Having just shipped Version 9 of Solaris in May, company officials touted features in the newly released OS. The next major release of the OS, Solaris 10, is expected in 2004 or 2005.
"What it's about is being able to manage more systems with fewer resources," said Bill Moffitt, Sun product line manager for the Solaris operating environment.
He added that emphasis will be on continuing to push the envelope in performance, boosting manageability and driving the OS to support deployment of massive numbers of systems without requiring additional personnel to administer them.
Reliability and security improvements also are anticipated.
Sun officials stressed that Solaris 9 is faster and more secure than before. "We're talking about more than an operating environment, we're talking about a services platform," said Sun's Larry Wake, product line manager for Solaris Software. The OS also will feature a bundled version of the Sun ONE Application Server 7 Platform Edition later this year.
Sun officials on Friday talked further about incremental improvements planned for the OS that will arrive before Solaris 10 and be included in that release as well.
One feature planned for early next year, called Secure WAN boot, will provide the ability to trigger an upgrade on a system remotely, via the Internet. Solaris this year also will be fitted with a capability called IPQoS, which will enable bandwidth management improvements to create virtual pipes within a network space. For example, an administrator could designate 80% of a system for e-mail services and 20% for Web services, according to Sun.
A feature called Physical Memory Control, planned for next year, will enable allocation of physical memory to specific applications.
Memory Placement Optimisation, due by the end of this year, will place memory as close to the affected processor as possible, within the operating environment. This is significant for high-end machines such as the Sun Fire 6800 server, according to Wake. "The idea is the closer the memory is to the CPU, the faster things run," Wake said.
A simplified container GUI is planned for a year out to boost management of Solaris containers, which are virtual servers that run inside Solaris to subdivide the OS for application processing.
A feature planned for Solaris 9 called install time hardening will enable the removal of traditional OS utilities that are not necessary to run a business, such as ftp, telnet, and sendmail.
Sun also plans to make the Solaris security toolkit part of the operating environment. It is a separate download today. Also in the area of security, Sun plans to add MIT resync, for distributed Kerberos key management, to Solaris 9 by the end of 2002.
Moffitt said Sun could not track the pace of upgrades to Solaris 9, but that the previous release, Solaris 8, is still the predominant version in the field. Sun expects Solaris 9 to displace it during the next two years, he said.