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Solaris 11 Brings Enhanced Virtualization to Cloud-Centric OS

Oracle has released its Solaris 11 operating system (OS), which the company previewed last month at the Oracle OpenWorld 2011 event in San Francisco. Solaris 11 provides built-in virtualization capabilities for OS, network, and storage resources and is designed to run enterprise applications in private, hybrid, or public clouds. Oracle described it as the first fully virtualized, cloud OS.

Solaris 11 integrates Oracle Solaris Zones partitioning technology, which help administrators create secure, isolated virtual environments for deploying cloud applications and services. It can support hundreds of zones per physical node, and according to Oracle, it has lower overhead than other sstems and does not impose artificial limits on memory, network, CPU, or storage resources.

Integrated network virtualization capabilities of Solaris 11 facilitate network resource sharing and consolidation of server workloads, designed to enable organizations to create high-performance, low-cost data center topologies within a single instance of the OS. Other cloud capabilities of the operating system include simplified deployment with an automated installer, distribution constructor command-line tool, and an Image Packaging System (IPS) to simplify software management in the cloud, as well as tools for tracking resource availability and consumption.

Oracle engineered Solaris 11 for Oracle VM server virtualization on both x86 and SPARC systems. It is optimized to maximize performance, availability, security, and manageability of Oracle applications such as Oracle Database 11g, Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g, and Java-based applications. Data and file management is handled by the Oracle Solaris ZFS filesystem, which provides flash-enabled tiered storage pools and line speed encryption.

Key features of Solaris 11 include:

  • New provisioning and update capabilities with the integration of Oracle ZFS, Zones, and Image Packaging System (IPS);
  • Integrated network virtualization;
  • Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center for centralized control over hardware, OS, and virtualization resources;
  • Comprehensive security features;
  • Service and workload isolation;
  • Optimization for both x86 and SPARC-based systems, including Oracle Exadata, Exalogic, and SPARC SuperCluster systems;
  • Linear scalability for horizontal deployments and vertical scale systems;
  • Oracle Solaris ZFS enterprise filesystem;
  • Oracle Solaris DTrace activity tracking; and
  • Predictive self-healing.

"Oracle Solaris 11 is the most significant operating system release of the past decade," said John Fowler, executive vice president, Systems, Oracle. "With built-in server, storage, and now, network virtualization, Oracle Solaris 11 delivers the industry's first cloud OS. Customers can simplify their enterprise deployments, drive up utilization of their data center assets, and run Oracle and other enterprise applications faster all within a secure, scalable cloud or traditional enterprise environment.".

Further information about Solaris 11 can be found on the Oracle site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].