Solaris 11.2 beta is out.

Oracle Solaris 11.2 Beta is being released to allow developers, administrators and architects to evaluate the latest version of the #1 platform for enterprises. Over the course of the beta program, participants can provide feedback on the usability, stability, and overall quality of the product. Find out more about these features in theSolaris 11.2 Highlights:

Zones related ..

Kernel Zones
Kernel Zones bring the ability to run a non-global/local zone at a different kernel version from the global zone and can be patched or updated independently without the need to reboot the global zone. In other words, kernel zones are independent and isolated environments with a full kernel and user environment.

Creating a Kernel Zone:
  1. If not available, install the kernel zone brand
    # pkg install brand/brand-solaris-kz
  2. Create and install a kernel zone using the existing zonecfg and zoneadm commands. The only difference compared to creating a non-kernel zone (the zones we have been creating for the past 10 years) is the template to be used -- by default, SYSdefault template is used. To create a kernel zone, use SYSsolaris-kz template instead.
    # zonecfg -z  create –t SYSsolaris-kz
    # zoneadm –z  install
    # .. continue with the rest of the steps to complete zone configuration ..
Kernel Zones can be used in combination with logical domains (Oracle VM for SPARC), but cannot be used in combination with other virtualization solutions such as Oracle VM VirtualBox that does not support nested virtualization.

Live Zone Re-configuration
This release (11.2) added support for the dynamic re-configuration of local zones. Now the following configuration changes do not require a zone reboot.
  • Resource controls and pools
  • Network configuration
  • Adding or removing file systems
  • Adding or removing virtual and physical devices
Read-Only Global Zones
Recent releases of Solaris have support for Immutable Non-Global Zones already. Solaris 11.2 extends the immutable zone support to Global Zones. Immutable zones will have a read-only zone root.
Make a Global Zone Read-Only/Immutable by:
# zonecfg -z global set file-mac-profile=fixed-configuration 
Installing Packages across multiple Non-Global Zones from the Global Zone
  • -r option of pkg can be used to install/update/uninstall software packages into/in/from all non-global zones from the global zone.
  • Use -Z option along with -r to exclude a zone in applying the package operation. Similarly use -z along with -r to apply the intended package operation only in a specific zone
Multiple Boot Environments for Solaris 10 Zones
Multiple BE support has been extended to Solaris 10 Zones in this release. This feature is useful when performing operations such as patching within an Solaris 10 environment running on a Solaris 11 system.

This is not a zone specific feature per se, but including here since VNICs backed by Virtual Functions (VF) can now be assigned to a zone (including a Kernel Zone). This feature may result in improved network performance.

CMT Aware Zones and Resource Pool Configuration
It is now possible to allocate CMT based resources -- vCPUs, Cores and Sockets, using the existing zonecfg and poolcfg commands. This is useful from performance and/or licensing point of view as it provides flexibility and control for managing licensing boundaries or dedicating hardware resources solely to a zone.

Cloud related .. 

Centralized Cloud Management with OpenStack
Solaris 11.2 is the first release to incorporate a complete OpenStack distribution. OpenStack allows managing and sharing compute, network and storage resources in the data center through a centralized web portal. In other words, now administrators can set up an enterprise ready private cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) environment with ease.

Cloning and Disaster Recovery with Unified Archives
Unified Archives is a new native archive type that enables quick cloning for rapid application deployment in the cloud, fast and reliable disaster recovery. Both bare metal and virtual environments are supported. Check the archiveadm(1M) man page for details.
Create a clone archive of a system
# archiveadm create ./clone.uar

Create bootable media
# archiveadm create-media ./archive.uar    /* USB image */
# archiveadm create-media -f iso  ./bootarch.uar /* ISO image */

Create a full system recovery archive
# archiveadm create --recovery ./recovery.uar

Extract information from a Unified Archive
# archiveadm info somearchive.uar
Package related ..

Minimal Set of System Packages
For the past few years, it is one of the hot topics -- what is the bare minimum [set of packages] needed to run applications. There were a number of blog posts and few technical articles around creating minimal Solaris configurations. Finally users/customers who wish to have their OS installed with minimal set of required system packages for running most of the applications in general, can just install solaris-minimal-server package and not worry about anything else such as removing unwanted packages.
# pkg install pkg:/group/system/solaris-minimal-server
Oracle Database Pre-requisite Package
Until Solaris 11.1, it is up to the users to check the package dependencies and make sure to have those installed before attempting to install Oracle database software especially using graphic installer. Solaris 11.2 frees up the users from the burden of checking and installing individual [required] packages by providing a brand new package called oracle-rdbms-server-12cR1-preinstall. Users just need to install this package for a smoother database software installation later.
# pkg install pkg:/group/prerequisite/oracle/oracle-rdbms-server-12cR1-preinstall
Mirroring a Package Repository
11.2 provides the ability to create local IPS package repositories and keeps them in synch with the IPS package repositories hosted publicly by Oracle Corporation. The key in achieving this is the SMF service svc:/application/pkg/mirror. The following webpage has the essential steps listed on a high-level.

Another enhancement is the cloning of a package repository using --clone option of pkgrecv command.

