Oracle VM 2.x - 3.x

I have set-up with 5 virtual machines running on Oracle VM Server 3.1.1 (the latest version)

I started out with Oracle VM Server 3.0.1 dom0, called hal0 and then downloaded the VM Template with the Oracle VM Manager 2.2. which I manually started on the dom0 physical server and is called halvm.

The template came with a preconfigured VM manager and a Oracle XE database server. This had no use as the VM manager 2.x software is not compatible with VM Server 3.x. The current os version of halvm is (Linux 2.6.32-300.25.1.el5uek #1 SMP Tue May 15 19:55:52 EDT 2012 i686 i686 i386 GNU/Linux) and it is still running fine on the 64 bit hal0 host. 

As Oracle VM Manager requires a 64 bit os, the software could not be installed on halvm.

So I downloaded a new template also version 5 Oracle Linux, but this time the 64 bit version.

It is now running Linux 2.6.32-300.25.1.el5uek #1 SMP Tue May 15 19:55:50 EDT 2012 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux.,i.e. the latest patch level of Oraclinux 5 - 64 bit.

On this hal64 virtual machine, I installed the Oracle VM Manager software and the default XE database engine.

I also downloaded a version 6, 64 bit template which came in the new Oracle VM 3.x format. 

I could start the Oracle VM Server 3.0 to notice that it could not detect the VM's already running on the host!

I could install the Oracle VM 6 template, and from there on clone the template as a running server and get that server running. One of the Oracle Linux 6 machines is called haltest and it is serving as a general purpose workstation and development box. Although I could install openoffice with difficulties, many other software packages were bombing out at installation. I could for instance install jdeveloper without difficulties, but sqldeveloper or jrockit were bombing out at installation.

haltest is now running Linux 2.6.39-100.7.1.el6uek.x86_64 #1 SMP Wed May 16 04:04:37 EDT 2012 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux.

So this Enterprise Linux 6 Unbraikable Enterprise Kernel.

Before configuring this system I cloned it using Oracle VM manager to another system which I called haldb and which was supposed to be a Oracle database server.

The haldb server is now running Linux 2.6.32-300.25.1.el6uek.x86_64 #1 SMP Tue May 15 21:12:51 EDT 2012 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux.

I tried to install grid 12c, in order to install an ASM instance on this node, and a Oracle instance but the oracle installer was bombing out at startup with illegal instruction (85) errors.

In the mean time I had configured halvm as a nfs server, serving as a file server for my little one node cluster. The disks it was sereving were itself virtual disks served by hal0. I have to investigate this further, but this setup was not very stable, when the VM Manager tried to create a new virtual disk is caused the complete system to hang (issue with nfs & locking) This has to do with the way Oracle VM Manager is working. Oracle VM Manager will mount the repository on the VM Server and will then send commands over to the agent on the server. I will come back to this setup later on. For the moment I have abandoned using the Oracle VM Manager (In production environments the nfs server will be an external device and even better the shared storage will be on a SAN) and the nfs setup and I have copied the VM 's from the nfs partition to local storage (the vm.cfg files are again configured manually)

On Oracle linux 5, asm and Oracle 11g database were running fine.

It appears that Oracle Linux 6 or redhat Linux of which it is very related contains a nasty bug related to the AVX and the glibc package. 

Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX) is an extension to the x86 instruction set architecture for microprocessors from Intel and AMD proposed by Intel in March 2008 and first supported by Intel with the Sandy Bridge processor shipping in Q1 2011 and now by AMD with the Bulldozer processor shipping in Q3 2011.

Intel® AVX is a new 256 bit instruction set extension to SSE and is designed for applications that are Floating Point (FP) intensive. It was released early 2011 as part of the Sandy Bridge processor family and is present in platforms ranging from notebooks to servers. Intel AVX improves performance due to wider vectors, new extensible syntax, and rich functionality. This results in better management of data and general purpose applications like image, audio/video processing, scientific simulations, financial analytics and 3D modeling and analysis.

The first AVX enabled processors were available as of early 2011, now more than 18 months ago. The processor I choose for this workstation is exactly such a AVX enabled processor (I had preferred the 2700 - which was out of stock) and bought the Intel® Core™ i7-2600K Processor (8M Cache, up to 3.80 GHz) instead. 

See also the Wiki on AVX

From the same wiki I can learn that Linux is supporting the AVX extensions since version Linux: supported since kernel version 2.6.30,released on June 9, 2009.

Now I am puzzled... 

So Redhat and Hence Oracle is now running version 2.6.32 and jrockit, Oracle installer, and a lot of other software is crashing. 

I am sure that some of these Sandy bridge or Ivy bridge are also used in server hardware blades etc. 

So how comes that both Redhat and Oracle Linux kernals contain a bugged glibc.  Nor Oracle, nor Redhat deem it necessary to make their Linux versions running on Sandy Bridge or Ivy bridge processors.

One of the many reported bugs and a user contributed solution can be found here:

I force installed the glibc as supplied by Yury V. Zaytsev and presto everything is working as a charm.