Solaris Containers

FAQs for Solaris 8 Containers and Solaris 9 Containers

Here are the answers to your general questions.


General

  1. Basics
1.
Q:
What are Solaris 8 Containers and Solaris 9 Containers?
A:
Solaris 8 Containers (formerly known as Solaris 8 Migration Assistant) is a software and services subscription offering that helps customers to accelerate moving application environments currently using Solaris 8 or Solaris 9 to the latest SPARCĀ® systems running Solaris 10. Customers can run their Solaris 8 applications in Containers on Solaris 10 today.

Solaris 9 Containers is functionally similar to Solaris 8 Containers. With Solaris 9 Containers software, customers can run their existing Solaris 9 applications on the latest SPARC systems running Solaris 10.

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2.
Q:
What are the software components of the offering?
A:
This additional Containers software captures the entire environment of the original Solaris 8 or Solaris 9 source system, and then transfers this environment to a Container running on the target Solaris 10 system. Solaris 8 and Solaris 9 Containers are available via download.

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3.
Q:
Can customers test Solaris 8 or Solaris 9 Containers?
A:
Customers can download and try out Solaris 8 or Solaris 9 Containers today; however, a subscription is required in order to get support for the software.

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  1. Key Benefits
1.
Q:
What are the benefits of using Solaris 8 or Solaris 9 Containers?
A:
For customers with legacy Solaris 8 or Solaris 9 environments, this additional Containers software helps you to quickly and easily consolidate one or many existing Solaris 8 or Solaris 9 systems onto a newer, more cost effective and more powerful Sun SPARC system such as the CoolThreads and M-Series servers. Customers can then transition these environments to Solaris 10 at their own pace while removing the dependency on Solaris 8 or Solaris 9 support. Support costs are also greatly reduced when consolidating multiple Solaris 8 and/or Solaris 9 applications in this way.

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  1. How to Get Started
1.
Q:
How does the Solaris 8 or Solaris 9 Containers software work?
A:
The Solaris 8 or Solaris 9 Containers consists of two software components: a physical to virtual (P2V) conversion tool and a Solaris 8 or Solaris 9 Container.

The P2V tool helps to move the application and its environment from the Solaris 8 or Solaris 9 system to the Solaris 10 system and converts it so it can run on this new platform.

The second component, the Solaris 8 or Solaris 9 Container, is the run time environment for the migrated Solaris 8 or Solaris 9 environment. Watch these videos to learn more about how it works and a demo.

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2.
Q:
What does this conversion tool do?
A:
The conversion tool works the same way for both Solaris 8 and Solaris 9. When the existing Solaris 8 or Solaris 9 environment is transferred to the destination system and placed in a Solaris 8 or Solaris 9 Container, the installer adds a few patches to the Solaris 8 or Solaris 9 image to make it work correctly on the new system.

This installation doesn't install a new version of Solaris 8 or Solaris 9. It creates the Solaris Container that will hold the Solaris 8 or Solaris 9 bits that were copied from the source system and puts those bits into the Container ready to run on the new system.

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3.
Q:
How does the Solaris 8 or Solaris 9 Container work?
A:
Solaris 8 and Solaris 9 Containers are based on "BrandZ" technology, a feature of Solaris Containers that allows an individual container to emulate an OS environment other than the native one of the global OS. System calls that differ between Solaris 8 or 9 and Solaris 10 are translated handled appropriately, creating a high-performance hosting environment for an existing image from an older system.

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4.
Q:
When should I use Solaris 8 or Solaris 9 Containers?
A:
Customers who need to move to the latest SPARC hardware and need to keep their Solaris 8 or Solaris 9 application environments for an additional period of time should consider using this software.

These offerings are not intended to be a permanent hosting environment for Solaris 8 or Solaris 9 applications. Instead this is a way to simplify the transition to Solaris 10 and makes it possible to approach it in multiple phases. Customers can first retire the older hardware and later complete the software transition to a native Solaris 10 environment.

