Oracle Solaris 11 Offers Beefed Up Cloud, Virtualization Capabilities

Solaris 11

Solaris is a key element of Oracle's "engineered systems" strategy that combines Oracle database, middleware and application software with Sun hardware to create turnkey systems. Solaris also powers the SPARC T4-based SPARC SuperCluster system Oracle introduced in September.

"Solaris 11 is a great upgrade opportunity for our channel partners," said Charlie Boyle, senior director of Solaris product marketing, in an interview. The new release, available starting today, is compatible with software written for earlier releases of the OS.

Oracle launched a preview release of Solaris 11 for channel partners and developers at the Oracle OpenWorld show last month. Oracle said some 700 early-adopter customers already have the new OS in production running on the company's Exadata Database Machine, Exalogic Elastic Cloud server and Sun ZFS Storage Appliance.

Oracle Partner Network members can access Solaris 11 tools and resources through OPN's Oracle Solaris Knowledge Zone.

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Storix, the San Diego-based developer of the SBAdmin system backup and recovery software, has been getting inquiries from customers about Solaris 11, said president David Huffman. Storix has already adapted its software for the new OS and will do a final test once it's out. "It's been a really good, successful transition to this version," Huffman said.

Huffman cited the new network configuration tools and Image Packaging System as among the new operating system's highlights.

Oracle distributes Solaris with its hardware products, bundled with other software products such as its flagship Oracle Database 11g, and as a standalone product, Boyle said.

Today's release is the first major upgrade of Solaris since January 31, 2005 when Sun debuted Solaris 10. Last November Oracle shipped an interim release, Solaris 11 Express, which included some of the new features in the new complete version.

Sun had offered an open-source version of Solaris. But Oracle discontinued that program after the acquisition.

Oracle is calling Solaris 11 the first OS designed for deployment within private, hybrid and public cloud systems. It has built-in capabilities for server, storage and network virtualization, and supports Oracle VM server virtualization on x86- and SPARC-based systems. It can scale up to hundreds of virtualized zones per physical node at a lower cost than competing technology from VMware, the company said.

Solaris' security capabilities get a boost from several new capabilities including built-in encryption acceleration, role-based root access, and low-impact auditing for data center and cloud deployments. Solaris 11 also provides tools for managing an entire IT infrastructure including the OS, physical hardware, virtualization layers, networking systems and data storage systems.

Oracle is touting the fact that because Oracle now owns the entire technology "stack" from hardware, to OS, middleware and applications, it has been able to optimize Solaris to provide faster fail-over, better reliability and a 10x improvement in the performance of Java-based applications, Oracle Enterprise Manager, Oracle Database 11g and Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g.

Other enhancements include improved shared-memory management, input/output and resource management capabilities.