We are able to deploy new environments very quickly and securely. Using the virtualization features, we can migrate the environments very flexibly between our servers.
Solaris includes two virtualization solutions: LDoms for SPARC and Solaris Zones. Both solutions can be combined to create private clouds. Solaris Zones is ideal to separate applications and to migrate from older to current hardware. LDoms is very efficient because it uses the hardware hypervisor of the SPARC servers.
Both technologies increase Security, because they separate the applications from each other. Using the Security Compliance Framework we are sure the systems are setup properly
Patching without downtime would be nice. It seems this is planned for the next Solaris Update.
We had no issues with the stability.
Solaris is very robust and scalable. No issues so far scaling it.
Oracle offers a good online support portal called "My Oracle Support", which includes a big knowledge base. Because Oracle is a very large organization, it sometimes takes a bit too much time for support requests to reach the right support engineer.
Used Solaris 10 before, but Solaris 11 is much easier and faster with patching.
Based on BootEnvironments and ZFS Solaris 11 always offers a failback.
The initial setup is straightforward. Oracle has in-depth admin manuals. To speed up deployments, we implemented our own deployment and management framework VDCF.
We implemented it with our in-house team based on Oracle's best practices documents. With virtualization, we recommend to first define a standard on how to deploy and then to deploy using that standard, avoiding any variation. There are so many options, but our favorite is the fully-virtualized LDom with applications installed into Solaris Zones.
When buying a server from Oracle, all the software is included -- OS, virtualization and patches. There are no hidden costs. We like the long life cycle of Solaris and the SPARC servers. There's no need to replace the hardware every two to three years, and we have a life cycle of five years and more.
Use deployment tools for automation and avoid doing everything manually. Deployment tools help to avoid errors and create a standardized environment.