Who ever claims or wins the "first-to-market" race (IBM, HP and others) here let us not pay too much attention. Let us at least point out that Solaris 11 is indeed a fully virtualised operating system (OS) with what the company lists as "comprehensive built-in virtualisation capabilities" for OS, network and storage resources.
"Oracle Solaris 11 is the most significant operating system release of the past decade. With built-in server, storage and now, network virtualisation, Oracle Solaris 11 delivers the industry's first cloud OS. Customers can simplify their enterprise deployments, drive up utilisation of their data centre assets, and run Oracle and other enterprise applications faster all within a secure, scalable cloud or traditional enterprise environment," said John Fowler, executive vice president, systems, Oracle.
So what's new in Oracle Solaris 11, and how does that connect to the cloud?
- New provisioning and update capabilities: the integration of Oracle ZFS, Zones, and IPS -- the new network repository and update system -- makes cloud deployment fast, reliable, and reproducible. And it's designed to tie in to not just Oracle Solaris and the Oracle stack, but all the third party software, and SPARC and x86 hardware, that's supported on Solaris.
- New, integrated network virtualization. Create an entire high-performance, low-cost data center topology within a single OS instance -- no extra software or hardware required.
- Connected cloud management -- All the tools you need to build and manage an internal or public cloud backed by the vast knowledge and technology base of Oracle support. Not just managing multiple OS instances, but managing all of them as an integrated whole.
- Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center, now included with all Oracle OS, systems and Oracle VM support, provides converged systems management for enterprise-wide, centralized control over hardware, OS and virtualization resources.
- Security features that extend from traditional infrastructure into the cloud. Oracle Solaris 11 locks down services from first install boot, and provides role-based root access and low impact auditing for both cloud and traditional data center deployments.
- Service and workload isolation. Both within your organization, and to securely support multiple companies' data on the same server.
- Designed to get the most out of both x86 and SPARC-based systems, including Oracle’s Exadata, Exalogic and SPARC SuperCluster engineered systems.
- Runs at cloud scale. True linear scalability across massive horizontal deployments and vertical scale systems, and designed for next-generation hardware: increased CPU, bandwidth, and memory
The offering is engineered specifically for Oracle VM server virtualization and to provide cloud-scale life cycle management with secure, fail-safe boot environments, safe roll-backs, 4x faster upgrades and 2.5x faster system re-boots. It leverages Oracle Solaris ZFS and includes Oracle Solaris Zones, which scales up to hundreds of zones per physical node at a 15x lower overhead. In addition, Oracle indicated its offering includes ”secure by default” features, including start up, role-based root access and low impact auditing for both cloud and traditional datacenter deployments.
The fluffiness of Solaris 11 that is arguably more sophisticated than in Solaris 10 is in the multitenancy design of Solaris containers, which nests together ZFS and encryption:
Cloud service providers want to set up services easily, update them transparently, and deliver them automatically. Both cloud customers and cloud providers want to be able to see how things are running, and add resources and services if necessary. Oracle Solaris 11 provides software management that is designed for the cloud: fool proof upgrades and hands-off installation over the network using remote, local, and custom software repositories.
Complete details of the launch can be found here