back to article Sun Solaris upgrade snuggles with Linux

Sun Microsystems upgraded the Solaris 10 operating system today, most notably enabling its OS to run Linux and its applications on x86 systems. The company has also announced virtual desktop software that can transform desktops and laptops into thin client devices. With the Solaris 10 8/07 update, Sun accommodates for the …


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  1. Dan

    Linux on Sol10

    Sounds great.....but what about getting Solaris 10 to run properly on HP kit grrrr Whilst setting up a patch repository server which we wanted to run under Solaris 10 x86 it repeatedly wouldn't recognise non-Sun hardware and we had to ditch the idea and install Redhat instead.

    Hmmm so actually you can skip Solaris altogether and just install Linux instead =D

    And will we be able to actually download the patch cluster from Sunsolve ? Which has been having issues for months now. I've only been able to download Sol10 sparc out of Sol's 10,9,8 sparc and x86. Sunsolves helpdesk are less than helpful with their copy and paste responses as well. In Sun still had their patch ftp server this wouldn't be an issue !!

  2. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    <Yawn> waaaaaay too late!

    Or I could just wait for my shiny new server to come with VMware's new hypervisor embedded, which will support far more OSs and with proven capability, and be just as free. And if I can't wait, and I need Linux now (sorry, I really can't think of an instance I would ever need Solaris x86 other than as a training tool for Solaris admins), then I'd just use a known and trusted Linux stack without introducing the added hassle of the Solaris (and it's separate support costs, calls, and the risk of unproven tech). Sun is still trying to play catch-up in an x86 world that's left it far behind.

  3. Alan Gauton

    And wrong

    The comments about containers are out of date - we've been using containers under Solaris 10 (the 11/06 release) for the past few months.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Virtual desktops?

    Isn't that just XDMCP, or am I missing something? The ability to run dumb terminals... er, pardon, "Thin clients".... has been built into every UNIX-based OS since, well... wasn't that the whole point of UNIX, actually?

  5. Alex Hawdon

    @Matt, and re: Virtual Desktops...

    "[*]new[*] server to come with VMware's [*]new[*] hypervisor [...] with proven capability"

    ^that sentence doesn't make a great deal of sense to me.

    I think the point behind Containers being able to host Linux is for people who want to migrate to Solaris and take advantage of Containers but are held back by one or two apps that won't run on Solaris. Rather than layering Containers on Solaris on VMWare and co-existing with Linux this offers a much simpler (and by virtue of which, potentially more reliable) solution. And when the app vendors catch up then you just mothball the Linux container and not have to think about re-doing your datacentre from the VMWare level.

    Regarding XDMCP... whilst you're technically right, maybe sun are offering something that will run without requiring a 100mbps link between the server and client...

  6. Tim Hogard

    Virtual kitchen sink too?

    Early versions of containers resulted in a very heavy containers and the root zone still included everything a hacker could dream of. Maybe they should take a lesson from IBM's real big iron from decades ago and create a very light top zone that uses security through simplicity and then let us put what we want in the zones. It would make far more sense from a security perspective especially for those of us paranoid to only want the bare essentials on our servers.

  7. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    RE:@Matt, and re: Virtual Desktops...

    Why would anyone want to migrate from Linux to Slowaris!?!?!? Outside of the fairytale land of Sun marketing, when does that happen? I have never met, corresponded or even read on the web of a single admin that has ever said they wanted to move anything from Linux to Solaris, maybe you can be the first (and probably only, ever). Get real.

    If you have legacy Sun apps then they're probably SPARC Solaris, which means they won't run natively on x86 Solaris anyway. The best option here is to run them unchanged on Transitive's emulation software, which lets you run SPARC apps on top of Linux on x86 or Itanium systems without having to change the code. And you can slice up those x86 or Itanium systems in a proven and risk-free manner (VMware, or on HP's Itanium systems you can use soft or hard partitioning and virtual servers), even without the coming new hypervisor capability.

  8. Alex Hawdon

    @Matt re: Solaris migration

    Solaris is produced and supported by a large company, and as such engenders certain expectations regarding its reliability and security, especially at CIO-level in big companies.

