For many commercial companies the center of the Solaris world is at Oracle. However, for many of us that have lived and breathed Solaris, that center has shifted quite a while back to Joyent. Oracle’s high licensing costs around a Solaris x86 license makes it uninteresting to many. Meanwhile, Joyent offers an open-source version of Solaris that actually offers a number of significant improvements. Joyent’s SmartOS has become one the most innovative operating systems available on the scene today. A derivative of OpenSolaris – it has vastly improved on it, creating an excellent cloud-centric operating system with a wealth of features. Improved are all the compelling Solaris technologies – zones, ZFS, dtrace, SMF, etc – but more important is how they have added new technologies (KVM) and offered a wealth of new features. One of the big wins with SmartOS is improved performance. If you are interested you can find more information on SmartOS here :
One of the areas where Solaris and SmartOS excel is dtrace – a framework that allows observation of the running operating system and it’s applications and processes at a very deep level. On more than one occasion I was able to observe the details of applications running in production by using dtrace. It is typical to see huge performance wins by using dtrace to diagnose performance issues or simply examine running applications. Twenty examples of performance wins – with the bulk coming from use of dtrace :
Brendan Gregg is a performance guru and he is really well worth listening to. One of the more interesting articles he has written compared Solaris Zones, KVM and Xen and looked at in detail at them.
He recently presented SCaLE 12x and his presentation is, as usual, informative. Discussing what Linux can learn from Solaris-based systems and vice-versa when it comes to performance.
Brendan Gregg has written a number of books on the topic of performance. He co-authored a book on DTrace :