Friday Jun 17, 2016

Prepare to dock: Oracle Solaris at DockerCon


Come on by ...

While the Oracle Solaris folk have been regularly attending the information pipe and community enabler that is DockerCon for the last few years we are really pleased to be able to join the party again, only this time we will have a booth. Drop on by to booth S11 and come chat with the engineers that are writing the code that is bringing Docker to Oracle Solaris. Find out how far along we are, how we leveraged our Oracle Solaris Zones technology and what we have planned. Most important of all you could even claim the latest in highly fashionable Beenie hats?. We are really interested in hearing what you are up to too. Hope to see you there!

Thursday May 19, 2016

The Oracle Solaris Essentials of Support

Oracle Solaris is all about making your life easier in the data center. All its technologies have been designed to solve the problems administrators experience in running a highly reliable, secure and efficient data center. They've been integrated and carefully thought through to improve the user experience, and we're continuously re-working subsystems to modernize them and adapt to new trends of application deployment in the cloud.

One of the areas of improvement that we've had much focus on over the past few years has been related to lifecycle management - making sure you can deploy Oracle Solaris securely and reliably, and that you can update it quickly to protect against the latest security vulnerabilities. We've seen technologies like the Image Packaging System (IPS), Automated Installer (AI) and Unified Archives having a massive impact in terms of agility and consistently.

Gerry Haskins, director of software development in Oracle Solaris' Revenue Product Engineering (RPE) group, has recently written two really great articles that will help you better understand Oracle Solaris maintenance from a support point of view.

The first article covers the Oracle Solaris release cadence and all you need to know about the process by which we provide updates to the platform through things like Support Repository Updates (SRUs), Critical Patch Updates (CPUs) and Interim Diagnostic Relief (IDRs) - including how we're now delivering SPARC firmware updates within IPS.

Check out Overview of Oracle Solaris Release Cadence.

The second article focuses in on Oracle Solaris 11 and how you can use IPS to update your systems with the latest software. The article covers things like understanding the package versioning, how to take advantage of package groups, and how package incorporations work to constrain your systems to a particular release train and ensure that you're running a well tested set of packages. Gerry also goes into detail on SRUs, CPUs and IDRs and how IPS is an integrated packaging and patching mechanism. Needing to find out what set of updates need to be applied to fix a particular bug or Common Vulnerability exploit (CVE)? No problem, IPS provides you all you need and you'll never need to worry 'RPM dependency hell' on Oracle Solaris.

Check out Overview of Image Packaging System in Oracle Solaris.

These are the essentials that you'll need to know, a nice extension to our previous blog post on the Oracle Solaris Cheat Sheet, the administrator's best friend. Enjoy!

Tuesday May 17, 2016

The Administrator's Best Friend

 While we've made every effort to make the administation of Oracle Solaris simple in every possible way, there are times where it's good to quickly refer back for a command or command-line option that you've forgotten. Some may scan our comprehensive, online product documentation. Others may check up on our extensive set of man pages. The advanced ones may have written some extensive scripts to allow command-line completion from their shell for the common commands they use. But there's more!

Joerg Moellenkamp has written an extensive Administration Cheat Sheet for Oracle Solaris that has been updated for Oracle Solaris 11.3. Joerg gives the command-line essentials for managing lifecycle management, services, virtualization, networking, storage, security and more. It's an excellent addition to your cubicle wall if you need to do a quick look up, or prepare for an Oracle Solaris Certification.

So next time you see Joerg, make sure to buy him a beer because I know you're going to use this one! 

Monday May 16, 2016

Oracle Solaris 11 - Free to Oracle Academy Students!

We're thrilled to announce that Oracle Solaris 11 has been included in the Oracle Academy program! Students of institutions who have signed up to the Institutional Membership program (of which there are over 10,000+ world wide - see the online directory), will now have free access to the latest updates and security fixes for Oracle Solaris 11 and full support through My Oracle Support for educational or research purposes.