Customers who are interested in a migration strategy should talk to their Sun Sales representative about the Enterprise Migration Suite.

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5.
Q:
What software do I need on the source and target systems to do the installation?
A:
The image capture on the source system needs no additional software because the existing capture and archive formats on Solaris 8 and Solaris 9 are supported. Additionally, an optional package can be installed with a demonstration archiving script which customers can use as a starting point for their automation.

The target system needs Solaris 10 8/07 or later as its base. When using Solaris 10 8/07 the additional Solaris 10 patch 127111-01 or later will be required.

Next, on the target system add either the two Solaris 8 or the Solaris 9 Containers packages, and everything is set. New Solaris 8 or Solaris 9 Containers can now be configured, captured, and installed on this system.

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6.
Q:
Can I use Solaris 10 features such as ZFS, DTrace and Predictive Self Healing?
A:
Yes. Running with Solaris 10 as the base operating system means that many features that make Solaris 10 a significantly better environment than Solaris 8 or Solaris 9 automatically apply, including those which are transparent to applications. Predictive Self Healing delivers improved uptime to your systems and applications while the greatly improved networking stack results in much better performance. You can also put a Solaris 8 or Solaris 9 Container root filesystem on ZFS and clone it. You can use DTrace in order to analyze and troubleshoot applications running in Solaris 8 or Solaris 9 Containers.
7.
Q:
Where do I go to download the offering?
A:

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  1. Support & Services
1.
Q:
What is the service component for each offering?
A:
The software subscription for each offering, includes Sun Software Premium Service Plan for Solaris 8 Containers or Solaris 9 Containers for one year term. This software premium support plan equips customers with enhanced coverage to help them keep their applications on track and available. Features include online and telephone support for either Solaris 8 or Solaris 9 Containers software issues (24) hours per day, (7) days per week, including public holidays. Other features include SunVIP interoperability support, software releases and updates (patches), self-help tools, and notifications.

To learn more about the premium service plan included with the software subscription visit Sun Software Service Plans.

Additionally, Sun Enterprise Migration Suite, from Sun Professional Services, is available separately as an option to the subscription. Based on specific needs, Sun's Professional Services can help customers assess application, install the software, build the Container, and provide the help during testing. This allows the customers to reduce risk in moving to the new production environment and help achieve a successful migration, improve IT efficiency and service delivery.

These subscriptions do not impact either the Solaris 8 or Solaris 9 RTU. Customers must have a valid Solaris 8 or Solaris 9 license and either a Solaris 10 Premium Subscription or a Sun System Gold or Platinum Service Plan.

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2.
Q:
Why is Solaris 10 support required?
A:
Customers must purchase with Solaris 8 and/or Solaris 9 Containers software subscription a Solaris 10 Premium Subscription or have a valid Sun System Gold or Platinum Service Plan, for each system covered. This ensures that customers having support issues related to the Solaris 10 OS are covered while using the Solaris 8 or Solaris 9 Containers software.

Solaris 8 and Solaris 9 Containers run on top of the Solaris 10 OS.

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3.
Q:
Can you run multiple Solaris 8 Containers and/or Solaris 9 Containers on the same system?
A:
Yes, you can run Solaris 8, Solaris 9, and Solaris 10 applications on the same system. The same restrictions apply as with normal Solaris Containers with regard to having enough CPU, memory, disk, etc. Thus, this tool a way to simultaneously consolidate and transition to newer hardware and OS technologies.

One Solaris 8 Containers subscription will cover all the Solaris 8 application environments running on a single server, and the same is true for the Solaris 9 Containers subscription. Thus consolidating multiple Solaris 8 and/or Solaris 9 applications on a single server is very cost-effective.

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4.
Q:
Does this extend the support life of Solaris 8?
A:
No. Retirement support mode Phase I still ended on March 31, 2009, and Phase 2 ends March 31, 2012. Solaris 8 Containers is an interim solution that is intended to help you move to Solaris 10 from Solaris 8 more easily.

