What makes Solaris so valuable

There are a lot of enterprise OS out there. Whether they call it themselves or really are one is a totally different topic. In this post I would like to point out what makes Solaris the for me and the company I work for the most valuable OS right now. Windows is not part of this since it is needed for other reasons anyways.

Just like Solaris other Unix and Linux distributions are working on innovations and the new next-generation feature. Docker is such an example that pushes the Linux world at the moment. There will always be features or technologies that one might be better at or one might have and the other doesn’t. For me as someone who is responsible for the stability and reliability of the customer’s environment different priorities than just having the latest hyped technologie matter. I might want it but that’s not what counts.
So what is it if not only innovation that counts?
It’s improvement, the quality of it, and the iteration in which improvements are delivired. Improvements might even lead to innovation within an OS. Might not be the first in the industry but that’s fine to me actually. Oracle has done a fabulous job doing exactly that. Their mixture of innovation and improvement is what makes it so valuable to me/us.

  • ZFS is unreached so far and with the years of experience and the speed it advances this itself is reason enough to use Oracle Solaris. What/Who else to trust with your data?!
  • VirtualizationZones are a by now old innovation that experienced a lot of steady improvements. It is so light! LDOMs do their job in helping to seperate environments, adding more flexebility and helping to consolidate. Kernel Zones are the next logical step which enrich the virtualization opportunities of Solaris. This actually is an example where improvement leads to innovation within Solaris.
  • Observability/DebuggingDTrace has been around for a while and is implemented in a couple of OS. But what counts is it is an in many ways integrated part of Solaris. It is used in the ZFS Storage Appliance, within Solaris together with Oracle Databases or java. This is a tool that comes like all the others with the OS itself. No extra cost or overhead managing it. Solaris offers way more than just DTrace for sure. For example stat-tools and p-commands.
  • Network – have you ever before created your own cloud and/or multi subnet infrastructure inside your OS? No tools needed. Awesome capabilities and such a blessing for every admin.
  • SMF – When Oracle decided to put more and more of let’s say administrative focus from config files into SMF I talked to a lot of admins who didn’t like this step because they were like all of us so used to the old way of configuring a system. But SMF is everything and more what parts of the Linux community/world seems to want quiet badly. It is highly configurable and tightly integrated into RBAC too. Sweet!
  • Since I just mentioned RBAC this list is missing one big value. Security! What is that sudo again? RBAC is the way to go! Nothing I have seen so far has this kind of granularity to offer.
    Have you ever wondered what could be the safest way of preventing others from getting their hands on your data when you remove a defect disk? ZFS Encryption. It is perfectly to handle and well integrated.
    And just to name some more features: Immutable (global) zones, Compliance, etc..
    Security is a must and in this case it shows how different features are used to assemble improvement and innovation at the same time.
  • IPS – Having a repository is not an industry leading and all knew to the world feature/technologie, but it shows that the Oracle Solaris team is doing their homework and improve their product. It’s a blessing to have it. I’m sure every Linux admin will even agree on that.
  • OpenStack is an open project in which many companies like RedHat, Microsoft, EMC, etc. are involved in. But to me as a Solaris customer it is most important that Oracle is involved too. And more than that, even delivers it as part of the OS. Awesome! This shows me that this OS is aware of trends with great potential. Puppet is just another example for this.

Keep in mind these are all technologies that come with the OS at no extra cost. No extra installation and initegration necessary. It is Solaris! This is what Solaris is made of.
Yes, this is the writing and list of a convinced Solaris customer but the reasons are more than obvious. There is definately not the one OS out there that fits 100% of the needs. And from time to time there might be or rather pretty sure will be a phase where another OS might have an advantage in certain fields of the enterprise OS business, but the way this rich list of features/technologies is pushed and improved over and over again is leading to Oracle Solaris being the most valuable enterprise OS on the market for me.

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