How to Save Costs and Reduce Risk of Legacy Oracle Applications by Using Emulation in Oracle VM


By Sandy Levitt posted 19 days ago


written by Sandy Levitt (Stromasys) and Ignacio Gomez (Igeckoo)

Companies often continue to run legacy Oracle applications for their businesses because the apps are stable, work perfectly fine, and perform exactly what the business needs.  These mission/business critical applications, associated databases, and operating systems have been running for years on aging “legacy hardware” in the face of a looming, ever-growing risk of hardware failure.   Unit managers or IT administrators usually convey their fear of this risk by “not touching what is not broken.”  How can one reduce the risk of hardware failure without making any application changes from the operating system level and up?  The easiest solution can be hardware emulation.  This approach allows one to move to modern X86 hardware, thus reducing the risk of hardware failure, while at the same time allowing the legacy operating system, databases, and applications (for example EBS) to continue to run as they always have.  However, businesses also understand their operating costs for these applications and databases in terms of licensing and may be afraid to make changes due to that factor alone.  Because many of these Oracle products are licensed “per core,” one may ask, “how will this affect my license costs?”  Depending on the X86 hardware and potential hypervisor upon which the legacy workloads are to be rehosted, it may sometimes have a great affect.  But there is also the potential to lower these costs using hardware partitioning, and clients have done just that!


Many legacy workloads run on a hardware architecture that only requires a few CPUs to run efficiently. Since x86 commodity servers these days come with multi-core CPUs in configurations with up to 40 cores in a single server, migrating these workloads to an emulation solution (that usually sits on top of virtualization infrastructure made of at least a couple of x86 servers in a cluster configuration) can inadvertently incur huge licensing costs when such legacy workloads include an Oracle Database. 

To mitigate this risk and cost-efficiently manage licensing costs, Oracle provides a virtualization solution, Oracle VMTM, that allows you to partition CPU hardware for the purposes of licensing. The feature is called “hard partitioning” or “CPU pinning,” where virtual CPUs in the Virtual Machine hosting the legacy workload are bound limited to specific hardware CPU cores. This allows you, for example, to run a legacy workload VM in a physical server with 40 cores, assign 4 virtual CPUs to the VM and bind those 4 virtual CPUs to 4 physical cores; the Oracle software within the legacy workload VM would then require licensing only 4 cores, resulting in 10x savings on licensing and the ability to scale as you grow. 

An additional benefit of CPU pinning is that physical CPU cores in the server can be configured to be dedicated or “reserved” to the Legacy Workload virtual machine and prevent other VM’s in the same server from using them. This allows you to run multiple legacy, modern, production and non-production workloads on the same hardware with maximum performance, high availability, disaster recovery and optimal licensing such as illustrated in the following diagram:


About Stromasys

With global headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, and US headquarters in Raleigh, NC, Stromasys is the original and leading provider of enterprise class cross-platform virtualization solutions.  CharonTM emulation software products virtualize classic SPARC, PA-RISC, and DEC VAX/Alpha/PDP systems so that mission critical legacy applications may be re-hosted, without modification, to run as is on modern x86 infrastructure (on-prem or cloud).

 About igeckoo

With over 20 years of experience in Oracle E-Business Suite and Oracle Database, igeckoo delivers technical solutions worldwide both re-motely or onsite.  We have implemented, migrated, upgraded and supported OEBS environments on multiple hardware platforms that deliver maximum performance with optimal licensing, high availability and disaster recovery. This holistic approach has resulted in successful projects that reduce by up to 40% the infrastructure and ongoing technical support costs of OEBS.