With 11.2 Release, Oracle Solaris Evolves from OS to Complete Platform

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Oracle has introduced Oracle Solaris 11.2, a complete, integrated and open platform engineered for large-scale enterprise cloud environments. Presented at a live event in New York City by Oracle president Mark Hurd and Oracle executive vice president John Fowler, Solaris 11.2 combines OpenStack, SDN technology, clustering, and virtualization with an enterprise-class OS in a single product to provide a complete cloud solution. 

Oracle Solaris is one of two operating system options for Oracle Exadata, and is described by Oracle as a key building block that provides mission-critical reliability, performance, and security that are essential for database consolidation. 

Solaris Transitions from Operating System to Platform

A “huge release” with 500 or more projects and enhancements, plus a number of major innovations, Solaris 11.2 represents an evolution beyond an operating system, building it out to be a complete platform, said Fowler, during the launch event. Observing that Oracle is “a little obsessed” with the lower levels of technology, Fowler noted that, whether the goal is to increase performance, efficiency or other areas, where it is possible to intercept the lower levels of the infrastructure, you can drive a big multiplication effect above it.  

While virtualization has flattened off the physical server market, it has caused an explosion of easy to create virtual servers, creating management and administration challenges, he added.

Among its key capabilities, Oracle Solaris 11.2, incorporates a complete OpenStack distribution; offers an integrated hypervisor on both SPARC and x86 for zero-overhead-virtualization; introduces application-driven Software Defined Networking that integrates with Oracle Java, Oracle Database and Oracle Applications in order to deliver application-level quality of service; provides investment protection with binary compatibility allowing customers to run their existing apps; and enables customers to upgrade to Oracle Solaris 11.2 quickly to take advantage of the new cloud capabilities.

Changing IT Requirements

Hurd, who spoke before Fowler at the event, described Oracle’s perspective on how IT delivery is being affected by a confluence of trends and changing requirements. Hurd noted that the three big-picture issues are globalization, the data explosion, and the rise of mobility. The conventional wisdom is that data is almost doubling every 18 months with the result that in the next 18 months there will as much data created as in the history of the planet so far, he said. In addition, there are not only mobile devices but also the computing power that they put in users’ hands. The social effect has become a problem or an opportunity depending on your view. “The fact is now everybody knows everything about everything really fast,” Hurd said.

On top of that, Hurd said that there is a whole new wave of employees and customers coming, and while Millennials may represent only 12% or 13% of GDP right now, they will move to being half of GDP in 8 years.  Millennials have no tolerance for lack of speed or poor service and they want instant gratification to any question they have got, about any subject, as fast as they can get it, and their rise will have an impact. “It is going to change how you deal with employees and it is going to change how you deal with customers,” Hurd noted.

In addition, he said, the problem is that in this country the average age of an application is 20 years old, meaning that all those apps were written before internet, social media, and mobile came to the fore. The cost of maintaining and modernizing these  apps is significant, but with IT budgets edging up by just a few points at best, he observed, companies will have to be very clever about saving money and innovating simultaneously. Who succeeds is going to be about who can innovate fastest while knowing that they are not going to have a lot more dollars to spend.

Cloud and Engineered Systems Answer IT Need to Operate More Efficiently

According to Hurd, the phenomena of cloud and engineered systems are driven by the same  requirement, which is the need to transfer work from the IT budget to the R&D budget to make things work more efficiently.  “Who really wants to glue an operating system to a server?," he asked.

Hurd said that the release of Solaris 11.2 fits into the broader picture for Oracle of developing best of breed solutions and systems at each level of the stack, vertically integrated, to drive the cloud, drive through industries, while supported with security, scalability, price/performance. “In a relatively reasonable time frame” the leader in high-end computing will be Oracle, he said. 

The Oracle Solaris 11.2 Beta is now available for download via Oracle Technology Network (OTN).

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