Oracle Support for RAC on VMware – MOS Note 249212.1’s April 29, 2021 Revision and VMware’s June 9, 2021 Reaction.
Prior to November 8, 2010, Oracle’s RAC FAQ stated:
“There are technical restrictions that prohibit the support of RAC in a VMware environment.”
In our April 21, 2010 IOUG/Collaborate break-out session, House of Brick proved the single “technical restriction”—clock drift—was since resolved by running either current Linux OS kernels or current ESX versions. We shouldn’t have been surprised at the sessions’ substantial attendance, even at 8 AM on a Wednesday at a Vegas conference.
Quoting My Oracle Support (MOS) note 249212.1’s historical text from VMware’s 6/9/21 blog post, the November 8, 2010 revision introduced support for RAC on VMware:
For Oracle RAC, Oracle will only accept service requests as described in this note on Oracle RAC 18.104.22.168 and later releases.
Release 22.214.171.124 is now long out of support. Rather than revise the release number, Oracle opted to drop the statement as of April 29, 2021. I suspect Oracle didn’t inform VMware of the pending change to the note because there was no reason for doing so; nothing operationally was being taken away.
That said, I can appreciate VMware’s desire to get clarification from Oracle on RAC support, given Oracle’s June 14, 2020 bombshell announcing the policy of not supporting RAC in any third party VMware cloud.
In reaction to Oracle’s June 14, 2020 announcement, VMware punted. On December 14, 2021, VMware recommended:
… that anyone currently running OR planning to run, an Oracle Real Application Cluster (RAC) in a VMware Cloud environment, reach out to Oracle Corporation for any Oracle support related matters with RAC on our cloud platform.
That VMware page has now been taken down but is archived here.
VMware’s June 9, 2021 blog post says:
2) This change in Metalink note 249212.1 on April 29th, 2021 DOES NOT reflect any change in VMware’s stance on support for Oracle RAC on VMware virtualized platforms
Au contraire, Oracle’s April 29, 2021 revision most definitely appears to have induced VMware to step up to an unambiguous support statement for RAC in third party VMware clouds. Quoting VMware’s June 9, 2021 blog post:
From VMware’s perspective, All Oracle products including Oracle RAC will be supported by VMware, anywhere and everywhere vSphere runs on all VMware Hybrid Cloud platforms including on-premises and all of the VMware Cloud offerings.
In Oracle’s June 14, 2020 document, Oracle wrote:
…VMware® cannot be used to obtain support for operating Oracle RAC in Third-Party Clouds.
With VMware’s June 9, 2021 post, VMware is saying, “Not so fast, Oracle.” I have every confidence in VMware Global Support Services’ ability to support RAC in third party VMware clouds. And don’t forget Oracle’s obligation to participate behind the scenes as may be appropriate due to their TSANet membership. On both counts, see my blog post on the landmark Oracle-focused VMware Global Support Services Panel – What Goes Wrong and How We Fix It – VMworld 2014 session VAPP2980.
In the April 29, 2021 revision of MOS note 249212.1, Oracle clarified that their previously stated policy of not supporting RAC in third party VMware clouds extends even to their own Oracle Cloud VMware Solution (OCVS) environment. Until this note revision, Oracle’s policy of no support for RAC on Oracle OCVS was known only anecdotally. Even though I oppose Oracle’s policy, at least the restriction is now plainly stated.
All that said about RAC on VMware support, is there a higher-level question we should be asking? Oracle is transparent in its attempt to push RAC cloud workloads to Oracle’s own bare metal cloud. Whereas RAC was arguably the best and even only HA solution for a lot of workloads’ needs years ago, the landscape has shifted radically with the maturation and introduction of alternative technologies.