Oracle Launches Solaris 11 Express

Oracle delivers Oracle Solaris 11 Express, a new version of the Solaris operating system aimed at developers and serving as a preview of Oracle Solaris 11.

Oracle has delivered Oracle Solaris 11 Express, the latest version of the Solaris operating system the company bought in its acquisition of Sun Microsystems. However, the new "Express" release is aimed at developers as a preview to the full version of Solaris 11, which is yet to come in 2011.

Oracle officials said the Nov. 15 release of Solaris 11 Express, which delivers advanced Oracle Solaris features that have been in development for more than five years, demonstrates the company's commitment and R&D investment in Oracle Solaris. At the Oracle OpenWorld 2010 show in September, Oracle announced that it would provide an Express version of Solaris 11, and the company has delivered on that promise.

In a press release on the new technology, Oracle said Oracle Solaris 11 Express comes in an easy-to-use, production-ready package so customers can get started using it quickly to deploy new applications.

"We are excited to announce the release of Oracle Solaris 11 Express to enable our customers to deploy the new advanced features of Solaris 11 across a broad set of platforms, as well as Oracle Exadata and Oracle Exalogic," said John Fowler, executive vice president of systems at Oracle, in a statement. "Through the same engineering disciplines that achieved legendary mission-critical reputation for Oracle Solaris, we are expecting Oracle Solaris 11 to further reduce any downtime by being quicker and easier to deploy, maintain and update; and deliver a highly efficient, virtualized operating system to meet the scale and performance requirements of immediate and future virtualization and cloud-based deployments."

Indeed, Oracle officials said new availability features reduce planned downtime by up to 50 percent, virtually eliminating traditional patching and maintenance-related reboots and vastly improving system boot time to tens of seconds. In addition, Oracle Solaris 11 Express adds network virtualization and resource management to the built-in virtualization capabilities of Oracle Solaris. And Oracle Solaris 11 Express will also power the Oracle Exadata X2-2 and X2-8 Database Machines, as well as the Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud machine.

Meanwhile, Oracle Solaris 11 Express delivers increased Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g and Java-based application performance through jointly engineered improvements, such as memory management and I/O enhancements.

Other key new features in Oracle Solaris 11 Express include: networking virtualization and resource management capabilities that increase throughput, speed up applications, and reduce network loads and complexity; ZFS enhancements for file and block deduplication, encryption and provisioning; further reductions in number of maintenance operations that require a reboot; and Fast Reboot, which allows customers to recover systems and databases in tens of seconds verses tens of minutes.

In addition, the new version of the operating system delivers multitenancy with enhanced security for the virtual and cloud environments of today, and implementing the latest security standards.

Other highlights of Oracle Solaris 11 Express include new patching, upgrade and installation capabilities designed to reduce risk and greatly simplify the most common system administrator tasks; maximum performance and scale for future hardware that will scale to tens of thousands of hardware threads, hundreds of terabytes of system memory and hundreds of gigabits of I/O; and a built-in snapshot facility that always keeps a backup of the system boot image and allows customers to revert back to the old version with a simple reboot, Oracle said.

Oracle officials also said Oracle Solaris 11 preserves guaranteed binary compatibility with more than 11,000 third-party products and customer-developed applications on more than 1,000 SPARC and x86 systems from Oracle and other hardware providers. And My Oracle Support telemetry integration with the Oracle Solaris in-depth fault management architecture allows customers to receive proactive and pre-emptive support that reduces service outages from known issues.

Moreover, partners in the Oracle Partner Network (OPN) will be able to find new Oracle Solaris 11 tools and resources in the Oracle Solaris Knowledge Zone.

On Tuesday, Dec. 7, Oracle will host a Webcast on Oracle Solaris 11 Express featuring a live chat with the Oracle Solaris development team. Interested parties can register for the Webcast here.

Despite stressing its commitment for Solaris, Oracle has done just the opposite with OpenSolaris, an open-source distribution of Solaris. Oracle announced earlier this year that it would discontinue support for OpenSolaris. However, some members of the OpenSolaris community banded together to fill the void with the Illumos project, which is an effort to deliver a derivative of OpenSolaris for and by the community.