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.

Tuesday Nov 11, 2014

Oracle Solaris Studio 12.4 Now Available: Create Powerful, Efficient, Secure Applications

The latest release of Oracle’s #1 C, C++ and Fortran development environment, Oracle Solaris Studio 12.4, is now available for building world-class applications for Oracle Solaris and Linux systems.  If you've been following along during the beta program, you already know that there are several significant new features, including support for C++11 and OpenMP 4.0.

There's also a complete redesign of the Performance Analyzer, providing a powerful window into the workings of your application with the ability to do remote and cross-platform analysis, simplifying your life as a developer and allowing you to create high-performance code from the client system of your choice, targeting SPARC or x86 servers.

Also sure to be on the top of any developer's mind (and if not, why not?) is code vulnerability protection.  You want your apps to make a stir in a good way, which is usually not on CNN at the top of every hour.  The Code Analyzer gives you the ability to detect and correct memory leaks and access issues before you unleash your code on the world.  This is top-notch stuff found nowhere else, providing unique ways to increase code coverage and make your services more reliable.

And of course, the compilers' ability to deliver just plain flat-out application performance has always been a prime reason why developers choose Oracle Solaris Studio over alternatives, and this release has leading-edge optimizations for the latest SPARC and x86 based platforms, including Oracle’s SPARC M6 and T5 systems, and Intel Haswell-based systems.  We've seen 4.8 times the performance on industry standard benchmarks compared to other compilers you might be using.  Picking the right development tools can make a much bigger difference than you might have thought!

And... even though price might not be your most important concern, it's still kind of nice that all this is free to download, for production use and the development of commercial applications.

Wednesday Aug 06, 2014

Oracle Solaris Studio 12.4 Beta Update

If you haven't had a chance to try out the beta release of Oracle Solaris Studio 12.4 -- or if you're still working with the original download -- now's the time to get the updated bits.

What this includes: support for C++11, an updated Performance Analyzer, support for OpenMP 4.0, and lots more.  The July refresh now incorporates fixes and enhancements based on feedback from beta participants.

Learn more; get the download; send us feedback: Oracle Solaris Studio 12.4 Beta, Update 7/14

Monday Apr 07, 2014

April 16 Webcast: Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance

At last year's Oracle OpenWorld, we introduced the Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance, or "OVCA" for short, an engineered system designed to radically simplify virtual deployments of Windows, Linux or Oracle Solaris general purpose workloads.  By engineering together unique technology such as our x86 systems, Oracle Virtual Networking, Oracle VM and Oracle VM Templates, we deliver a solution that you can take from power-on to production in about an hour -- a significant advantage compared to competing offerings.

We've got an opportunity coming up for you to learn more: a webcast, with the very direct title "Simplify your cloud deployment with Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance."  In a 60 minute session, you'll hear from Charlie Boyle and Premal Savla, who will take you through the advantages in time, simplified management, and consolidation in using OVCA in your IT infrastructure.

Register today, join us on Wednesday April 16th, and find out more about Oracle's "wire once" engineered system designed to speed your cloud deployments.


Thursday Mar 27, 2014

Oracle Solaris Studio 12.4 Beta Now Available

If you're developing in C, C++, or Fortran for either Oracle Solaris or Linux, Oracle Solaris Studio is your "go to" development environment -- at least if you're looking to build high-performance, robust applications, with an incredible set of analysis tools as well.

Oracle Solaris Studio 12.4 Beta is now ready for you to try out.  This release introduces support for the most current C++ version, C++11.  "Come for the rvalue references and move constructors; stay for the generalized constant expressions," I always say, proving I can read a Wikipedia article as well as the next person.

Oracle Solaris Studio 12.4 also sports a new user interface for the Performance Analyzer, which includes remote data analysis and cross-architecture support, making life ever-easier for multi-platform developers.

It also includes a raft of new performance optimizations for the latest generation SPARC and x86 processors, as well as support for OpenMP 4.0 -- add that to an already impressive list of mulithreaded programming support features.

Learn more, get the download, send us feedback: Oracle Solaris Studio 12.4

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.

