Solaris 9 Beta Two Hits The Street

The second beta of Sun's upgraded Solaris operating system has integrated the iPlanet Directory Server and features security enhancements.

Sun Microsystems Inc. on Tuesday released the second early access version of its upcoming Solaris 9 operating environment for network servers.

The second beta of the Solaris upgrade features LDAP (lightweight directory access protocol) support through the integration of the iPlanet Directory Server.

The Solaris operating environment is the backbone of the Sun Open Net Environment (Sun ONE) – an integratable product stack designed to enable the infrastructure required for robust services on demand.

Bill Moffitt, the product line manager for core Solaris, told eWeek in an interview that Sun was on track to ship the final product towards the middle of the year. The latest early access version was now "pretty much" feature complete.

"This is now installed as part of Solaris and is an integral part providing LDAP services. This is the first round of moving people from the old NIS and NIS+ to LDAP, which scales better. This is a big change in Solaris that users will see immediately," said Moffitt, in Menlo Park, Calif.

Sun also wants Solaris to help users maximize the manageability of systems while minimizing the cost of managing these. So putting in the LDAP server is one step, as is integrating the Solaris Resource Manager into the core of the Solaris operating environment.

Users had previously been charged for the Solaris Resource Manager product, which allowed large installations to "essentially guarantee quality of service to given applications," Moffitt said. "They can now manage service levels and dedicate resources like CPUs and memory inside the system to specific applications, and then prioritize those different groups to ensure the most important processes on the system keep running, and on the specific hardware on which you want them to run."

Sun also has put a great deal of work into the security systems of Solaris 9, adding features like the Kerberos V5 server for simple network sign-on and a secure-shell capability that allows system administrators to work on machines remotely. Another change within Solaris prevents an application from executing code that was on the stack.

"Disabling the stack execution means you completely remove the possibility for a buffer overflow attack. So none of the pieces of Solaris are now subject to buffer overflow attacks," Moffitt said.

The Solaris Volume Manager has also been integrated into Solaris 9 beta 2. It allows users to more effectively manage their disk storage without having to buy a third-party application.

Sun also continued to add to the hundreds of open source commands, libraries and utilities that provide the ability to run Linux programs virtually unaltered on Solaris 9. In addition, the upgraded operating system is designed to take advantage of Suns newest hardware improvements and offerings, including support for the 900 MHz UltraSPARC III Sun Fire 15K Server and other systems.

The Solaris 9 Early Access software allows users to validate application compatibility with previous versions of Solaris and prepare integration schedules ahead of the general release of Solaris 9, Moffitt said.

More than 10,000 users took part in the first Solaris 9 Developer Early Access program by downloading the software, which was made available in October 2001.

Their feedback has been incorporated into the latest code, contributing to greater stability and performance. In addition, Sun was running a concurrent but separate beta program with some 150 customers who run Solaris in their environments and frequently report back on it,.

Sun has no plans to release a version of Solaris 9 that would run on Intel Corp. processors when the final version ships at mid-year, but Sun is still committed to scheduling a meeting with a group of customers who use Solaris on Intel to discuss that decision and see if a compromise can be worked out, Moffitt said.

Developers can download the latest Solaris 9 code from Suns Web site. This is a free download for an unlimited number of systems with a capacity of eight or fewer CPUs.

A media kit containing additional material is available as a DVD for $30 plus shipping and handling and on CDs for $45 plus shipping and handling.