Solaris 11.1 Improves Performance for Oracle Workloads

by Sean Michael Kerner

New Solaris features will help to enable Oracle's cloud database.

Solaris 11.1 became generally available this week from Oracle, marking the first major update to the Unix platform in a year.

A key attribute of the new release is how Oracle's Solaris and application teams worked together to improve the system.

"One of the big changes that has happened is the increased investment that Oracle has been putting into Solaris," Markus Flierl, vice president, Oracle Solaris Engineering, Core Technology, told ServerWatch. "This has helped to accelerate the pace with which we are getting innovative new features into Solaris."

The additional resources have also enabled the Solaris development team to work more closely with other development teams at Oracle, including the database and Java development groups.

"With Solaris 11.1 what we're doing is bringing the traditional properties of Solaris, features like predictive self-healing and availability, together with new cloud management capabilities," Flierl said.

Flierl noted that a lot of work has also been done together with the Oracle database team. He added some of his Solaris engineers are actually co-located alongside Oracle database engineers. The net benefit of that collaboration is already yielding a number of benefits.

"The future release of the Oracle database will be taking advantage of specific interfaces we have put into Solaris 11.1 ," Flierl said. "Those interfaces are for Dtrace I/O." Solaris 11

Dtrace is a monitoring system that first landed in Solaris 10. For the database, by integrating with Dtrace performance issues can be identified and fixed.

"With Solaris 11.1 and a future version of the Oracle database you can automatically go in and query the operating system and identify if there is a problem in the database or if there is a problem in Solaris," Flierl said.

There is also set to be integration with a future version of Oracle RAC that could help with database offload and reducing overall latency. Another future capability that Oracle Solaris 11.1 will enable for the database is the ability to dynamically resize the SGA (System Global Area) of the database, without the need to reboot the operating system.

Solaris 11.1 also includes an improved predictive virtual memory subsystem.

"The initial memory subsystem in Solaris had reached certain limitations, and with the new cloud workloads it was clear to us that we had to improve large amounts of memory," Flierl explained.

The new virtual memory subsystem includes a feature called the Predictor. What the predictor enables Solaris to do is go in and look at page size memory consumption, and then based on the consumption the system will predict future consumption and pre-assemble the right memory page sizes.

What's Next?

The current roadmap calls for an update to Solaris on an annual basis.

"Customers don't want a new update every month; they want some stability," Flierl said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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This article was originally published on Friday Oct 26th 2012
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