Friday Sep 20, 2013

"Systems Central" at OOW13

This year, the Westin San Francisco Market Street is going to be the OpenWorld hub for engineered systems, server, and storage content, which includes both operating systems and virtualization.  We're thinking of it as "Systems Central."

This is where you'll find not only the bulk of the Oracle Solaris breakout sessions, but it's also where our Oracle Solaris engineers and executives will be making themselves available for one-on-one conversations before and after the sessions.

Protip: lunch will be served for attendees here, so this is a chance for you to get some quieter moments away from the throng, and hang out with Oracle Solaris developers after a less hectic meal.

The weather looks like it's going to be nice this year (70º in the city on Monday), so the short stroll from Moscone to the Westin will be a perfect prelude to a deep dive into Oracle Solaris content.

Thursday Sep 12, 2013

Oracle Virtual Networking and Compute Appliance at OpenWorld 2013

This time last year, we were just getting a chance to talk about some new technology that had been recently added to the Oracle portfolio: Oracle Virtual Networking.  Pretty powerful stuff on its own, as long as you're a fan of high performance networking, simplifying your data center, and saving a lot of money in the process.

This year, we've got another new product line to talk about as well, and the Oracle Virtual Networking technology is at the heart of it: the Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance.  It's an engineered system designed from the start for virtualization, and intended for general purpose workloads running on Oracle Solaris, Oracle Linux, other Linux distros, or Windows.

Here's a short video walk-through, showing OVCA power-up to production in less than an hour:

And if you want to learn more about either OVCA or Oracle Virtual Networking, there are several sessions of interest coming up next week at OpenWorld:

Monday, September 23rd

1:45 PM - Oracle SDN: Software-Defined Networking in a Hybrid, Open Data Center
(CON4465, Westin San Francisco - Concordia)

Software-defined networking is gaining momentum within the broader enterprise and data center networking industry. Oracle SDN, a component of Oracle Virtual Networking, provides the fastest and most agile software-defined networking currently available in the marketplace. Learn its benefits, and how it differs from other SDNs.  This session also provides use cases for infrastructure as a service (IaaS), a private cloud model, and virtual network services.

4:45 PM - Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance: From Power On to Production in About an Hour
(CON11650, Westin San Francisco - Metropolitan III)

See how the Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance goes from power on to running production applications faster than any comparable system; configure any resources without ever needing to make a physical change on the system. OVCA is an ideal data center building block for customers looking to simplify their operations and spend more time on innovation and less time on fighting fires.

Tuesday, September 24th

12:00 N - Rapid Application Deployment with Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance
(CON11651, Westin San Francisco - Metropolitan II)

This session will demonstrate how you can use Oracle templates and assemblies to deploy a range of Oracle software in a simple, repeatable, and scalable manner. Oracle Virtual Assembly Builder to create and modify templates and then deploy them on Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance, which can go from power on to running production applications in less than an hour. Come to this exciting session to see how you can take advantage of its unique features to accelerate the way you deploy and manage applications in your environment.

Wednesday, September 25th

11:45 AM - Deploying Fabric-Based Data Centers with Oracle Virtual Networking
(CON4432, Westin San Francisco - Olympic)

Learn how leading companies have managed explosive growth by moving to a dynamic fabric-based data center infrastructure, integrating Oracle Virtual Networking into the core of their infrastructure. This session will cover best practices in automation, monitoring, and maintenance of Oracle Virtual Networking, to drive efficiency and effectiveness in a high-transaction environment, with case studies from customers.

Thursday, September 26th

2:00 PM - Dynamic Provisioning of Virtual Network Resources with Oracle Virtual Networking
(HOL10105, Marriott Marquis - Salon 5/6)

This is a 90-minute Hands-On Lab, where you will learn how to use Oracle Fabric Manager to dynamically deploy virtual resources to servers. It will step through how to control connectivity on thousands of servers from a single interface, and create rapidly repeatable configurations with I/O templates. This lab will also explore using Oracle Fabric Manager features to visualize a network's physical and logical network topology, group servers and their management as a single entity, create network and storage clouds, and set up cloud quality of service parameters.

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]

Monday Aug 12, 2013

More About Tomorrow's New Engineered System Webcast

Don't forget -- we've got another webcast coming up at 10 AM PT tomorrow morning, as Oracle introduces new technology for enterprise virtualization.

