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.
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.
Advantages of Solaris 10 5/09
Sun also integrated IP Security with Solaris Service Manager, which makes it easier for IT administrators to manage overall security functions, the company said, and Solaris also now supports UDP (User Datagram Protocol), which simplifies messaging across the Internet.
In addition, IPSec can be used as the interconnect for Solaris clusters, which enables more secure communication over the Internet within clusters.
There are also performance enhancements to Sun SSH (Solaris Secure Shell), which for executing commands on a remote machine let it work better with Sun’s CMT (Chip Multithreading) systems powered by its UltraSPARC T2 processors. For example, SSH can now leverage hardware crypto-acceleration on UltraSPARC T2-based servers.
Sun officials in March highlighted new features in Solaris 10 that optimized the performance and power and cooling capabilities offered in Intel’s Nehalem architecture, the result of a two-year partnership between Intel and Sun. Wake said Intel has become the second-largest contributor to the OpenSolaris community, after Sun.
Solaris is optimized to take advantage of new instruction sets in Nehalem, as well as the QuickPath chip-to-chip interconnect and Turbo Boost speed-ramping technologies. Solaris also was enhanced to work well with the upgraded multithreading capabilities in Nehalem. In addition, Solaris’ Power Aware Dispatcher automatically monitors and optimizes the system to maximize performance while reducing power consumption, and can be used with Intel’s new Deep C-States technology to reduce power consumed by idle processing cores.
Officials also said Solaris’ DTrace troubleshooting tool and PowerTop feature, which keeps track of CPU utilization, also will optimize Nehalem’s energy-efficiency capabilities, and the Fault Management Architecture in the operating system can help monitor the health of the cores in Nehalem.
The latest Solaris update comes as Sun is being acquired by Oracle, which announced a $7.4 billion bid for the company just weeks after a rumored takeover by IBM collapsed. Sun and Oracle officials have been mum on the future of the various Sun technologies, including its hardware business, Solaris and middleware offerings.