The increasing prominence of freely licensed Linux has prompted many to view operating systems in general as a commodity. With Solaris 10, Sun Microsystems hopes to demonstrate that a companys choice of operating system does matter and that the level of innovation Sun has built into Solaris 10 can deliver benefits across a companys infrastructure.
eWEEK Labs has been testing early-release versions of Solaris 10 through Suns Software Express Program, in which beta versions of Solaris 10 are available for free download.
Based on the time that weve spent with Solaris 10, we believe the system is a much more attractive option for enterprises than previous versions—not only because of the operating systems increased functionality but also because of Suns more inclusive platform strategy: At launch, Sun will ship Solaris 10 for the x86, SPARC and Advanced Micro Devices AMD64 platforms.
DTrace is one of the best examples of how Solaris 10 takes advantage of the central position of the operating system in an enterprises computing infrastructure. DTrace is a diagnostic tool that opens a window to the inner workings of Solaris 10 and any application running on it—in a finer-grained manner than any other utility of which were aware. Whats more, DTrace can be used safely on running systems; this allows system administrators to locate performance bottlenecks in production settings, something not generally possible with tools of this type.
Also impressive in our Solaris 10 testing so far is the operating systems N1 Grid Container feature, which lets administrators run multiple applications, each in its own sandbox, on a single system. This feature, similar to the "jails" found in FreeBSD, is good for isolating applications for security reasons or when applications require conflicting libraries.
During testing, weve found N1 Grid Containers easy to set up and certainly much faster to reboot and update than full systems or virtual machine instances.
Senior Analyst Jason Brooks can be reached at email@example.com.