Solaris Boasts Improved Security, Performance And Virtualization

Sun Microsystems has some upgrades to its Solaris operating system designed to increase speed and flexibility in the offing, the company announced in mid-September.

September 22, 2003

3 Min Read
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Sun Microsystems has some upgrades to its Solaris operating system designed to increase speed and flexibility in the offing, the company announced in mid-September.

Mark Tolliver, executive vice president of marketing and strategy and chief strategy officer at Sun, used his keynote presentation at the SunNetwork Conference, held this week in San Francisco, to tell a crowd of corporate users and channel partners about some of changes they should expected.

Tolliver touted Solaris as the most stable operating system on the market, especially with its binary compatibility across platforms and between version numbers. For instance, when Sun upgraded from version 8 to version 9 of Solaris, the company had to migrate 233 applications to the new operating system, he said. "Two-hundred thirty-two applications had no problem," he said. "We fixed Solaris, not the application, so now we're 233 for 233."

For the next version of Solaris, dubbed Solaris Next by Tolliver, Sun will incorporate most of the security features of Trusted Solaris, the company's security-hardened version of the operating system, said Tolliver.

Sun is also planning to add a new feature--Advanced Tracing--which Tolliver said will allow administrators to monitor the network across the entire network environment and across all processes.Also coming in the near future is Network Performance, which gives Solaris wire-speed performance over TCP/IP networks, Tolliver said, adding that the feature should increase Solaris performance over such networks by a factor of 10.

In addition, Sun is planning to bring Trusted Containers to Solaris. Trusted Containers allow servers to be virtualized into larger servers, with each server set up in a secure "container" as a way to consolidate a data center's server environment, said Tolliver. Up to 4,000 such containers can be configured on a single server, he said.

Andy Tucker, distinguished engineer and architect for Trusted Containers, said the containers are completely isolated from each others, so each container cannot see applications outside of its own secure bounders. At the same time, the file system is virtualized so that each container, or "zone," can have its own virtual file system, he said.

Tolliver said to expect the Network Performance module to be available in October, with Trusted Containers to be available in the first quarter of 2004.

All of the upcoming Solaris features will also be available on Solaris x86 version as well, Tolliver said.During Tolliver's keynote, he brought out Neil Knox, Sun's executive vice president of volume systems products, to discuss low-cost servers. Knox, in response to canned questions from Tolliver, hinted that Sun may introduce a four-way, x86-based server at the company's next quarterly SunNetwork Conference.

Knox also said to expect technology changes that will increase the performance of Sun Fire V440 servers in the "not too distant future."

Tolliver also introduced Daniel Jackson, president and COO of DeepNines Technologies, which is developing security products for the Solaris environment. In response to Tolliver's question of why DeepNines is developing for Solaris only, Jackson took a jab at Microsoft by answering, "We can't call ourselves a security company if we build on an insecure OS."

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