Feeds

Oracle ships Solaris 11 Express

Solaris 11 for the impatient

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

If you can't wait to get your hands on Solaris 11 when Oracle makes it available next year — like Oracle itself can't wait in its Exadata and Exalogic clustered systems — then you'll be happy to know that Oracle has started shipping Solaris 11 Express.

The company may have let the OpenSolaris project die of neglect, but Oracle has kept its word that it would get a Solaris 11 Express version out the door before the end of this year to give developers and sysadmins a chance to put the future Solaris 11 through its paces before its official launch next year.

As previously reported, Solaris 11 (in both its current Express and future plain-vanilla version) is comprised of over 2,700 different software packages with more than 400 features added to the operating system. Sun says it has spent 20 million person-hours on developing Solaris 11 and over 60 million hours of testing to make the software commercial-grade.

Given that Oracle is putting Solaris 11 Express in its latest clustered systems supporting database and middleware stacks, you might ask why the company didn't just go for it and put Solaris 11 out there for full consumption, and skip the whole Express bit. But Oracle seems to want to show off with the Exadata and Exalogic clusters, particularly the fast reboot (in under 10 seconds instead of 10 minutes), hot patching of more software components (increasing system uptime), and performance improvements for Oracle's Fusion middleware.

Sun provided technical support for a fee with OpenSolaris, and Oracle is continuing this practice with Solaris 11 Express, offering customers support if they want to be on the bleeding edge of Unix technology.

By contrast, Red Hat does not provide support for its Fedora development release, and in fact gets miffed if you call it that — but when you don't provide support for a server operating system, then that's how you know it's a development release.

By this definition, Solaris 11 Express is not exactly a development release so much as what you might call a 1.0 release with a service pack coming sometime next year. (Argue semantics amongst yourselves.)

The new operating system is technically known as Solaris 11 Express 2010.11, and you can check out the full feature list here. Solaris 11 Express is supported on the new 16-core Sparc T3 processors and also has tunings for Intel's Xeon family of processors, which Oracle also sells in rack and blade form factors as it does its own Sparc T3s. Oracle is not offering Solaris 11 Express as a pre-installed operating system on its generic Sun Fire rack, Sun Blade blade, or Enterprise M midrange and high-end servers.

If you want to deploy Solaris 11 Express in a production environment, you have to buy a Premier Support for Operating Systems or a Premier Support for Systems support contract from Oracle. Otherwise, you can use Solaris 11 Express to develop or test your code.

Oracle is perfectly happy to support Solaris 11 Express on other vendors' iron and charge you for support contracts. Premier Support for Solaris costs $1,000 per socket per year on non-Oracle iron for machines with four or fewer processor sockets and $2,000 per socket on machines with five or more sockets.

To download the software, which you can do here, you have to agree to only use the code in testing and development or to pay Oracle for a support contract in production environments.

The current hardware compatibility list shows 512 servers being able to run Solaris 11 Express, along with 950 desktops and 2,864 laptops; 154 of Oracle's own products can run the new OS. Solaris 10, by contrast, runs on those same 154 systems from Oracle, but is only certified as being compatible on 332 desktops and 329 laptops; it is supported on a total of 598 servers, which is 17 per cent more machines.

While Oracle has correctly brought Solaris to a laser focus on systems — particularly its own and volume products from HP and Dell — clearly someone has been hard at work certifying Solaris 11 Express on desktops and laptops.

The operating system also includes a new Image Packaging System, making it easier to install, update, and remove packages from a system, as compared to Solaris 10. Another important feature of Solaris 11 Express is the ability to convert a Solaris 10 physical server into a virtual instance running inside a Solaris 10 container running atop Solaris 11. This will help legacy Solaris 10 customers gradually move to new iron and the newer operating system without having to recertify their applications on the new release.

Oracle's own Zettabyte File System is the root file system on Solaris 11 Express; UFS is no longer supported as the root file system. Oracle has done a lot of work on improving the performance of InfiniBand networking with Solaris 11, which is important for Oracle RAC clusters, and there are tons of networking virtualization and performance enhancements for Ethernet NICs and the TCP/IP stack as well. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Seagate brings out 6TB HDD, did not need NO STEENKIN' SHINGLES
Or helium filling either, according to reports
European Court of Justice rips up Data Retention Directive
Rules 'interfering' measure to be 'invalid'
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Cisco reps flog Whiptail's Invicta arrays against EMC and Pure
Storage reseller report reveals who's selling what
Bored with trading oil and gold? Why not flog some CLOUD servers?
Chicago Mercantile Exchange plans cloud spot exchange
Just what could be inside Dropbox's new 'Home For Life'?
Biz apps, messaging, photos, email, more storage – sorry, did you think there would be cake?
IT bods: How long does it take YOU to train up on new tech?
I'll leave my arrays to do the hard work, if you don't mind
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.