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Table of contents
1.
Introduction
2.
What is the Solaris Operating System?
3.
Version History of Solaris OS 
4.
Structure of the Solaris Operating System
5.
Specifications of the Solaris Operating System
5.1.
Scalable Capacity
5.2.
High-Level Security
5.3.
Support for Virtual Machines
5.4.
Customised File System
5.5.
Task Monitoring System
5.6.
Contains Predictive Self-Healing Technology
5.7.
Supports Network Virtualization
5.8.
Have Cross-Environment Compatibility
6.
Applications of the Solaris Operating System
6.1.
Involved in Enterprising Computing
6.2.
Networking Capabilities
6.3.
Storage Environment
6.4.
Support High-Performance Computing
6.5.
Used in Financial Services
6.6.
Used for Telecommunications
7.
Architecture of the Solaris Operating System
8.
System Requirements for Solaris OS 
8.1.
Minimum requirements for Solaris 11
8.2.
Recommended requirements for Solaris 11
9.
Difference between Solaris 11 and Solaris 10
10.
Frequently Asked Questions
10.1.
What are the advantages of Solaris?
10.2.
Is Solaris OS open source?
10.3.
Can Solaris OS run Windows applications?
10.4.
Is Solaris OS still in use? 
11.
Conclusion
Last Updated: Jun 20, 2024
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Solaris OS

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Introduction

As you heard about different Operating Systems used in performing various tasks. Some operating systems are Windows-based, UNIX-based, and some are Linux-based distributions. Solaris OS is a UNIX-based Operating System widely used in data centres and other computing tasks.

In this article, we will discuss Solaris OS. We will also review its Version History, Features, Applications, Architecture and Requirements of the System to support Solaris OS. 

What is the Solaris Operating System?

Solaris operating system is created by Sun Microsystems based on UNIX OS. Solaris, which Oracle eventually purchased. In 1993, Solaris replaced the business's earlier SunOS operating system. Because of its scalability and availability of modern features, Solaris became well-known. Solaris supports Scalable Processor Architecture(SPARC) and x86-64 workstations and servers from Oracle and other vendors.

Oracle stopped supporting and developing OpenSolaris after purchasing Sun Microsystems. In August 2010, Oracle ceased to publicly update the Solaris kernel's source code. Reverting Solaris 11 to a closed-source, proprietary operating system.

Solaris OS has three extensions. Those are as follows -

  • Easy Server was made for running in networks with Windows New Technology (Windows NT) systems.
     
  • Enterprise Server is oriented for business environments. It also supports clustering.
     
  • Internet Service Provider server.
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Version History of Solaris OS 

Below are some of the major versions of Solaris OS over the years -

Version History


Version 1.x: It was released in 1991 and supported until September 2003.  

Version 2.0: It was released in June 1992 and supported until January 1999. It has only Sun 4th Generation(sun4c) architecture.

Version 2.1: It was released in December 1992 and supported until April 1999. It has Sun 4th Generation(sun4 and sun4m) architecture.

Version 2.2: It was released in May 1993 and supported until May 1999. It has Sun 4th Generation(sun4d) architecture. It also supports multithreading libraries.

Version 2.5: It was released in November 1995 and supported until December 2003. It was the first that included Ultra Scalable Processor Architecture(UltraSPARC). It also supports Common Desktop Environment(CDE), Network File System over Transmission Control Protocol(NFS/TCP) and Network File System version 3(NFSv3).

Version 2.5.1: It was released in May 1996 and supported until September 2005. It was the only Solaris OS that supported Performance Optimization With Enhanced RISC Performance Computing(PowerPC). It also included Resource Management Technologies. 

Version 7: It was released in November 1998 and supported until August 2008. It was the first 64-bit Ultra Scalable Processor Architecture(UltraSPARC)-supported Solaris.

Version 8: It was released in February 2000 and supported until March 2012. It was the first version that supported Internet Protocol version 6(IPv6) and Internet Protocol Security(IPsec). It removed Sun 4th Generation(sun4c) support and included Role-Based Access Control(RBAC). 

Version 9: It was released on May 2002 and supported until October 2014. It includes iPlanet Discovery System, Internet Protocol Security(IPsec) keying and Linux compatibility. It removed Sun 4th Generation(sun4d) support.

