Monday Mar 02, 2015

SPARC: (Still) Not Dead, Since 1989

Okay, I wanted to talk about IEEE's recent event honoring SPARC; but, before I even get started, I should address a couple of points about the title.

First: when I’ve written before about our technology history, I've sometimes been asked, “Should you really be talking about how old such-and-such a thing is?”

Not even a problem here.  As far as current enterprise processors are concerned, SPARC’s still the new kid on the block:

x86? 1978.

Mainframes?  Still around, as you know.  Built on an architecture announced in 1964.

IBM POWER? 1990.

And yes: I see that hand waving frantically in the back: “WAIT!  WAIT!  But why does the title say ’1989’?  Wasn’t SPARC introduced in 1987?!”

Well, yes. Yes, it was. Gold star for you!

But it’s been not dead since 1989.

A PROUD TRADITION OF BEING NOT AT ALL DEAD CONTINUES

In 1989, I'd just joined Sun, after several years as a customer.  I was of course up on all the news about the brand new SPARCstation 1, and I was excited to learn what was coming next.

Which was a full-frontal assault from our competitors.

Not to blame them; I mean, here we were, the fairly-new guys (only 5 years old at the time SPARC was announced)—and we dared to come out with an entirely new processor architecture?

And this is where, two years in, we started to hear people (well, our competitors) say: SPARC is dead!  Never going anywhere.

HP was probably the leader in death-knell pronouncements, because they’d just bought Apollo, which had a line of "SPARC-killer" workstations based on the PRISM processor.  Those faded out right about the same time I found out where the coffee supplies were in the office.

But that’s OK, because HP had a new line of “Snake” workstations, which would totally crush SPARC!  Those did a bit better; the underlying chip hung on long enough to become the processor that HP killed in favor of Itanium.  SPARC-crushing: not so much.

Next up was DEC Alpha, which was—you guessed it—going to be the end of SPARC.  (My favorite DEC presentation tidbit from back in the day: the transition from VAX to Alpha was going to be E-Z ...because they could both read the same plaintext data files !  I’m not making this up.)  Alpha’s still around, technically, as is Itanium.  SPARC killing, though: not achieved.

But there’s more to this story than just sheer survival—SPARC has a habit of becoming the leader in technologies other companies had to scramble to match: RISC computing, extreme chip multithreading, and now Software in Silicon.  SPARC stays not-dead the way any technology does: continuous innovation.

OK… but what’s the next reason for it to be not-dead?

How about four?

FOUR REASONS TO BET ON SPARC


1. Oracle and this other guy named Larry


A lot of people were skeptical—very skeptical—about what was going to happen to Sun’s hardware business after the acquisition.  (That’s OK; some of us at Sun were kind of interested in that, too.)

Larry Ellison answered that pretty boldly on the day the deal closed, laying out a roadmap for SPARC/Solaris systems.  How’d we do on that? Not too bad:


Oracle’s strategy is to be in a business for the long haul, and nothing shows that more dramatically than what has happened with SPARC since then—moving beyond “not dead” to “holy…”.  Oracle’s intensified efforts on both SPARC and Solaris are demonstrably paying off, in a big way, at the same time our main enterprise competitors seem to have lost their way.

2. RISC

RISC—Reduced Instruction Set Computing—was a then-obscure concept that Bill Joy championed in the mid-‘80s, resulting in Sun developing the SPARC architecture.  The idea’s very simple: bet your silicon real estate on the instructions that do you the most good.  As big an idea as that was then, it’s even bigger now.

Here’s why: it’s the best way to deal in silicon with a reality we’ve been living for decades: most compute tasks today are ludicrously over-provisioned on a single processor.  An architecture based on simplified processing units lets you put more flexible compute on a single chip, for less money, less power, less cooling.

By putting more compute units on a single chip, instead of deploying a lot of low-performance systems in your data center, with redundant support hardware, you can now put all that compute in a more cost-effective system.  You drive down cost yet further, and you drive down latency, the real enemy of performance today.

