Thursday Jan 28, 2016

The UNIX®-Based Cloud

® -Based Cloud

Oracle ® Solaris continues to evolve as the foundation for critical private cloud implementations.  As the premier UNIX in the IT industry, certified against the exacting standards of The OpenGroup for enterprise-level operating systems, Solaris 11 enables Oracle customers and partners to provide the elasticity, security, scalability, and stability required for today's demanding Cloud Computing requirements.

As Chris Riggin, Enterprise Architect at Verizon, said at last Fall's Oracle OpenWorld, the cloud services enabled by Solaris provide the massive scaling for Verizon's 135 million customers and 180,000 employees needed to speed service delivery and to maintain Verizon's competitive edge.  Using Solaris' and SPARC's innovative virtualization technologies and Oracle-supported OpenStack, Verizon serves both customers and employees with a UNIX-based cloud infrastructure that implements enhanced agility, superior performance, easy maintainability, and effective cost control.

Solaris has continually led the evolution of UNIX as the primary choice for enterprise computing.  Oracle's leadership in The Open Group Governing Board ensures that UNIX will maintain and extend its prominent role in cloud computing.

UNIX® is a Registered Trademark of The Open Group.
® Solaris is a Registered Trademark of Oracle Corporation.

Thursday Oct 15, 2015

Solaris 11.2 SysAdmin Handbook is now available

The new Solaris 11.2 SysAdmin Handbook is now available:

Solaris 11.2 SysAdmin Handbook (at Oracle Press)
Solaris 11.2 SysAdmin Handbook (at Amazon)

Special thanks to colleagues/coauthors Glynn Foster and Joerg Moellenkamp
and tech reviewer Tom Plunkett for this effort!

The earlier Solaris 11 book, Solaris 11 System Administration the Complete Reference, still relevant and available

Compare Solaris 11 to Red Hat Linux

Friday Oct 31, 2014

Solaris Containers (zones)

In 1939, Ernest Wright published a 50,000+ word novel without using the letter 'e', the most common letter in English.
The point here is that he had to TRY VERY HARD to avoid any mention of that commonly used letter.

Well, here we have an article on containers, Are Containers the Beginning of the End of Virtual Machines?, and NOT ONE MENTION of Solaris containers (or "zones", if you prefer), that have been in production for nearly 10 years. I can only assume that the author had to TRY VERY HARD to avoid any mention of this commonly used virtualization technology!

Monday Aug 04, 2014

Oracle Solaris 11.2 for Cloud Computing

When Oracle released Solaris 11 back in 2011, I blogged about it here:
Even at that time, Solaris 11 was fully capable of meeting the operating system requirements for building scalable and elastic cloud infrastructures. Now, with the recent release of Oracle Solaris 11.2 there is more reason to seriously consider Solaris-based private cloud computing, both on Oracle's Intel/x86 servers, and especially on SPARC servers.
New in Solaris 11.2 are additional cloud-enabling features such as the Elastic Virtual Switch and support for OpenStack. Add to that the benefit of running your private cloud infrastructure on the fastest and most scalable SPARC servers, and you really have no excuse to overlook Oracle's cloud technologies!

Monday May 05, 2014

Oracle Solaris 11.2 Virtualization Options

Wow! What an amazing collection of new features in Oracle Solaris 11.2! You can read and hear about it here

I would like to focus on one small but important new feature that allows you greater choice in Solaris OS virtualization: Kernel Zones.

You create and manage Kernel Zones much like other zones the way you did it on Solaris 10 or earlier Solaris 11 releases. But now on 11.2 you can run different Solaris 11 kernel versions within non-global zones, similar to the earlier branded zones idea for Solaris 8 and 9. Solaris 11.2 now provides a platform for Type II hypervisor like support for different Solaris kernels.

