Sun offers various virtualization capabilities ranging from partitioning at the hardware level to isolating at the OS resource utilization and others in between (see Figure below). You can leverage such capabilities to maximize your resource utilization, consolidate servers, and minimize the server sprawl in your data center for deploying business applications including IBM WebSphere.
- Dynamic System Domains (DSD) enable main-frame like hardware partitioning, full fault isolation, and full dynamic reconfiguration (DR) capabilities offered on mid-rage SPARC64-VI to high-end Sun Fire servers. Each domain on a server represents a system with its own kernel, network interface, disks, I/O, MAC address, IP Address, host name, name service, locale, timezone, etc.
- Logical Domains (LDom) enable server virtualization capabilities and are offered on Sun CoolThread servers. Each LDom on a CoolThread server represents a virtual system (sun4v) with its own kernel, network interface, disks, MAC address, IP Address, host name, name service, locale, timezone, etc. (It comes free with CoolThread servers!)
- Solaris Containers (Zone+Resouce Control) enable OS virtualization capabilities on any system (SPARC and x86) that is running Solaris 10 or newer. It is free, built in capability with no additional license and requires virtually no overhead! Based on a single Solaris kernel instance, each Container (or Zone) represents a virtual system with its own IP address, host name, name service, locale, timezone, etc. And, there are additional capabilities that Solaris Containers now offer:
- Solaris 8 Migration Assistant allows a Solaris 10 system to host Solaris 8 Containers. Yes, this Solaris Container on Solaris 10 will look and act like Solaris 8 to the applications hosted.
- Solaris Containers for Linux Applications enable hosting Linux applications on Solaris
- Finally, Sun xVM will offer the open source project Xen-based virtualization capabilities in Solaris.
You can, of course, create a combined solution of Solaris Containers on systems that are running DSD's or LDom's. The same will be for Sun xVM. Here is a brief summary on when to use what; if you need to have
- Complete fault isolation, dynamic reconfiguration, RAS, high vertical scalability, large physical memory (e.g. >64GB RAM) and multiple Solaris kernels, then go with Dynamic System Domains on the Sun Fire mid-rage SPARC64-VI to high-end servers.
- The best price/performance, energy efficient, and multiple Solaris kernels, then go with LDoms on Sun CoolThread servers.
- Virtualization capabilities and can share a single Solaris kernel among different virtual systems, then go with Sun Containers. This can be easily implemented on a single CPU to the high-end Sun Fire 25K systems.
- (In the near future, Virtual OS loaded within Solaris then go with Sun xVM).
You can learn more about all these Sun Virtualization technologies at this Sun website.