Sun to Soup Up Solaris

Focus on enhanced scalability, network performance, management and security.

SAN FRANCISCO—Sun Microsystems Inc. is readying a series of new features for its Solaris operating system, some of which will become available to participants in its early-access program in the next three to four months, said Mark Tolliver, executive vice president of marketing and strategy.

Speaking on Wednesday at the SunNetwork 2003 Conference and Pavilion here, Tolliver discussed Solaris direction while calling it "the foundation of network computing." That direction includes a focus on enhanced scalability, network performance, management and security.

A feature called Trusted Containers will provide a layer on top of Solaris where applications can be run in isolation while on the same operating system, said Andy Tucker, a Sun distinguished engineer who worked on the feature. It will allow system administrators to create a zone for given applications or services that will appear distinct with its own security and virtual file system, he said. A single system could have as many as 4,000 of the containers.

"We think of this as an important building block for where were going with N1," Tucker said, referring to Suns data center management strategy.

eWEEK previously reported that Sun is working on a feature to build zone partitioning capabilities into its next Solaris release, Solaris 10, due in beta this year.

Tolliver said that Trusted Containers will be available to participants in Suns recently launched Sun Software Express early access program in the first quarter of 2004.

Improved network performance within Solaris is coming to the Software Express program even sooner. In October, participants will have access to higher performance within the TCP/IP stack that will reach an improvement of 10 times in future Solaris releases, Tolliver said.

Another feature on the road map focuses on improving management by building a new sensor system within the operating system. Called Advanced Tracing, the feature will allow for troubleshooting from within production systems, Tolliver said.

Sun already has a version of its operating system, called Trusted Solaris, with greater security features and that is targeted at military and intelligence agencies. The next Solaris release will be incorporating most of the beefed-up security capabilities, Tolliver said.

Beyond discussing Solaris, Tolliver outlined three new servers and a workstation that Sun announced at its conference on Wednesday.

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