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Solaris Gets Virtualization Boost

Sun Microsystems rolled out an update of its free operating system, Solaris 10 8/07. The open Unix-based OS is free to end users although Sun charges for support. Solaris features optimized virtualization, performance and resource management capabilities, making it useful for data-intensive environments, such as data centers.

The new OS enables improved server utilization, as well as improved system and application performance, according to Marc Hamilton, vice president of Solaris Marketing at Sun.

With the new Solaris release, Sun improved its Containers technology, which is used to enable virtualization. Other virtualization improvements include:

  • Solaris Containers for Linux Applications. With this feature, customers can run existing Linux applications on x86 systems without modification.
  • IP Instances. With IP Instances, users can run multiple network stacks on a single system.
  • Solaris Live Upgrade. This feature enables the deployment of new patches to systems running with Solaris Containers.

The company also added support for PostgreSQL 8.2, an open source database. The PostgreSQL support resulted in a "20 percent improvement in online transaction processing tests," according to an announcement issued by Sun. Other PostgreSQL improvements include better warm standby capabilities and online index builds, as well as support for Dynamic Trace (DTrace) probes.

Sun's new Large Send Offload feature is designed to improve network performance. The feature allows network processing operations to be offloaded to network interface card hardware, reducing the work of the CPU. The new version also includes Jumbo Frame support, as well as optimizations to provide high-speed packet forwarding.

The Solaris OS is supported on a number of SPARC, x64 and x86 processors. It runs on AMD Opteron and Intel Xenon platforms, as well as CoolThreads systems.

About the Author

David Kopf is a freelance technology writer and marketing consultant, and can be reached at david@dkcopy.com.

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