Oracle Details Upcoming Solaris 11 Release

by Sean Michael Kerner

Oracle is investing in Sun's Unix and will use technologies from openSolaris as part of the next-generation release.

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When Oracle completed its acquisition of Sun Microsystems, Oracle executives promised to continue to invest in Solaris. This week, the company is detailing how it's living up to that promise.

Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) is gearing up for a major new release of the Solaris Unix operating system that is set for debut in 2011.

That's one of the messages Oracle plans to deliver at its next generation data center event Tuesday in Palo Alto, Calif., the first in a series of similar events across the country. The new Solaris 11 release will be the first major release under Oracle's ownership. Sun first released Solaris 10 in 2004 and last updated it prior to the Oracle acquisition.

"We have a large new version of Solaris coming out in 2011 called Solaris 11," John Fowler, Oracle's executive vice president of systems, told InternetNews.com. "You'll see us really building on the gold standard capabilities that are in Solaris today with significant enhancements in virtually every aspect of the system."

Oracle has been relatively quiet since its acquisition of Sun about Solaris and its related openSolaris open source project. Meanwhile, a new open source effort called Illumos was launched last week, which could potentially end up being a fork of openSolaris. One of the concerns of Illumos developers was the perception that Oracle wasn't being open with openSolaris and wasn't continuing to expand the effort.

But Fowler said that quite a bit of the technology from openSolaris will end up in the new Solaris 11 release. He added there will also be new technologies that have been funded by Oracle that will debut in Solaris 11.

"We're really getting our grip around building a mission critical operating system that includes technologies from openSolaris that we've been working on for some time as well as technologies that we've more recently developed," Fowler said. "Solaris 11 will be a superset of what is in openSolaris."

Fowler added that Oracle will continue to invest in its open source communities. That said he noted that Oracle really has focused its efforts lately on getting Solaris 11 out the door.

"We've been a little quiet on the open source front," Fowler said. "It's not that we're not investing in Solaris, we're just investing to make sure that we have all the major components for the new release."

Among the big areas of focus for Solaris 11 will be improvements to scalability. Fowler said that processors continue to add power and as such Oracle is hard at work prepping for the next level of scalability. He added that Solaris 11 is targeted to scale to thousands of processor threads and tens of Terabytes of memory.

"There is a huge amount of investment in not just processor scalability, but in I/O scalability and throughput across the entire operating system," Fowler said.

Overall cost of ownership and maintenance is another key theme in the Solaris 11 release. Fowler said Oracle is working on a new patching and maintenance technology designed to make it easier for administrators to manage Solaris.

"Then through virtualization, security and the filesystem, there is just a plethora of improvements through virtually every major subsystem of Solaris," Fowler said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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This article was originally published on Tuesday Aug 10th 2010
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