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Windows Azure Now Supports Oracle Virtual Machines

There are plenty of limitations, though, including no support for Oracle Database clustering.

Developers who rely on Oracle databases rather than SQL Server now have the option to use Microsoft's cloud architecture.

Microsoft and Oracle have released previews of virtual machine (VM) images that enable Oracle workloads to run on Windows Azure.

The two companies announced their partnership on Azure in late June, but the VM images apparently weren't available at that time. The preview images, which come prebuilt and which include the Oracle licensing, were either released on September 24 or yesterday, according to Microsoft's blog announcements. Using the previews isn't exactly free as there are Windows Azure compute and storage costs incurred, but there are no Oracle licensing charges to use the images during the preview period, according to Microsoft. It's not clear how long they will stay at the preview stage, however.

To run the images, users need to have a Windows Azure account. They can set up the VMs by selecting the images from the Windows Azure Virtual Machines image gallery, as described here. The list of Oracle VM images includes Oracle Database 12c, Oracle WebLogic Server 12c and Java Platform Standard Edition 6 or 7 on Windows Server 2012.

Microsoft is not recommending using the image previews in production environments. There are plenty of other caveats to consider, too.

For instance, Oracle Database clustering isn't currently supported on Windows Azure. Microsoft also cautions that Windows Azure produces dynamic IP addresses for the Oracle Databases that are hosted, instead of the static IP addresses expected by the application, which "may result in unintended side effects."

Another limitation is that Oracle WebLogic Server images support clustering on the Enterprise edition only. Connection pools will time out after four minutes of inactivity, which could affect applications that rely on connection pools, Microsoft warns. See all of Microsoft's caveats regarding the use of the preview images at this MSDN library page.

The idea behind this collaboration between Microsoft and Oracle is that organizations can get support from both companies when running Oracle workloads on Windows Azure, as explained by Brad Anderson, Microsoft's corporate vice president for cloud and enterprise, during his Oracle OpenWorld keynote address. That speech marked the first-time keynote appearance of a Microsoft executive at the annual Oracle event.

It is now possible to run Oracle Linux on Windows Azure, according to Microsoft, and Java is supported on Microsoft's cloud platform. Oracle, for its part, is supporting Microsoft's Hyper-V hypervisor for its products.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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