Learning Solaris 11

by Derek Sivers

Over the next couple weeks, I'm going to be learning a lot about Solaris.

Though I started with Linux in 1998, and swore by OpenBSD for two years, I've been using FreeBSD exclusively since 2001 for EVERYTHING, including my day-to-day laptop.

But since HostBaby is growing, I went asking the advice of people running webhosting companies much larger than mine, and Jason from TextDrive spent a couple hours raving to me about Solaris. I heard enough that made me consider switching.

I had always considered Solaris to be one of those big million-dollar things like Oracle, so I never even looked its direction. But now it's free, and worth considering.

So - now I've got just a few days to try to learn enough about Solaris to get a public webserver, database-server, and NFS server up and running on it.

Along the way, discovering things I had also previously ignored, like LDAP.

I'm going to use Solaris 11 (still known as Solaris Express or OpenSolaris in March 2006, but soon to be Solaris 11.)

I'll share my Solaris discovery process here, and I'd appreciate any advice that anyone can give.


2006-12-13 08:47:28
Hi, I have one question, I'm interesting in solaris, now I am starting my linux discovery but I am thinking about solaris in feature. My question : what give solaris more than normal linux or for example bsdunix? Im ask because I am interesting in those systems, I hope You will anwser at my question (sorry for my language but I live in Poland and I am lerning english only for 5 years) write me anwser at tfosilub@gmail.com if you can ofcourse :) bye bye
2006-12-15 21:43:57
All these Operating Systems are good, many for different uses. I work in a Solaris environment with a large Telco for my Job. I can comfortably say its the operating system of choice in the Telco world. Its absolutely more advanced than most others, some of the systems it can run on other operating systems would stand a chance. Such as the 25k's which carry up to 70 something system boards (4 CPU's on each) and up to around 600 Gb of RAM. Solaris handles this comfortably, and performs very well.
While this is the case Linux still performs better in specific parts of its Kernel, I have heard that Sun are reverse engineering parts of the Linux kernel for this exact reason.

Derek as for you, I would suggest starting with a more stable release for something such as a website. Most production environements I know of chose OS's that have been available for a reasonable period of time just so every bug is ironed out. Apart from that some recomendations:

T2000 - Excellent Oracle server if you can budget for it. You can run a number of containers within a Solaris 10 environment on this each with Oracle or SAP within them. You did say Database didn't you? I don't know how MySQL and others would run but I would guess very well.

T1000 - Excellent Webserver the T2000's little bro, capable of running huge numbers of light weight processes in parallel just like the T2000. Even better if your going for high availability get two and run Sun Cluster 3 for redundancy and highly load.

fabio miranda
2006-12-21 00:21:12
Try to get a Sun certification to have a clear understanding of Solaris. It's elite man. Try to learn about IPMP or deploy a Sun Java Enterprise system.

I won't use Linux or FreeBSD again. I don't understand how a developer prefer PHP and vi than Struts and netbeans.

They call it "fast programming". A mythical concept of fast delopyment.

If you can't program in Java/JSP/JFS is because you are not trained, you don't have the knowledge, you are just a empirical techinician. That's why alot of people find PHP fun. Because any incompetent 'developer' can master it.

My .99 cents,

Fabio Miranda

2007-03-06 05:31:34
@Fabio Miranda

Sorry to say this but I think you are just a silly fanboy learning his ropes! How on earth can you compare PHP and vi on one side and Struts and netbeans on the other. For starters, Struts is not a programming language but a framework. PHP is a programming Language. vi is a text editor. Do not mistake its advanced features for an IDE. Netbeans is an IDE.

Where is the PHP/Linux/BSD connection? PHP is not related to Linux or BSD. And who said Netbeans doesn't run on Linux? There is also Eclipse to talk about. And talking of Java, you really need some serious education. You should have compared Struts to Ruby on Rails. Both are frameworks though one is outrageously more superior than the other. No price for a guess - Rails.

2007-03-30 11:49:40
If T2000, be sure to goto the e1000g driver (easier to get support).
2007-04-25 20:52:14
Solaris 11 ?? Wow that is cool
Now i am learning Unix Solaris 10 from here http://www.learning-solaris.com
2008-02-08 04:10:15
A bifg multi-million dollar thing makes it one to aoid? What's wrong? Do you have an inferiority complex that forces you to align yourself with unsucessful products?
2008-02-24 17:40:56
Hi, You made the right decision, All you linux guys boasting about how good linux is, well let me tell you a few things why solaris is better for some. The documentation is always up to date, you can get REAL support, not the kind of support Redhat or Suse provides, It's much more mature, it scales better on big machines en when I say big machines I mean big machines not some 8 cpu machine i'm talking about 64 cpu's and more. another small example take the Vserver project, it works like a charm, but to simply get it to run is another big issue, it takes quite some time to get it running, and you need a lot of experience to get it to run at all. zones however are very easy to setup you can have a running zone in less then 15 minutes when starting from scratch. Let's get a few things strait, Linux is a good product and it's getting better with each release, but it still has a long way to go before it's up to Solaris, AIX or even M$ Windows level of maturity.
Messing with your server for Hours to get something running is ok for a home machine, however it's not for an Enterprise machine.
Linux came a long way, but it still has a long way to go.
I've got more then 10 years experience with Unix and almost 14 years in the IT sector in general, i've done amazing things with Linux, FreeBSD and Solaris but on a lot of points Solaris is the clear winner to me (feel free to disagree)


2008-04-29 01:31:14

... that was my experience with Solaris, coming from a BSD, Linux, Minix, AmigaOS background (I was sticking 5.25 floppies into 8086 lab PCs and running Linux rather than DOS far before it was fashionable to hate MS). Here are the two main points:

1. The terms of service for updates/patches to the free version are protected by an odious EULA. Sun demands permission to shoot you in the head at any time for any reason, even for updates to the now "free" version of Solaris. Paraphrasing the saying, no one is free while others are have given up the liberty to not be shot in the head.

2. The manual pages are absurd, apparently comical attempts to meaningless circular boop. Eg:

"The DMI Service Provider, dmispd, is the core of the DMI solution. Management applications and Componetent instrumentations communicate with each other through the Service Provider. The Service Provider coordinates and arbitrates requests from the Management applications to the specified Component implementations. The Service Provider handles runtime management of the Component Interface (CI) and the Management Interface (MI), including component installation, registration at the MI and CI level, request serialization and syncronization, event handling for CI, and general flow control and housekeeping.". End paragraph.

... what... the... hell? LIkewise, the whole system seems very designed by committee, for committee. Sun has the right idea hoping that people start rolling distros out of Solaris.

3. Lots of stupid problems and general badness that Linux would get beaten up over in the lack of polish department.

4. But I do want the stability. Us coming from entirely OSS backgrounds, like those coming from entirely Microsoft backgrounds, really don't understand what "stable" means. Not only should one server not crash and have multiple year uptimes every time it's booted, but *thousands* of servers should. If something can crash the server, it will, paraphrasing Murphy's law.