For anyone new to Oracle Solaris, we have a huge number of introductory and advanced articles on Oracle Technology Network that will help familiarize you with all the cool features of the platform, and get you up to speed on how to administer lifecycle management, virtualization, storage, networking and security. If you've had more experience on Linux to date, make sure to take a look at our Red Hat Enterprise Linux to Oracle Solaris hands on lab that will bring you through a number of exercises to get direct hands-on experience.

We also have a ton of resources for developers to get you up to speed in building the most optimized applications for the Oracle Solaris platform using the integrated developer environment Oracle Solaris Studio. This toolchain helps you develop better applications, find coding errors or memory leaks faster, or take advantage of powerful features in the new generation of SPARC systems using Silicon Secured Memory. Make sure to give Oracle Solaris Studio a spin with a hands on lab that shows you how to use the Code Analyzer and Performance Analyzer features.

Scott Lynn, Liane Praza and Bart Smaalders recorded an 'Ask the Experts' session especially for Oracle Academy students that you should make sure to watch. They'll go through why you should learn about Oracle Solaris, some of the new features that engineering are working for, and why the combination of Oracle Solaris and SPARC is hugely differentiating in the market with the innovative Software in Silicon feature set.

Check out the membership benefits, sign up and download now! Of course there's also a broad set of other Oracle software available, free online training and certifications to take advantage of. Expand your knowledge, develop your skills and kick start your career!

Tuesday May 10, 2016

Get the latest FOSS on Oracle Solaris 11

One of the new initiatives we've launched in the last year is providing early access to new and updated Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) components in Oracle Solaris 11. We've been committed to delivering FOSS software as part of Oracle Solaris for many years now, but it's often been tricky to keep up with the frequence release cadence that many of these upstream open source communities maintain, while still trying to best the most stable and secure enterprise cloud platform.

So if you're looking for a particular new version for use in your data centers, make sure to check the FOSS Evaluation Program as we might have that version that you're looking for. Check out the April 2016 update announced on the Oracle Solaris FOSS blog and the detailed how to article on how you get install these into your environment.

If you've deployed any FOSS on Oracle Solaris 11 recently let us know your experience. Maybe you'd be interested in contributing an article on Oracle Technology Network!

Monday Apr 25, 2016

Oracle OpenWorld Call for Papers Now OPEN!

The Oracle OpenWorld Call for Papers is now open. OpenWorld attendees are looking for insights and improvements they can put to use in their own jobs: exciting innovations, strategies to modernize their businesses, different or easier ways to implement, unique use cases, lessons learned, the best of best practices. 

The conference is on Sunday, September 18 to Thursday, September 22, 2016. There's a wide selection of different tracks to submit to, including Oracle Solaris of course. Submissions close on Monday, May 9, 11:59 p.m. PDT, so don’t delay. Submit your proposal today and share your success!

Tuesday Apr 19, 2016

Oracle Solaris Now Available in the Oracle Cloud

We are living in an on-demand world. Customers have more choice about how and where to host their business critical applications - whether on premise or in the public cloud. This unprecedented flexibility has meant that the days of waiting hours, weeks or even months to for environments of compute capacity to be created are over. IT budgets are being transformed from CAPEX spends and poor utilization to on-demand OPEX, paying for what you consume. So whether you're helping to transform your business with the next wave of cloud-native applications that can take advantage of the cloud, or still relying on more traditional enterprise applications, you'll need a cloud environment that's secure, enteprise ready and highly reliable.

Oracle is uniquely positioned in the industry by virtue of it's broad range of offerings for on-premise solutions and integrated cloud offerings. Oracle Solaris is one of the key foundations of that strategy providing a secure, mission critical platform for hosting the applications that matter to your business. We give you the most complete choice of how you want to run your business. And we are expanding that choice today.

We're announcing that Oracle Solaris is now available in the Oracle Cloud.

Customers can now create on demand Oracle Solaris VMs, at no additional cost, using the Oracle Compute Cloud Service. This service is an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) offering that provides flexible and scalable computing, block storage, and networking services using a self-service portal. Whether it's shared, multi-tenant infrastructure or dedicated compute, the Oracle Cloud provides a multitude of choice with a broad range of pricing options to suit your needs.

Check out the following video for how easy it is to create on-demand Oracle Solaris environments in the Oracle Cloud.