3. Writing to a chip?  You still do that?

Back when I joined Sun, rolling out a new processor architecture was considered to be audacious.  Building a whole new ecosystem was challenging, and optimizations for a particular chip/OS combination were hard-fought battles only won by the most brilliant developers.  

This hasn’t completely gone away, but it’s not what you, the developer/operator, do any more.  You’re going to chunk away at much higher layers of abstraction, and let our campus full of folks in Santa Clara take care of the optimizations.  Our deal with you is: we’ll build and co-engineer awesome hardware, operating systems, software and developer suites, and you use it to build, run, and maintain the services you need.

Bottom line: if you can do it, you can do it on SPARC.  And what we do makes it better.

4. Solaris

You didn’t think I was going to miss that one, did you?  This is a Solaris blog, after all.

The combination of chip multithreading and virtualization has turned the concept of data center performance exactly upside down.  Instead of worrying about how to get enough power to a single application, the challenge is to how to get enough applications onto the power you have.

SPARC/Solaris solves this challenge brilliantly, with an unmatched combination of enterprise dependability and cloud agility.  The strengths that have made Solaris the “go to” OS for enterprise computing continue to get even better, and now we bake in things like OpenStack, built-in virtualization, SDN, and compliance tools to make your life easier, and your applications rock-solid and wicked fast.

ONWARD TO THE SECOND INNING

There's a tendency to think that we're always at the end of the game, when we're really only in the first inning.  If you look at the history of SPARC, you see competitors who wanted customers to think the game was over, before most of the crowd had even settled in their seats.

A few days ago, IEEE celebrated the beginning of SPARC, and that gives us a chance to talk about where that's going to take us. Keep in mind, this isn’t the 9th inning of the compute era. SPARC’s more than just “not dead”—it’s just getting rolling.

Learn more:

Saturday Jan 31, 2015

10 at 10

Can it have been so long already?  Today is the 10th anniversary of the first release of Solaris 10. This was a breakthrough release for Solaris, Sun, and really, the industry -- it breathed new life into a class of systems software that some companies had written off long before.  How did it do that?  By including a wealth of groundbreaking new features that raised the bar for what an enterprise operating system should be.  To use one of my favorite phrases: innovation matters, and the operating system is too critical a place in the application delivery stack not to innovate.

Many of these features are still ahead of the curve even 10 years later, and form the core of yet more innovation in Oracle Solaris 11: Zones and ZFS in particular stand out as enabling technologies that give our customers the power of zero-overhead virtualization, "nineteen 9s" data integrity, and simple, fast, reliable provisioning and service management.  If you look at the underpinnings of OpenStack as deployed in Oracle Solaris 11 today, innovation that's still fresh from Solaris 10 will be staring right back at you.  And it's exciting to see that the same fundamental concepts like these that we thought were important to build into the OS in 2005 are starting to come into vogue with operating systems from other companies just ten short years later.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to the success of Solaris 10 and beyond!


Wednesday Nov 12, 2014

Oracle OpenWorld 2014 Solaris Presentations Now Available

Another Oracle OpenWorld is over, and as usual, there was a lot to take in.  Markus Flierl had a great recap, covering what we said about Oracle Solaris, as did Rick O'Herron over on the Oracle Hardware blog, summarizing what's happening with SPARC M7.

Whether or not you got to attend this year, you might want to take a look at the presentations, which are now posted for many of the sessions.  You can go to the entire content catalog (a mere 2,800+ sessions for OpenWorld and JavaOne!), or drill down to just the Oracle Solaris-related sessions via our ever-popular Focus on Oracle Solaris guide.

Here's a last look at some of this year's people, places, and performances (you can click through to a gallery of the images, if you're so inclined).  Hope you can join us next year!

Wednesday Oct 01, 2014

OpenWorld: Solaris Events on Thursday

Wednesday's winding down.  The engineering panel was a hit once again, and the room was packed.  Lots of show attendees are getting ready to head out to Treasure Island--but there's one day left.

No keynotes on Thursday; we just dive right into the last round of technical sessions (all of which are at the Hotel InterContinental).