Webcast: Virtualization and Cloud Made Simple and Easy with Oracle's Latest Engineered System
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
10:00 a.m. PT / 1:00 p.m. ET
REGISTER NOW

Wednesday Jul 31, 2013

Now You've Got Two Webcasts to Watch

That's right, I can see the shocked expression on your face: not one, but two webcasts, less than a week apart! If you need a note for your boss, let me know.

To recap: first, on August 7th at 9 AM PT, we're hosting the latest Oracle Solaris web forum, a great chance to learn what's new, especially since we'll be running a live Q&A throughout, where participants can ask questions directly to Oracle's Solaris experts.

Now, we've added a webcast on Tuesday, August 13.  Just to mix things up a little, that one starts an hour later, at 10 AM Pacific time.  Hosted by Oracle Senior Vice President Wim Coekarts, this one goes something like this:


The payoff here is the convergence of Oracle Virtual Networking and Oracle VM Server. Sign up today and tune in on the 13th to learn more.

And try not to look so surprised.

Webcast: Virtualization and Cloud Made Simple and Easy with Oracle's Latest Engineered System
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
10:00 a.m. PT / 1:00 p.m. ET
REGISTER NOW

Friday May 10, 2013

Oracle Solaris Security Recommended Reading

A few recent security-related items you may not have seen yet:

First off, we have a new paper on achieving compliance with security standards using Oracle Solaris 11:

Oracle Solaris 11 and PCI DSS Compliance

This paper specifically takes a look at how customers can use Oracle Solaris 11's extensive security features to comply with Payment Card Industry (PCI) security practices--as you can imagine, customers who need to deal with this want to make sure it's done right. However, the practices it covers are applicable to most any sort of regulatory standards, including SOX, HIPAA, and whatever else your particular auditors might throw your way. This paper was put together by Oracle Solaris engineering in conjunction with a PCI auditor. If you have any feedback on this, be sure to add a comment below; I'll make sure the right people see it.

Meanwhile, Oracle Solaris security expert Glenn Faden, aka "Trusted Blogger," has come out with several new posts. A couple in particular are based on requests for an explanation of the differences between the security models in Oracle Solaris and other environments such as AppArmor and SELinux.

Monday Aug 13, 2012

Register today for the next OTN Sys Admin Day - Thursday, Aug 23rd

Join Us at the OTN Sys Admin Day – Oracle Solaris and Oracle Linux

Register today for the next OTN Sys Admin Day in the Broomfield Oracle Campus on Thursday, August 23rd.

Our previous OTN Sysadmin Day in Santa Clara had almost 100 attendees. The one in Denver will have similar presentations, but we're adding some content on virtualization. Which we hope to expand into a third track in the future. As usual, Pavel Anni opens our OTN Sysadmin Days with a talk about Oracle's dual OS strategy. He explains why Oracle offers two operating systems, and summarizes the main features of each one. Then we split off into two different groups to get our hands on each OS.

One group gets their hands on the ZFS filesystem, virtualization capabilities, and security controls of Oracle Solaris.

The other group gets their hands on the package management tools, services, and runs levels of Oracle Linux, plus its volume management tools and the Btrfs filesystem.

Both groups learn by doing, using the hands-on labs similar to those on OTN's Hands-On Labs page. Why attend an event in person when you could simply work the labs on your own? Two reasons:

  1. Since you are away from the obligations of the data center, you get to focus on working the labs without interruption.
  2. You get help from Oracle experts and other sysadmins who are working on the same labs as you.
The event is free. Here's the agenda:
Time Session
8:00 am System Shakedown
9:00 am Oracle's Dual OS Strategy

Oracle Solaris Track

Oracle Linux Track

10:00 am HOL: Oracle Solaris ZFS HOL: Package Management and Configuration
11:30 am HOL: Virtualization HOL: Storage Management
1:00 pm Lunch / Surfing OTN
2:00 pm HOL: Oracle Solaris Security HOL: Btrfs filesystem
3:00 pm Presentation: Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c
3:30 pm Presentation: Oracle VM Manager
4:00 pm Discussion: What are the most pressing issues for sysadmins today?
5:00 pm Get lost in the mountains.

