The Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance can be unpacked, plugged in and be running applications in less than an hour, Oracle's senior director for data centre product marketing Charlie Boyle told iTWire, describing the new product as a leap forward in IT infrastructure.
After some basic information such as the base network address is entered, the appliance can be left unattended for most of that hour.
That is because it incorporates Oracle Virtual Assembly Builder, which uses Oracle-defined templates to deploy complete application stacks for "a wide range of Oracle software."
"This is really unique in the market," said Mr Boyle, who added that competitors' products only go as far as creating virtual machines rather than entire stacks.
Conventional deployments could take weeks for the installation of the hardware and then its configuration by various specialists, he suggested. This is overcome by the pre-built hardware and automated configuration.
A basic Virtual Compute Appliance includes a management server, two compute nodes, storage and networking equipment. It can run Solaris, Linux distributions (including Oracle Linux) and Windows in multiple virtual machines.
Up to 23 more compute nodes can be added by sliding a node into the rack and plugging in the power, Infiniband and Ethernet (for out-of-band management) cables. The new hardware resources are automatically configured.
Storage or networking nodes can also be added, and the appliance can be used with external storage from Oracle (eg, the Sun ZFS Storage Appliance) or other vendors. The latter feature is especially useful when consolidating applications that use large amounts of storage as their data can remain in place, Boyle observed.
The Virtual Compute Appliance's built-in fault tolerance includes the live migration of virtual machines to any compute nodes in the system.
Boyle described the new appliance as "a high-end enterprise feature set in an easy to use package," adding that it "makes a great building block" for customers moving towards private clouds.