Thursday Feb 04, 2016

The Best UNIX Operating System Out There

Worth checking out Mark Hurd, Oracle CEO on how he considers the Sun Microsystems acquisition to be 'fabulous' - not just for Java, but for Solaris, the best UNIX operating system out there. Nothing comes close to the amount of innovation included in this integrated platform that can run your mission critical (and non-mission critical) applications securely and reliably. Sun's technologies were very much the foundation for Oracle's current Engineered System strategy. Watch it now!

Monday Feb 01, 2016

Focus on Oracle Solaris Security at the OTN VTS Event

Every few months, the folks from the Oracle Technology Network host a Virtual Technology Summit (VTS). This is an opportunity to watch a bunch of technical demos and participate in hands-on-labs delivered by Oracle product experts, Oracle ACE’s, and Java Champions. There are a variety of tracks including Systems, Database, Java and Middleware.

In the next VTS event, we'll be focusing on security your data center with some of the integrated security technologies included in Oracle Solaris and SPARC systems leveraging Software in Silicon.

Title Speaker
Practical Security - Hands on with Oracle Solaris Duncan Hardie & Glynn Foster
SPARC, accelerating encrypted workloads since 2011! Erik Benner
Secure Software - Made Simple Ikroop Dhillon

There are 3 VTS events to suit your geographic location - Americas, Europe, and APAC. So register now for the upcoming events and make sure to check out the agenda for the great line up of sessions that are available.

Americas - 8th March Register now!
APAC - 15th March Register now!
EMEA - 5th April Register now!

Thursday Oct 29, 2015

How good is Oracle Solaris and SPARC M7?

With the release of Oracle Solaris 11.3 and the new SPARC M7 chip, and the list of new generation T and M series servers based on this groundbreaking chip, the performance team have been hard at work to show the advantages of the new systems. The result of which is 29 new blog posts with a significant number of world records. Here's the full list:

Friday Oct 16, 2015

New Oracle Solaris Admin Book

Great news, for all of you wanting to take a more in-depth look at all the great features in Oracle Solaris 11.2 there is a new book available "Oracle Solaris 11.2 System Administration Handbook". Available here from Amazon this invaluable tome gives you the opportunity to learn more, shamelessly stealing the synopsis:

Govern a reliable and secure enterprise cloud computing infrastructure using the detailed information contained in this Oracle Press guide. Oracle Solaris 11 System Administration Handbook offers end-to-end deployment, configuration, and management instruction. Find out how to install and update Oracle Solaris 11.2, migrate data and applications, build bare-metal and virtual networks, and tune performance. This comprehensive resource fully explains new features, including OpenStack cloud support, Unified Archive provisioning, and Oracle Solaris Zones.

Written by Harry Foxwell and our very own Glynn Foster this is a must have book for any budding or expert level system administrator. Let us know what you think of it in the comments section and also what you would like to see in the next book.

Monday Oct 05, 2015

Oracle Solaris at Oracle OpenWorld 2015

General Sessions

  • General Session: Software in Silicon and SPARC Outlook—Secure, Smarter Database/Applications [GEN6421]
    Masood Heydari, SVP, Hardware Development, Oracle
    Monday, Oct 26, 11:00 a.m. | Intercontinental—Intercontinental C (5th Floor)
  • General Session: Achieve Extraordinary Security and Efficiency on Premises and in the Cloud [GEN8574]
    John Fowler, Executive Vice President, Systems, Oracle
    Monday, Oct 26, 1:30 p.m. | Marriott Marquis—Salon 7/8/9 (Yerba Buena Ballroom)
  • General Session: Security, Speed, Simplicity—Hybrid Cloud Present & Future with Oracle Solaris [GEN8606]
    Markus Flierl, Vice President, Oracle
    Chris Riggin, Chief IT Architect, Verizon
    Tuesday, Oct 27, 11:00 a.m. | Intercontinental—Intercontinental C (5th Floor)