Friday Dec 16, 2011

Register for OTN Sys Admin Days!



Register Today for the next OTN Sys Admin Day. Just like OTN’s Developer Days, but we focus on the Sys Admin with Oracle Solaris and Oracle Linux tracks.

Oracle Solaris Track
  • Steps required to use ZFS, including taking snapshots, cloning data, managing your allocation limits, and recovering from errors.
  • Oracle Solaris virtualization technologies, learning how to isolate or consolidate the OS, the storage, or the network.
  • Oracle Solaris security - helping you walk through the steps to manage privileges, deal with rights and authorizations, and really understand how security is integrated with the Oracle Solaris Service Management Facility (SMF).
Oracle Linux Track
  • Installing and configuring Oracle VM VirtualBox, importing the Oracle Linux virtual appliance.
  • Package management on Oracle Linux using RPM and yum. Listing installed packages, obtaining additional information about packages. Searching for packages and installing/updating them. Verifying package integrity, removing software.
  • Linux services and run levels, how to start and stop them, checking the status of a particular service. Enabling a service to be started automatically at system boot.
  • Storage management with LVM2, the Linux Logical Volume Manager. Preparing block devices, creating physical and logical volumes. Creating file systems on top of logical volumes, resizing file systems dynamically. Setting up software RAID devices, configuring encrypted block devices.
  • Introduction to the Btrfs file system. Creating and mounting a Btrfs file system. Setting up a mirrored/striped file system across multiple block devices. Adding/removing block devices, creating file system snapshots.

Oracle Enterprise Manager 11g Ops Center
Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center - Ops Center provides deep insight into lower level hardware, storage, network, virtualization, and operating system layers while presenting that information concisely at an enterprise layer wherein it can control thousands of systems. It helps simplify operations by centralizing and automating the most costly and painful life cycle management tasks associated with running infrastructure. Ops Center allows a central administration point where you can bare metal provision and patch both Oracle Linux and Oracle Solaris. Ops Center offers the most efficient way to query your OS configuration against the Unbreakable Linux Network and My Oracle Support for known patches and move effectively straight to provisioning fixes and enhancement at a high rate of success across your datacenter.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012
8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Salt Lake City Marriott City Center
220 South State Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84111

Register online now for this FREE event.

Wednesday Dec 14, 2011

Oracle Solaris Studio 12.3 Launched!

(Update, December 16th: See today's press release.  Software is now available for download.)

Today's webcast introduced the new features of Oracle Solaris Studio 12.3.

Oracle Solaris Studio 12.3, Oracle's advanced C, C++ and Fortran development tool suite, accelerates application performance up to 300% on Oracle Systems, provides extreme application observability and enhances developer productivity. Oracle Solaris Studio 12.3 is optimized for Oracle Solaris, Oracle Linux, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating systems to deliver:

  • Up to 300% faster SPARC T4 and up to 150% faster x86-based applications with Oracle Solaris Studio C, C++ and Fortran compilers
  • Oracle Database application development with support for Oracle Database connection management, database browsing and Pro*C
  • Remote development to enable creation of server-appliations from any Oracle Solaris, Linux, Microsoft Windows or Mac OS desktop
  • New Code Analyzer tool to quickly identify common coding errors, including memory leaks and memory access violations
  • Improved Performance Analyzer to collect system-wide performance data
  • 20% faster compilation of applications compared to earlier releases
Oracle Solaris Studio 12.3:

- Accelerates Application Performance
Generate SPARC- and x86-based applications, including SPARC T4, up to 3x faster with Oracle Solaris Studio C, C++ and Fortran compilers and libraries.

- Improves Application Observability

Gain extreme observability into your applications with advanced performance, memory, and thread analysis tools. The new Code Analyzer identifies common coding errors, such as memory leaks, on covered code while highlighting productive steps to increase code coverage.

- Enhances Developer Productivity
Remote development features enable edit, compile, debug, and analyze functionality of server-applications from any Oracle Solaris, Linux, Microsoft Windows or Mac OS operating system. New tooling streamlines C and C++ database application development for the Oracle Database. Oracle Solaris Studio also reduces compilation time up to 20 percent.

Download Today!

To learn More:

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