Thursday, January 31, 2008

Solaris 10 has been Shipping for Three Years

Solaris 10 has now been shipping for three years. In addition to the initial release, which began shipping January 2005, there have been four more releases. The current release, "Solaris 10 8/07" or "Update 4", has been in production for 5 months.

To say that Solaris 10 has been successful would be an understatement. The award winning technical features, the support for a large number of hardware platforms and the process of becoming Open Source via the OpenSolaris project have all contributed to that success. The large number of Solaris 10 downloads (11m+) and OEM agreements with IBM and Dell further validate that success. It is clear that Solaris is and will remain a major operating system for the foreseeable future.

Most of the new hardware platforms that Sun is now shipping requires Solaris 10:
  • UltraSPARC T1 and T2 based servers (e.g. T2000 and T5120)
  • Sun Blade Servers (e.g. Sun Blade 6000 modular system)
  • AMD Opteron based servers (e.g. Sun Fire X4100, Sun Fire X4600)
  • Intel Xeon based servers (e.g. Sun Fire X5150)
  • "M" Series SPARC64-VI based servers (M4000, M5000, M8000, M9000)
While there are still some servers that are shipping which support Solaris 9, it is anticipated that by the end of 2009, all new Sun servers will require Solaris 10.

Solaris 8 and 9 customers who have not yet upgraded to Solaris 10 will find that the many benefits of the new environment will outweigh the costs of upgrading. Simply replacing old servers with new can result is savings of space, power and cooling. As there is strong ISV support for Solaris 10 and Sun provides the Solaris Application Guarantee, most customers should find the move to Solaris 10 straightforward.

With the appropriate Solaris 10 and Sun hardware features (e.g. resource management, Solaris Containers, dynamic system domains and LDoms), many old servers can be consolidated into a smaller number of new servers resulting in even greater savings of cost, space, power and cooling.

Many IT organizations find that a large migration project can be a technical and business challenge:
  • Perform an analysis of an existing Solaris 8/9 environment
  • Define a new Solaris 10 environment that leverages the new software and hardware features
  • Write a detailed project plan to implement then migrate to the new environment
  • Continue to provide services while executing migration plan
If you are making the transition from Solaris 8/9, here are a few more things to consider:
  • In any non-trivial migration, there will be problems - plan for them
  • Be prepared to troubleshoot unexpected performance differences (DTrace can help)
  • Become familiar with tools like Solaris 8 Migration Assistant as a backup/transition aid
  • Consider leveraging data center automation tools (such as Sun Connection and Sun Management Center) to improve productivity
Any time you make a significant change to your IT environment, there are other core IT infrastructure considerations that may complicate your migration plans:
  • security and auditing
  • disaster recovery and business continuity
  • backup and recovery
  • networking
  • storage management
  • processes and procedures (ITSM)
  • monitoring and management
  • capacity and performance management
  • O/S, application and firmware patch management
  • maintenance contract management, asset tracking, ....
If you have a lot of time and available staff, you can set up a lab and experiment with the new tools and technology. If you don't then you should leverage an experienced partner who can "teach you how to fish".

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