The three types of control mechanisms that are available in the Oracle Solaris operating system are constraints, scheduling, and partitioning.
Constraints allow the administrator or application developer to set bounds on the consumption of specific resources for a workload. With known bounds, modeling resource consumption scenarios becomes a simpler process. Bounds can also be used to control ill-behaved applications that would otherwise compromise system performance or availability through unregulated resource requests.
Constraints do present complications for the application. The relationship between the application and the system can be modified to the point that the application is no longer able to function. One approach that can mitigate this risk is to gradually narrow the constraints on applications with unknown resource behavior. The resource controls discussed in Chapter 6, About Resource Controls provide a constraint mechanism. Newer applications can be written to be aware of their resource constraints, but not all application writers will choose to do this.
Scheduling refers to making a sequence of allocation decisions at specific intervals. The decision that is made is based on a predictable algorithm. An application that does not need its current allocation leaves the resource available for another application's use. Scheduling-based resource management enables full utilization of an undercommitted configuration, while providing controlled allocations in a critically committed or overcommitted scenario. The underlying algorithm defines how the term “controlled” is interpreted. In some instances, the scheduling algorithm might guarantee that all applications have some access to the resource. The fair share scheduler (FSS) described in Chapter 8, About Fair Share Scheduler manages application access to CPU resources in a controlled way.
Partitioning is used to bind a workload to a subset of the system's available resources. This binding guarantees that a known amount of resources is always available to the workload. The resource pools functionality that is described in Chapter 12, About Resource Pools enables you to limit workloads to specific subsets of the machine.
Configurations that use partitioning can avoid system-wide overcommitment. However, in avoiding this overcommitment, the ability to achieve high utilizations can be reduced. A reserved group of resources, such as processors, is not available for use by another workload when the workload bound to them is idle.