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Getting Started with Solaris 11.4 Beta Images for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

Dave Miner
Sr. Principal Software Engineer

A question that's coming up more and more often among Oracle Solaris customers is, "Can I run Solaris workloads in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI)?".  Previously, it's only been possible by deploying your own OVM hypervisor in the OCI bare metal infrastructure, or running guests in the OCI Classic infrastructure.  As of today, I'm pleased that we can add bare metal and virtual machines in OCI as options.  With the release of the latest refresh to the Oracle Solaris 11.4 Beta, we're providing pre-built images for use in OCI.

The images aren't part of the official OCI image catalog at this time, but using them is easy, just follow these steps:

  1. Login to your OCI console and select Compute->Custom Images from the main menu, this will display the Images page.
  2. Press the blue Import Image button.  This will display the Import Image dialog.
  3. In the dialog, select a compartment into which the image will be imported, and enter a name, such as "Solaris 11.4 Beta".  Select Linux for the operating system since OCI doesn't yet know about Solaris and that will avoid any special handling that OCI has for Windows images.  At this point, choose which image you wish to import:
  • Bare Metal: Copy this link and paste it into the Object Storage URL field.  Select QCOW2 as the Image Type, and Native Mode as the Launch Mode. Enter any tags you wish to apply, and then press Import Image.
  • Virtual Machine: Copy this link and paste it into the Object Storage URL field.  Select VMDK as the Image Type, and Emulated Mode as the Launch Mode.  Enter any tags you wish to apply, and then press Import Image.

It'll take a few minutes for OCI to copy the image from object storage into your tenant's image repository.  Once that's complete, you can launch an instance using the image.  First, one tip: if you've imported the Bare Metal image, you should go to its Image Details page and press the Edit Details button.  In the Edit Image Details dialog that comes up, there's a Compatible Shapes list.  You'll find that all of the shapes have a blue checkmark.  You should uncheck all of the VM shapes and then Save the image.  The reason is that Solaris is not capable of booting in OCI's native virtual machine shapes at this time and this will prevent anyone who uses that image from inadvertently launching a VM that won't be accessible.  We're working on running Solaris under OCI's native VM technology, but since it's not ready yet, we've made the emulated mode image available for now.

When creating an instance, select Custom Image as the boot volume type and select the image you've imported along with a compatible shape.  You'll need to supply an ssh key in order to login to the instance once it's started; when creating a VM, it's necessary to click the Show Advanced Options link to access the SSH Keys settings.

After you start an instance, login using ssh opc@<instance ip>.  The image contains a relatively minimal Solaris installation suitable for bootstrapping into a cloud environment - this is the solaris-cloud-guest group package.  You'll likely need to install more software to do anything beyond some simple exploration; to add more Solaris packages, head on over to pkg-register.oracle.com and download a key and certificate to access the Oracle Solaris 11.4 Beta repository, following the instructions there to configure pkg.

Now that you've got an instance running, there's a lot more you can do with it, including saving any modifications you make as a new Custom Image of your own that you can then redeploy directly to a new instance (note, though, that at this point a modified bare metal image will only be deployable to bare metal, and a VM image will only be deployable to a VM).  I'll post some how-to's for common tasks in the coming days, including deploying zones, creating your own images to move workloads into OCI, and using Terraform to orchestrate deployments.  Leave a comment here, post on the Solaris Beta community forum, or catch me @dave_miner on Twitter if you have topic suggestions or questions.

Update: There's one problem with the VM image - if you create a new boot environment either directly or via a pkg operation and then reboot (even if you don't activate the new boot environment), the VM will end up in a panic loop.  To avoid this, run the following command after you've logged into your VM:

sudo bootadm change-entry -i 0 kargs="-B enforce-prot-exec=off"



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