Version 10: It was released in January 2005 and will support until January 2025. It was introduced with many features. Some of them are x86-64 (AMD64/Intel64) architecture support, Dynamic Tracing(DTrace), and Service Management Facility(SMF). It also supports Sun 4th Generation(sun4m) and Ultra Scalable Processor Architecture I(UltraSPARC I) processors.

Version 11 Express: It was released in November 2010 and supported until November 2011. It has a new packaging system, such as Image Packaging System(IPS) and Zettabyte File System(ZFS). It also supports fast reboot, Zettabyte File System(ZFS) encryption, virtual console and duplication.

Version 11.4: It was released in August 2018 and will support until November 2034. It is the latest version of Solaris released by Oracle. It comes with Open System Adapter 2011(OSA2011) architecture. It includes many features such are Zettabyte File System(ZFS), Solaris Web Dashboard, Native Zones and GNU Network Object Model Environment(GNOME) 3.

Structure of the Solaris Operating System

The structure of the Solaris operating system have:

  • Kernel: The Solaris kernel is the core of the operating system, responsible for managing hardware resources, providing process scheduling, memory management, file system support, and handling I/O operations.
  • Device Drivers: Solaris includes a comprehensive set of device drivers to enable communication between the kernel and various hardware devices. Device drivers are crucial for hardware abstraction and ensuring compatibility.
  • Process Management: Solaris manages processes and threads, providing mechanisms for process creation, scheduling, and termination. It supports multithreading to enhance system performance.
  • Memory Management: The memory management subsystem in Solaris is responsible for managing physical and virtual memory. This includes virtual memory addressing, paging, and swapping to optimize memory usage.
  • File System: Solaris supports various file systems, including UFS (Unix File System) and ZFS (Zettabyte File System). The file system provides a hierarchical structure for organizing and storing data.
  • Networking: Solaris has a robust networking stack that supports various network protocols. It provides facilities for network configuration, socket communication, and network security.
  • User Interface: Solaris typically provides a command-line interface (CLI) as well as a graphical user interface (GUI). The GUI may include a windowing system, such as X Window System, and a desktop environment.
  • System Libraries: Solaris includes a set of system libraries that provide essential functions and services to applications. These libraries offer standardized interfaces for tasks like I/O operations, networking, and memory management.
  • Utilities and Commands: Solaris includes a rich set of command-line utilities and commands for system administration, development, and user interaction. These utilities cover a wide range of tasks, from file manipulation to system monitoring.
  • Security Mechanisms: Solaris incorporates various security mechanisms to protect the system and user data. This includes user authentication, access control, encryption, and auditing features.
  • System Configuration and Administration Tools: Solaris provides tools and utilities for configuring and administering the system. This includes tools for managing users, configuring system parameters, and monitoring system performance.
  • Development Tools: Solaris includes a set of development tools, compilers, and libraries to support software development on the platform.

Specifications of the Solaris Operating System

Below are some of the major specifications of Solaris OS - 

Scalable Capacity

Solaris OS is highly suited for critical operations. Tasks that require a lot of power can be handled by numerous machines at once.

High-Level Security

The security features in Solaris OS are also excellent. Its security features include support for Role-Based Access Controls (RBAC), Mandatory Access Controls (MAC), and cryptographic services. 

Support for Virtual Machines

Virtualization technologies is also supported by Solaris OS. Such are Zones and Logical Domains (LDOMs). It can run multiple virtual instances of the OS on a single hardware device.

Customised File System

Solaris OS has its customised file system known as the ZFS file system. ZFS stands for Zettabyte File System. It is a file system with complex storage management capabilities. Also known for its capacity for data protection, dependability, and scalability.

Task Monitoring System

Solaris OS packs a feature known as Dynamic Tracing or simply DTrace. It is similar to a task manager, as we might have seen in a Windows operating system. It monitors the real-time activity of the system.

Contains Predictive Self-Healing Technology

A unique feature of Solaris OS is predictive self-healing, or simply PSH. It has the ability to recognise potential system problems and malfunctions and take action.

Supports Network Virtualization

The Solaris OS has a feature known as Network Virtualization (NV). This feature enables the operation of several logical networks on a single physical network. It helps in better network resource utilisation. 

Have Cross-Environment Compatibility

Solaris OS supports both the Scalable Processor Architecture(SPARC) and x86-64 architectures. These kinds of features make it easy to run on a variety of hardware. Organisations or enterprises have a high demand for these features. They require high-performance operating systems.

