The Solaris Zones partitioning technology is used to virtualize operating system services and provide an isolated and secure environment for running applications. A zone is a virtualized operating system environment created within a single instance of the Solaris Operating System. When you create a zone, you produce an application execution environment in which processes are isolated from the rest of the system. This isolation prevents processes that are running in one zone from monitoring or affecting processes that are running in other zones. Even a process running with superuser credentials cannot view or affect activity in other zones.
A zone also provides an abstract layer that separates applications from the physical attributes of the machine on which they are deployed. Examples of these attributes include physical device paths.
Zones can be used on any machine that is running the Solaris 10 or later Solaris release. The upper limit for the number of zones on a system is 8192. The number of zones that can be effectively hosted on a single system is determined by the total resource requirements of the application software running in all of the zones.
Sparse root zones are native branded zones. The sparse root zone model optimizes the sharing of objects. Note that some brands, especially the ipkg brand, do not support the sparse root model.
The whole root zone model provides the maximum configurability.
These concepts are discussed in Chapter 17, Planning and Configuring Non-Global Zones (Tasks).