SPECIAL OFFER: Tomorrow morning, I'm going to be at the Virtual Compute Appliance demo, part of the Engineered Systems showcase in Moscone North, at the foot of the big staircase, at 7:30 AM (!).

As an earlybird special for anyone joining me at that hour, after having been appreciated the night before: the first three people to greet me with the exact phrase:

"Yo, dude. I read your blog."

...will receive a valuable Oracle Optimized Solutions -logoed electronic tchotchke of my choosing.

And that, as they say, is a wrap! Hope you enjoyed the show this year; I'll share more of what was announced over the next few days.


Tuesday Sep 30, 2014

OpenWorld: Solaris Events on Wednesday

It's been a busy, informative, and entertaining OpenWorld so far -- we just wrapped up Markus' general session, followed by the customer panel. I'd like to thank Manuel, Robert, Chris, and Thorsten for participating in the latter -- there was a lot of great information shared about why moving to Oracle Solaris 11 is a major win for IT, and what their experiences have been with it.

As I was heading out of the room, someone asked, "That was fantastic; now all we need is the Solaris engineering panel.  When is that?"

Wednesday's the day--and there's a lot more, too:

At this point in the day, after you've experienced all that Solaris, the Aerosmiths and the Macklemores and the Lewises and the Spacehogs might seem downright anticlimactic.  But you really should go see them, because I'd hate it if they wound up playing to an empty island.


Sunday Sep 28, 2014

OpenWorld: Solaris Events on Tuesday

We've already previewed Monday; here's an advance look at Tuesday's Solaris-related events.  Don't forget, the "Focus on Oracle Solaris" document gives you a full rundown of all things Solaris at the show.

Markus Flierl, VP of Oracle Solaris Core Technology Development, anchors the morning at the Hotel InterContinental with our Oracle Solaris general session, immediately followed by the Oracle Solaris customer panel in the same room.


  • 10:00 AM - 10:45 AM Breakfast
    • We invite you once again to start your day with us at the Hotel InterContinental, and mingle with Systems and Solaris people from inside and outside of Oracle.
  • 10:15 AM - 12:15 PM  Enterprise Private Cloud (Part 1): OpenStack Deployment in 20 Minutes
    • At the Hotel Nikko: did you miss this hands-on lab on Monday?  You've got one more chance to join Glynn Foster and learn how to unleash the power combo of OpenStack and Oracle Solaris.
  • 10:45 AM - 11:30 AM  General Session: Oracle Solaris Strategy, Engineering Insights, and Roadmap
    • Conversely, if you want to attend the Markus session, be sure to hit the lab on Monday, and hang out at the InterContinental for this.  Stick around in the same room for:
  • 12:00 N - 12:45 PM Customer Panel: Customer Insights into Deploying Oracle Solaris
    • We've got a great panel lined up with four customers who are doing some amazing things with Oracle Solaris -- click through to see who's who.  (As the emcee for this session, I have one job: stay out of their way.)
  • 1:30 PM - 3:15 PM Larry Ellison's Keynote (Moscone North, Hall D)
  • 3:15 PM - 5:15 PM Looks like a great time to check out more demos!  As you exit the keynote, you can see the Engineered Systems demos, including the Virtual Compute Appliance, at the foot of the big staircase.  Then keep going to Moscone South and see the Solaris and Systems demos at the DEMOgrounds.
  • 5:15 PM - 7:15 PM Enterprise Private Cloud (Part 2): Fast and Secure App Deployment with OpenStack
    • Close off your evening at the Nikko and work with Glynn to test drive Oracle OpenStack for Oracle Solaris and see how it speeds up and secures enterprise application service delivery.

Saturday Sep 27, 2014

OpenWorld: Solaris Events on Monday

OpenWorld looms! If you're in town by now, you probably already know what you're doing on Sunday as our newly-minted CTO takes the stage at 5 PM, so let's jump ahead to Monday.

Here are some sessions to consider (and yes, there is some overlap here and there...):

...annnd: relax!  You've earned it.  See you Tuesday!


Friday Sep 26, 2014

Solaris and Systems at OpenWorld: Where Is Everything?

