Oracle clarifies VMware support plans sort of

By Eric Lai, Computerworld |  Virtualization

Oracle Corp. is attempting to clarify its support plan for non-Oracle virtual
servers to dispel confusion caused by conflicting statements from executives
during its OpenWorld user conference in San Francisco last month.

After the Oracle VM virtual server was unveiled during the conference, CEO
Larry Ellison said that the company would "essentially" continue providing
support for Oracle software running on rival VMware Inc.'s virtual machines.

Ellison appeared to contradict earlier comments by Ed Screven, chief corporate
development architect at Oracle, who said that the vendor would not offer support
for such systems.

In an e-mailed response to Computerworld, Oracle contended that there is "no
change" in its support policy for customers running Oracle applications
on VMware. The statement asserted that such users have never been guaranteed
full support.

"Oracle has not certified any Oracle software on VMware virtualized environments,"
the company said. Oracle said it will fix problems in non-Oracle virtualized
environments only if they are unrelated to the virtualization platform.

VMware contended last week that its customers running Oracle software needn't
worry about the database vendor's support policy. "Oracle has been responsive
[to] and supportive of customers who are running Oracle products in VMware environments,"
said Parag Patel, vice president for alliances at VMware, in an e-mail to Computerworld
last week.

"We haven't seen many referrals from Oracle (even though Oracle's official
policy mentions sending referrals to VMware), which seems to indicate that Oracle
is engaging with our mutual customers," Patel wrote.

Gordon Haff, an analyst at Illuminata Inc., noted that Oracle tends to work
with its customers despite such support policies.

"Like Microsoft, Oracle doesn't especially like to play in other children's
sandboxes, but in practice, it does what it has to for important customers --
even if it does so reluctantly," he said. "This isn't exactly nice
behavior. But it's hard to argue that it's hurt them to any significant degree."

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