Conference Sessions

  • Securing Your Enterprise Cloud Data [CON8329]
    Marcus Soares, Chief Architect, UOL
    Cindy Swearingen, Senior Product Manager, Oracle
    Monday, Oct 26, 4:00 p.m. | Intercontinental—Intercontinental B (5th Floor)
  • Spend Less Time Maintaining and More Time with Your Family [CON4940]
    Gerry Haskins, Director, Software Lifecycle Engineering, Oracle
    Don O'Malley, Senior Software Engineering Manager, Oracle
    Monday, Oct 26, 5:15 p.m. | Intercontinental—Intercontinental B (5th Floor)
  • Secure Private Cloud Done Right with Oracle and OpenStack [CON8313]
    Glynn Foster, Oracle Solaris Product Manager, Oracle
    Jeffrey Kiely, Principal Product Manager, Oracle
    Monday, Oct 26, 5:15 p.m. | Intercontinental—Intercontinental C (5th Floor)
  • Using Puppet Automation to Configure and Deploy Oracle Solaris Zones [CON3648]
    Brian Bream, Chief Technology Officer, Vaske Computer, Inc.
    Eric Steed, Sr. Virtualization Engineer, Vaske Computer, Inc.
    Tuesday, Oct 27, 12:15 p.m. | Intercontinental—Intercontinental B (5th Floor)
  • Patch on Day Zero or Have a Zero Day: Secure and Safe Lifecycle Management [CON8314]
    Peter Dennis, Senior Principal Software Engineer, Oracle
    Glynn Foster, Oracle Solaris Product Manager, Oracle
    Jan Setje-Eilers, Senior Principal Engineer, Oracle
    Tuesday, Oct 27, 5:15 p.m. | Intercontinental—Intercontinental B (5th Floor)
  • Making DevOps Secure with Docker [CON8724]
    Jesse Butler, Principal Software Engineer, Oracle
    Duncan Hardie, Principal Product Manager, Oracle
    Jerome Petazzoni, Docker Evangelist, Docker Inc.
    Wednesday, Oct 28, 11:00 a.m. | Intercontinental—Intercontinental B (5th Floor)
  • Software in Silicon: Early Adopter Customers Share Breakthrough Results [CON9646]
    Thorsten Mühlmann, Unix Lead Architect, ivv
    Reinoud Reynders, IT Manager Infrastructure & Operations, UZ Leuven
    David Simmons, Sr. Director, Platforms Business Group, Oracle
    Krishna Tangirala, VP IT Infrastructure, B & H PhotoVideo
    Wednesday, Oct 28, 11:00 a.m. | Intercontinental—Intercontinental A (5th Floor)
  • DevOps Done Right: Secure Virtualization with Oracle Solaris [CON8468]
    Duncan Hardie, Principal Product Manager, Oracle
    Fritz Wittwer, Service Engineer, Swisscom Schweiz AG
    Wednesday, Oct 28, 12:15 p.m. | Intercontinental—Intercontinental B (5th Floor)
  • Developing the Platform of the Future: Oracle Solaris Engineering [CON8605]
    Nicolas Droux, Senior Principal Software Engineer, Oracle
    Darren Moffat, Senior Principal Engineer, Oracle
    Liane Praza, Solaris, Senior Principal Software Engineer, Oracle
    Joost Pronk Van Hoogeveen, Product Manager, Oracle
    Bart Smaalders, Serior Principal Software Engineer, Oracle
    Wednesday, Oct 28, 1:45 p.m. | Intercontinental—Intercontinental B (5th Floor)
  • Top 10 Tips and Tricks to Unlock the Value of the Oracle Database on Oracle Solaris Systems [CON2742]
    Ken Kutzer, Principal Product Manager, Oracle
    Viraj Nr, Principal Software Engineer, Oracle
    Wednesday, Oct 28, 1:45 p.m. | Intercontinental—Intercontinental A (5th Floor)
  • Customer Panel: Customer Insights into Deploying Oracle Solaris [CON8604]
    Özal Bakmaz, BroadBand Server Operations Manager, TTNET
    Scott Dickson, Principal Sales Engineer, Oracle
    Justin Domoleczny, Sr. IT Manager - Linux/Unix/Middleware Engineering, General Motors
    Emmanuel Paccoud, Technical Consultant Senior - Platform Expert, eServGlobal SAS
    Yasushi TAKI, CEO / CTO, JUSTPLAYER Co., Ltd.
    Wednesday, Oct 28, 3:00 p.m. | Intercontinental—Intercontinental B (5th Floor)
  • Keeping your Compliance/Security Auditor Happy [CON8726]
    Glenn Faden, Senior Principal Software Engineer, Oracle
    Darren Moffat, Senior Principal Engineer, Oracle
    Thorsten Mühlmann, Unix Lead Architect, ivv
    Thursday, Oct 29, 10:45 a.m. | Intercontinental—Intercontinental B (5th Floor)
  • Data Center Security: Ensuring Compliance in a Dynamic Data Center Environment [CON7439]
    Duane George, Sr. Director, Proactive Support, Systems, Oracle
    William Nesheim, VP, Solaris Platform Engineering, Oracle
    Thursday, Oct 29, 9:30 a.m. | Intercontinental—Intercontinental C (5th Floor)
  • Oracle Solaris: Building a Secure Platform-as-a-Service Hybrid Cloud [CON9757]
    Scott Lynn, Product Line Director, Oracle Solaris Product Management, Oracle
    Robert Milkowski, Vice President, Unix Engineering, Morgan Stanley & Co International Limited (London, GB)
    Thursday, Oct 29, 12:00 p.m. | Intercontinental—Intercontinental B (5th Floor)
  • The DBaaS You’ve Been Waiting for—Oracle Database, Oracle Solaris, SPARC, and OpenStack [CON8354]
    Mehmet Kurtoglu, TT Group - BroadBand Database Operations Manager, TTNET
    Onder Ozbek, Product Manager, Oracle
    Eric Saxe, Director of Engineering, Oracle
    Thursday, Oct 29, 1:15 p.m. | Intercontinental—Intercontinental B (5th Floor)
  • The Cutting Edge of Technology: Deploying a Secure Cloud with OpenStack [CON3225]
    Detlef Drewanz, Master Principal Sales Consultant, Oracle
    Eric Saxe, Director of Engineering, Oracle
    Thursday, Oct 29, 2:30 p.m. | Intercontinental—Intercontinental B (5th Floor)
  • The Cutting Edge of Technology: Deploying a Secure Cloud with OpenStack [CON3225]
    Detlef Drewanz, Master Principal Sales Consultant, Oracle
    Eric Saxe, Director of Engineering, Oracle
    Thursday, Oct 29, 2:30 p.m. | Intercontinental—Intercontinental B (5th Floor)

