Oracle Updates Solaris 10

by Sean Kerner

Oracle improves ZFS and system performance in latest Solaris update.

As Oracle continues to prepare for a final release of Solaris 11, the Solaris 10 Unix operating system is getting another update.

Oracle released Solaris 10 8/11 this week providing performance improvements and new hardware support. The Solaris 10 operating system first debuted in 2004 and has been updated on a regular basis ever since.

Since its inception, one of the big features in Solaris 10 has been ZFS (Zettabyte File System) which has also improved over the years. The new Solaris 10 8/11 enables enterprises to run ZFS as a root filesystem across their Solaris 10 deployments. ZFS is a 128-bit file system that provides advanced data scalability and recovery options, including "snapshotting" -- creating a space-efficient record of a previous system.

It has been possible to use ZFS as the root file system since Solaris 10 10/08 release in 2008. However, some Solaris users missed the ability to be able to build and deploy "flash archive" images -- which they could do with UFS and not ZFS What Oracle is saying now is that the last barrier to using ZFS instead of UFS as the root file system has gone away.

"Oracle Solaris 10 8/11 includes features designed to simplify the transition from UFS-based system disks to Oracle Solaris ZFS," Oracle's release notes state. "By making sure that all relevant installation capabilities available with UFS are also available with ZFS, Oracle Solaris 8/11 makes an excellent ZFS transition point to take advantage of the ease of management, data integrity, and built-in data services provided by Oracle Solaris ZFS."

New Solaris 10 systems can now also be installed from a Solaris ZFS Flash Archive, which is intended to make it easier and faster for users to deploy the operating system.

ZFS has also benefitted from multiple performance improvements as well. According to Oracle, in internal testing of Oracle Solaris 10 8/11 versus the previous release, Oracle Solaris 10 9/10, ZFS enhancements led to a read performance improvement of between 9 percent and 23 percent, and write performance improved 11 percent to 17 percent.

With the new Solaris update, Oracle is also continuing to improve the way that Oracle applications run on the Unix operating system. According to Oracle, the Solaris 10 8/11 update includes improvement in startup and shutdown time for Oracle 11g database users. Startup time is now 26 percent of what it took prior to this update on the reference SPARC system Oracle tested internally, and about 36 percent of what it took on a reference x86 system.

"This update takes the best UNIX for SPARC and x86 and makes it even better,” said John Fowler, executive vice president, Systems, Oracle in a statement. "With Oracle Solaris 10 8/11 and the upcoming Oracle Solaris 11 release, we are continuing to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to Oracle Solaris, providing the easiest, most cost-effective path to leading-edge innovation for both new and current customers."

Oracle acquired Solaris as part of its acquisition of Sun in 2010. At the end of 2010, Oracle released Solaris 11 Express as a preview for the next generation of Solaris features. Testing and development on Solaris 11 has been ongoing this year.

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 Friday Sep 16th 2011
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