Oracle Offers Solaris 11 Preview For Partners

The pre-release is available on the Oracle Solaris Knowledge Zone and software developers are already using it to begin final qualification of their Solaris-based applications. The formal launch of Solaris 11 is scheduled for Nov. 9 with general availability expected sometime that month.

Oracle Solaris 11 "has been a long time in development. We have many years of innovation here. It's a very important software release for us," said John Fowler, Oracle executive vice president, systems, in a keynote session Tuesday at the Oracle OpenWorld show.

Solaris 11 is the first major update to the software since Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems in January 2010. So this release is especially optimized to run the Oracle relational database and other middleware products.

Solaris runs on both x86 computers and SPARC computers, including the recently introduced SPARC SuperCluster server and Oracle's Exadata Database Machine X2-2 and Exalogic Elastic Cloud servers. It's also a core component of Oracle's Sun ZFS storage appliance.

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Fowler touted the new operating system's performance and scalability enhancements. While Solaris 10 maxed out at supporting 512 hardware threads, for example, Oracle is shooting for the re-architected kernel of Solaris 11 to support "thousands" of hardware threads. And while Solaris 10 supported a few terabytes of hardware memory, the systems executive said Solaris 11 could support 100s of terabytes.

Oracle has worked to make Solaris 11 "hassle free," Fowler said, in terms of maintain and updating the operating system. "Adopting an operating system should not be a traumatic event," he said, adding that earlier versions of Solaris were "much more like a forklift upgrade."

Some 600 early-adopter customers in the financial service, communications and public sector industries are already using Solaris 2011 for mission-critical tasks, Fowler said.