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|Resource Management and Oracle Solaris Zones Developer's Guide Oracle Solaris 11 Information Library|
A zone is a virtualized operating system environment that is created within a single instance of the Oracle Solaris operating system. Oracle Solaris Zones are a partitioning technology that provides an isolated, secure environment for applications. 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 a process that is running in one zone from monitoring or affecting processes that are running in other zones. Even a process running with root 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 the zone is deployed. Examples of these attributes include physical device paths and network interface names. The default non-global zone brand in the Oracle Solaris 11 release is the solariszone.
By default, all systems have a global zone. The global zone has a global view of the Oracle Solaris environment that is similar to the superuser (root) model. All other zones are referred to as non-global zones. A non-global zone is analogous to an unprivileged user in the superuser model. Processes in non-global zones can control only the processes and files within that zone. Typically, system administration work is mainly performed in the global zone. In rare cases where a system administrator needs to be isolated, privileged applications can be used in a non-global zone. In general, though, resource management activities take place in the global zone.
For additional isolation, solaris zones with a read-only root can be configured. See Chapter 27, Configuring and Administering Immutable Zones, in Oracle Solaris Administration: Oracle Solaris Zones, Oracle Solaris 10 Zones, and Resource Management.
For more information on solaris zones, see Part II, Oracle Solaris Zones, in Oracle Solaris Administration: Oracle Solaris Zones, Oracle Solaris 10 Zones, and Resource Management.