Oracle Solaris Blog

Introducing VirtIO Drivers with Oracle Solaris on OCI

May 26, 2021
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Since October 2019, Oracle Solaris 11.4 images are available in the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) Marketplace. With Oracle Solaris in the cloud, customers can now deploy their workloads by creating new Oracle Solaris instances utilizing OCI native resources for compute, storage, and networking. In order to better understand how to work with Oracle Solaris on OCI, we have put together step-by-step instructions on the new Oracle Solaris GitHub repository: oraclesolaris-contrib.

Following the Continuous Delivery Model, we recently delivered SRU33 for Oracle Solaris 11.4 consisting of a number of enhancements and updates. Amongst all the features, we also introduced support for VirtIO drivers with Oracle Solaris thus delivering one of the highly requested customer requirements.

VirtIO is the industry standard for paravirtualized device support and this release includes the core PCI framework and driver support for blkdev, console, entropy, mac layer network, and scsi.  With VirtIO guests now being supported by Oracle Solaris, customers can observe a significant boost in performance as well as an improved user experience with the Oracle Solaris image. Here are some of the VirtIO driver features that were introduced:





  • Shared framework
  • PCI operations
  • VirtIO queues 
  • Interrupts
    • Legacy
    • MSI-X
  • DMA
  • Feature negotiation
  • Block device
    • Host disk image back-end
    • Similar to lofi(4D)
  • Usable as a boot disk or dump device
  • Not used in OCI
  • HBA driver
    • SCSAv3 compliant
  • Standard disk I/O
  • Usable as a boot disk or dump device
  • OCI boot volumes in PV mode
  • OCI block volumes can be attached via PV mode (vtioscsi) or iSCSI
  • GLDv3 network driver
  • Jumbo frames
  • Offloads for checksum, LRO, LSO
  • OCI network devices in PV mode


Why should you use Oracle Solaris on OCI?

Oracle Solaris has long been trusted with running business-critical applications on your on-premise architecture. With Oracle Solaris 11.4 now in OCI, you can unlock the additional resources that OCI has to offer coupled with the leading-edge security and features Oracle Solaris offers. Oracle Solaris on x86 also provides you the opportunity to use OCI instances as sandboxes for your applications before deploying them on your on-premises architecture. This capability to continue running your workloads disruption free on your x86 architecture while testing new technologies in the Cloud, makes Oracle Solaris in OCI the ideal investment to future proof your applications.

How can you start with using Oracle Solaris on OCI?

Marketplace images for Oracle Solaris correspond to each Critical Patch Update (CPU) release of the Oracle Solaris 11.4 release. However, in this case, we have provided you with the latest release 11.4.33 in OCI for launching an instance natively. Here is what you can do:  

    • For new instances:
      • We have recently released Oracle Solaris 11.4 Version 11.4.33 (5/25/2021) in the OCI Marketplace to launch an instance supporting VirtIO drivers
      • This is the fastest method for you to start using the new features released with SRU33
    • For existing instances:
      • Use your existing Oracle Solaris 11.4 Version 11.4.32 (CPU) image in the OCI Marketplace and modify the image launch mode. Here are the steps:
        • #pkg update existing instance to 11.4.33
        • Create a Custom Image from the updated instance
        • Modify the Image Capabilities of the Custom Image to launch in Paravirtualized mode
        • Launch a new instance from the Custom Image
      • If you have an Oracle Solaris instance running in VirtualBox,
        • Update your instance to SRU33 and export it to OCI*

Resources to learn more about Oracle Solaris on OCI

  • For creating custom images for Oracle Solaris on OCI, utilizing OCI storage resources and for more information on Oracle Solaris in OCI, refer to Dave Miner’s blogs.
  • Also head over to oraclesolaris-contrib to learn more about various Oracle Solaris topics along with Oracle Solaris in OCI


Start here:


Note: *Need to have an OCI account for exporting VirtualBox images.

Tanmay Dhuri

Product Manager

Tanmay Dhuri is a Product Manager in the Systems Product Management team responsible for Oracle Servers (SPARC and x86) and the Oracle Solaris Operating System.

Dave Miner

Sr. Principal Software Engineer

I'm the architect for Solaris cloud, deployment and system management features, with a lot of background in networking on the side. I was co-author of the OpenSolaris Bible (Wiley, 2009). I also play a lot of golf.

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