Hands on Labs

  • Deploying Oracle Solaris Cluster with the Automated Installer Feature [HOL1931]
    Amir Javanshir, Principal software engineer, Oracle
    Eve Kleinknecht, Principal Product Manager, Oracle
    Tuesday, Oct 27, 10:15 a.m. | Hotel Nikko—Monterey
  • Oracle OpenStack for Oracle Solaris—a Complete Cloud Environment in Minutes [HOL10357]
    Scott Dickson, Principal Sales Engineer, Oracle
    Glynn Foster, Oracle Solaris Product Manager, Oracle
    Tuesday, Oct 27, 4:00 p.m. | Hotel Nikko—Nikko Ballroom I
  • Oracle OpenStack for Oracle Solaris—Fast, Secure, and Compliant App Deployment [HOL10358]
    Scott Dickson, Principal Sales Engineer, Oracle
    Glynn Foster, Oracle Solaris Product Manager, Oracle
    Wednesday, Oct 28, 10:15 a.m. | Hotel Nikko—Nikko Ballroom I
  • Automating Oracle Solaris Administration with Puppet [HOL10359]
    Geoffrey Gardella, Senior Quality Assurance Engineer, Oracle
    Cindy Swearingen, Senior Product Manager, Oracle
    Thursday, Oct 29, 9:30 a.m. | Hotel Nikko—Nikko Ballroom I
  • How to Build a Hadoop Cluster Using OpenStack [HOL1598]
    Ekine Akuiyibo, Software Engineer, Oracle
    Thursday, Oct 29, 9:30 a.m. | Hotel Nikko—Monterey
  • Build Your Own Cloud Environment with Oracle Solaris 11 RAD and REST [HOL6663]
    Gary Wang, Manager, Oracle
    Yu Wang, Software Engineer, Oracle
    Xiao-song Zhu, Principal Software Engineer, Oracle
    Monday, Oct 26, 3:30 p.m. | Hotel Nikko—Nikko Ballroom I