This means that you now have two choices for virtualizing multiple Solaris kernels on the same physical server. Use Logical Domains (LDoms) on the T- and M- servers to provide fully separated Solaris kernels running directly on allocated SPARC cores, or use lighter weight kernel zones hosted on a single Solaris 11.2 global zone. And this provides intriguing variations and combinations of virtualization-within-virtualization: zones within LDoms, for maximum flexibility of application containment and deployment.

Check out Marcus Flierl's video on Solaris 11.2 virtualization here, and start thinking about all the new ways to deploy test, dev, and production applications in virtualized Solaris environments.

Tuesday Nov 05, 2013

Brendan Gregg's "Systems Performance: Enterprise and the Cloud"

An outstanding new text on UNIX & Linux system performance by one of the best experts.[Read More]

Thursday Jun 27, 2013

Ginormous...the new Oracle T5-8 SPARC SuperCluster! other way to describe it...the new Oracle T5-8 SPARC SuperCluster...2000+ fast CPU threads, massive memory (DRAM & Flash), 1.2 M IOPS, HUGE storage and bandwidth...WOW! Wanna build a SPARC Cloud? This is it! Multiple virtualization technologies (VM Server for SPARC, and Solaris zones) for elasticity and resource pooling along with Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c providing full cloud management capability.

Check it out!:

Monday Mar 25, 2013

Join Oracle's CEO Larry Ellison & VP John Fowler for a live web event: Tues., Mar. 26 @ 3pm CT

Join Oracle's CEO Larry Ellison & VP John Fowler for a live web event: Tues., Mar. 26 @ 3pm CT Register: HERE

Friday Nov 02, 2012

Meet the co-author: Solaris 11, at Oracle OpenWorld 2012

Meet the co-author: Solaris 11, at Oracle OpenWorld 2012:

Sunday Sep 23, 2012

ReBlog: So You Want To Build a SPARC Cloud

In case you missed this on Steve Wilson's Blog:
So You Want To Build a SPARC Cloud

Thursday Sep 06, 2012

The first Oracle Solaris 11 book is now available

The first Oracle Solaris 11 book is now available:

Oracle Solaris 11 System Administration - The Complete Reference
by Michael Jang, Harry Foxwell, Christine Tran, and Alan Formy-Duval

  • The book covers the Oracle Solaris 11 11/11 release; although the next OS release will be available soon, the book covers major topics and features that are not expected to change significantly.
  • The target audience is broad, and includes Solaris admins, Linux admins and developers, and even those somewhat unfamiliar with UNIX.
  • The coauthors include practitioners and developers from outside of Oracle, emphasizing their field experience using Solaris 11.
  • The book complements the extensive Oracle Solaris 11 Information Library, and covers the main system administration topics of installation, configuration, and management.

More Oracle Solaris 11 info here

Tuesday Aug 28, 2012

The Growing Importance of Network Virtualization

The Growing Importance of Network Virtualization

We often focus on server virtualization when we discuss cloud computing, but just as often we neglect to consider some of the critical implications of that technology. The ability to create virtual environments (or VEs [1]) means that we can create, destroy, activate and deactivate, and more importantly, MOVE them around within the cloud infrastructure. This elasticity and mobility has profound implications for how network services are defined, managed, and used to provide cloud services. It's not just servers that benefit from virtualization, it's the network as well.

Network virtualization is becoming a hot topic, and not just for discussion but for companies like Oracle and others who have recently acquired net virtualization companies [2,3]. But even before this topic became so prominent, Solaris engineers were working on technologies in Solaris 11 to virtualize network services, known as Project Crossbow [4].

