Oracle clarifies VMware support plans sort of

Three weeks after its openworld gathering, Oracle is taking one more stab at clarifying its support policies for customers running non-Oracle virtualization

Oracle 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'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, 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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