Many CBORD clients are interested in virtual machine software. There are numerous vendors of this technology, including VMware, Microsoft, Oracle, Citrix, Parallels, etc. This software allows multiple copies of an operating system to run on the same hardware platform.
For applications that do not consume a lot of system resources, virtualization can be a good way to consolidate hardware. CBORD applications in this category include Odyssey PCS™ and MICROS 3700. Clients interested in running these applications in a virtual environment should see the white paper. Another area where virtualization can make sense is for functional test environments.
While there are many advantages to virtualization, there are some drawbacks as well. One concern with virtualization is performance. The virtualization software itself consumes additional hardware resources. Also, running multiple virtual machines on the same hardware causes additional resource contention and significantly more complexity when trying to resolve performance issues.
Another issue is vendor support in a virtualized environment. CBORD depends upon a number of third-party software packages to run, from vendors like Oracle, Sybase, Microsoft, and MICROS. Each of these parties has different support policies for virtualized environments. CBORD will not recommend virtualization in any case where our vendor does not support virtualization.
Whether the use of virtualization is a good choice or not depends upon a number of factors, including which CBORD applications the client is using. The choice does involve a set of trade-offs.
We offer the following guidance:
- The client is responsible for the proper configuration of the virtual machine and CBORD applications running in the virtual environment. CBORD does not provide configuration recommendations for its applications operating in a virtualized environment.
- CBORD does not test and/or certify its products to operate in virtualized environments.
- In the event a reported issue appears to be related to the virtualization software, CBORD may require that the issue be reproduced in a physical environment.
- Issues confirmed to be unrelated to the virtualization software will be treated in a manner consistent with CBORD’s product support policies when the software is running in a non-virtualized environment.
- CBORD will not guarantee a resolution to issues confirmed to be related to the use of virtualization software.
- CBORD products may experience performance degradation when running in a virtualized environment. If the performance of the product in a virtualized environment is unacceptable to the client, CBORD will recommend that its product be removed from the virtual environment, and be installed in a physical environment.
- CBORD does not systematically test any of the virtualization environments nor can we endorse a particular virtualization product.
In general we recommend against virtualizing Nutrition Service Suite® and CS Gold® 5 servers, largely due to performance. We have numerous Odyssey PCS, Odyssey HMS™, CS Gold® 6 and MICROS 3700 customers that have obtained good results when using VMware ESX to virtualize their environments. We strongly recommend that clients wishing to virtualize their systems consult with CBORD on an individual basis to assess the trade-offs involved.