Theatre Sessions

  • From DevOps to Production with Docker and the Oracle Solaris Zones Feature [THT10970]
    Duncan Hardie, Principal Product Manager, Oracle
    Monday, Oct 26, 12:30 p.m. | Geek Speak Theater, Servers and Storage DEMOgrounds, Moscone South
  • Avoid the Compliance Hangover with Oracle Solaris [THT10989]
    Darren Moffat, Senior Principal Engineer, Oracle
    Tuesday, Oct 27, 4:30 p.m. | Geek Speak Theater, Servers and Storage DEMOgrounds, Moscone South
  • Bringing Security, Speed, and Simplicity to the Cloud [THT11006]
    Scott Lynn, Product Line Director, Oracle Solaris Product Management, Oracle
    Wednesday, Oct 28, 12:00 p.m. | Geek Speak Theater, Servers and Storage DEMOgrounds, Moscone South
  • Oracle Developer Cloud Made Simple: How to Build an OpenStack Developer Cloud [THT11007]
    Joseph Raja, Sr. Manager Software Development, Oracle
    Wednesday, Oct 28, 12:30 p.m. | Geek Speak Theater, Servers and Storage DEMOgrounds, Moscone South
  • Test Oracle Solaris Server Running SAP with the New Compliance Tool [THT11011]
    Hans-Juergen Denecke, Principal Software Engineer, Oracle
    Wednesday, Oct 28, 2:30 p.m. | Geek Speak Theater, Servers and Storage DEMOgrounds, Moscone South

Meet the Experts

  • Meet the Oracle Solaris Engineers - Monday
    Monday, Oct 26 @ 3:30 PM - 4:00 PM | 5th floor, Intercontinental Hotel
  • Meet the Oracle Solaris Engineers - Tuesday
    Tuesday, Oct 27 @ 3:15 PM - 4:00 PM | 5th floor, Intercontinental Hotel
  • Meet the Oracle Solaris Engineers - Wednesday
    Wednesday, Oct 28 @ 2:30 PM - 3:00 PM | 5th floor, Intercontinental Hotel

You can find all the abstracts of the above sessions at our Focus on Oracle Solaris document, and all the rest of the Oracle OpenWorld 2015 content in the session catalog. So join us for what's going to be a great event!

Tuesday Sep 08, 2015

Oracle Solaris 11.3 at OTN Virtual Technology Summit

Next week the Oracle Technology Network guys will be hosting thie next virtual technology summit event. This is an opportunity to tune into a bunch of technical sessions, including content on DBaaS, Java, WebLogic, Oracle Solaris and ZFS storage, Puppet and Linux. We will be hosting an Oracle Solaris session to talk about some of the new things that we've introduced in Oracle Solaris 11.3, including OpenStack and Docker and how we're continuing to work to make Oracle Solaris a great cloud platform capable of both horizontal and vertical scale with a real point of differentiation. Check out the rest of the agenda here.

We'll be running 3 separate events for different timezones - Americas, Europe and Asia/Pacific. Register now and join us!

Thursday Jul 30, 2015

Docker coming to Oracle Solaris

It seems like you can't stop the good news at the moment. Hopefully you've already seen the announcement about Oracle joining the Open Container Initiative; to follow that appetiser today we announced that we will be bringing Docker over to Oracle Solaris.

For me the last year or so has been fascinating as the other parts of the industry first discovered and then got really excited about OS virtualization and containers, something we've had in Oracle Solaris for a long time. The move to the cloud, the rise of DevOps, microservices and all the ecosystem around that just seems like the perfect storm for container adoption. Could it be the silver bullet that some IT people are looking? Possibly, it certainly is a significant step in the right direction. On a personal level it is also satisfying to see a technology I have so much personal faith in go "mainstream".

