VMWare Migration: OLVM Guide and Comparison with VMware

MarkBurgessMark Burgess  |  

Considering a VMWare migration to another on-premise hypervisor? Oracle Linux Virtualisation Manager (OLVM) might just be the solution you are looking for. This blog post delves into what OLVM is and how it stacks up as an alternative to VMWare VSphere.

What is Oracle Linux Virtualisation Manager?

OLVM is a server virtualisation management platform based on Linux KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) technology. It is built on the Oracle Linux, offering a cost-effective and flexible solution for hosting and managing large numbers of virtual machines with varying degrees of complexity.

OLVM is designed to be scalable, supporting both small and large enterprise environments. The high-level architecture of OLVM is a manager known as the engine (the equivalent of VMWare VCentre) and the KVM hosts (the equivalent of VMWare ESXi hosts).

Key Features of OLVM

Open-source Foundation

Based on the open-source oVirt project, it provides a robust and community-supported foundation. The recent release of OLVM 4.5 includes notable feature enhancements for snapshot backups, Grafana integration, and performance enhancements in the updated hypervisor libraries.

Enterprise-grade Performance

OLVM supports Oracle Linux’s enterprise class performance optimisations and security features, making it suitable for demanding enterprise applications. The KVM based virtualisation is baked into Oracle Linux and provides near-native hardware performance for network and storage IO. Oracle Exadata uses KVM based virtualisation – a good enough testament, if any, for running mission critical workloads.

Simple VMWare Migration

Migration from VMWare to OLVM is performed using standard guest migration tools. Guests can be migrated directly from VMWare using command line or GUI interfaces, or alternatively export/import of OVA guest archives. Migration is performed at the guest level – no need to consider complex data migrations between guests.

Integrated with Oracle Products

Seamless integration with Oracle’s product ecosystem, including support for Oracle Database and Oracle Applications. OLVM is one of the few options available that allows for hypervisor hard partitioning to adhere to Oracle licensing requirements. There are also a wide variety of guest templates available for download for Oracle Linux, Oracle Database, Oracle Fusion Middleware and Oracle Applications.

Cost Effective

OLVM is part of Oracle’s Linux offerings and is covered under the Oracle Linux Premier Support subscription. The annual subscription is based on physical server which covers the use of OLVM along with 24*7 enterprise class support.

Comprehensive Feature Set

OLVM can host the vast majority of mission critical workloads and provides all the features required from an enterprise class hypervisor. One thing we like about OLVM is that it does what it does well – with no additional fluff or unnecessary add-ons. OLVM’s comprehensive feature set includes VM live migration, guest resource management, FC/iSCSI/NFS storage connectivity, network QOS and cross site replication.

How Does It Compare to VMware?

VMWare VSphere is arguably the de-facto industry hypervisor platform. VMware’s solutions are known for their robustness, extensive feature set, and broad industry support.

How does OLVM stack up against the industry bellwether?

Performance and Scalability

Both OLVM and VMware provide high performance and scalability. VMware has a longer track record in large-scale enterprise environments, offering extensive tuning options for performance optimisation. OLVM, while newer, leverages KVM’s efficient and lightweight design, making it highly competitive in terms of performance. Actual application or database performance is going to be determined by many different factors. In real world applications we have not seen any decrease in performance – and in some cases an increase in performance running workloads on OLVM.

Ecosystem and Integration

VMware boasts a vast ecosystem of partners and integrated solutions, covering everything from backup and disaster recovery to cloud management and security. VMWare’s widespread adoption ensures extensive support for a wide range of hardware and software. OLVM, while offering strong integration with many third party solutions, has a more limited range of turn-key third party integrations. OLVM does have support for two key utilities – Veeam Backup and Ansible – which should go a long way to cover most requirements.

Licensing and Cost

One of the most significant differences lies in the licensing model and overall cost. VMware’s licensing can be expensive, with costs scaling with the number of CPUs, features, and the level of support required. In contrast, OLVM is part of Oracle’s Linux support subscription, potentially offering a more cost-effective solution based on a simple subscription model. We have observed Oracle’s pricing for Linux subscriptions to be consistent year on year, providing predictable opex costs without any surprises.

Management and Usability

VMware’s vCenter Server provides a mature, user-friendly interface for managing virtual environments, with extensive documentation and a large community of users. OLVM, based on the oVirt project, also offers a comprehensive management interface with the main administrative components well laid out. Whilst there may be some new concepts or terminology, the OLVM interface is intuitive enough to quickly be able to manage the virtualisation platform compute, storage and network infrastructure components. In addition, OLVM provides REST API support, along with Ansible modules to automate workflows.


The choice between OLVM and VMware largely depends on your organisation’s specific needs, budget, and existing infrastructure. For mission critical workloads OLVM presents a compelling option with the gap between the two platforms decreasing in recent years.

In summary, both Oracle Linux Virtualisation Manager and VMware offer robust solutions for managing virtualised environments. Your decision should be informed by your organisation’s specific needs, budget constraints, and your infrastructure roadmap.

On-premise OLVM is one option to consider when migrating from VMWare. Check out our guide on the Oracle solutions available to migrate from on-premise VMWare.

Considering alternatives to VMWare? Book a call today to learn how OLVM should be an option for you to consider.

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