OK, telling you where everything is going to be is a tall order--this is OpenWorld, after all--but I can tell you where a lot of things are going to be.

OpenWorld is... big.  The numbers are phenomenal, and as you can see from the map above, each year we take over a big chunk of a big city.

So, I'll try to keep it simple: there are three big places to go.

Conference sessions: Hotel InterContinental

This is where all* the Oracle Solaris and systems-related sessions are going to be this year.  The Hotel InterContinental is on Howard Street, just to the west of Moscone West, so it's easy to get to.

Plus... we're serving breakfast here! We're inviting our customers, partners and our own Oracle Solaris and systems technical community to sit down together Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday; you can start the day with food 'n' facts.

Breakfast kicks off at 9:30 AM on Monday, 10:00 AM on Tuesday, and 9:30 AM again on Wednesday.

Hands-on labs: Hotel Nikko

You'll find all lab sessions in "The Zone"--the heart of JavaOne.  The Hotel Nikko is on Mason Street between O'Farrell and Ellis; enjoy a nice stroll, or take the complimentary shuttle buses.

Solaris and Systems demos: Moscone South

The Systems DEMOgrounds is once again in Moscone South, and this is where to find our experts when they're not presenting (or eating breakfast).  See the "Focus on Solaris" and "Focus on Servers" documents for a list of some of the things we'll be showing there.

Systems general session, Monday morning: Oracle Plaza

We have one more special event in a special location.  This year John Fowler will be emceeing the Systems general session, Infrastructure Transformation Made Easy with Oracle Systems, at the Howard Street Theater (yes, that's outside, between Moscone North and South) at 11:30 AM Monday.

An outdoor venue has some interesting possibilities, and John always has interesting ideas.  At the very least, it's a chance to get out into the Big Blue Room for a bit.

Tuesday Sep 23, 2014

Oracle Solaris and Systems Customer Panels at OpenWorld 2014

When you're at Oracle OpenWorld, it's an unmatched opportunity to learn more from your peers more about how to get the most out of your investments.  You get a chance to learn from people who've had their hands on the product what's worked, what doesn't work--and share your own knowledge and skills with others.

The best places to do this at are the panel sessions. That's where we bring up customers and other experts who will relate their experiences, and where you can ask them the burning questions that interest you the most. It's a great way to build contacts with experts both inside and outside of Oracle.  And as Oracle Solaris 11.2 brings you an even broader range of powerful features for getting the most out of your investments and simplifying your life, here's your chance to find out, from people who are already deploying it, why it's the best choice for enterprise cloud deployments.

Our Solaris customer panel this year has deep expertise to share on topics that should be near and dear to any IT organization's heart, including security, storage, system management, and scalable infrastructures.

And of course one of our most popular sessions returns -- the Oracle Solaris engineering panel, where you can find out even more from the folks who actually put it all together.

All sessions are at the InterContinental Hotel (on Howard Street just to the west of Moscone West); click on a session's title to reserve your spot and add it to your schedule.

Tuesday, September 30

12:00 PM - Panel: Customer Insights into Deploying Oracle Solaris
(CON7788 - InterContinental, Grand Ballroom A)

Wednesday, October 1

10:15 AM - Real-World Best Practices for SPARC Servers: A Customer Panel
(CON7907 - InterContinental, Grand Ballroom C)

11:30 AM - Virtual Compute Appliance: Customer Insights and Best Practices
(CON7483 - InterContinental, Grand Ballroom B) 

2:00 PM - Panel: Insights and Directions from Oracle Solaris Engineering
(CON7790 - InterContinental, Grand Ballroom A)

Looking for more?  Don't forget about the "Focus on Oracle Solaris" doc for the latest look at technical sessions, general sessions, demos, and hands-on labs.

Friday Sep 19, 2014

Oracle Solaris Hands-On Labs at Oracle OpenWorld 2014

Once again we've got a good selection of Hands-On Labs (HOLs) running through the week at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco. They're now ready for you to sign up for in Schedule Builder, so if you're coming to the conference, take a look at the list below, and click on the titles you're interested in to jump to the Schedule Builder entry and enroll.

