Summary: What's new with Solaris 11 since the launch?
By Karoly Vegh on May 16, 2012
There was a great online forum titled: Solaris 11: What's new since the launch? last week, and it has brought quite an amount of update and information about what indeed is going on on the Solaris 11 roadmap and how Solaris interacts and extends other products. I recommend you to watch it (just register, or if you have registered, after providing the registered mailaddress you can re-watch the recorded session.). For the ones lacking the time to watch the videos, allow me to attempt a summary.
Please keep in mind, that this is an extract from the presentation that very much includes the safe harbour statement that says that this presentation is solely intended to outline general product direction, and it represents no commitment whatsoever. That slide is very much is in effect in this blogpost too.
Markus Flierl, VP, Software Development took the first slot:
- He explained that Solaris 11 has been released early November last year. We are running it already longer in production as an essential part of some of our core products like Exadata, SPARC Supercluster, or the ZFS StorageAppliance.
- Parallel to that the SPARC-T4 based systems have pleasantly surprised customers with 5-7x improvement over the expected single thread performance. He also has mentioned that the T5 based systems are already running tests in our labs.
- He went on talking about the Solaris Cluster 4.0 release, Ops Center 12c the latest version of Sun's integrated datacenter management tool, and Solaris Studio 12.3 the development platform for Solaris have been all updated and shipped supporting Solaris 11. That is, all in all, Oracle is investing and pushing the complete Solaris-related portfolio of former Sun products.
- Markus then explained that the Solaris 11 had two different goals:
- I. Maintaining the traditional Solaris values/properties: availability, scalability, security and performance
- II. Introducing the long-avaited innovative technologies like the network virtualization layer, the new virtual memory subsystem, the improved zones functionality, the cryptoframework and ZFS updates, bootenvironments, and so on.
- As Markus explained we expect Solaris 11 Update 1 to ship around the end of this year, featuring:
- A rearchitecture of the virtual memory subsystem is in place that will be able to handle 64-socket servers with up to 64TB of main memory that are going to be shipped in the future. To be able to maintain these huge resources standard VM operations like pagetracking and -placement have been streamlined.
- The possibility to do link aggregation across different switches.
- The "moving zones" concept will include moving VNIC configurations to the target host too, not only the zonecfg.
- Upgrade of installed OS instances takes now even less time, for the update procedure has been tuned further (improved python performance).
- A roughly annual update cycle.
- The Solaris development team works tightly together with the SPARC engineers and the Oracle application developers, essentially making Solaris to the secret sauce that really glues applications and hardware together, utilizing the HW's features to provide services to the applications running on top of Solaris like:
- in the T4 CPUs the cryptoengine has been significantly improved, so that the Solaris Cryptoframework can offload encryption functionalities at an ever higher speed to (for example Java) applications (using the Java Crypto Extensions), which in turn do not have to implement these functions and burn CPU cycles in software, but run at HW-encryption speed.
- Upcoming CPUs will sport similar possibilities, offloading frequently executed application load into HW, like the Oracle numbers arithmetic acceleration, or data decompression.
- The scheduler is being adapted to handle JVM or Database specific workloads targeted to the needs of those.
- A hotpatching technology similar to KSplice providing runtime upgrades of some running OS elements without downtime is presumably coming to a later Solaris 11 update
- Java7 Update4 is featuring the Java Mission Control tech, that traces application activities in the JVM, but also ties into Solaris's DTrace framework, essentially providing an end-to-en view on the application performance on the server.
- Of course the M4 servers that are already running in our labs are being tested and have been developed with Solaris 11 too. We're trying to align these hardware releases with the software releases.
- Technology that is being looked into for upcoming Solaris 11 updates and that is coming up on different products :
- The ZFS StorageAppliance is about to get an encryption option too
- The Exadata Database machine will be enabled to use Solaris's Zones to further improve existing multitenancy capabilities of the box (and Solaris's NUMA I/O tuning has already been the key to achieve 1 Million IOPS on an Exadata box!)
- Markus also pointed out that although the Solaris 11 is very much well defined in details, large plans for Solaris 12 are being discussed already.
To wrap it up: one of the interviewed customer leads has defined Solaris customers as being historically very aggressive users of technology. With Solaris 11 many requested features have been implemented for them, while still keeping the well established values of scalability, security, performance that is highly valued by the other half of our customers.
A handy URL to access the recording of the sessions, including the Q&A: http://bit.ly/os11forum2012
The public SPARC/Solaris large-scale roadmap: http://bit.ly/sparc_roadmap
The slides for Markus's session: http://bit.ly/os11forum2012_keynoteslides
I haven't yet summarized the other three sessions, should you like to have that, drop me a comment on this post.