OmniTI Delivers OmniOS to Replace OpenSolaris

OmniTI introduced its new OmniOS at the recent DTrace conference. OmniOS is a new open-source operating system for users of OpenSolaris.

OmniTI, a provider of Web infrastructures and applications, has announced OmniOS, an open-source operating system for application developers in the Solaris community looking for reliable, innovative, data-intensive application deployment.

The Columbia, Md.-based company that focuses on delivering scalable, high-performance, mission-critical solutions announced its new OS at the DTrace Conference in San Francisco on April 3. OmniOS is a continuation of the OpenSolaris legacy and aims to address the longstanding issues that occurred when Oracle decided to discontinue open development of the operating system, OmniTI officials said. OmniOS builds on Illumos to make a complete OS.

According to OmniTI, OmniOS provides users with a traditional, Solaris-like installable operating system with a minimal package set to ease regulatory compliance. It delivers a self-hosting, environment with simplified processes for ongoing maintenance. Most importantly, it brings third-party software components up-to-date within OmniOS. Third-party software has been a problem with previous attempts to evolve OpenSolaris, as some have not been updated in a decade. It served as a key driver behind OmniTI€™s interest to develop OmniOS, the company said.

€œOther attempts in the past to continue OpenSolaris resulted in excruciating work that would involve more than a week just to get the system up and running,€ Theo Schlossnagle, founder and CEO of OmniTI, said in a statement. €œWith OmniOS, you can get it installed with a single command in 60 seconds.€

Moreover, users can expect OmniOS to have a Solaris look and feel with an updated compiler tool chain (gcc 4.6.3), the latest OpenSSL (1.0.1) and a more consistent, dual instruction set support (x86 and x86-64).

In addition, there are four key technologies that OmniTI included within OmniOS to bring significant business advantage to customers:

  • Solaris containers: combination of system resource controls and the boundary separation provided by zones.
  • Crossbow: provides the building blocks for network virtualization and resource control by virtualizing the stack and network interface card (NIC) around any service (HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, NFS, etc.), protocol or container.
  • ZFS file system: combined file system and logical volume manager with superior data integrity protection and scalability.
  • DTrace: provides increased visibility and aids in troubleshooting on any level of the application stack.

€œOmniOS is our vision of what OpenSolaris could have been had it remained in the open. It runs better, faster and has more innovations,€ Schlossnagle said. €œOmniTI did not want to lose the benefits that OpenSolaris technologies brought to customers, so we decided to pursue the continuation of the OS on our own. We've been running OmniOS in our data centers for six months and have seen tremendous results. We€™re excited to announce our news at the DTrace conference because of its importance and relevance to this community.€

OmniTI is currently using OmniOS for OmniTI customer applications and is making it generally available to the Solaris community for free with the intention that it becomes a standard platform for open-source development. OmniTI will offer support for OmniOS in the future. It can be downloaded at

Schlossnagle told eWEEK: €œOf course, our hopes are that a community forms around the OS. That isn't the reason we created [it], but it would certainly make out lives easier. We have numerous clients that are deployed on Solaris through its various evolutionary steps: Solaris 10 - SXCE - Indiana. Everyone was very excited when Sun opened their system and saw a bright future for their operating platform.

"The decision to wall off Solaris 11 source for its customers left both OmniTI and many of our customers with some difficult decisions to make," he continued. "Many of our deployments make significant use of ZFS, DTrace and now KVM [Kernel-based Virtual Machine]€”as all of those things are available in the Illumos code base, we took this opportunity to take all of the still-open pieces of the €˜OpenSolaris dream€™ and build what could have been. OmniOS is an operating system for those that want the same OS on bare metal that they can also virtualize; this is an alternative to the growing trend of €˜virtualize everything all the time on a hypervisor.€™ In today's computing environment [and for the foreseeable future] there will be need for both approaches.€

Schlossnagle added that OmniTI set out with several goals for OmniOS, most of which have been met. The first goal was to deliver a self-hosting platform, meaning that all that is needed to develop the platform itself is shipped with the platform itself. Goal two was to deliver a completely open platform. Goal three was to deliver a platform squarely focused on the data center/server environment that eliminates desktop-centric packages and controls a minimal domain of packages easing risk and compliance issues that customers face. And goal four was to make sure core operating-system dependencies were completely up-to-date, thus elongating OmniTI€™s runway for the release.

Of these goals, Schlossnagle said the first and fourth have been completely met and the second and third are very close to being delivered.

€œThere is a small set of closed-source bits required to build the system€”all of which are distributable under the old OpenSolaris binary license agreement€”and we're working slowly to eliminate them completely,€ he said. €œAs for reducing core packages required to run the system, we're still in the process of making some eliminations, but satisfied enough with our progress on this front for an initial release.€