosts, each with up to 384 logical CPUs and 2 TB of memory.

Each KVM host runs one or more VMs that admins can configure with Oracle Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CentOS or Microsoft Windows. The VMs also run agents and drivers that support additional functionalities, such as monitoring resource utilization. Linux Virtualization Manager allocates VMs to hosts in the cluster, retrieving the VMs from VM pools. Because the VMs aren't bound to specific hosts, admins can migrate them from one host to another.

Before admins can create VMs, they must provision and attach the necessary storage. Linux Virtualization Manager supports storage technologies, such as Network File System, Fibre Channel Protocol and iSCSI. Admins must place the storage on the same subnet as the KVM hosts. Admins can also configure local storage on the hosts.

Each data center must also include at least one data domain that is specific to that data center. A data domain is a collection of images, such as VMs, templates, snapshots and ISO files. Admins can't share the data domain with more than one data center.

To support networking, Linux Virtualization Manager creates a logical network that represents the resources needed to ensure connectivity across the KVM hosts and their VMs. Admins can apply the logical network to one or more clusters in the data center. Oracle recommends that admins use bonded network interfaces, especially on production hosts, and use virtual LANs to separate different traffic types to ensure peak performance and increase security.

Get started with Linux Virtualization Manager

Admins can download and implement Linux Virtualization Manager without incurring licensing fees. However, support for Linux Virtualization Manager is available only to admins with an Oracle Linux Premier Support subscription. The servers that run Linux Virtualization Manager and Linux KVM each require Oracle Linux 7 Update 6 or later and UEK Release 5 Update 1 or later.

Linux Virtualization Manager represents an important step for Oracle in supporting on-premises server virtualization, but it's still a young technology. The platform is available for free, though, so some admins might find it worth the effort to set up a test environment and give the product a try, especially if they're already invested in Oracle's server virtualization technologies.

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