Friday, December 31, 2010

In the year 2010

Another year have passed with lots of changes for Solaris users, some of them good but others quite bad. Most of them are of course related to the Oracle acquisition of Sun which completed January 2010.

The not so good things:
  • OpenSolaris is dead
  • We no longer have insight into the development of
  • We no longer have access to the latest ON source.
  • Oracle have lost many brilliant and well known engineers from Sun
Oracle is clearly focusing on Solaris but not in the open kind of way that we go used to with OpenSolaris. As I have written before, this will probably make lots of money for Oracle in the short run, but how can it grow the the Solaris customer base as the OpenSolaris model could?

On the bright side:
  • Solaris 11 Express 2010.11, the pre-release of Solaris 11 due next year
  • illumos, the community driven ON source gate
  • Oracle begun to share some Solaris/SPARC roadmaps this fall
  • SPARC T3, 16 cores with great throughput but with limited single thread performance
Solaris 11 Express is in reality a rebranded OpenSolaris 2011.11 release and has a huge amount of new features and enhancements compared to the last OpenSolaris release. The SPARC T3 is a good processor for highly threaded applications and we have seen roadmaps with a T4 coming next summer with three times faster single thread performance.

In 2010 the sparcv9 blog have had over 40 000 visitors counted as "unique" by statcounter. Happy new year everyone!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Solaris 11 Express support repo

If you have a valid support contract with Oracle it is now possible to generate certificates for the Solaris 11 Express support repository.

It's the same process as with OpenSolaris extra and support repositories but the location differs. Login using your My Oracle Account and generate certificates here:

Monday, December 20, 2010

VirtualBox 4 Beta on Solaris

Several beta releases of VirtualBox have been released in the last weeks. I had problems with the first two but beta 3 and later works nicely for me on Solaris 11 Express.

New features in 4.0
  • New settings/disk file layout for VM portability; see the manual for more information.
  • Open Virtualization Format Archive (OVA) support; see the manual for more information.
  • VMM: support more than 1.5/2 GB guest RAM on 32-bit hosts
  • Language bindings: uniform Java bindings for both local (COM/XPCOM) and remote (SOAP) invocation APIs
  • Chipset: added support for the Intel ICH9 chipset with 3 PCI buses, PCI express and Message Signaled Interrupts (MSI)
  • Audio: Intel HD Audio is now available as guest hardware, for better support with modern guest operating systems (e.g. 64-bit Windows; bug #2785).
  • GUI: redesigned user interface with guest window preview
  • GUI: new display mode with downscaled guest display
  • Resource control: added support for limiting a VM's CPU time and IO bandwidth.
  • Storage: support asynchronous I/O for iSCSI, VMDK, VHD and Parallels images
  • Storage: support for resizing VDI and VHD images
  • Windows Additions: support for automatically updating the Guest Additions (requires installed Windows Guest Additions 4.0 or later)
  • Guest Additions: support for copying files into the guest file system
Update: Whats seems to be the release images are now available:

Monday, December 6, 2010

Two Solaris releases for the T4 in 2011?

Solaris 11 is not the only Solaris release we can expect to see in 2011. The next update of Solaris 10, update 10 or Oracle Solaris 10 8/11 which seems to be what Oracle are aiming for in both name and release date is also coming in 2011. Earlier posts have included some of the expected content but the name and release window recently surfaced.

I found this in a publicly available bug report:
                Oracle Solaris 10 8/11 s10x_u10wos_02 X86
Copyright(c) 2010, Oracle and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
Assembled 22 November 2010
Early Access Build for Evaluation and Test Purposes Only.
With the 8/11 target it seems that Oracle wants to release the update in time before Oracle World 2011, perhaps to have a new Solaris release to talk about in the sessions but it also seem likely that it will support the upcoming SPARC T4 (Yosemite Falls) processor that could be launched at the same time ( Oracles road maps have pointed to the second half of 2011 and Rick Hetherington stated in the recent interview that it was less than 12 month away ).

Another interesting thing is that in the Oracle roadmap, Solaris 11 was plotted at the same time as the SPARC T4, sometime in the second half of 2011. Could this mean both Solaris 11 and Solaris 10 8/11 will be released at the same time and at Oracle world 2011? Given all the announcement at last Oracle world it would make sense.

Take a look at the slides of John Fowler, Executive Vice President of Systems, page 8 for the roadmap.

This gives some more substance to Fowlers statement that they will continue to produce Solaris 10 updates for some time, the timeframe for the release was probably not very hard to guess but it is interesting that there now seems to be a preliminary name. It looks like next year will be an interesting year for both Solaris and SPARC.

Here is some information on some of the expected content of the update:
Solaris 10 update 10 update

More SPARC T4/T5 information

Oracle has made an interview with Rick Hetherington, Oracle vice president of hardware development available. There is quite a bit of information about the future and development of the SPARC processor, well worth a read.

"Going forward, the SPARC T4 is less than 12 months away. So that's pretty quick. And there's a reason behind that. We wanted to get more single thread performance into the SPARC T-series systems sooner rather than later. So we developed a new core for the SPARC T4 that brings together the combination of throughput performance through threading as well as really high-speed single thread performance. It's really breakthrough technology for us. Referring back to the timeline for development that we have, we developed that core and that technology back in 2006/2007 and we'll be delivering that to the market in 2011.

And then the SPARC T5 will have 16 cores as opposed to the eight cores that we have in the SPARC T4, in 28 nanometer technology. As we go forward with each of these new introductions we'll make sure that the interfaces that deal with memory are common and are contemporary with the sweet spot of memory technology."

Read the whole article here.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Two more well known ZFS developers quit

Previously since the Oracle acquisition the father of ZFS Jeff Bonwick and the co-lead in the project Bill more have left the company.

I know that the ZFS is created by a team but I had missed that another two well known developes also have left Oracle and joined DTrace creator Adam Leventhal at Delphix. This time it is George Wilson and Matthew Arhens.

Delphix welcomes Matt Ahrens and George Wilson:
"George and Matt bring an amazing knowledge of ZFS — the lower, and upper halves respectively — and are also just great engineers who are already contributing tangibly to the the success of Delphix."

Best of luck all three and Delphix. I hope Oracle has or finds people to finish the remaining large development areas of ZFS such as the block pointer rewrite project which I know Matthew have worked with.