Tuesday Jul 07, 2015

Oracle Solaris 11.3: Securing and Simplifying the Enterprise Cloud

This morning, we’ve opened up access to the beta release of Oracle Solaris 11.3.  If you’ve been following along (and if not, why not?), you know there have been some big advances in Oracle Solaris 11, including lightning-fast intelligent provisioning and maintenance, and some key additions to our already highly-regarded “defense in depth” security.

Most notable for the latter is the work we’ve done to simplify compliance checking and mitigation, making it possible for administrators to quickly and easily check system security configurations against industry standards, and get a “report card” showing compliance, with guidance for any areas that may need addressing.

Oh, and did I mention fully-integrated OpenStack?  This is a win in two ways: it not only brings access to the fastest growing open cloud platform to Oracle Solaris users, it brings the incredible breadth of Oracle Solaris enterprise capabilities to the fingertips of OpenStack users.

…and that of course brings to mind some of the above-mentioned Oracle Solaris 11 features, such as built-in, zero-overhead virtualization, a new and super-powerful Unified Archive capability for rapid, safe, compliant deployment, and all the things we’ve done in terms of performance and administrative ease to make Oracle Solaris the best platform for deploying both Oracle’s own and 3rd party software.

So what’s left to do?  In this beta release, you'll find we're taking those capabilities and making them even better.

OpenStack: We’ve moved forward to the OpenStack Juno release, and also done some behind-the-scenes work to make it easy to continue to bring you new OpenStack goodness quickly and reliably.

Virtualization: In Oracle Solaris 11.2, we introduced “Kernel Zones”, making it possible to deliver hypervisor agility while still maintaining the low overhead and ease of administration you expect from Zones.  In 11.3, we introduce secure live migration for Kernel Zones,  live zone reconfiguration, and verified boot.

And, we’ve extended the new Zones on Shared Storage (ZOSS) capabilities.  You can now place zones on FC-SAN, iSCSI, or NFS devices.

Oracle Solaris 11.3 is all about “more”, so now you have more flexibility and more security in your virtualization.

Database: If you’re an Oracle Database fan, you know we’ve been giving you “more” for years: more observability, more performance, more flexible administration.  Now we’re also giving you “less” — less down time.  We’ve slashed database startup and shutdown times.  These are not only faster than it’s ever been on Solaris; it’s faster—a lot faster—than on any other platform.

Security: We’ve extended the compliance capabilities mentioned above, so that you can more easily tailor compliance policy configurations to suit your site’s requirements.  Oracle Solaris and Oracle Solaris Studio are also ready for Software in Silicon application data integrity (ADI).  To learn more about this and start working with it today, visit the SWiS Cloud.

Data Management: You've already come to know and love what Oracle Solaris brings to the table with the first 21st century filesystem, ZFS.  In Oracle Solaris 11.3, we extend its built-in compression capabilities to include LZ4 support, we give you the ability to compare snapshots recursively, and have introduced a wealth of scalability and performance improvements to make it faster than ever. We’ve also enhanced its monitoring features, and upgraded its built-in SMB support.

There’s more than this, but this should give you a taste of what we’ve got in store for you today.  You can download it now, and take a look at the “What’s New” document to see what we’re doing to make your data center cloud-ready, secure, fast, and simple.

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!

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

Tuesday Apr 22, 2014

Question of the Day: "Big Solaris Launch... for a Dot Release??"

"This is only a dot release, right?" the question goes. Well, yes and no.

For those who tuned in late: on April 29th, we'll be launching Oracle Solaris 11.2 in New York City and on the web. But don't let the dot fool you—there is some very significant stuff that we're putting in.  Significant enough that yes, the idea of calling this "Oracle Solaris 12" did come up.  But, c'mon, gratuitously revving the number just because we felt like it?  Who'd do that*?

In fact, what the dot really means is that we've incorporated some noteworthy changes in such a way that we're not leaving anything, or anyone, behind. This is Oracle Solaris 11, only moreso. The reason that it's a dot is that there are no concerns for existing "11" end users and developers about how to integrate this into their environments.  IPS is your friend. And for those of you who haven't upgraded yet, the Solaris Application Guarantee Program assures you that we stand behind you as you do.

And, as it turns out, this whole compatibility and interoperability thing is part of our news on the 29th.  So, please join us then, on the web or in person.  It's "only a dot", but it's more than a dot.


*As someone in the Twittersphere helpfully pointed out, Sun once did something in this vein: we lopped the whole dang major release number off the marketing name, going from Solaris 2.6 to Solaris (not-two-dot) 7 in one shot.  But underneath the hood, it was SunOS 5.6 to SunOS 5.7.  Join us for the SunOS 5.11.2 launch, won't you?

Tuesday Dec 10, 2013

Oracle Joins OpenStack Foundation; Plans for Oracle Solaris Announced

Today Oracle announced that it has become a Corporate Sponsor of the OpenStack Foundation, and provided some details about how OpenStack components are intended to be integrated into the Oracle hardware/software stack.  This gives more insight into some of what we discussed at Oracle OpenWorld about plans for the future of Oracle Solaris.