And don't forget about the "Focus on Oracle Solaris" doc, where you can see the other sessions and demos you can sign up for:

Here are this year's labs -- note that this year, they're all at the Hotel Nikko.

Monday, September 29th

10:15 AM - Enterprise Private Cloud (Part 1): OpenStack Deployment in 20 Minutes
(HOL9821 - Hotel Nikko, Monterey Room)

In this lab you'll roll up your sleeves and quickly deploy a complete enterprise private cloud with Oracle Solaris and OpenStack, featuring Unified Archives, Kernel Zones, ZFS, and Elastic Virtual Switch.

OpenStack basic elements covered include the Horizon management interface, plus Cinder and Swift storage, and Neutron networking.

(Note that this lab is offered twice; sign up for either Monday or Tuesday morning.)

4:15 PM - Enterprise Private Cloud (Part 2): Fast and Secure App Deployment with OpenStack
(HOL9822 - Hotel Nikko, Monterey Room)

(Note that attending Part 1 before this lab is not required, but you should have some fundamental knowledge of OpenStack.  Also, this lab is offered twice; sign up for either Monday or Tuesday afternoon.)

This session covers how use the Oracle Solaris Unified Archives feature and OpenStack to create a golden image environment (in the lab, it'll be an Oracle Database installation), upload the image to a Glance repository, and deploy it to a VM with Nova.

Concepts include securing applications in a sandboxed environment, and compliance checking.

5:45 PM - Using Unified Archives to Deploy Oracle WebLogic Server Cluster on Oracle Solaris 11.2
(HOL9777 - Hotel Nikko, Mendocino I/II)

Unified Archives make it easy to create and deploy application environments across multiple nodes in the cloud. This hands-on lab shows how to quickly deploy an Oracle WebLogic Server cluster with Unified Archives, Zones, ZFS, and network virtualization.

Tuesday, September 30th

10:15 AM - Zero to Oracle Solaris Virtualization Backup and Recovery in 60 Minutes
(HOL7848 - Hotel Nikko, Nikko Ballroom I)

If you're deploying business-critical solutions you need to ensure not only that secure backups are being performed, but that the data can be restored if disaster strikes.

This hands-on lab provides an overview of backup and recovery solutions, including Oracle's backup appliance and tape storage. You will learn and practice next-generation data protection techniques for Oracle Solaris 11 virtualized environments, and what architectures are optimum for protecting, restoring, and recovering data.

10:15 AM - Enterprise Private Cloud (Part 1): OpenStack Deployment in 20 Minutes
(HOL9821 - Hotel Nikko, Monterey Room)

This is the same as Monday's 10:15 AM lab; pick one of the two days.

5:15 PM - Enterprise Private Cloud (Part 2): Fast and Secure App Deployment with OpenStack
(HOL9822 - Hotel Nikko, Monterey Room)

This is the same as Monday's 4:15 PM lab; pick one of the two days.

Wednesday, October 1st

11:45 AM - Create Quality, Secure, High-Performing Applications on Oracle Solaris
(HOL9805 - Hotel Nikko, Mendocino I/II)

Get some hands-on experience with the Oracle Solaris Studio development suite and find out what differentiates it from what you may be using today.

In this one-hour lab, you’ll learn how to use the Code Analyzer to quickly fix memory corruption issues, eliminate memory leaks, check for commonly overlooked errors, and improve your test suite's code coverage of your test suite. Then, use Oracle Performance Analyzer to profile applications and pinpoint performance bottlenecks to the exact call stack and source line, even in complex multithreaded environments.

1:15 PM - Set Up a Hadoop 2 Cluster with Oracle Solaris Zones, Oracle Solaris ZFS, and Unified Archive
(HOL2086 - Hotel Nikko, Mendocino I/II)

As you go through this lab, you'll learn about the Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) and the Hadoop MapReduce programming model, as well as the Hadoop installation process and the cluster building blocks: NameNode, Resource Manager, History Server, and DataNodes.

Find out how Oracle Solaris 11 technologies deliver better scalability and data security as you learn how to enable a HDFS high-availability cluster and run a MapReduce job.

