TPM - Solaris 11: Crossbow, Network Virtualization, LDoms, Xen, KVM
Thank you, Timothy Prickett Morgan, for a reasonably written article!
A couple of items might need a little clarification.
TMP writes, "Solaris 10 could run Solaris 8 and Solaris 9... Solaris 11 can run Solaris 10... Ah, but can you run Solaris 9 inside of a Solaris 10 container that is inside of a Solaris 11 container?"
No, but there is a way to run 8, 9, 10, and 11 on the smae hardware. LDom's or OracleVM for SPARC is available for the T hardware. Dynamic Domains is available on the M series. You can run Solaris 10 and Solaris 11 within different [Logical or Dynamic] Domains where both OS's provide Solaris 8, Solaris 9, Solaris 10, and Solaris 11 Zones to the user community on the same hardware.
TPM writes, "The virtualization stack for Solaris 11 is basically the same as for Solaris 10, so it is a bit confusing as to why Oracle is calling this the first cloud OS."
There is nothing farther from the truth. A significant step forward from Solaris 10 to OpenSolaris, Solaris 11 Express, and ultimately Solaris 11 was the inclusion of network stack virtualization via Crossbow.
With Crossbow, you can build an entire cloud directly on a single kernel, build virtual switches in the OS level, throttle traffic, introduce latency, etc.
When a provider knows their intra-cloud latency, between the most distant virtual servers, the cloud (including network environment) can be simulated on your laptop or on a local server using Crossbow with Zones. Not only will a Solaris 10 user be able to run an entire cluster on their laptop/server, but simulate the entire cluster with LAN and WAN latencies under Solaris 11.
Solaris 11 introduces ZFS DeDup, which Solaris 10 did not include. With the inclusion of ZFS DeDup, running dozens of Zones with identical applications is more efficient, since the binaries are all deduplicated in the memory of the host machine, as well as on the host machine's storage. There is a lot to be said for this efficiency, in cloud computing, but it is absolutely crazy that this may not have been stressed.
TPM writes, "it is a bit confusing as to why Oracle is calling this the first cloud OS. (Hey, that's marketing for you. Joyent says the same thing about its Solaris-based Smart OS"
Twp reasons amazing cloud efficiencies can be built on Solaris: Crossbow and ZFS DeDup.
Oracle's killing of Solaris Xen was extremely disappointing, but the resurrection of [non Zones] virtualization via Joyent's KVM is absolutely amazing and should not be underestimated. The ability to dedup Windows & Linux binaries [with underlying applications] in memory, as well as on storage, brings cloud computing to a new level.
If there was ever a platform to virtualize thousands of employee Windows desktops and throttle the usage of individual users so they can not abuse the host platform resources - that platform is [Solaris based] Joyent SmartOS. You can do it all, on a few platforms, with ZFS, Dedup, KVM, and Crossbow.