If you're not familiar with OpenStack, it's well worth learning a bit more about. It's arguably the fastest-growing industry collaboration for developing and fleshing out a common cloud management platform. The Oracle Solaris team is looking forward to contributing back to the OpenStack project, and we expect the work we do and the integration we can provide will be of significant benefit to our customers going forward.

And it's not just Oracle Solaris, of course; OpenStack plans are underway for Oracle Linux, Oracle VM, our server systems and storage product line as well.  See the press release for more information.

UPDATE: Markus has just blogged about some of what's in the Oracle Solaris plan for OpenStack.

Wednesday Sep 11, 2013

What's the Can't-Miss Oracle Solaris Session at OpenWorld 2013?

If you're looking to find out more about where Oracle Solaris is headed in the near future, you won't want to miss this year's general session, "Oracle Solaris Strategy, Engineering Insights, and Roadmap." What's the "next big thing" for Oracle Solaris?

No, not new colors.

I talked with Markus Flierl, VP of Oracle Solaris core engineering, who will be hosting this session, and "C" is still for "cloud" in our alphabet. He says that among other things, the session will focus on how Oracle Solaris has evolved from a cloud OS to a cloud infrastructure, with examples of customers who are building SaaS, PaaS and IaaS clouds with Oracle Solaris today.

You'll also find out why the Oracle Solaris and Oracle SPARC and x86 systems are the best platform for Oracle deployments, as integration drives database and Java functionality more deeply into the OS and silicon layers.

And of course, the session will give an outlook on what's being worked on for future Oracle Solaris updates, such as next-generation OS virtualization, built-in SDN solutions, and integration with current and emerging standards for cloud technologies.

All in all, a good place to be on Monday; follow the link below to add it to your schedule. Hope to see you there!

Monday, September 23rd, 12:15 PM - Oracle Solaris Strategy, Engineering Insights, and Roadmap
(GEN9021 Westin San Francisco - Metropolitan II

Tuesday Aug 27, 2013

Oracle Solaris Hands-On Labs at Oracle OpenWorld 2013

We're going to have some very interesting Oracle Solaris-themed Hands-On Labs (HOLs) at Oracle OpenWorld 2013.

[Read More]

Wednesday Oct 03, 2012

Announcing Oracle Solaris 11.1

This morning, we announced Oracle Solaris 11.1, the first update to Oracle Solaris 11.

This builds on all the things we've done to make Oracle Solaris the best operating system for enterprise cloud computing, so no surprises on what we've focused on: enhancements for cloud infrastructure, extreme availability for enterprise applications, and continued payoff from our co-engineering work with the rest of the Oracle software portfolio.

You can learn more by visiting oracle.com/solaris, and our Oracle Technology Network Oracle Solaris 11.1 page.

If you're at Oracle OpenWorld, be sure to attend Solaris engineering VP Markus Flierl's general session at 10:15 today, in Moscone South 103, where he'll be going into detail on Oracle Solaris 11.1 .

And, be sure to sign up for our online launch event on November 7th, featuring Markus, fellow engineering VP Bill Nesheim, and a deep bench of Solaris engineers.

It's hard to believe that it's been 20 years since Solaris 2.0 first shipped -- stay tuned for the next 20!

Wednesday Sep 26, 2012

Manic Monday - More OpenWorld Solaris Sessions: Developers, Cloud, Customer Insights, Hardware Optimization

We're overflowing with Monday sessions; literally more than one person can take in. Learn more about what's new in Oracle Solaris Studio, hear about the latest x86 and SPARC hardware optimizations, get some insights on cloud deployment strategies, and find out from your peers what they're doing with Oracle Solaris.

If you're an OpenWorld attendee, go to to Schedule Builder to guarantee your space in any session or lab. See yesterday's blog post and the "Focus on Oracle Solaris" guide for even more sessions.

Monday, October 1st:

10:45 AM - Maximizing Your SPARC T4 Oracle Solaris Application Performance
(CON6382,  Marriott Marquis - Golden Gate C3)

Hear how customers and commercial software partners have reached peak performance on SPARC T4 servers and engineered systems with Oracle Solaris Studio and its latest tools for analyzing, reporting, and improving runtime performance:

  • Autoparallelizing, high-performance compilers
  • Performance Analyzer (used to find performance hotspots)
  • Thread Analyzer (to expose data races and deadlocks)
  • Code Analyzer (used to discover latent memory corruption issues)

10:45 AM - Cloud Formation: Implementing IaaS in Practice with Oracle Solaris
(CON8787, Moscone South 302)

Decisions, decisions--at the same time, we've got a session that covers why Oracle Solaris is the ideal OS for public or private clouds, IaaS or PaaS, with built-in features for elastic infrastructure, unrivaled security, superfast installation and deployment, nonstop availability, and crystal-clear observability. This session will include a customer study on how Oracle Solaris is used in the cloud today to implement the Oracle stack.