And why is network virtualization so important? Because old assumptions about network devices, topology, and management must be re-examined in light of the self-service, elasticity, and resource sharing requirements of cloud computing infrastructures. Static, hierarchical network designs, and inter-system traffic flows, need to be reconsidered and quite likely re-architected to take advantage of new features like virtual NICs and switches, bandwidth control, load balancing, and traffic isolation. For example, traditional multi-tier Web services (Web server, App server, DB server) that share net traffic over Ethernet wires can now be virtualized and hosted on shared-resource systems that communicate within a larger server at system bus speeds, increasing performance and reducing wired network traffic. And virtualized traffic flows can be monitored and adjusted as needed to optimize network performance for dynamically changing cloud workloads. Additionally, as VEs come and go and move around in the cloud, static network configuration methods cannot easily accommodate the routing and addressing flexibility that VE mobility implies; virtualizing the network itself is a requirement.

Oracle Solaris 11 [5] includes key network virtualization technologies needed to implement cloud computing infrastructures. It includes features for the creation and management of virtual NICs and switches, and for the allocation and control of the traffic flows among VEs [6]. Additionally it allows for both sharing and dedication of hardware components to network tasks, such as allocating specific CPUs and vNICs to VEs, and even protocol-specific management of traffic.

So, have a look at your current network topology and management practices in view of evolving cloud computing technologies. And don't simply duplicate the physical architecture of servers and connections in a virtualized environment…rethink the traffic flows among VEs and how they can be optimized using Oracle Solaris 11 and other Oracle products and services.

[1] I use the term "virtual environment" or VE here instead of the more commonly used "virtual machine" or VM, because not all virtualized operating system environments are full OS kernels under the control of a hypervisor…in other words, not all VEs are VMs. In particular, VEs include Oracle Solaris zones, as well as SPARC VMs (previously called LDoms), and x86-based Solaris and Linux VMs running under hypervisors such as OEL, Xen, KVM, or VMware.

[2] Oracle follows VMware into network virtualization space with Xsigo purchase;

[3] Oracle Buys Xsigo;

[4] Oracle Solaris 11 Networking Virtualization Technology,

[5] Oracle Solaris 11;

[6] For example, the Solaris 11 'dladm' command can be used to limit the bandwidth of a virtual NIC, as follows: dladm create-vnic -l net0 -p maxbw=100M vnic0

Tuesday Nov 15, 2011

What's a "Cloud Operating System"?

What's a "Cloud Operating System"?

Oracle's recently introduced Solaris 11 has been touted as "The First Cloud OS". Interesting claim, but what exactly does it mean? To answer that, we need to recall what characteristics define a cloud and then see how Solaris 11's capabilities map to those characteristics.

By now, most cloud computing professionals have at least heard of, if not adopted, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Definition of Cloud Computing, including its vocabulary and conceptual architecture. NIST says that cloud computing includes these five characteristics:

  1. On-demand self-service
  2. Broad network access
  3. Resource pooling
  4. Rapid elasticity
  5. Measured service
How does Solaris 11 support these capabilities? Well, one of the key enabling technologies for cloud computing is virtualization, and Solaris 11 along with Oracle's SPARC and x86 hardware offerings provides the full range of virtualization technologies including dynamic hardware domains, hypervisors for both x86 and SPARC systems, and efficient non-hypervisor workload virtualization with containers. This provides the elasticity needed for cloud systems by supporting on-demand creation and resizing of application environments; it supports the safe partitioning of cloud systems into multi-tenant infrastructures, adding resources as needed and deprovisioning computing resources when no longer needed, allowing for pay-only-for-usage chargeback models.

For cloud computing developers, add to that the next generation of Java, and you've got the NIST requirements covered. The results, or one of them anyway, are services like the new Oracle Public Cloud. And Solaris is the ideal platform for running your Java applications.

So, if you want to develop for cloud computing, for IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS, start with an operating system designed to support cloud's key requirements…start with Solaris 11.


The purpose of this blog is to highlight and to explore general issues around "Cloud Computing" -- its benefits, risks, and component technologies -- and how they are evolving. I'll also periodically comment (of course!) on Oracle's Cloud Computing capabilities, resources, and cloud-related events. -- Harry J Foxwell, PhD, Principal Consultant for Cloud Computing, Oracle Public Sector HW


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