Which brings us to our own mature container technology Oracle Solaris Zones (originally called Solaris Containers). It started out being used as a virtual environment for developers but its zero overhead, scalability and - very important in today's climate - high security meant it soon moved to facilitating consolidation and running every kind of app, from small web servers to gigantic databases. Our customers then showed their smarts and brought business agility to the picture with things like rapid deployment and flying zones, extending the value of zones in the data center. Just recently we had an addition to the family, Kernel Zones which, unsurprisingly gives you a zone with an independent kernel. You can now check them out doing secure live migration in our Oracle Solaris 11.3 Beta release. Finally (well I can't mention everything we've done that would be a book not a blog) it all underpins the Oracle Openstack for Oracle Solaris distribution we made available.  

And so we come to our latest adventure and our announcement that we will bring Docker over to Oracle Solaris. The combination of Docker and Oracle Solaris is particularly nice because on the one side Oracle Solaris delivers a great undercloud: secure, speedy and simple. And on the other Docker helps get your apps distributed, packages them up, makes them available to all, and avoids inconsistencies across different platforms in a way that is open. Now you can get your applications securely into production faster than ever.

It's great to join the Docker party, I'm certainly looking forward to working with the Docker community and watching this project grow and develop. Hopefully you'll join us on the ride.


Friday Jul 24, 2015

Oracle Joins the Open Container Initiative

As you may have heard, Oracle has joined the Open Container Initiative (OCI). We are happy to see an open standard being established for container technologies. We feel containers have some real advantages for cloud deployments when used properly, and we see this as an opportunity to bring our experience with containers to the community. You see, our interest in container technologies didn’t happen recently. We’ve been working on them for more than 10 years.

I find it amusing that the industry has come full circle on containers. With the OCI and technologies like Docker, we’ve comeback to application containers, which is where Solaris originally started with zones.

When I was a kernel engineer in the early 1990’s, we used chroot(1) to create build environments so that the build wouldn’t modify the system we were running on. That worked, but it didn’t prevent me from accidentally performing “rm –rf *” as ‘root’ one night at 2am working against a deadline and not realizing I was not in the chroot environment. (Ouch!) My admin team friends never let me live that one down.

Then, there were BSD Jails. They were the next step in container technologies. They helped prevent those kinds of stupid user mistakes by partitioning a system up into a virtualized environment.

In 2005, Sun Microsystems introduced containers in Solaris 10, called Solaris Zones. Originally, the engineers wanted to build lightweight application containers. This was at a time when the industry was moving toward virtual machines, and it was decided that a full OS container would be better.

Over time, we added great capabilities to Solaris 10 Zones like resource management and exclusive IP Stacks. Security has always been a focus for Solaris and was one of the driving reasons for containers as a technology. Now, you didn’t need to share the stack any longer. We embedded those capabilities into Trusted Solaris. Oracle certified Solaris Zones as a hard partition boundary. So, you could run the Oracle Database in a Solaris Zone and reduce your license costs and only use the hardware you needed; a benefit that’s still in use today.

The work didn’t stop there; we introduced other types of zones, which we use today to support older releases of Oracle Solaris in a zone. And there was even a time when Solaris supported versions of Linux in a zone.

After the Oracle acquisition of Sun Microsystems, the rate of innovation accelerated. Oracle infused new life (and money) into (now) Oracle Solaris development. The Zones team grew significantly.

With the first release of Oracle Solaris 11 11/11 (Yes, we really did that), we gave zones the ability to create secure virtual networks with our built-in network virtualization, code named “Crossbow”.

Continuing on the theme of security, with Oracle Solaris 11, you could delegate administration for Oracle Solaris Zones. You no longer had to give the “Zone Administrator” administrator privileges for the entire system.

We added the ability to update and rollback zones seamlessly with the Boot Environments made possible with the integration of ZFS as the root file system. This meant user errors could simply be rolled back rather than having to hand unroll changes or take backups for every change that was made to a system or a zone. But one of my favorite capabilities of zones was the Immutable Zone! With Immutable Zones, you can make a Zone read-only (or partially read-only) so that not even the almighty “root” can modify it... Hmm... Too bad we didn’t have zones and ZFS when I was a new engineer!

