• October 31, 2012

What's new in Solaris 11.1?

Solaris 11.1 is released. This is the first release update since Solaris 11 11/11, the versioning has been changed from MM/YY style to 11.1 highlighting that this is Solaris 11 Update 1. 

Solaris 11 itself has been great. What's new in Solaris 11.1? Allow me to pick some new features from the What's New PDF that can be found in the official Oracle Solaris 11.1 Documentation. The updates are very numerous, I really can't include all. 

I. New AI Automated Installer RBAC profiles have been introduced to enable delegation of installation tasks.

II. The interactive installer now supports installing the OS to iSCSI targets. 

III. ASR (Auto Service Request) and OCM (Oracle Configuration Manager) have been enabled by default to proactively provide support information and create service requests to speed up support processes. This is optional and can be disabled but helps a lot in supportcases. For further information, see: http://oracle.com/goto/solarisautoreg

IV. The new command svcbundle helps you to create SMF manifests without having to struggle with XML editing.
(btw, do you know the interactive editprop subcommand in svccfg? The listprop/setprop subcommands are great for scripting and automating, but for an interactive property editing session try, for example, this: 
svccfg -s svc:/application/pkg/system-repository:default editprop

V. pfedit: Ever wondered how to delegate editing permissions to certain files? It is well known "sudo /usr/bin/vi /etc/hosts" is not the right way, for sudo elevates the complete vi process to admin levels, and the user can "break" out of the session as root with simply starting a shell from that vi. Now, the new pfedit command provides a solution exactly to this challenge - an auditable, secure, per-user configurable editing possibility. See the pfedit man page for examples.  

VI. rsyslog, the popular logging daemon (filters, SSL, formattable output, SQL collect...) has been included in Solaris 11.1 as an alternative to syslog. 

VII: Zones: Solaris Zones - as a major Solaris differentiator - got lots of love in terms of new features:

  • ZOSS - Zones on Shared Storage: Placing your zones to shared storage (FC, iSCSI) has never been this easy - via zonecfg. 
  • parallell updates - with S11's bootenvironments updating zones was no problem and meant no downtime anyway, but still, now you can update them parallelly, a way faster update action if you are running a large number of zones. This is like parallell patching in Solaris 10, but with all the IPS/ZFS/S11 goodness. 
  • per-zone fstype statistics: Running zones on a shared filesystems complicate the I/O debugging, since ZFS collects all the random writes and delivers them sequentially to boost performance. Now, over kstat you can find out which zone's I/O has an impact on the other ones, see the examples in the documentation: http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E26502_01/html/E29024/gmheh.html#scrolltoc
  • Zones got RDSv3 protocol support for InfiniBand, and IPoIB support with Crossbow's anet (automatic vnic creation) feature. 
  • NUMA I/O support for Zones: customers can now determine the NUMA I/O topology of the system from within zones. 
VIII: Security got a lot of attention too: 
  • Automated security/audit reporting, with builtin reporting templates e.g. for PCI (payment card industry) audits. 
  • PAM is now configureable on a per-user basis instead of system wide, allowing different authentication requirements for different users 
  • SSH in Solaris 11.1 now supports running in FIPS 140-2 mode, that is, in a U.S. government security accredited fashion. 
  • SHA512/224 and SHA512/256 cryptographic hash functions are implemented in a FIPS-compliant way - and on a T4 implemented in silicon! That is, goverment-approved cryptography at HW-speed. 
  • Generally, Solaris is currently under evaluation to be both FIPS and Common Criteria certified. 

IX. Networking, as one of the core strengths of Solaris 11, has been extended with: 

  • Data Center Bridging (DCB) - not only setups where network and storage share the same fabric (FCoE, anyone?) can have Quality-of-Service requirements. DCB enables peers to distinguish traffic based on priorities. Your NICs have to support DCB, see the documentation, and additional information on Wikipedia.
  • DataLink MultiPathing, DLMP, enables link aggregation to span across multiple switches, even between those of different vendors. But there are essential differences to the good old bandwidth-aggregating LACP, see the documentation: http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E26502_01/html/E28993/gmdlu.html#scrolltoc
  • VNIC live migration is now supported from one physical NIC to another on-the-fly 

