All the big news has been around Oracle Solaris 11 for awhile now, but now it's Oracle Solaris 10's turn for some attention.
Oracle Solaris 10 8/11 just came out, and it has some cool enhancements:
· ZFS speedups and new features
· Oracle Database optimization
· Faster reboot on SPARC systems
This update not only makes the #1 enterprise OS even faster and easier to manage; it also helps sets the stage for the planned release of Oracle Solaris 11 later this year.
Let’s start with ZFS. First off, it’s now possible to use either the text installer or Oracle Solaris Live Upgrade to install a ZFS Flash Archive (flar). This is useful in disaster recovery scenarios, or for organizations that use flars to distribute install images.
This is something you only used to be able to do with UFS. ZFS now not only has an incredible range of advances beyond UFS, it doesn’t leave any capabilities behind.
One longstanding Solaris feature that ZFS now makes even better is Live Upgrade. Live Upgrade is a great tool for reducing system downtime, but each time you use it, its first step is “make a copy of my current Solaris environment.” With a traditional file system such as UFS, that can take an hour or more.
With ZFS as your root file system, that copy takes around 10 seconds; ZFS cloning means we no longer have to copy the entire file system. Plus, you don’t have to have an entire disk slice pre-allocated for that new boot environment. Suddenly Live Upgrade moves from “I’d love to do that, but it’s a lot of work and time to set up,” to “why wouldn’t I do that?” It’s a risk-reduction safety net for a wide variety of system change scenarios, ready to get you immediately back to a “known-good” state if any problems crop up.
Oh, and it gets even better in Oracle Solaris 11, but you’ll hear more about that elsewhere. Just know that this is a great way to get familiar with one of the more significant advances in Oracle Solaris 11—ZFS root—way ahead of time.
We’ve also backported the ‘zfs diff’ capability from Oracle Solaris 11, to make it easy to see the changes between two ZFS snapshots—or two Live Upgrade boot environments. See the Oracle Solaris 8/11 “What’s New” document for examples, and info on other new ZFS features.
Meanwhile, check out what we’ve done for ZFS performance:
(We used the dd command to simulate lots of sequential I/O by copying 8 GB at different block sizes.)
We’ve also been working with our Oracle Database colleagues more closely than ever before to streamline performance. In this update, we took an existing Solaris/Oracle DB optimization and made it even better.
Intimate Shared Memory (ISM) was an early Oracle Database performance project on Solaris to optimize memory use, especially with the SGA, in a number of ways. In this update, we’ve changed ISM to get Oracle Database to start up almost 4 times faster than before on a SPARC T3-2, and 2.5 times faster on a Sun Fire x4800.
We’ve sped up OS restart time, too. In 8/11, it’s now possible to bypass the Power On Self Test (POST) on SPARC systems on non-power-on reboots.
Finally, we’re making it even easier to get and deploy the OS. You can download a regular or VirtualBox-ready image, or order physical media, from the usual places.
And now you’ll find something new: encapsulated virtual environments: “Oracle VM Templates for Oracle Solaris Containers.” It’s Oracle Database pre-installed in an Oracle Solaris Container; download a single file and execute it, and it unpacks itself into a container on your Oracle Solaris 10 10/09 or later system.
We’re not trying to steal Oracle Solaris 11’s thunder; we'll have a lot to say about it at Oracle OpenWorld in just a couple of weeks. But it was time to give Oracle Solaris 10 another turn in the spotlight. Enjoy!