• June 18, 2012

Summary of the Solaris 11 webcast's livechat QnA session

This is a followup post to the previous summary on the "What's new with Solaris 11 since the launch" webcast. That webcast has had a chatroom for a live Questions and Answers session running. I went through the archive of those and compiled a list of some of the (IMHO) most relevant and most frequently asked questions, I'd like to share. This is the first part, covering the QnA of Session I and II of the webcast, in a followup post we can have a look of the rest of the sessions if required - let me know in the comments. Also, should you have questions, as usual, feel free to ask those there, too. 

...and here come the answered questions: 

When will Exadata be based on Solaris in place of Oracle Enterprise Linux?
Exadata offers both Solaris 11 or Oracle Enterprise Linux.  The choice can be made at deployment time based on your OS needs.

What are all other benefits and futures avilable in solaris 11 (cloud O.S.) compared to cloud based Red Hat Linux and Windows?
suggest you check out our cloud white paper for a view of this. Also the OTN Solaris 11 page has some good articles. Here are the links:  http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/server-storage/solaris11/documentation/o11-106-sol11-cloud-501066.pdf http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/server-storage/solaris11/overview/index.html

Will 11.1 have a more complete IPS respository for Oracle and FOSS software?
Yes, we are adding additional packages to the various package repositories. Since Solaris 11 was launched, both the Oracle Solaris Studio tools as well as Oracle Solaris Cluster have been made available along with numerous new FOSS packages. We will continue to be adding additional Oracle products and open source packages in the future.

Will Exadata be based on Sparc in place of intel-amd x86 in next future ?
We can't publically discuss futures, but we actually have a SPARC version of Exadata today, it's called SuperCluster, this is such a powerfull multipurpose system that it actually have multiple personalities built into one system: Exadata, Exalogic, and it can be a general purpose platform if you want.

Have I understood this right? Livepatching KSplice-style is coming to Solaris 11 too?
We're looking at that for certain types of Solaris patches in the future.

Will there be a security framework like SST/JASS for Solaris 11?
We can't talk about the future projects on a public forum, but we recognize the need for SST/JASS and want to address this as soon as possible. On the other side there are a whole bunch of "best practices" that are now embedded into Solaris 11 by default, so out of the box Solaris 11 should already address part of what SST/JASS gave you. (For example we did a lot of work on improving the auditing performance so that we can now have it turned on by default).

On x86 can install VirtualBox in a Zone and use that to host other OSes.
Yes, this was one of the first things we made sure would work when we acquired VirtualBox when we were still Sun Microsystems.

If I have a Solaris 11 Control Domain on a T-series, can I run a Solaris 10 Ldom with Solaris 8 branded containers?
Yes, you can.

Is Oracle Solaris free or do we need to purchase?
Solaris is free, the entitlement to run it comes either with a Sun system (new or historical) or for 3rd party systems the entitlement comes with a support contract. Note that for production use you will be expected to get a support contract. If you don't want to use the Solaris system (Sun or 3rd party) for production use (i.e. development) you can get an OTN license on the Oracle Technical Network website.

Will encryption and deduplication both work on a share?
This should work at the same time.

What approaches does Solaris use to monitor usage?
There are many different tools in Solaris to monitor usage. The main ones are the "stats" (vmstat, mpstat, prstat, ...), the kstat interface, and DTrace (to get details you couldn't see before). And then there are layered tools that can interface with these tools (Ops Center, BMC, CA, Tivoli, ...)

Apart little-endian, big-endian how is it easy to port Solaris applications on Sparc to x86 and vice-versa ?
Very easy. Except for certain hardware specific applications (those that utilize hardware specific drivers), all of the same Oracle Solaris APIs exist for all architectures.

Is IPS based patching aware of the fact that zones can reside on ZFS and move from one physical server to another ?
IPS is definitely aware of zones and uses ZFS to support boot environments for non-global zones in the same way that's used for the global zone. With respect to moving a zone from one physical server to another, Solaris 11 supports to the same zone attach/deattach method that was introduced in Solaris 10.

Is vnic support in Ldoms planned?
This is currently being investigated for a future LDOM release.

Is it possible with the new patching system to build a system later with the same patch level as a system built a few months earlier?
Yes, you can choose/define exactly which version should go to the system and it will always put the same bits in place. The technical answer is that you choose the version of the "entire" package you want on the system and the rest flows from there.

Is it in the plans to allow zones to add/remove zpools to running zones dynamically in future updates?
Work in this area is currently under investigation.

Any plans to realese Solaris 11 source code? i.e. opensolaris?
We currently can't comment on publicly releasing the source code. If you need/want this access please let your Oracle account team know.

What about VirtualBox and Solaris11 for virtualization?
Solaris 11 works great with VirtualBox, as both a client and a host system.

Will Oracle DB software eventually be supplied as IPS packages? When?
We don't have a date yet but this is actively being worked on.

What are the new artifacts in Oracle Solaris 11 than the previous versions?
There are quite a few actually. The best start is to look at our "Evaluate Solaris 11" page, and there you also can find a Transition Guide. http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/server-storage/solaris11/overview/evaluate-1530234.html

So, this seems just like RedHat's YUM environment?
IPS offers certain features beyond those in YUM or other packaging systems. For example, IPS works with ZFS and Solaris Boot Environments to provide a safe environment for software lifecycle management so that changes can be reverted by switching to an older boot environment.

