Oracle Solaris is all about making your life easier in the data center. All its technologies have been designed to solve the problems administrators experience in running a highly reliable, secure and efficient data center. They've been integrated and carefully thought through to improve the user experience, and we're continuously re-working subsystems to modernize them and adapt to new trends of application deployment in the cloud.
One of the areas of improvement that we've had much focus on over the past few years has been related to lifecycle management - making sure you can deploy Oracle Solaris securely and reliably, and that you can update it quickly to protect against the latest security vulnerabilities. We've seen technologies like the Image Packaging System (IPS), Automated Installer (AI) and Unified Archives having a massive impact in terms of agility and consistently.
Gerry Haskins, director of software development in Oracle Solaris' Revenue Product Engineering (RPE) group, has recently written two really great articles that will help you better understand Oracle Solaris maintenance from a support point of view.
The first article covers the Oracle Solaris release cadence and all you need to know about the process by which we provide updates to the platform through things like Support Repository Updates (SRUs), Critical Patch Updates (CPUs) and Interim Diagnostic Relief (IDRs) - including how we're now delivering SPARC firmware updates within IPS.
Check out Overview of Oracle Solaris Release Cadence.
The second article focuses in on Oracle Solaris 11 and how you can use IPS to update your systems with the latest software. The article covers things like understanding the package versioning, how to take advantage of package groups, and how package incorporations work to constrain your systems to a particular release train and ensure that you're running a well tested set of packages. Gerry also goes into detail on SRUs, CPUs and IDRs and how IPS is an integrated packaging and patching mechanism. Needing to find out what set of updates need to be applied to fix a particular bug or Common Vulnerability exploit (CVE)? No problem, IPS provides you all you need and you'll never need to worry 'RPM dependency hell' on Oracle Solaris.
These are the essentials that you'll need to know, a nice extension to our previous blog post on the Oracle Solaris Cheat Sheet, the administrator's best friend. Enjoy!