Solaris Containers for Linux Applications allow Linux applications to run unmodified on the Solaris 10 Operating System (OS). By leveraging all the benefits of Solaris Containers, this feature combines the best of virtualization, resource management, and OS flexibility.
Sun has been enabling Linux compatibility and interoperability for many years. Building on their common history, Linux and the Solaris OS today share many standards and protocols that can be employed to integrate the two platforms. Throughout previous releases, the Solaris OS has maintained source compatibility with Linux applications. It also featured lxrun, an open source utility that allows Linux applications to be executed under Solaris without requiring source code recompilation. Now, with the Solaris 10 OS, Sun is taking interoperability with Linux to a new level. Solaris Containers for Linux Applications allow Linux binaries to run unmodified inside the secure environment of a Solaris Container with unprecedented ease of use and performance. By extending the benefits of Solaris Containers to non-native applications (those not originally built to run on the Solaris platform), Solaris 10 effectively becomes the premier platform for developing, testing, and deploying Linux applications.
Sun provides a unique combination of hardware and software to help customers efficiently to consolidate their data centers. Instead of managing and operating dozens or even hundreds of disparate systems, customers can benefit from Sun s leadership in chip multithreading capabilities, as well as a full portfolio of virtualization technologies to consolidate their environments, lowering cost and complexity.
In particular, the Solaris Containers feature is proving to be a revolutionary tool for consolidation. By supporting Linux applications in a Solaris Container—without requiring source code modifications or recompilation—the Solaris 10 OS becomes an even more powerful consolidation platform. Customers can reduce the number of servers and operating systems that need to be managed, without affecting their applications.
As businesses become increasingly disillusioned due to the lack of cost savings promised by Linux vendors, many customers are now seeking an alternative path to a truly scalable, enterprise class, secure but affordable operating system, such as the Solaris 10 OS. However, previous investments in Linux applications—from in-house or third-party providers—have created a significant "barrier to exit" for companies that want to move away from Linux. Furthermore, unpredictable application schedules and roadmaps, as well as limited or missing access to application source code, can make a transition appear difficult.
With Solaris Containers for Linux Applications, Sun's customers can upgrade their environment in incremental phases—rather than all at once—and at their own pace. Linux applications that may be too time-consuming or risky to change immediately can remain operational throughout a Solaris 10 deployment, then tackled at a later stage without disruption to the customers' environment.
Solaris offers a unique set of developer tools and observability capabilities. By allowing Solaris and Linux binaries to coexist on the same system, cross-platform application testing and deployment is simplified. In addition, it is now possible to use the award-winning Solaris 10 Dynamic Tracing (DTrace) capabilities to monitor and help debug Linux applications, significantly increasing their performance and stability. Even multitiered, multiplatform applications and services can be consolidated and diagnosed in a single OS instance.
Across the board, Sun is seeing extraordinary developer enthusiasm around the Solaris 10 platform. Third party software companies are porting to Solaris and certifying their applications for Sun's flagship operating system faster than ever before. This increase in mindshare, combined with the fact that no other operating system can offer anything close to its capabilities, means that the Solaris 10 OS is rapidly becoming the most powerful developer platform for Linux applications.
Solaris Containers have seen phenomenal popularity and uptake since the release of Solaris 10. Rather than introducing a new administrative framework for Linux binaries, the Solaris Containers for Linux Applications leverages all aspects of the Container functionality and elegantly integrate into the existing model—there is no need for system administrators to be retrained. To be clear: This is not another Linux distribution, and there is no need for any kind of special Linux software. Solaris 10 simply extends observability, security, and all other benefits of the Solaris Containers feature to apply to Linux applications.
The underlying "BrandZ" technology that supports nonnative applications environments was created with flexibility in mind. While Sun currently support applications certified to run under Red Hat Advanced Server 3 (and the corresponding CentOS distribution), it is possible to extend this feature to cover other environments, as well.
Interested third-party vendors can create and support a Solaris Container running, for instance, SuSE, Debian, or BSD applications by participating in the OpenSolaris project. Access to the underlying technology is provided, and Sun encourages the community to leverage it as desired.
With the Solaris 10 OS, Sun is enabling unprecedented Linux interoperability. The bottom line is a rock-solid platform that can be used to test, deploy, and consolidate Linux applications, while delivering all the unique features offered by Solaris Containers.