John Fowler announced the first major update release of Solaris 11 at OpenWorld in October and now it is available for download. I have not tried it yet but will definitely do so in the very near future. The changelog (What’s new in Solaris 11.1) guide is 19 pages long and has a lot of information. Some of these new features are very interestind and I hope I can set aside some time to play with and blog about them. These are the ones that caught most of my attention:
Easy integration of Solaris Zones on shared storage. Basically, you offer a LUN to zonecfg and it will implicitly create a new zpool for that zone. We have done this manually before to make it easier to move zones around between servers. Basically a poor-man’s solaris cluster. Along with a promised performance improvement of 97% to attach a zone on another server this could make this process much smoother.
I do not really get “File System Statistics for Oracle Solaris Zones” yet but if it allows me to use iostat or similar tools to find the utlization per zone that would be great. Obviously this is not an issue for zones that already reside on their own LUN but if multiple zones share a filesystem or zpool it is a pain to find out which one actually issues most IO requests. Another great tool for consolidated environments. (Update 10/27/2012: blogged about it)
They promise to increase the file transfer throughput of SSH and SCP which may come in handy. Not that I really need this in productions but when you transfer gigabytes of installation media with scp (because I am too lazy to set anything else up) I am happy for a few minutes more productivity.
Link Aggregation across multiple switches – this should be interesting to investigate. With the current implementation you can only use dladm for IEEE 802.3 bonding which works great but does not allow one to span multiple switches and implies that you cannot setup redundancy through two seperate switches (we overcome this by using cisco 6500 switches with redundant supervisors and linecards but it is still only one chassis). Solaris IP Multipathing or IPMP was a solution that offered more availability but is also a pain to setup and does not allow the bandwidth to scale with the number of NICs (Update 02/09/2013: blogged about it).
The guide also vaguely mentions improvements made specifically to run the Oracle database faster. I have been looking forward to improvements like these ever since Oracle acquired SUN and am excited to try, test and learn more about this. They appear to have tweaked the way memory is being handled and allocated to speed up the instance startup by a factor of 8. Steve Sistare has some more details on this. And there is some kernel support for RAC locking:
In the kernel itself, there has been a long history of improvements to benefit Oracle software,
the latest being acceleration for Oracle RAC where improvements in lock management are
expected to yield up to 20 percent throughput improvement over Oracle Solaris 11 11/11.
Please check back in the next weeks as I will take closer look at some of these features and blog about them in detail.