1:15 PM - Oracle Database 12c Data Protection and Multitenancy on Oracle Solaris 11
(HOL9762 - Hotel Nikko, Nikko Ballroom I)

Decisions, decisions: you'll have to pick between this and the Hadoop lab...

Explore different encryption and decryption approaches for securing the new multitenancy environments offered by Oracle Database 12c. Oracle Solaris 11 lets you opt for application-specific encryption and decryption, Oracle Advanced Security Transparent Data Encryption, and ZFS encryption; find out each option's appropriate use and what its performance impact is to the system.

Wednesday Sep 03, 2014

Oracle Solaris 11.2 Preflight Checker Makes Sure Your App is Good to Go

If you're a developer who's still building your application on Oracle Solaris 10, you should be aware that there are a lot of significant advantages to you and your customer base in supporting Oracle Solaris 11 -- especially now that Oracle Solaris 11.2 is out.  It's the easiest, most cost-effective way I can think of for your customers to modernize their data center while preserving their organization's investments in hardware, software and training.

 And you don't want to be the folks developing "that app" -- the one that keeps your customers from the good stuff, by it not being supported on the current release.  (Which has been out for almost three years now -- you knew that, right?)

The good news is that Oracle Solaris is known for preserving application compatibility between releases. Solaris was the first operating system to literally guarantee application compatibility between releases and architectures... but there are always ways to accidentally break compatibility when you're developing an app, and even get away with it for a while.

That's where the Oracle Solaris Preflight Applications Checker tool comes in.

With this tool, 3rd party developers and in-house developers have a way to test if an application that's currently working on Oracle Solaris 10 has any hidden pitfalls that will keep it from working on Oracle Solaris 11.  You can use it on your existing Solaris 10 systems; and, it's just been updated to include new features and tests.

The Preflight Checker and the Guarantee are a potent combination, yet another way we keep it easy for Oracle Solaris developers and customers to keep moving forward.

Get the Oracle Solaris Preflight Applications Checker 11.2

Thursday Aug 28, 2014

Oracle Solaris Events at Oracle OpenWorld 2014

It's been a busy year for Oracle Solaris, and as always, Oracle OpenWorld represents the best way to catch up and more.  We've got the whole boat race thing out of our system for a while, so this year you can really focus on the cool stuff we've got to share with you.

Oh, and speaking of "focus on", as usual we have our convenient one-stop-shopping documents that lay out just what we'll be talking about.


Topics you'll be able to hear more about this year include technologies such as OpenStack, Puppet, SDN, and kernel zones, and more general subjects like best practices for secure cloud deployments.

And of course we'll have our annual engineering panel, plus Markus' general session on the state of Solaris and our overall strategy.  These are always among our most popular sessions, so be sure to add them to your schedule.

Stay tuned for even more information on our Hands-On Labs and demos.

UPDATE: As promised, more about:

Learn more about Oracle OpenWorld 2014

Friday Aug 22, 2014

Come See Us Next Week at VMworld 2014

If you're at VMworld 2014 next week in San Francisco, come drop by booth 205.  We'll have folks from both the Oracle Solaris and Oracle ZFS Storage teams, so you can learn a lot more about what's new in Oracle Solaris 11.2, plus what the storage team has been up to, as they unleash their "it's perfect for virtualization" architecture, with a series of new VMware API integrations, that crushes both the other big-name storage vendors and the all-flash start-ups.

Tuesday Aug 05, 2014

Oracle Solaris 11.2: More Posts

Did you see our last Oracle Solaris 11.2 blog post aggregation? Did it leave you hungry for more?  Did you think, "But there's no way there there could be any more!"

Because, now that 11.2's officially released... there's more.  44 more posts, to be exact.

One notable development: there's now a blog dedicated to Oracle Solaris and OpenStack.

Enjoy.