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5.
Q:
Which Solaris 8 and Solaris 9 versions will be supported?
A:
Currently all releases of Solaris 8 and Solaris 9 are supported; however, later patch and update versions are preferred.

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6.
Q:
Is this software easy for a customer to implement?
A:
While some customers have successfully tested and deployed Solaris 8 or Solaris 9 Containers, other customers face unique challenges that require custom attention. Some customers may be moving multiple applications to a number of Solaris 8 and/or Solaris 9 Containers. In these complex situations we recommend that customers consider working with consultants from either Sun Professional Services or Sun partners to reduce risks in production, stage and achieve successful migrations, improve IT efficiency and service delivery.

Sun Enterprise Migration Suite from Sun Professional Services is strongly recommended and provides a full set of services that will analyze the customers requirements, propose an appropriate architecture and then create an implementation strategy. This will ensure that the customer achieve the best possible benefits from their new environment.

The Enterprise Migration Suite includes any of the following professional services:
  • Solaris 10 Evaluation
  • Enterprise Migration Justification
  • Enterprise Migration Architecture
  • Enterprise Migration Implementation
See the Sun Enterprise Migration Suite site for more details.

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7.
Q:
How does the licensing work inside other virtualization technologies like Dynamic Domains?
A:
Licensing is tiered and based on the number of CPU sockets per server. This is normally dictated by the number of sockets in the physical system. If the Solaris 8 or the Solaris 9 Container is further limited by a virtualization technology on the system, the smaller boundary counts.

When using Dynamic System Domains or Dynamic Domains, we count the sockets that are in the Domain where the Solaris 8 or Solaris 9 Containers are running. Additionally, if these Containers themselves are limited to a certain number of CPUs these boundaries will also be honored. It is possible to limit to fractions of a socket because Solaris Containers can be limited at a hardware thread level. In these cases the number is rounded up to the closest socket number.

For example, if a you are using a system with 8 dual core sockets and assign 5 of those cores to the Solaris 8 Container, the number of sockets the Container is using is 3, which puts into the 3-4 socket pricing tier.

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8.
Q:
How do I purchase the subscription?
A:
Contact your local Sun sales representative or authorized reseller to purchase subscriptions for Solaris 8 Containers, Solaris 9 Containers, and the Solaris 10 OS.

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  1. Supported Applications
1.
Q:
Which applications are appropriate?
A:
While most applications will run in the new environment there are a few restrictions with Solaris 10. Therefore, a few applications will not run. The most common ones are applications which load kernel modules. The initial part of the Enterprise Migration Implementation Service will assist the customer in identifying any known issues.

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2.
Q:
Sun guarantees that application binaries that run on previous releases of Solaris will continue to work on newer releases. If that's the case, why is Sun making Solaris 8 Containers and Solaris 9 Containers available?
A:
A large reason that Sun can support both the Solaris 8 and Solaris 9 environments running in this way is due to the Binary Compatibility Guarantee and the resulting stability of our interfaces. This software makes sure that the whole environment runs on the new kernel not just the application.

This Containers software and the BrandZ technology add additional compatibility beyond binary compatibility, thereby making it possible to support both the applications and the surrounding environment. Among other things, this bridging technology makes it easier to separate the migration of the application from the conversion of one's administrative environment and practices from Solaris 8 or Solaris 9 to Solaris 10.

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3.
Q:
What about patching?
A:
Solaris 8 patches can still be applied to the Solaris 8 environment from within the Container. The same is true for Solaris 9 patches. However, since the kernel is actually the global Solaris 10 kernel, Solaris 8 or 9 patches that are intended to change the kernel will appear to install without error but will have no actual effect. In this case the equivalent Solaris 10 patch should be applied in the Global Zone, if needed.

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4.
Q:
Do all the Solaris 8 or Solaris 9 Containers need to be at the same patch levels?
A:
No, because of the BrandZ translation layer every Container can be on its own distinct patch revision.

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