Oracle Solaris Review

Robust kernel and its patch and package management system is strong.

What is most valuable?

Robust kernel: The heart of an OS, i.e., it’s the base/foundation of any operating system. If we have a robust kernel, the chance of getting server panic, etc., is reduced to almost negligible levels and that’s true with Solaris and even with IBM AIX. The bug levels and vulnerabilities to hit such robust kernels are very low.

Patch/package management: Change is a part of IT, with the increased technologies day by day, new software is evolving every day. If the way to install, manage, upgrade, configure them is not easy, then instead of using the software for growth, techies will be killing their time fixing them. With Solaris, this system is very strong. Regular security fixes, vulnerability fixes, recommended patches for new kernel and for new features is in Oracle’s release management process, which is very beneficial for customers to stay updated and fix old bugs.

Visibility at the OS level (nothing hidden): In case of issues, the logging system for Solaris is outstanding. With logs, we can debug the issues to a higher degree by ourselves. In case any changes to kernels are required, Oracle is always there to fix them via patches/pkgs, which is again valued added for any customer.

Compatibility with third-party DB's and applications: The compatibility to install databases and application on top of Solaris is just amazing, we hardly see any issues during installation/upgrade, except third-party driver issues. So overall, it’s an amazing OS to work with.

How has it helped my organization?

It integrates with different applications with complete stability.

What needs improvement?

I think Oracle should also promote x86 architecture for Solaris, so that the same can be used in ESX and in cloud environments with an x86 variant. It would be a bonus for Oracle.

SPARC hardware is costly. Most businesses want to run their infrastructure environments - especially non-production environments - on x86 hardware, where customers can run heterogeneous OS platforms (Linux, Solaris and/or AIX). However, this is not possible with AIX at all (especially with Solaris). So, if Oracle improved x86 support in Solaris, it could promote Solaris x86 as having the same stability and reliability levels as Solaris SPARC servers. This would provide customers a reason to move their servers - which are currently migrating to Linux servers – to Solaris x86. And I am sure this will boost Solaris even further. I am well aware that Oracle is promoting Oracle Linux for the same reasons, but I think the same can be done in a better way for the existing Solaris OS.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using it since 2007 until now.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We always perform POCs first and try to do all possible testing in that phase. As such, we have not encountered any major deployment issues.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It actually depends on the application version, and compatibility also. Sometimes, after a kernel patch, we might encounter some issues, but that’s just because of poor planning and poor documentation.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

For standalone systems, scalability’s always a challenge, but improved T-series and M-series have good options. However, Oracle still lags behind in this area, compared to ESX and IBM (LPARs), to a great extent.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Sun Microsystems customer service was superb!!! (My first love When Oracle initially took over, their customer service was just pathetic, but it slowly improved. It’s always hard to maintain the same standards and I can understand it’s tough in the initial phases. I would say, from my experience, there is still room for improvement in this area.

Technical Support:

Technical support is good, as it’s divided into different levels. Sometimes, it takes time before L1 escalates to L2/L3 and that sometimes is frustrating (sometimes :-) ).

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Before moving to engineering, I worked as admin / implementation team in a heterogeneous environment. So this solution completely depends upon cost and the client’s requirements.

How was the initial setup?

Migration is always a challenging step, if you want everything to be the same as it is running on an existing environment. AIX to Solaris or Linux to Solaris or vice versa is always a job to be performed with extra precaution, as you are going to play with your data.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented it ourselves and did the hardware replacements via a global vendor. It’s good.

What was our ROI?

ROI is good. I am sure Solaris has devoted everything to it. For an OS to survive a long time, Oracle has to maintain Solaris like a baby, as Sun Microsystems did until 2010.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Since taken over by Oracle, there has been an increase in the software cost (earlier patch/packages were free with SunSsolve), but that’s business and I think it’s okay.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Today, if you ask me for low-cost solutions, I have open-source Linux versions and for stable releases, we have RedHat and IBM AIX.

What other advice do I have?

It’s a very good product to use. You are going to love this OS.

I still love Solaris; for me, it’s always been the best.

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

6 through 11.3
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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