Friday Mar 16, 2007

Solaris 10 supports UltraSparc T1 chip with Hypervisor for Logical Domains Virtualization

Solaris 10 introduced a powerful virtualization capability in March of 2005 with Solaris Containers.  This allowed hundreds of separate applications to run on a single Solaris kernel while providing security isolation.  It has almost zero performance impact and very little storage and memory impact.  However, a single kernel has caused concern for some customers who need stronger isolation or various kernel patch releases.

Enter "Logical Domains" for the UltraSparc T1 processor current featured in our T1000/T2000 servers.

Logical domains take advantage of the hypervisor built into the US T1 processor allowing up to 32 separate, complete Solaris kernels to run on a single server.

We have a release candidate for external download from Sun Download  Center. This is an unsupported technology preview of Logical Domains  software, providing early access to those interested in the technology.

http://www.sun.com/download/products.xml?id=45b14cf9

A blueprint article (Beginners Guide to LDoms, by Tony Shoumack) was published. It's intended to assist the reader in gaining an  understanding of how to easily and effectively deploy Sun's Logical  Domains technology. The guide works through step-by-step examples that  include the commands to set up, deploy, and manage logical domains and looks at commonly asked questions and advanced techniques.

http://www.sun.com/blueprints/0207/820-0832.html

BigAdmin site: (an external discussion forum will be set up shortly)
http://www.sun.com/bigadmin/hubs/ldoms/

How to they compare?

I've created this brief (not all inclusive) comparison of Solaris containers and Logical Domains

 FeatureSolaris 10 Containers
Logical Domains
How Many?
Thousands per server
32 per server today, 64 in next generation
What platforms?
All
UtraSparc T1 and future Sun4v chips
Number of unique Solaris Kernels
1
up to 32
Patching
Once for all containers
Each one separately
Installations
Once for Solaris 10
Once for each OS image
Resource Management
Yes, CPU pools or shares
Yes manual virtual CPU assignment
Sub-CPU granularity
Yes, fine granularity via fair share scheduler
Yes, 4 logical domains per T1 core
Time to create a new instance
Minutes
Greater than 1 hour
Disk space required per instance
100 MB
Gigabytes
Other OS support
No
Yes in the future (Linux)

FAQ: Can I run Solaris Containers withing a logical domain?

Answer: Yes.  Think of a logical domain as just another platform.

Why should you care?

Customers wanting to make maximum use of their Sun hardware while meeting specific availability, security or management requirement may want to consider logical domains as an alternative (or in parallel with) Solaris containers.

Logical domains are only one of Sun's many virtualization technologies which include:

  • Hardware domains  in the E4900, E6900 and E25K class servers
  • Solaris containers for both Sparc and X64/X86 platform
  • Xen (coming later) for the X64/X86 platform
  • VMware running under Solaris 10 on X64/X86 platform
  • Resource Management in Solaris 9 and 10 on all platforms

 

About

Jim Laurent is an Oracle Sales consultant based in Reston, Virginia. He supports US DoD customers as part of the North American Public Sector hardware organization. With over 17 years experience at Sun and Oracle, he specializes in Solaris and server technologies. Prior to Oracle, Jim worked 11 years for Gould Computer Systems (later known as Encore).

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