    There is also the benefit of the fact that every Solaris system looks like every other; you can get contractors in to help you fix problems or interchange you IT staff more easily, leaving you less exposed to risk.

    Also, the vendor sells hardware and software as a complete package; this is very attractive. You have one throat to choke when things go wrong - when you're mongrel Linux farm starts dying half the problem is figuring out who’s fault it is ("sure as hell isn't mine!") before you can even start work on the solution.

    Oh, and Solaris has documentation... that is up to date... and in the same place.

    Yes, I know companies like RedHat are addressing these issues, but their offerings just aren't as mature.

    So for a CIO wanting to simplify, consolidate and possibly outsource infrastructure, migrating to a common, well-supported platform with hardware and software offerings (backed by support and reputation) and datacentre services is quite an attractive proposition.

  9. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    RE:RE: @Matt re: Solaris migration

    Oh, that would be the same Sun support that threatened customers and made them sign a non-disclosure agreement before admitting there was a problem with certain UltraSPARCs and Broadcom ethernet NICs? Or the one that left one of my colleagues at a telco fuming when Sun took THREE DAYS to replace a boot disk on a mission critical server?

    There are plenty of enterprise-level CIOs in the City happily buying more Linux and less Solaris. I know many admins that used to sing the Sunshine song all day, who switched to Linux to save their careers and were pleasantly surprised to find their job prospects increased. They run large "mongrel" Linux farms on top of ESX with HIGHER uptime and LESS support calls than they used to make to Sun.

    And please get some experience with Red Hat - documentation and support are very good, especially when HP and IBM will front it for you - before casting such disparaging comments. Or try SuSE if you have an irrational aversion to RH. If you think Linux is not mature, you really need to get out of Guillemont Park and into the real world.

  10. Alex Hawdon

    RE:RE:RE: @Matt re: Solaris migration

    Calm down.

    I think (server!) Linux is wonderfully mature. And you're right; it's been a long time since I checked out the current state of RH support/documentation; I've been busy reading the *mountains* of well-written AIX documentation / redbooks that IBM has provided...

    I was merely playing Devil's Advocate and presenting some points to counter your rant about 'Slowaris', or whatever.

    Interestingly enough:

  11. Matt Bryant Silver badge


    So anyone that disagrees with your point of view is ranting? Hmmmm, not much of a debating tactic; "you don't agree so you must be ranting"! I particularly liked the snobbish reference to "mongrel" Linux farms, that really pegs you as a Sun bigot. Is the IBM reading due to your employer shifting off Solaris onto AIX or Linux?

  12. Alex Hawdon


    It's a great debating tactic!

    But seriously, perhaps 'mongrel' was a poor choice of adjective as it has negative connotations. I was just trying to communicate how it's much easier to end up with a server farm with lots of different distros and/or releases due to the varying merits of Linux distributions and their fast release cycles and (often) shorter support periods. Due to the whole 'cost-centre' mentality most IT departments are pushed to the limit and don't have time to think about 'needless' upgrades to keep everything current which can easily leave a very disparate environment. Thankfully, RH, et al., are bucking the trend.

  13. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Disparate environments - not just a Linux problem, and may be a benefit.

    ANY environment, with any OS, can end up with many servers with different patch revisions, hardware levels or release builds. This is a problem with UNIX, Windows, Linux, BSD, even mainframes. However, Linux admins have plenty of tools to help with system management (such as Radia) and the techniques for revision control have been around for ages. That's just poor administration, not poor OS design. Sorry, that's a moot point.

    And then there is the key counter - disparate environments bring more options. If I have a Sun environment running Solaris and my shiny SPARC boxes all have an issue with their Broadcom NIC performance which means my business app is stalling, I have no option but to suffer until Sun delivers a fix. It may even be a problem Sun can't fix (yes, it happens). In my "mongrel" Linux environment, I simply move the app to another vendor's x86 system, load the same Linux release if required, and I'm back in business. I can usually also switch between SuSE and RH with a very good chance of zero issues, far less than say Solaris 8 to Solaris 10.

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