Oracle Solaris 11.2 is now in full release (aka “General Availability”), and that means there are even more great things for you to take advantage of. Although there’s been a lot written about it since the launch event in April, it’s worth taking a step back and considering what it all means.
Download: Oracle Solaris 11.2
“Zero to Cloud” in minutes
A lot of the press for this release has been about OpenStack, but how does it really help our customers? First off, OpenStack itself has some very compelling features. It’s an open, interoperable way to deploy and manage compute, network, and storage resources through a single management pane — so just that adds a lot more power to Oracle Solaris.
However, where the combination of Oracle Solaris and OpenStack (the “Havana” release, by the way) really shines is deep integration in three directions: with Oracle Solaris’ existing and new underlying features; with the Oracle stack; and, with products from literally hundreds of other companies that are also part of the OpenStack project.
Let’s use that integration to introduce some of the other new features in 11.2, and how they tie in.
11.2 introduces the latest addition to an area that has seen, in my opinion, the biggest advances since Solaris 10: provisioning, installation and software maintenance. Or, just “software life cycle”, for short.
With IPS, AI and fully-integrated boot environments, this is more than just a major leap from where Solaris was before; it put us far ahead of what other companies are offering, by simplifying and accelerating the end-to-end delivery and upkeep of service environments.
Unified Archives is a worthy addition to this list. It gives our customers the ability to create a single system archive that can be installed over the net or booted locally, and then installed in either physical or virtual environments.
All of this is deeply integrated with Glance, OpenStack’s image service, meaning that OpenStack users get instant access to many of the most sophisticated capabilities Oracle Solaris offers, using the same standardized management tools and APIs used on other platforms.
Oracle Solaris built-in virtualization capabilities just got a boost in flexibility. Individual zones can now be further isolated from their underlying global environment without sacrificing the enormous scalability advantages they give. Zones can now have their own separate kernel instance, allowing them to be updated separately and run at different version levels than the global zone or other zones. This sets the stage for other benefits in the future; more on that later.
The OpenStack compute scheduler (Nova) leverages the virtualization capabilities built into Oracle Solaris, allowing provisioning and updating on bare metal or any of the variety of virtualization options available.
SDN – Elastic Virtual Switch
Software-defined networking (SDN) has been enhanced throughout the life of Oracle Solaris 11, and in 11.2 we introduce the Elastic Virtual Switch, extending SDN capabilities throughout a collection of physical or virtual systems. Again, it’s manageable through the Neutron component of OpenStack, and is also fully integrated into Oracle Solaris Zones.
And even better, it’s tied into higher-level application layers—Oracle Database and Java applications can define how they use the network, making it possible to define service levels throughout a cloud environment. This not only simplifies network configuration, it simplifies both management and hardware requirements, driving down both acquisition and support costs throughout your service deployment life cycle
Security and Compliance
Oracle Solaris’ reputation for security is well-established (and well-deserved), but a key “lifestyle” choice we made a few years ago — adding a compliance framework as a fundamental part of the OS — is getting even more feature-rich. In Oracle Solaris 11.2, we introduce the compliance command, based on the SCAP standards and protocol suite. This allows you to run preconfigured assessments, based on security and compliance benchmarks. We also include preconfigured benchmarks based on PCI-DSS and our own internal recommended standards; these can be customized for your environment.
Also of note is a new extension to the concept of “Immutable Zones”, the ability to give a zones a read-only root environment, making it essentially “tamper-proof”. In 11.2, we extend this concept to the global zone.
And of course, this is all designed and integrated so that it can be leveraged through OpenStack.
Is that all?
There’s more, of course — OpenStack integration with ZFS technologies makes cloud data management simpler, more reliable, and incredibly scalable; we’re adding even more standard management capabilities such as Puppet and Chef …and we haven’t even talked about Oracle Solaris Cluster 4.2 yet!
If you aren’t one of the thousands who have already tried Oracle Solaris 11.2 during its beta release, now’s the time to dig in and learn more.