TECH BRIEF

OpenSolaris updated

New version of the Unix OS features network virtualization, SPARC support

SAN FRANCISCO — Sun Microsystems announced the release of the latest version of the OpenSolaris operating system at the Community One conference held this week.

OpenSolaris is the open-source version of Sun Microsystems' Solaris OS. Sun set up the OpenSolaris project to allow community-driven development of new features, some of which may subsequently be rolled into future versions of the Solaris OS.

The new version of the Unix OS, OpenSolaris 2009.06, comes with a range of new and updated features. Two notable ones are support for the Sun SPARC processor and the inclusion of the Project Crossbow network virtualization technology, noted Harry Foxwell, in an earlier interview with GCN. Foxwell is a senior systems engineer for Sun Federal, as well co-author as the recently published book, Pro OpenSolaris.

Previous versions of OpenSolaris could run only on x86 processors. This is the first version that can be run on the SPARC chips developed by Sun. Project Crossbow adds the ability to configure the network interface card (NIC) from within the virtual machine itself.

"In most virtual implementations, you are sharing a NIC [with other virtual machines]. The virtual machines don't have the privilege to configure their own networks. They have to have to administrator [with root access to the physical server] to do the network admin on behalf of the network machine," Foxwell said. "But with [Crossbow] network administrator, you assign a virtual NIC to a virtual machine and then the administrator of the virtual machine could do all the normal things is if you had the access to the hardware network interface card."

Other new features added include support of Sun ZFS for solid-state flash drives and native support for Microsoft's Common Internet File System.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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