Solaris at Oracle Open World 2014

Another busy Oracle Open World week is over: For me this one was the busiest and most successful one ever. We had a record number of Solaris and OpenStack sessions. I've personally set a new record for the number of customer, analyst and partner meetings. In a lot of the sessions we had customers and partners co-present on the benefits they are seeing with the latest Solaris 11.2 features.

It all started on Sunday with Larry Ellison's Keynote where he highlighted Oracle's focus on Cloud and the large portfolio of cloud offerings that Oracle now provides. Larry also provided a preview of the new features that the M7 processor is going to introduce next year. Aside from doubling the cores and increasing the clock speed it will also introduce a bunch of cutting edge Software in Silicon features which not only provide significant performance and efficiency gains for the Oracle DB, but also introduces the Application Data Integrity (ADI) feature which allows developers to write more stable code C and C++ code and also protects the Oracle DB as well as other applications from attacks like Heartbleed. This new capability in particular raised a lot of interest among customers and I got a lot of questions throughout the week.

In my General Session I started out by highlighting how Solaris has evolved from a Server OS to a comprehensive cloud platform which includes the OS, the virtualization, the Software-Defined Networking (SDN) as well as a full distribution of OpenStack. The increased investment that Oracle is putting into Solaris has allowed us to drastically increase the pace of our development. With Solaris 11.2 we are seeing customers deploying Solaris at a large scale achieving productivity gains up to 16x compared to equivalent Redhat environments. Solaris 11.2 also helps customers keep their environment in compliance and allows them to automate their compliance reporting. See our Solaris site for more details. I also talked about the rapid market share gain that we are now seeing vs. IBM: In Q2 of fiscal 2014 SPARC/ Solaris gained 6.1% market share measured in WW revenue in the RISC/ UNIX market while AIX/Power lost 4.6%. This was the 4th quarter in a row where we gained market share. Not only is SPARC/Solaris winning over AIX/Power, we are increasingly seeing customers moving their workloads over from RHEL/ x86 environments.

One of those customers is Morgan Stanley: I was very excited that Robert Milkowski from Morgan Stanley could join me and talked about their increased use of Solaris. He described how moving their OpenAFS environment over from Redhat to Solaris has allowed them to compress their data from 7 PB down to 2PB with huge savings for the firm. By taking advantage of the compression in ZFS they are able to reach compression rates between 3 and 20 while achieving better reliability and availability. He also described how the simplified life cycle management in Solaris 11 has allowed them to automate most of their patching. They have moved some of their in-house software into IPS resulting in additional simplification of their application life cycle management. They are also expanding the use of Solaris into their Sybase and KDB environment.

Not only are we seeing a lot of momentum with customers, we are also seeing the Solaris ecosystem expanding: At the end of my session I was joined by Robert Jenkins, CEO of CloudSigma who announced the launch of their Solaris IaaS offering on both SPARC as well as x86. CloudSigma is seeing a lot of interest from customers in Solaris-based IaaS given the unique security as well as compliance capabilities that Solaris now offers. Leveraging the new kernel zones virtualization in Solaris 11.2 allows them to provide the highest levels of performance, security, compliance and availability.

A lot of the other Solaris and OpenStack sessions also had customers and partners presenting. For instance, Chris Riggin from Verizon talked about their private cloud offering and their plans for OpenStack. Chris also described how their use of Solaris zones allows them to provide highly available Solaris IaaS at a significantly lower cost than RHEL/ VMware/ x86.

We no longer look at it as just a mere OS, we now look at it as a comprehensive cloud platform: OS + OS Virtualization + SDN + Storage Virtualization plus Cloud Management tools, configuration, compliance reporting etc. all in one! It doesn't make sense to compare Solaris against RHEL, that's like comparing a spare part vs. a full solution. Solaris is the ideal platform for any kind of SaaS, PaaS (Oracle DB, Oracle Middleware, Oracle Java) as well as IaaS.

I also shared some examples of what we are currently focusing on:
1. Kernel Zones: There are a number of enhancements that are currently in the works, e.g. live migration.
2. Zero Downtime Patching: This is very critical for customers who want to minimize their planned downtime. I frequently hear from customers that they are struggling to find the time to apply critical security fixes while meeting their uptime targets. We are working on enabling them to satisfy both of these requirements at the same time.
3. OpenStack: Solaris 11.2 provides all of the infrastructure required for IaaS. Our current focus is on going upstack and providing DBaaS as well as PaaS capabilities. In addition to that we are also working on additional automation of the undercloud deployment incl. configuration and authentication.
4. Cloud Analytics: As customers are moving from a first generation cloud environment which still required a lot of manual intervention to a next generation cloud which includes Software Defined Networking and Storage, it becomes absolutely critical to have rich analytics capabilities that provide both high-level views of their environment, but also allow them to dig deep into each of their sub components if necessary. This is something that we are heavily investing in currently.

Not to mention the 100s of other projects that I haven't listed here.

Solaris is on a mission to kick butt! More to come...


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