Applications of the Solaris Operating System

Below are some applications of Solaris OS -

Applications

Involved in Enterprising Computing

Solaris is frequently used in enterprise computing. More often in massive data centres and high-performance computing environments. The reason is scalability, security, and the capacity to manage large workloads.

Networking Capabilities

It offers some complex networking capabilities. That includes support for multicast routing, IPsec and IPv6. These are some features of using Solaris in networking environments. It also provides various tools for network and monitoring its networking abilities.

Storage Environment

Solaris is a popular option for storage environments due to several reasons. These include managing large storage arrays and supporting file systems like ZFS. It offers complex data protection and management features.

Support High-Performance Computing

Because of its capacity for handling massive data volumes and complex computations. Solaris is used in various high-performance computing environments. That includes modelling and scientific research. 

Used in Financial Services

Solaris is used in several applications for the financial services industry. That includes trading platforms and risk management systems. It is considered one of the best platforms for these specific needs because of its scalability, reliability, and security features.

Used for Telecommunications

Solaris is utilised in various call centres and mobile network applications. Solaris OS is the best platform for performing such applications. It has the capability to manage massive amounts of data. It also supports advanced networking capabilities.

Architecture of the Solaris Operating System

Solaris' Architecture is based on the System V Release 4 (SVR4) UNIX operating system. Both hardware platforms based on SPARC and x86 are compatible with Solaris. Its modular kernel architecture enables adding or removing kernel components without restarting the system. The kernel ensures memory management, processes, and other system resources like devices.

Solaris OS support Symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) and multithreading. These two features enable Solaris OS to use multiple processors or cores and improve performance and scalability significantly. Advanced system administration options for Solaris include dynamic hardware reconfiguration, fault management, and service management.

In general, Solaris features a modular and scalable design that offers excellent performance, dependability, and security for computing systems at the enterprise level.

System Requirements for Solaris OS 

System Requirements for Solaris OS depend on the hardware and the specific software. Since Solaris OS 11 was the latest release. Below are the minimum and recommended requirements for system hardware:

Minimum requirements for Solaris 11

Processor: Scalable Processor Architecture(SPARC) or x86 processor with at least 1 GHz clock speed.

Memory: 1 GB RAM or more.

Storage: 8 GB of free disk space or more.

Recommended requirements for Solaris 11

Processor: Scalable Processor Architecture(SPARC) or x86 processor with at least 2 GHz clock speed.

Memory: 4 GB RAM or more.

Storage: 20 GB of free disk space or more.

Difference between Solaris 11 and Solaris 10

Below is the comparison between recent versions of Solaris OS -

Parameters

Solaris 11

Solaris 10

VirtualizationHardware-Level Virtualization (VM Server for SPARC).Container-Based Virtualization (Solaris Zones).
Packaging systemImage Packaging System (IPS).SVR4 packaging system.
File systemZettabyte File System(ZFS).Universal Flash Storage(UFS).
NetworkingImproved Virtual Networking and support for the VNIC framework.Virtual Networking, No VNIC framework.
Hardware supportSupport newer hardware platforms and features (Intel Xeon E5, etc.).Limited to older hardware platforms.

Also read - features of operating system

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the advantages of Solaris?

Solaris offers robust scalability, advanced security features, and strong performance for enterprise environments. It provides excellent stability, efficient resource management, and extensive support for virtualization. Solaris also includes powerful tools for system management and boasts a strong track record of reliability and support for large-scale applications.

Is Solaris OS open source?

Not completely. The majority of the operating system is proprietary software. The components that are still open source are features such as the ZFS file system.

Can Solaris OS run Windows applications?

Solaris OS cannot run Windows applications natively, but it is possible to use virtualization or emulation software to run Windows applications on Solaris OS.

Is Solaris OS still in use? 

In recent years, Solaris OS has lost its market share significantly, but Solaris OS continues to be used in some enterprise-level computing environments. Some organisations can prefer to use Solar OS based on their requirement and the capabilities provided by Solaris OS.

Conclusion

In this article, Solaris OS stands out for its robust scalability, advanced security, and reliability, making it a preferred choice for enterprise environments. Its efficient resource management, strong performance, and comprehensive system management tools ensure it remains a powerful platform for large-scale applications and critical workloads.

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