General

Cluster

Data Management

Developers

Installation

OpenStack

Security

Systems Management

Virtualization / Cloud

Thursday Jul 31, 2014

Oracle Solaris 11.2 and Oracle Solaris Cluster 4.2 Now Available

Oracle Solaris 11.2 is now in full release (aka "General Availability"), and that means there are even more great things for you to take advantage of. Although there’s been a lot written about it since the launch event in April, it’s worth taking a step back and considering what it all means.

“Zero to Cloud” in minutes

A lot of the press for this release has been about OpenStack, but how does it really help our customers?  First off, OpenStack itself has some very compelling features. It’s an open, interoperable way to deploy and manage compute, network, and storage resources through a single management pane — so just that adds a lot more power to Oracle Solaris.

However, where the combination of Oracle Solaris and OpenStack (the "Havana" release, by the way) really shines is deep integration in three directions: with Oracle Solaris’ existing and new underlying features; with the Oracle stack; and, with products from literally hundreds of other companies that are also part of the OpenStack project.

Let’s use that integration to introduce some of the other new features in 11.2, and how they tie in.

Unified Archives

11.2 introduces the latest addition to an area that has seen, in my opinion, the biggest advances since Solaris 10: provisioning, installation and software maintenance.  Or, just “software life cycle”, for short.

With IPS, AI and fully-integrated boot environments, this is more than just a major leap from where Solaris was before; it put us far ahead of what other companies are offering, by simplifying and accelerating the end-to-end delivery and upkeep of service environments.

Unified Archives is a worthy addition to this list. It gives our customers the ability to create a single system archive that can be installed over the net or booted locally, and then installed in either physical or virtual environments.

All of this is deeply integrated with Glance, OpenStack’s image service, meaning that OpenStack users get instant access to many of the most sophisticated capabilities Oracle Solaris offers, using the same standardized management tools and APIs used on other platforms.

Kernel Zones

Oracle Solaris built-in virtualization capabilities just got a boost in flexibility.  Individual zones can now be further isolated from their underlying global environment without sacrificing the enormous scalability advantages they give. Zones can now have their own separate kernel instance, allowing them to be updated separately and run at different version levels than the global zone or other zones.  This sets the stage for other benefits in the future; more on that later.

The OpenStack compute scheduler (Nova) leverages the virtualization capabilities built into Oracle Solaris, allowing provisioning and updating on bare metal or any of the variety of virtualization options available.

SDN - Elastic Virtual Switch

Software-defined networking (SDN) has been enhanced throughout the life of Oracle Solaris 11, and in 11.2 we introduce the Elastic Virtual Switch, extending SDN capabilities throughout a collection of physical or virtual systems. Again, it’s manageable through the Neutron component of OpenStack, and is also fully integrated into Oracle Solaris Zones.

And even better, it’s tied into higher-level application layers—Oracle Database and Java applications can  define how they use the network, making it possible to define service levels throughout a cloud environment.  This not only simplifies network configuration, it simplifies both management and hardware requirements, driving down both acquisition and support costs throughout your service deployment life cycle

Security and Compliance

Oracle Solaris’ reputation for security is well-established (and well-deserved), but a key “lifestyle” choice we made a few years ago—adding a compliance framework as a fundamental part of the OS—is getting even more feature-rich.  In Oracle Solaris 11.2, we introduce the compliance command, based on the SCAP standards and protocol suite.  This allows you to run preconfigured assessments, based on security and compliance benchmarks.  We also include ready-made benchmarks against PCI-DSS and our own internally-developed recommended standards. These can all be customized for your environment.

Also of note is a new extension to the concept of “Immutable Zones”, the ability to give a zone a read-only root environment, making it essentially “tamper-proof”.  In 11.2, we extend this concept to the global zone.

And of course, this is all designed and integrated so that it can be leveraged through OpenStack.

Is that all?

There’s more, of course — OpenStack integration with ZFS technologies makes cloud data management simpler, more reliable, and incredibly scalable; we’re adding even more standard management capabilities such as Puppet and Chef ...and we haven’t even talked about Oracle Solaris Cluster 4.2 yet!

If you aren’t one of the thousands who have already tried Oracle Solaris 11.2 during its beta release, now’s the time to dig in and learn more.

Download: Oracle Solaris 11.2

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