Amazingly, that’s only a few of the highlights of zones in Oracle Solaris 11 11/11. There are many, many more.

Oracle Solaris 11.1 was released about one year after Solaris 11 and we added zones on shared storage (ZOSS). ZOSS allows you to host a zone on a remote disk.

About 18 months after the release of Oracle Solaris 11.1, we released Oracle Solaris 11.2. This was a milestone release for the Oracle Solaris Zones Team (now known as the Oracle Solaris Virtualization Team). Speed has also always been a critical motivating factor for containers. But, with that speed, there’s a tradeoff with containers. That is flexibility. With containers, you share the underlying kernel. So, when you need to patch a container, you patch all the containers on a system at the same time, and then you need to reboot the system, and thus, take all the containers down at the same time! There go your SLAs!

It was about the time that we were releasing Oracle Solaris 11.2 that containers began to get traction as a viable virtualization technology for cloud. I remember reading an article while I was waiting in an airport lounge that said that containers were going to “save the cloud.” I found it ironic that this person had just seemingly come to the conclusion that full virtual machines had a significant amount of overhead that was impacting efficiency of cloud technologies.

I found this particularly funny because I was about to get on an airplane to go tell hundreds of people about 11.2 and a new type of container our team had built into Oracle Solaris 11.2 that acts like a type-2 hypervisor. We call them “Kernel Zones.” So, you are able to run a full kernel in a container, solving one of the biggest problems container technologies have. But even more importantly, our brilliant engineers managed to make the new kernel zones have only marginally more overhead on the system than what we now call a “Native Zone.” So, you get the performance of a native zone (container) and the flexibility of a type-2 hypervisor for Oracle Solaris without the hypervisor overhead. You can read more about kernel zones here.

But kernel zones, while great, aren’t the entire picture. In Oracle Solaris 11.2, we also gave you the ability to reconfigure a Zone while it was running. No more reboots to add memory, disk, CPU, etc.! When you combine that capability with Oracle Database running in an Oracle Solaris Zone, you have the ability to do capacity on demand for the Oracle Database. Allowing multiple Oracle Databases to share a single system in a secure way that doesn’t impact their performance. That’s just cool.

In Oracle Solaris 11.2, we also gave you a full distribution of OpenStack, now called Oracle OpenStack for Oracle Solaris, where we tightly integrated both Oracle Solaris Zones and kernel zones into OpenStack Nova compute.

The final piece to the Oracle Solaris 11.2 puzzle with Zones is Unified Archives. Zones is integrated with Unified Archives. So, you can snapshot a running Zone, and redeploy it elsewhere easily, but because of the integration, you can resize the Zone as it’s being deployed and change the type of virtualization too. So, your dev/test environment is only a 2 vCPU Zone with 2GB of RAM. But you want to deploy it into a much larger 128 vCPU/8TB Immutable Kernel Zone? Engineers use virtual machines, but your production environments use containers or the other way around? No Problem! Just change the virtualization type and/or the size as your needs demand.

Earlier this month, we announced Oracle Solaris 11.3 Beta. You can download it here. In Oracle Solaris 11.3, we give you secure live migration. What makes our live migration “secure?” We automatically offload the Zone to the processor crypto engines as it’s being transmitted from the source. Then, on the destination, we decrypt it via the same hardware automatic hardware offload. Meaning that the Zone is secure during the migration, and there is nearly no performance penalty to do it. Making security simple is one of the important things we focus on. The more complicated security is, the less likely people will get it right. Here’s just one way we make it simple to be secure.

Now, with the Open Container Initiative, we have the opportunity to take all of that technology we’ve been building into Oracle Solaris Zones, and apply them to the original concept zones were born out of, application containers. It’s been more than 10 years in the making, but we’ve come back to our roots.

It’s going to be interesting to see where we go next and where this all takes us. We look forward to being a part of the Open Container Initiative.

Keep an eye out for some more news coming very soon.

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An efficient, open, affordable cloud platform for SPARC and x86 systems.

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