How to Migrate Your Application to Oracle Solaris 11 with OPN Fast Track

by Stefan Schneider

How to use the different services provided by the Oracle PartnerNetwork to more easily migrate your Oracle Solaris 10 applications to Oracle Solaris 11.

Published July 2012

Making applications available on Oracle Solaris 11 is simpler than ever before, and most applications are known to work smoothly in an Oracle Solaris 11 native environment. The Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) provides a comprehensive portfolio of services and resources to enable a smooth and cost-efficient migration of an application to Oracle Solaris 11.

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Note: Most of the services described in this article are available only to members of the OPN. For information about the benefits of being an OPN member and the requirements, see the OPN page. For information about the benefits of migrating your application to Oracle Solaris 11, including IPS, Automated Installer, Service Management Facility (SMF), network virtualization, Oracle Solaris Cryptographic Framework (with Oracle’s SPARC T4 servers), ZFS, and DTrace, attend one of our developer Webinars or go to our Oracle Solaris 11 developer resources page.

The first building block for a smooth migration is the Oracle Solaris binary guarantee, which warrants that Oracle Solaris 10 binaries can be executed on Oracle Solaris 11 without recompilation.

Even binary-compatible applications rely on all the frameworks that have been provided with Oracle Solaris 10. Applications that need this fine-grained support of the older Oracle Solaris 10 infrastructure are likely to work smoothly on Oracle Solaris 11 systems using an Oracle Solaris 10 branded zone. This method will work as long as the application has supported being run in an Oracle Solaris 10 zone before.

Support Available to OPN Members

During the process of migrating an application, Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) who are OPN members can send e-mail to Oracle’s ISV Engineering (ISVe) group to receive support from highly experienced software development engineers who can answer questions about transitioning applications from Oracle Solaris 10 to Oracle Solaris 11.

Planning the Transition

The OPN-recommended transition starts with a planning phase, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1

Figure 1. Planning Phase

The following planning steps help to minimize costs during the validation (testing) process:

  • Check the “Oracle Solaris 11 ISV Adoption Guide” on OTN. This document lists all known border cases that might create problems for applications. These problems might occur due to the evolution of the operating system frameworks. Examples include the following:

    • The open source OpenSSL 1.0 library, which follows industry standards. The predecessor version 0.98 (from 2004) shipped with Oracle Solaris 10 is, unfortunately, not 100% compatible with its own version 1.0.
    • Upgrades in command shells and commands, which might behave differently in corner cases. Checking an existing application against known corner cases raises the likelihood of a successful software validation run on Oracle Solaris 11. Known problems can be fixed early without an expensive investigation in a QA lab.
  • Check for outdated and removed OS components: The Oracle Solaris 11 EOF (End of Features) page on the Oracle Technology Network (OTN) lists all outdated components that have been removed from Oracle Solaris 11. Typical items on the EOF list include ancient server hardware, related drivers, locales that are no longer needed due to political changes, outdated frameworks, and so on. Most applications are known not to be affected by these changes. Checking this list during the planning phase helps to lower costs later in the testing phase.
  • Most applications rely on third-party components in one way or another. Through its partnertech blog, Oracle’s ISVe group tracks and publishes all applications that have public support statements for Oracle Solaris 11. Many partners do not publish their platform support notes on public Websites for one reason or another. OPN Gold-level members who are members of the Oracle Solaris Knowledge Zone may contact Oracle’s ISV Engineering (ISVe) group through e-mail to get detailed information about third-party applications that are supported on Oracle Solaris 11.

A careful analysis using the resources listed above will help set expectations for the validation and certification done in the next phase.

Testing an Application

Oracle offers services for the hands-on software validation that is done during the testing phase shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2

Figure 2. Testing Phase

A very efficient first step consists of using the Oracle Solaris Preflight Applications Checker. This tool allows you to test an existing application in its regular Oracle Solaris 10 environment. The tool checks the binary, the source code, and the running system for all known issues that might prevent the application from running on Oracle Solaris 11.

Even careful planning might not reveal a number of problems, so the tool is very useful. For example, any given application is likely to use third-party components that aren’t under your control. The tool will check all these components. Applications might contain incorrect code that worked in the past by chance (for example, statically linked libc, misaligned mutexes, and so on). Oracle Solaris 11 no longer allows a number of these items, because they cause severe performance and stability side effects in modern operating systems. The tool documents the usage of outdated frameworks that are no longer available in Oracle Solaris 11. Inspecting an application with the Oracle Solaris Preflight Applications Checker will most likely lower costs, because required coding and configuration changes can be scheduled and fixed before valuable lab resources are allocated.

OPN Gold-level members who are members of the Oracle Solaris Knowledge Zone can lower their validation costs through two freely available OPN offerings:

  • Free patch access for in-house Oracle Solaris 11 systems through the Oracle Solaris Developer Initiative (registration required), which is described in the next section
  • Free remote access to the Oracle Exastack Labs, which have SPARC and x86 servers running Oracle Solaris 11

Oracle Solaris Developer Initiative

The Oracle Solaris Developer Initiative is a service that allows OPN partners to qualify their Oracle Solaris applications without extra support costs on state-of-the-art Oracle Solaris 11 systems.

Oracle Solaris 11 has been freely available since November 2011. Customers with registered and supported systems have access to Oracle Solaris Repository Updates (SRUs), which typically are released monthly. These updates are strongly recommended, because they will prevent failures while qualifying an application on Oracle Solaris 11.

Systems without support contracts or without the benefits of the Oracle Solaris Developer Initiative are not entitled to these SRUs and will need to wait until the next Oracle Solaris 11 update release occurs at some point in the future, as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3

Figure 3. Update Process for Users Without (Left) and With (Right) Software Support Contracts

Qualified OPN members can use the Oracle Exastack Labs development cloud remotely to build and qualify applications on Oracle Solaris 11 for SPARC-based and x86-based platforms.

The lab offers virtualized systems that run the latest versions of Oracle Solaris 11 and the latest versions of the Oracle Solaris Studio development tools. Users of the lab can create complex system topologies using multiple Oracle Solaris 11 images on different hardware architectures in a private network. The service is free for qualified OPN members.

Oracle Solaris Ready Certification

The last step in the testing process should be the final qualification and certification.

OPN offers a freely available Oracle Solaris Ready certification, which warrants a high-quality product on Oracle Solaris 11. OPN partners can use this go-to-market certification to document that a given application harmonizes well with Oracle engineered systems.

See Also

About the Author

Stefan Schneider worked with SunOS doing 3D robot simulation research while obtaining a PhD degree in object oriented databases for manufacturing. He then productized an object oriented database for a startup company in the early 1990s. He joined Sun in 1994 to port and optimize a SAP application to Solaris 2, and he worked with Sun’s key partners to support the adoption of Sun technologies such as Oracle Solaris, multithreading, Java SE, and Swing. As the CTO of Oracle’s ISV Engineering group, he currently manages Oracle Solaris 11 adoption for all Oracle partners.

Revision 1.0, 07/31/2012

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