Wednesday Apr 30, 2014

Oracle Solaris 11.2 Announced

This morning in New York City, we announced Oracle Solaris 11.2 with Mark Hurd, John Fowler and Markus Flierl all taking the stage. I think many will probably completely fail to appreciate the amount of work that's gone into this release and some of the ground breaking technologies that have been included. They've been trying to bury us for years with the 'Solaris is dead' moniker. But here we still are, continuously engineering and steadily delivering - much like our SPARC processor and system roadmap.

If you had to sum up this release, I think the tagline for the release is pretty true to form. Engineered for cloud. It's the one driving force that's always been there since the start of Solaris development - our engineers always deliver a truly engineered system that's been architected from really solid foundations. Oracle Solaris 11 brings a number of new features that I think will be really game changing:

  • Unified Archives - Unified Archives are a replacement for Solaris Flash Archives that were available in Oracle Solaris 10. It's essentially a new archive format that's built on the OVF compliant format, but taking advantage of ZFS streams. Unified Archives provide you with the ability to capture environments of a running system either for cloning within a cloud environment or for backup and disaster recovery purposes. Unlike your standard golden image that you've been used to, Unified Archives provide an ability to capture both bare-metal and virtualized environments (or a combination of both) and deploy to either bare metal or virtual with powerful image transforms. This is especially useful in a typical development, test and product lifecycle where you want to be able to capture and quickly deploy a golden image as you go through that process. But how many developers have access to a SPARC M6 system? With Unified Archives you don't need to, and developers can capture a SPARC T5 system but deploy to a larger system when it really matters.
  • Kernel Zones - Kernel Zones are a feature of Oracle Solaris Zones to allow you to have a completely independent and isolated virtual environment with a standalone kernel. Our customers have been asking for this for a while, and with the rise of highly tenanted cloud environments, the ability to run different kernel versions side by side is crucially important. This allows administrators to easily migrate workloads for system maintenance or re-balance them completely unconstrained by the version of the global zone.
  • Compliance - We've been hearing this from our customer base for a while. Compliance requirements aren't going away anytime soon, and in fact they're getting harder and harder with multiple different software versions to manage in a virtualized, cloud computing world. With Oracle Solaris 11.1 we integrated support for the industry standard SCAP. Now we're taking this a step further by providing a set of tools to automatically monitor and report compliance with a number of built-in policies to help our customers through that pain.
  • Software Defined Networking - Oracle Solaris 11 has included a number of network virtualization capabilities for quite some time. The addition of virtual network interfaces (VNICs) has led to an unprecedented level of flexibility in network topology construction, and resource management them seamlessly within software. With Oracle Solaris 11.2 we're continuing to expand, and deliver, on Software Defined Networking (SDN) with the introduction of Elastic Virtual Switch. Elastic Virtual Switch provides administrators with the ability to seamlessly manage a series of virtual switches across multiple nodes in cloud from a single source. A new socket level API provides developers the ability to write purpose built application level flows to resource manage network traffic from the VM directly through to the network hardware and backend storage.
  • OpenStack - And finally, but not least, we've adopted the industry standard cloud computing infrastructure software, OpenStack. Oracle Solaris 11.2 is a full OpenStack distribution, and we've integrated the foundations of Oracle Solaris into the various OpenStack services - Nova compute virtualization, Neutron networking, Cinder and Swift block and object level storage, Glance image management, Keystone identity management, and of course that unified management interface Horizon that provides our customers with the ability to manage a heterogenous set of data center resources. We've been hearing from more and more customers interested in deploying OpenStack in their enterprise and we're very excited at being interoperable in this space and providing infrastructure such as a OpenStack Unified Archive to really help our customers get started in shifting their business to cloud computing.

But this list is just the start. Take a read of the Oracle Solaris 11.2 What's New Guide and see the vast array of other new integrations including extended Oracle Solaris support for Puppet, read-only root environments Immutable Global Zones, 3rd party configuration management with SMF stencils, seamless IPS repository mirroring, and secure end-to-end deployment using Automated Installer.

If you're one of the people who has dismissed Oracle Solaris, do take a look at Oracle Solaris 11.2. We've come a long, long way. These are enterprise ready technologies that you won't have seen before, and we really can do a lot better to manage your business IT needs.

Tuesday Apr 02, 2013

In case you missed it - our new SPARC servers

In case you missed last week's announcement, Larry Ellison and John Fowler got up on stage to announce the new range of SPARC T5 based mid-range servers and the new SPARC M5 based high-range servers, with an impressive 17 world record enterprise benchmarks. You can see the full replay of the live event below.

The new SPARC servers represent a huge amount of research and development on Oracle's behalf, essentially the first set of SPARC based products that can truly be considered 'Oracle'. With 100% performance increase in each generation of the chip (compared to 30-50% for IBM Power or Intel x86), we're no longer playing catch up. What's more exciting is that this is just a start of things to come as we start to move application features directly into silicon which should result in many future performance optimizations - Oracle runs best on SPARC Solaris. For more details of what was announced, see here: Announcing new SPARC servers with the world's fastest microprocessor.

Friday Oct 19, 2012

Oracle Solaris 11.1 Announced at Oracle OpenWorld

One of the highlights for me at Oracle OpenWorld was our announcement of the next update version to Oracle Solaris 11, named Oracle Solaris 11.1. Since November 2011, we've done a lot of work not only to polish existing features and fix literally hundreds of bugs, but also add many new features that give yet more reasons for using Oracle Solaris as the deployment platform for Oracle workloads - particularly the Oracle database. Over the last few years since the Sun Microsystems acquisition, we've had our developers sitting in Redwood Shores with the Oracle database team figuring out how to best optimize that combination and provide a level of integration that no other vendor (or solution) can match.

Oracle Solaris 11.1 is often the first release many customers will adopt due to perceived instability of '.0' releases. In reality, however, we've seen incredible adoption already and all our existing customers are loving the new technologies like Image Packaging System (IPS), Automated Installer and ZFS Boot Environments, consolidated network management and network virtualization, and of course the existing features that are so critical to creating private, hybrid or public cloud environments like the Oracle Solaris ZFS file system and Oracle Solaris Zones server virtualization.

If you haven't already gotten on board, there's plenty chance to catch up. More importantly, Oracle Solaris 11.1 really provides a platform that is significantly easier to manage than any previous Solaris releases - to the extent that it should be relatively straightforward for any experienced Linux administrator to get up to speed (if they're struggling, we have ways to help). So take a look at what's new in Oracle Solaris 11.1 and start planning your deployment now!

If you missed the announcement, you can see the full video of John Fowler's keynote at Oracle OpenWorld here:

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To learn more about Oracle Solaris 11, check out an extensive list of resources including technical articles, cheat sheets and screencasts on Oracle Technology Network

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