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Oracle releases Solaris 11 for Sparc and x86 servers

Pitches at the cloud
Wed Nov 09 2011, 15:00

OPERATING SYSTEM VENDOR Oracle has released Solaris 11, claiming it is the first "cloud operating system".

Oracle's Solaris operating system is the firm's only UNIX offering and commands respectable market share in the proprietary UNIX server business. Solaris 11, launched for both Sparc and x86 architectures, is Oracle's attempt to move Solaris into the cloud deployment market.

Aside from Oracle's bombastic and somewhat idiotic claim that Solaris 11 is the first "cloud operating system", the point Oracle is trying to make is that Solaris 11 can be quickly deployed and provides a locked down virtual environment. However some hardcore techies will wonder if Oracle understands the cloud at all, since it is suggesting that it is an operating system rather than a software layer.

In particular Oracle focused on touting Solaris 11's improvements in its Zones virtualisation, claiming a 15x decrease in virtualisation overhead compared to rival outfit VMWare. Solaris 11 also brings network virtualisation, which offers customers the chance to virtualise certain aspects of their network such as switches and routers.

Oracle touted optimised memory sharing, I/O performance improvements, integrated resource management and hardware cryptographic offload in Solaris 11. The firm claims Solaris 11 is four times faster at encryption than IBM's mainframe orientated AIX operating system.

This being Solaris, Oracle didn't miss the opportunity to mention its superstar filesystem, ZFS. Oracle claims Solaris 11's implementation of ZFS has improved data deduplication to reduce storage requirements in virtualised environments.

Oracle had already revealed most of the Solaris 11 details at Openworld last month, while a preview release of Solaris 11 was launched last year. At last month's Openworld the firm reiterated that Solaris is optimised for both Oracle and third party applications and mentioned its continued support for both Sparc and x86 architectures.

More recently Markus Flierl, VP of software development at Oracle said, "The investment we are making is across the platform, all the functionality that is in [Solaris 11] is across the OS platforms [Sparc and x86]."

While Oracle said that Solaris on x86 receives the same amount of love as Solaris for Sparc, the firm only mentioned performance figures for a Sparc T4 server. With that hardware, Oracle claimed a 41 per cent performance improvement in its Hotspot Java Virtual Machine over Solaris 10.

Oracle said that Solaris 11 will be available to all customers from today. µ


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