When Oracle Corp. acquired to save some brands of Sun Microsystems April 2009 through January 2010, much was made about the enterprise software giant’s entry to the hardware business. Now, two years on, things are looking up for one of the industry’s better known platforms for performance and stability through the last couple decades—Solaris. Just last month, Markus Flierl, Vice President of Software Development, Oracle, told MIS Asia what Oracle has been doing to breathe new life into Solaris and where he expects the new platform to add value to industry users.
MIS Asia: What was it about the virtues of Solaris 11 that you found to be most important for business users?
Markus Flierl: Oracle Solaris 11 introduces a number of innovations, features and tools aimed at solving the most complex enterprise computing challenges. Going from a large number of physical nodes to a cloud environment with a 10 times larger number of virtual systems creates huge challenges for customers. Oracle Solaris 11 offers a set of features that make it the ideal platform for deploying a private or public cloud, but also for managing their traditional data centre environment.
Oracle Solaris 11 offers a new standard for software lifecycle management and provides business users with the agility and ease of use required to manage large-scale cloud deployments, for instance, by allowing them to update their systems 4 times faster than Red Hat 6. Integrated zero overhead virtualisation provides flexibility for customers and allows them to make the most of their compute, storage and network resources, at no additional cost.
In addition, Oracle Solaris 11 includes built in security and data services, which provide security protection and innovative data services like de-duplication and encryption at no additional cost. These services often cost business thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional software licences and integration costs on other operating systems.
Now that the product is being driven by Oracle out onto the market, how do you see it being deployed differently by enterprises in Singapore, Asia and globally?
Oracle Solaris 11 is the first cloud operating system on the market and we are seeing increasing global customer demand to create and deploy more distributed cloud applications and services. Oracle Solaris Cluster 4.0 extends the virtualisation and reliability features in Solaris 11 to provide highly available virtual clusters to allow mission critical applications to move to an Oracle Solaris-based cloud infrastructure.
Oracle Solaris 11 continues to lead the market segment as the best deployment platform for enterprise applications and the number one platform for Oracle Database 11g deployments. Now that Oracle Solaris is part of Oracle we are seeing: increasing deployments of Oracle software on Oracle Solaris; new opportunities with Oracle engineered systems, including Oracle Exadata Database Machine, Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud and the SPARC SuperCluster; as well as tremendous growth in cloud-based application deployments on both private clouds and service provider driven public clouds.
What enhancements have you made that you expect should establish Solaris as a leader, particularly at this time?
Oracle Solaris is the leader in enterprise application deployments and has been the number one UNIX platform by volume for over a decade. This release focuses on some data centre challenges that are not met with other operating systems by providing built in zero overhead virtualisation, cloud scale software management and life cycle management tools, a drastic reduction in planned downtime and unique optimisations for Oracle Database 11g, Oracle Fusion Middleware and Java.
These enhancements build on Oracle Solaris's leadership position in the data centre market segment and extend new cloud-based capabilities to expand the lead that Oracle Solaris has in enterprise computing.
During the development of Oracle Solaris 11, did you and your team have any specific industries or sectors in mind?
Oracle Solaris has always had a wide range of deployments across industries like financial services, telecommunications, government and manufacturing. Each of these industries has unique requirements and by working with our customers closely, we have built those features into Oracle Solaris 11.
For instance, the built-in, zero overhead virtualisation in Oracle Solaris 11 gives financial services companies tools to put multiple applications that need to communicate together on the same system, drastically reducing network latency and improving application response time and throughput.
Governments that need to deploy cloud services for their users can do so securely with Oracle Solaris' built in multi-tenant security model with full auditing and encryption, allowing users safe access to services while providing for strict privacy standards.
The cloud scale provisioning tools enable telecommunications companies to roll out services more efficiently and effectively update the services over time–saving them time and money–and bring new services to users faster.
How has being part of the Oracle organisation changed the way you and your team work on the software development front?
The release of Oracle Solaris 11, the release of Oracle’s SPARC T4 servers and the release of the SPARC SuperCluster systems all take advantage of the latest technology, previously only available in Oracle Exadata Database Machine and Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud, highlighting the importance of Oracle Solaris and Oracle hardware within the company. Oracle is following through on its earlier statements about increasing the investments in these technologies. As a result, we have been able to accelerate the pace at which we create new technology.
We continue to do what we have been doing even before the acquisition: innovate within Oracle Solaris and exploit the latest features in both the SPARC as well as x86 hardware. In addition to that, we are now able to work closely with the Oracle Database, Oracle Fusion Middleware and other Oracle applications teams to build the best possible solutions for our customers. When we face a problem–be it a performance, a fail-over or an observability problem–we can decide on the best place in the stack to solve the problem, whether it’s the database, the cluster layer or the operating system. We can even make that solution a hardware feature. This puts us into a unique position within the industry. By looking at the whole stack we can create breakthrough enhancements that would be impossible to achieve by only optimising each individual layer. For instance, tuning the complete stack when working on the release of Oracle Solaris 11 Express for Oracle Exadata Database Machine—we were able to enhance the overall system performance by 150 percent.
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