With Zones on solaris 11, can I do paravirtualitation?
The great thing about zones is you don't *need* paravirtualization. You're making the same direct kernel calls that you would outside of a zone.  It's an incredibly significant performance win over hypervisor-based virtualization.

Are zones/containers officially supported to run Oracle Databases?  EBIZ?
Hi Calvin, the answer is yes, here is the support matrix for DB:  http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/database/virtualizationmatrix-172995.html

I've found some nasty bugs in Solaris 11 (one of which today) that have been fixed in community forks (i.e., Illumos). Will Oracle ever restart collaboration with the community?
We continue to work with the community, just not as open on all projects as we did before (For example IPS is an open project) and the source of more than half of the Solaris packages is posted on our opensource websites. I can't comment on what we will do in the future. And with regards to bugs please file them through the support organization and we will get them resolved.

Is zpool vdev removal on-the fly now possible ?
This issue is actively being investigated although we don't have a date for when this feature will be available.

Is pgstat now the official replacement for corestat ?
It's intended to provide similar functionality

Where are the opensource website?
For Oracle Solaris, visit http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/opensource/systems-solaris-1562786.html

As a cloud-scale virtualization, is it going to be easier to move zones between machines? maybe even automatic in case of a hardware failure?
Hi Gashaw, we already have customers that have implemented what they refer to as "flying zones" that they can move around very easily. They use Solaris Cluster to do this.

What about VMware vMotion like feature?
We have secure live migration with both Logical Domains on SPARC T series systems, and with Oracle VM on x86 systems.

When running Solaris 10/11 on an enterprise server with a lot of zones, what are best practises commands to show the system is running fine? (has enough hardware resources). For example CPU / Memory / I/O / system load. What are the recommended values?
For Solaris 11, look into the new zonestat(1M) command that provides a great deal of information about zone utilization. In addition, there is new work underway in providing additional observability in areas such as per-zone file system I/O.

Java optimizations done with Solaris 11? For X86 platforms too? Where can I find more detail about this?
There is lots of work that go into optimizing Java for Oracle Solaris 10 & 11 on both SPARC and x86. See http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/articles/servers-storage-dev/solarisforjavadevelop-168642.pdf

What is meant by "ZFS Shadow Migration"?
It's a way to migrate data from another file system to ZFS: http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E23824_01/html/E24456/filesystem-3.html

Is flash archive available with S11?
Flash archive is not.  There is a procedure for disaster recovery, and we're working on a modern archive-based deployment tool for a future update.  The disaster recovery tool is here: http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/articles/servers-storage-admin/o11-091-sol-dis-recovery-489183.html You can also use Distribution Constructor to build common golden images.

Will solaris 11 be available on the ODA soon?
The idea's under evaluation -- we'll share your interest with the team.

What steps can be taken to ensure that breaches of security are identified quickly?
There are a number of tools, including the "bart" tool and "pkg verify" to ensure that software has not been compromised.  Solaris Audit can also be used to detect unauthorized access.  You can also use Immutable Zones to protect against compromise.  There are a wide variety of security tools, and I've covered only a few.

What is the relation from solaris to java 7 speed optimization?
There is constant work done between the Oracle Solaris and Java teams on performance optimizations. See http://docs.oracle.com/javase/7/docs/technotes/guides/vm/performance-enhancements-7.html for examples.

What is the difference in the Solaris 11 installation compared to solaris 10 ? where i can find the document describing basic repository concepts ?
The best place to start is: http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/server-storage/solaris11/index.html

Hope you found the post useful. For questions, input, requests for the second half of the QnA, please find the comment section below. 

-- charlie  

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Comments ( 5 )
  • Alex Tuesday, June 19, 2012

    I have a question.

    Why did ZFS exports (NFS and CIFS) become such a gigantic mess from S11X to S11 with the zfs(1M) `sharenfs' and `share' configurations? It seems to me that in order to share a dataset I have to specify a bunch of information that could surely be derived directly from the dataset itself, such as the path and protocol. For instance, I have to specify "path=/tank/foo". I can't think of any reason why that should differ from the `mountpoint' property. Likewise having to specify the protocol should be derivable by simply looking at the now-changed `sharenfs' property.

    Personally I have no idea why Oracle decided to change the previous behavior at all. It was actually reasonable to have NFS and CIFS configuration separate. Now it seems that I have to name a bunch of CIFS constructs with NFS which aren't really necessary.

    I would really like to know why this was done so that I can quit lamenting over this every time I have to export a file system.


  • Karoly Vegh Thursday, June 21, 2012

    Hi Alex,

    Could you provide share commandline examples demonstrating the exact changes you refer to with S11X and S11 FCS?

    I can't promise I will find out the exact motivation behind them, but I can give it a try.

    Also, have you tried opening up a SR for an RFE (Request For Enhancement)? I guess that'd be the right way to officially communicate the interest in changes.


  • Packaging Connections Thursday, July 26, 2012

    I appreciate you for such great post.I got a lot of informative material from this post. Appreciate you for such great post.I got a lot of informative material from this post.

  • guest Thursday, September 27, 2012

    Please note the URL for the flash archive question no longer works.

  • Karoly Vegh Thursday, October 25, 2012

    Thanks for pointing it out, it seems it was an unfortunate typo in the URL, now it is fixed.

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