Observability related ..

Network traffic diagnostics:
A brand new command, ipstat(1M), reports IP traffic statistics.

# ipstat -?
Usage: ipstat [-cmnrt] [-a address[,address...]] [-A address[,address...]]
[-d d|u] [-i interface[,interface...]] [-l nlines] [-p protocol[,protocol...]]
[-s key | -S key] [-u R|K|M|G|T|P] [-x opt[=val][,opt[=val]...]]

# ipstat -uM 5

SOURCE                     DEST                       PROTO    INT        BYTES TCP      net8       76.3M TCP      net8        0.6M UDP      net8        0.0M                UDP      net20       0.0M

Total: bytes in: 76.3M bytes out:  0.6M

Another new command, tcpstat(1M), reports TCP and UDP traffic statistics.

# tcpstat -?
Usage: tcpstat [-cmnrt] [-a address[,...]] [-A address[,...]] [-d d|u] [-i pid[,...]] 
[-l nlines] [-p port[,...]] [-P port[,...]] [-s key | -S key] [-x opt[=val][,...]] 
[-z zonename[,...]] [interval [count]]

# tcpstat 5

ZONE         PID PROTO  SADDR             SPORT DADDR             DPORT   BYTES
global      1267 TCP  42972 etc2m-appadm01.u     22   84.3M
global      1267 TCP    etc2m-appadm01.u     22  42972   48.0K
global      1089 UDP      161    33436  137.0 
global      1089 UDP    33436      161   44.0 

Total: bytes in: 84.3M bytes out: 48.4K

# tcpstat -i 43982 5  <-- 22="" 41.9k="" 42.1k="" 43524="" 43982="" 73.7m="" a="" bytes="" daddr="" dport="" etc2m-appadm01.u="""" for="" given="" global="" in:="" out:="" pid="" pre="" proto="" saddr="" sport="" stats="" tcp="" total:="" zone="">
Up until 11.1, it is not so straight-forward to figure out what process 
created a network endpoint -- one has to rely on a combination of 
commands such as netstat, pfiles or lsof and proc filesystem (/proc) to extract that information. 
Solaris 11.2 attempts to make it easy by enhancing the existing tool netstat(1M)
Enhanced netstat(1M) shows what user, pid created and control a network endpoint. -u is the magic flag.
#  netstat -aun <-- i="">notice the -u flag in netstat command; and User, Pid, Command columns in the output
UDP: IPv4 Local Address Remote Address User Pid Command State -------------------- -------------------- -------- ------ -------------- ---------- *.* root 162 in.mpathd Unbound *.* netadm 765 nwamd Unbound *.55388 root 805 picld Idle ... ... TCP: IPv4 Local Address Remote Address User Pid Command Swind Send-Q Rwind Recv-Q State -------------------- -------------------- -------- ------ ------------- ------- ------ ------- ------ ----------- root 1267 sshd 128872 0 128872 0 ESTABLISHED root 0 2094176 0 1177974 0 ESTABLISHED *.* root 2943 nmz 0 0 1048576 0 LISTEN *.* pkg5srv 16012 httpd.worker 0 0 1048576 0 LISTEN ...

[x86 only] Memory Access Locality Characterization and Analysis
Solaris 11.2 introduced another brand new tool, numatop(1M), that helps in characterizing the NUMA behavior of processes and threads on systems with Intel Westmere, Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors. If not installed by default, install the numatop package as shown below.
# pkg install pkg:/diagnostic/numatop 

Performance related ..
This is a grey area - so, just be informed that there are some ZFS and Oracle database related performance enhancements.
Starting with 11.2, ZFS synchronous write transactions are committed in parallel, which should help improve the I/O throughput.
Database startup time has been greatly improved in Solaris 11 releases -- it's been further improved in 11.2. Customers with databases that use hundreds of Gigabytes or Terabyte(s) of memory will notice the improvement to the database startup times. Other changes to asynchronous I/O, inter-process communication using event ports etc., help improve the performance of the recent releases of Oracle database such as 12c.

Miscellaneous ..
Java 8
Java 7 is still the default in Solaris 11.2 release, but Java 8 can be installed from the IPS package repository.
# pkg install pkg:/developer/java/jdk-8 <-- i="">Java Development Kit # pkg install pkg:/runtime/java/jre-8 <-- i="">Java Runtime
Bootable USB Media
Solaris 11.2 introduces the support for booting SPARC systems from USB media. Use Solaris Distribution Constructor (requires distribution-constructor package) to create the USB bootable media, or copy a bootable/installation image to the USB media using usbcopy(1M) and dd(1M) commands.

Oracle Hardware Management Pack
Oracle Hardware Management Pack is a set of tools that are integrated into the Solaris OS distribution, that show the existing hardware configuration, help configure hardware RAID volumes, update server firmware, configure ILOM service processor, enable monitoring the hardware using existing tools etc., Look for pkg:/system/management/hmp/hmp-* packages.

Few other interesting packages:
Parallel implementation of bzip2 : compress/pbzip2
NVM Express (nvme) utility : system/storage/nvme-utilities
Utility to administer cluster of servers : terminal/cssh

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