Sun Updates Solaris 10 with Focus on Virtualization, Security

Sun is rolling out the latest update to Solaris 10 with enhancements to Solaris Containers, tighter integration with IPSec and upgrades to its Logical Domains technology. The updated Solaris also includes the work Sun and Intel have done over the past two years to optimize the operating system to take advantage of the power, management and monitoring capabilities in Intel's new Xeon 5500 series processors, code-named Nehalem. The seventh update to Solaris 10 comes a year before the planned release of the next-generation Sun OS.

Sun Microsystems, in the midst of getting bought by Oracle for $7.4 billion, is releasing the latest update to its Solaris 10 operating system, focused on enhancing virtualization, security and network communications.

The new features in Solaris 10 5/09 also include greater optimization for Intel's Xeon 5500 processors-aka "Nehalem EP"-that Sun officials disclosed before the chip maker launched the new microarchitecture March 30.

Larry Wake, group manager for Solaris marketing at Sun, said the latest features-the seventh update of Solaris 10 since it was released in 2005-are the result of feedback the company has received from the OpenSolaris community.

"What you see is the OpenSolaris community getting some of the features now that will come in the next generation of Solaris [in 2010]," Wake said.

Solaris 10 5/09 is available immediately here.

Click here for a look at Sun's new Nehalem-powered servers.

Included in the new features is the leveraging of the cloning capabilities in Sun's ZFS (Zettabyte File System) by its Solaris Containers, which enable virtualization within a single instance of the operating system, Wake said. With traditional cloning in Solaris Containers, IT administrators can duplicate a workload used in one part of the company to support another group, with the new clone being recorded to disk.

Mating Solaris Containers with the ZFS file system cloning capabilities makes it so that if what is being cloned is identical, all that needs to be recorded to disk are changes made to either of the clones, rather than the whole clone itself, Wake said. The result is a much quicker and easier process for cloning the workload.

"You can create a new Web server in seconds," he said. "For us, if we know that everything [in the clones] is going to be the same, why would we want to save it to disk twice? ... The speed and efficiency is a very big thing [to Solaris users]."

Logical Domains enhancements include support for large disks in the Solaris Virtual Table of Contents-for VTOC-and virtual network support for jumbo frames, a technique for transferring large amounts of data over Ethernet. Most data on Ethernet networks is sent via numerous small packets, Wake said. However, with the rise of 10 Gigabit Ethernet in the data center now, and 40G Ethernet coming, IT administrators are looking for ways to transport large amounts of data in bigger packets.