X. Data management: 

  • FedFS, (Federated FileSystem) is new, it relies on Solaris 11's NFS referring mechanism to join separate shares of different NFS servers into a single filesystem namespace. The referring system has been there since S11 11/11, in Solaris 11.1 FedFS uses a LDAP - as the one global nameservice to bind them all. 
  • The iSCSI initiator now uses the T4 CPU's HW-implemented CRC32 algorithm - thus improving iSCSI throughput while reducing CPU utilization on a T4
  • Storage locking improvements are now RAC aware, speeding up throughput with better locking-communication between nodes up to 20%! 

XI: Kernel performance optimizations:

  • The new Virtual Memory subsystem ("VM2") scales now to 100+ TB Memory ranges. 
  • The memory predictor monitors large memory page usage, and adjust memory page sizes to applications' needs
  • OSM, the Optimized Shared Memory allows Oracle DBs' SGA to be resized online

XII: The Power Aware Dispatcher in now by default enabled, reducing power consumption of idle CPUs. Also, the LDoms' Power Management policies and the poweradm settings in Solaris 11 OS will cooperate. 

XIII: x86 boot: upgrade to the (Grand Unified Bootloader) GRUB2. Because grub2 differs in the configuration syntactically from grub1, one shall not edit the new grub configuration (grub.cfg) but use the new bootadm features to update it. GRUB2 adds UEFI support and also support for disks over 2TB. 

XIV: Improved viewing of per-CPU statistics of mpstat. This one might seem of less importance at first, but nowadays having better sorting/filtering possibilities on a periodically updated mpstat output of 256+ vCPUs can be a blessing. 

XV: Support for Solaris Cluster 4.1: The What's New document doesn't actually mention this one, since OSC 4.1 has not been released at the time 11.1 was. But since then it is available, and it requires Solaris 11.1. And it's only a "pkg update" away. 

...aand I seriously need to stop here. There's a lot I missed, Edge Virtual Bridging, lofi tuning, ZFS sharing and crypto enhancements, USB3.0, pulseaudio, trusted extensions updates, etc - but if I mention all those then I effectively copy the What's New document. Which I recommend reading now anyway, it is a great extract of the 300+ new projects and RFE-followups in S11.1. And this blogpost is a summary of that extract. 

For closing words, allow me to come back to Request For Enhancements, RFEs. Any customer can request features. Open up a Support Request, explain that this is an RFE, describe the feature you/your company desires to have in S11 implemented. The more SRs are collected for an RFE, the more chance it's got to get implemented. Feel free to provide feedback about the product, as well as about the Solaris 11.1 Documentation using the "Feedback" button there. Both the Solaris engineers and the documentation writers are eager to hear your input.

Feel free to comment about this post too. Except that it's too long ;) 



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Comments ( 3 )
  • Nathan Thursday, November 1, 2012

    Your post is too long.


    Looks like we all have a lot of both reading and using to do here... Thanks for the maxi-mini update. ;)

  • guest Friday, January 4, 2013

    Here how i can securely migrate solaris10 production to solaris11 ?

  • Karoly Vegh Friday, January 4, 2013

    I'm not quite sure what you mean by *securely* migrating s10 to s11.

    You can't upgrade Solaris 10 to Solaris 11, too many things have changed (packaging, etc).

    What is your goal with the migration?

    Generally for consolidation there are two options:

    - You install Solaris 11 on the target platform, and migrate the Solaris 10 install (global or non-global zone) into a Solaris 10-branded zone running on Solaris 11. You can read about Solaris 10 branded zones in the documentation, here: http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E26502_01/html/E29024/gjfbq.html#scrolltoc

    Additionally, you can run these Solaris 10 branded zones in a Solaris 10-branded zonecluster fashion too, with Solaris Cluster 4.1, making the services HA.

    - The other option is, if you are consolidating HardWare platforms to migrate the Solaris 10 bare metal installation to an LDom on a T-SPARC platform: http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E37707_01/html/E29665/ldomsp2v.html#scrolltoc

    ...though the latter is not quite migration to S11, but rather virtualizing a physical-server installation.

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