As Published In
Oracle Magazine
January/February 2012

AT ORACLE: News

  

The First Cloud OS

By Philip Gill

 

Oracle Solaris 11 provides virtualization, availability, and security for next-generation cloud computing environments.

Oracle has officially unveiled Oracle Solaris 11, the world’s first cloud operating system (OS). The result of more than seven years of intense research and development, this latest iteration of the most widely installed enterprise UNIX provides more than 400 new features that enable organizations to deploy private, public, and hybrid cloud environments that are highly scalable, available, and secure.

Oracle President Mark Hurd formally introduced Oracle Solaris 11 during a live event from New York City’s Gotham Hall on November 9, 2011, and the OS was released that day for SPARC and x86-based systems. (Oracle Solaris 11 was previewed at Oracle OpenWorld 2011.)

“Oracle Solaris 11 represents Oracle’s commitment to the best of breed at every level of the architecture,” said Hurd. “To put this in context, this is also part of a greater Oracle strategy and a greater overall R&D commitment we’ve made to [the Sun] portfolio.” Other recent demonstrations of that strategy and commitment include the SPARC T4 processors and the SPARC SuperCluster servers. (See “Engineered System for General-Purpose Computing”.)

Next-Generation Clouds

John Fowler, executive vice president of systems at Oracle—also on hand at the event—said that Oracle Solaris 11 is designed not just for current enterprise systems but also for the next generation of enterprise systems and cloud environments. “These systems will support large-scale, mission-critical ERP [enterprise resource planning] and high-throughput OLTP [online transaction processing] applications,” he said. “These systems will have thousands of threads, hundreds of terabytes of memory, and double-digit gigabyte network performance.”

A key requirement for these next-generation systems is virtualization. “As people go into cloud environments, they will go from hundreds and thousands of physical machines into environments where they will have tens and hundreds of thousands of virtual machines,” Fowler said.

Next Steps


 LEARN more about Oracle Solaris 11

 DOWNLOAD Oracle Solaris 11

 WATCH an Oracle Solaris 11 demo

With Oracle Solaris 11, virtualization is not a separate product that has to be layered into a system’s architecture—it is integrated right into the OS. In addition to being the first cloud OS, Oracle Solaris 11 is also the first fully virtualized OS, with server, storage, and network virtualization all built in.

Oracle Solaris 11’s virtualization technology also provides the high availability (HA) that clouds require—99.999 percent availability, according to Fowler. “Users don’t have to install HA features at each level of their stack because with Oracle Solaris 11 they’re already built in,” he said.

Data at Cloud Scale

Oracle Solaris 11 also offers advanced data management especially designed for the cloud environment. To accomplish this, Fowler said, Oracle Solaris 11 moves common data services—flash-enabled pools, encryption, replication, duplication, and deduplication—to the OS. Moving these services, commonly performed in storage systems, to the OS improves performance and increases storage efficiencies, he said.

Fowler said that users should expect continuous improvements in Oracle Solaris 11 and other Sun product lines. “Our roadmap is on track, and we remain committed to Oracle Solaris and to delivering two times the performance every two years,” he said.


Philip Gill is a San Diego, California–based freelance writer and editor.

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