Sun Java System Reference Configuration Series: Portal Service on Application Server Cluster

Solaris Zones

The Solaris 10 OS provides the Solaris Zones facility, which allows application components to be isolated from one another, even though the zones share a single instance of the operating system. From an application perspective, a zone is a fully functional Solaris OS environment. Multiple zones can be created on a single computer system, each zone serving its own set of applications. Detailed information about the use and features that are provided by Solaris zones can be found in the Solaris OS documentation.

It is possible to replace each of the computers in the portal service reference configuration's deployment architecture with a dedicated zone. The installation and configuration steps in this document would apply to a deployment in Solaris non-global zones. The installation of Java ES components in Solaris zones (whole root or sparse) is supported with certain restrictions as described in the Java Enterprise 5 Update 1 documentation.Appendix A, Java ES and Solaris 10 Zones, in Sun Java Enterprise System 5 Installation Planning Guide

One reason to use Solaris zones is for improved security. A non-global zone can be used to run applications (for example, Directory Server, Access Manager, Portal Server, and so forth), while the administration and monitoring can be done from the global zone. A non-global zone cannot access resources in the global zone. So the management and monitoring applications installed in the global zone will not be visible and will not interfere with the applications installed in the non-global zones.

Another reason to use Solaris zones is for better resource utilization. The portal service reference configuration uses a modularized deployment architecture that is based on a number of dedicated computers. This approach improves the manageability, scalability, and availability of the reference configuration. Using zones, it is possible to install multiple modules on the same computer and still achieve the reference configuration quality-of-service goals. For example, it is possible to install directory, Access Manager, and portal service modules on a single computer, with each using a dedicated Solaris zone. You need to size the individual systems properly, so the memory, disk, and processing power of each component is considered in sizing the whole computer. Solaris Resource Management can be used in conjunction with Solaris zones. The benefit of this approach is that resources (memory, CPU cycles) can be dynamically allocated for each zone, providing a better overall resource utilization.

Beyond this general explanation, this guide does not provide procedures for implementing the reference configuration in Solaris zones. The procedures are very similar, except that the zones need to be configured and networked before you install any of the Java ES components.