12:15 PM - Customer Insight: Oracle Solaris on Oracle Exadata, Oracle Exalogic, and SPARC SuperCluster
(CON8760, Moscone South 270)

Hear from customers what benefits they have realized from using the Oracle stack on Oracle Exadata and Oracle’s SPARC SuperCluster and from using Oracle Solaris on those engineered systems, taking advantage of built-in lightweight OS virtualization (Zones), enterprise reliability and scale, and other key features.

1:45 PM - Case Study: Mobile Tornado Uses Oracle Technology for Better RAS and TCO

(CON4281, Moscone West 2005)

Mobile Tornado develops and markets instant communication platforms, replacing traditional radio networks with cellular networks. Its critical concern is uptime. Find out how they've used Oracle Solaris, Netra SPARC T4, and Oracle Solaris Cluster, including Oracle Solaris ZFS and Zones, for their Oracle Database deployments to improve reliability and drive down cost.

3:15 PM - Technical Panel: Developing High Performance Applications on Oracle Solaris
(CON7196, Marriott Marquis - Golden Gate C2)

Engineers from the Oracle Solaris, Oracle Database, and Oracle Tuxedo development teams, and Oracle ISV Engineering discuss how they develop high-performance enterprise applications that take advantage of Oracle's SPARC and x86 servers, with Oracle Solaris Studio and new Oracle Solaris 11 features. Topics will include developer tools, parallel frameworks, best practices, and methodologies, as well as insights and case studies on parallelizing and optimizing application performance on Oracle Solaris. Bring your best questions!

3:15 PM -  x86 Power Management with Oracle Solaris: Current State, Opportunities, and Future
(CON6271, Moscone West 2012)

Another option for this time slot: learn about how Intel Xeon and Oracle Solaris work together to reduce server power consumption. This presentation addresses some of the recent power management improvements in Oracle Solaris, opportunities to further improve energy efficiency, and some future directions for Oracle Solaris power management.

Wednesday Nov 09, 2011

Oracle Solaris 11: The First Cloud OS

This morning we announced the immediate availability of Oracle Solaris 11.  What's more, we've put a new stake in the ground, calling it "the first cloud OS."

What exactly does that mean?

The simple answer: Oracle Solaris 11 is the first operating system engineered with cloud computing in mind.  We believe you should expect more from your OS -- especially as you start considering public, private and hybrid clouds for enterprise-class workloads.

So what's new in Oracle Solaris 11, and how does that connect to the cloud?

  • New provisioning and update capabilities: the integration of Oracle ZFS, Zones, and IPS -- the new network repository and update system -- makes cloud deployment fast, reliable, and reproducible.  And it's designed to tie in to not just Oracle Solaris and the Oracle stack, but all the third party software, and SPARC and x86 hardware, that's supported on Solaris.
  • New, integrated network virtualization.  Create an entire high-performance, low-cost data center topology within a single OS instance -- no extra software or hardware required.
  • Connected cloud management -- All the tools you need to build and manage an internal or public cloud backed by the vast knowledge and technology base of Oracle support. Not just managing multiple OS instances, but managing all of them as an integrated whole.
    • Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center, now included with all Oracle OS, systems and Oracle VM support, provides converged systems management for enterprise-wide, centralized control over hardware, OS and virtualization resources.
  • Security features that extend from traditional infrastructure into the cloud. Oracle Solaris 11 locks down services from first install boot, and provides role-based root access and low impact auditing for both cloud and traditional data center deployments.
  • Service and workload isolation. Both within your organization, and to securely support multiple companies' data on the same server.
  • Designed to get the most out of both x86 and SPARC-based systems, including Oracle’s Exadata, Exalogic and SPARC SuperCluster engineered systems.
  • Runs at cloud scale. True linear scalability across massive horizontal deployments and vertical scale systems, and designed for next-generation hardware and the next leaps in CPU, bandwidth, and memory capacity.

And of course, the virtues you've come to expect from us that have made Oracle Solaris the #1 enterprise OS:

  • Oracle Solaris ZFS, the ground-breaking enterprise filesystem introduced in Solaris 10, with ultimate data integrity and flash-enabled tiered storage pools, and designed to handle limitless amounts of data, now includes built-in line speed encryption and deduplication, as well as additional resiliency features and performance improvements. Oracle Solaris 11 delivers cloud scale for both compute and data.
  • Oracle Solaris DTrace, delivering safe, low-overhead, and comprehensive observability, letting you track activity from the depths of the kernel to the heart of your applications.
  • Predictive self healing, to detect and mitigate software and hardware problems before they affect services.  And for additional protection, Oracle Solaris Cluster, providing local to geographic protection of both physical and virtual application deployments.
  • Investment protection: still the only OS in the industry to guarantee both application and cross-platform source code compatibility.
And what's most important: all of this is integrated, engineered and optimized to work together: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  It's the power of this that makes Oracle Solaris unique.

Find out more:


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


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