Friday Oct 03, 2014

Oracle Solaris and OpenStack 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...


Wednesday Sep 25, 2013

Impressions from Oracle Open World 2013

4 days of Oracle Open World are over now, one more to go! As always, I've had a super-busy week with over 2 dozen customer meetings and 1/2 dozen analyst meetings, not to mention partners and internal colleagues. Oracle Open World is by far my most productive week of the year and I thrive on that! The best summary of the last week is what I heard from one of the analysts from a major analyst firm: "We are seeing the Renaissance of SPARC and Solaris".

It all started on Sunday with a customer advisory board in the San Francisco office. Some of my technical leads and I spent 1/2 day with key customers reviewing our key investments and getting their feedback on those. One of the customers gave a talk on their self-provisioning IaaS and PaaS cloud taking advantage of the latest S11 features. They are using a combination of Solaris zones as well as OVM SPARC in order to achieve super-high compression rates and drive the cost/VM well below what they can get with RHEL and VMWare on x86 hardware. Not to mention all of the other benefits of Solaris like higher up-time, security, super-efficient patching etc.

Later that day I went to Larry Ellison's Opening Keynote. Larry did a great job highlighting how the new In-Memory capabilities of Oracle DB 12c will be taking advantage of the 32TB of DRAM that the newly released M6-32 has to offer. 3,072 threads on 384 cores! When we initially tested the Oracle DB on this large machine it took 2800s to fill a 30TB SGA when running Oracle DB 11g on S11.1. Working closely with the Oracle DB team we have been able to get this down to about 130s now! That's a 21x speed-up! We had to do a whole bunch of work on both sides to accomplish that!

During my general session on Monday I started out by highlighting the accelerated pace of product development at Oracle reflected by the long list of new product releases since last year's OOW: Solaris 11.1 in October, the T5/M5-based systems in March, the refresh of SuperCluster to T5-8, the release of ZS3 (aka ZFSSA) in early September, the release of the M6, the M6 SuperCluster as well as the T5-8 Exalytics at OOW - what a line-up of new products in just 12 months! A great testament to the increased investment that Oracle is putting into the former Sun products! I continued to talk about the increased customer momentum behind Solaris 11 and our latest SPARC hardware. We now have over 4,000 customers running on Solaris 11. Allied Irish Bank is a great example: They consolidated a bunch of older Oracle databases running on older HP Itanium as well as IBM Power boxes onto Oracle DB 11gR2 on Solaris 11 and SPARC. This has allowed them to not only achieve consolidation rations of 10:1, but also provision 10x faster now. We also have a number of good examples of customers moving their RHEL/ VMWare/ x86 estate over to Solaris 11 and the latest SPARC hardware, increasing customer response times by 50% and getting 2x the performance out of the same number of Oracle licenses. Aside from external customers we also have Oracle IT as a major customer: Oracle currently runs its Global Single Instance of E-Business Suite on a SuperCluster taking advantage of all of the optimizations between the Oracle DB and Solaris as well as SPARC. So far they haven't seen any outages at all (I'm keeping my fingers crossed so I won't get woken up at 2 in the morning :-) ). Oracle IT is in the planning to switch over to the latest M6 SuperCluster over the next few months.

Then Mike Montemorano from Verizon Wireless joined me. He did an excellent job explaining why Solaris is strategic for Verizon Wireless: Mike explained how Verizon Wireless has grown their number of physical SPARC servers by almost 50% over the past 4 years and the number of Solaris VMs by 5x. They recently deployed 30 T5-8s and 15 T5-4s to run their mission-critical IaaS cloud. Aside from pure economics he said that their mean time to resolution (MTTR) is 4-8x faster on Solaris compared to other platforms.

I continued to talk about Solaris futures: Over the past couple of years we have greatly expanded the way we think about Solaris. 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.

Here are some of the highlights of what's coming in the next release:

1. kernel zones: With kernel zones customers will have to option to run different kernel patch levels across different zones while maintaining the simplicity of zones management. We'll also be able to do live migration of kernel zones. All of that across HW platforms, i.e. kernel zones will be available on both SPARC as well as x86. Key benefits of kernel zones:
x Low overhead (Lots of optimizations because we run Solaris on Solaris)
x Unique security features: Ability to make them immutable by locking down the root file system
x Integration with the Solaris resource management capabilities: CPU, memory, I/O, networking
x Fully compatible with OVM SPARC as well as native and S10 branded zones
x Comprehensive SDN capabilities: Distributed Virtual Switch and VxLAN capabilities

2. Unified Template Builder: This will allow customers to go from any-to-any of the following: Bare metal, OVM, kernel zone, native zone. For instance: You'll be able to take a zones image and re-deploy it as a bare metal image, kernel zone or ldom. Or vice versa! Pretty powerful, huh? Unified templates also provide us with a great foundation to distribute key Oracle applications as a shrink-wrapped, pre-installed, pre-tuned an configured image where customers can specify at install time whether to turn them into a bare metal image, a zone, a kernel zone or an OVM.

3. OpenStack and Puppet: We are planning on integrating both of these into Solaris. This will allow customers to seamlessly integrate a Solaris/kernel zones or zones or OVM environment with other OpenStack platforms.

I concluded by highlighting some of the differentiating features we are now available in Oracle DB 12c when running on Solaris 11.1:
x Zero-downtime DB re-sizing
x Full-stack analytics: Running on Solaris allows DBAs to quickly identify I/O outliers. For more details check out: x RAC lock off-load into Solaris kernel: This reduces latency by about 30-40%.

Not to mention the 100s of other features and improvements that I won't even mention here.

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




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