By seanharris on Jun 01, 2009
The two main topics of the key note were Cloud Computing and the new release of Open Solaris 2009.6 (the binary distribution)
The cloud computing session include little over and above what was presented at Community One East back in March. The general availability of the storage cloud is imminent and the general availability of the compute cloud is expected soon. No precise dates were given.
One interesting fact that was slipped into the Open Solaris announcement was that the 2009.6 release will double up as the preview release for the next major release of Enterprise Solaris (ie. the replacement for Solaris 10). To understand why this is interesting you need to understand the release processor for Enterprise Solaris. At the point where a major release of Enterprise Solaris is made a snap shot of the development source tree is made and maintained separately from the development source tree. New features and bug fixes are added to the development source tree and (where possible) back ported to Enterprise Solaris as update releases or patches. The key wprds in this sentence are "where possible". The longer the time elapsed from the source code fork the greater the divergence of the two source trees and the harder it becomes to back port new features. Eventually you reach the point where back porting certain new features becomes commercially non viable or technically impossible. This all happened with Solaris 10. The development code base (Nevada), which became the Open Solaris code base and the two have been diverging to the point were an increasing number of new Solaris features are only available in Open Solaris and not in Solaris 10 (such as CrossBow, xVM and some features of ZFS). A new major release of Enterprise Solaris would bring them back in line. It would also be a milestone as the first release of Enterprise Solaris based on Open Source. So todays announcement means that a new major release is in the pipeline. No announcements were made on when it would happen but my guess is in a window 6-12 months from now.
Looking at the features of the new Open Solaris release they went back over some of the pre-existing features that have been enhanced like dTrace, ZFS and Time Slider. In looking at ZFS they covered hybrid storage pools and how they have been leveraged in the Open Storage 7000 family of products. The major new feature is Project Crossbow providing a major step forward in network virtualisatiion and network QoS management. The final thing that was of personal interest was the launch of Source Juicer for Open Solaris. This is a system for community members to contribute packages to the new IPS package repository. Back in 1998 I tried to push this idea at Sun and received a major battering from the Solaris marketing team. It is good to see that common sense has now prevailed.