This system resources enhancement is new in the Solaris Express 12/06 release.
The process count scalability feature improves the process count scalability of the Solaris OS. Currently, all UltraSPARC systems support a maximum of 8192 contexts. When the number of processes exceeds 8192, then the kernel steals contexts to keep the processes running. Stealing a context from a process involves the following tasks:
Cross-calling all CPUs that the process ran on
Invalidating the context for CPUs that are running threads of the process
Flushing the context from the TLBs of all CPUs that are running threads of the process
This procedure is very expensive and gets worse as the number of processes rise beyond 8K. The process count scalability feature completely redesigns context management. The contexts are managed on a per-MMU basis rather than a global basis which enables efficient TLB flushing and greatly improves the scalability of context management.
The process count scalability feature also improves throughput on workloads that consist of more than 8K active processes, or create and destroy processes at a high rate, and is most beneficial on systems with many CPUs.