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Introduction to Oracle® Solaris 11.4 Virtual Environments

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Updated: August 2018

Oracle VM Server for SPARC Overview

Oracle VM Server for SPARC (formerly Sun Logical Domains) is the SPARC hypervisor virtualization solution for simultaneously running multiple operating system instances on a single physical domain. A physical domain is the scope of resources that are managed by a single Oracle VM Server for SPARC instance. A physical domain might be a complete physical system as is the case of supported SPARC T-Series platforms. Or, it might be either the entire system or a subset of the system as is the case of supported SPARC M-Series platforms or supported Fujitsu SPARC M12 or Fujitsu M10 systems.

Using the Oracle VM Server for SPARC software on Oracle SPARC platforms, you can create up to 128 virtual servers, called logical domains, on a single physical domain. This kind of configuration enables you to take advantage of the massive thread scale offered by SPARC T-Series and SPARC M-Series servers and the Oracle Solaris operating system. You can also use operating system-level virtualization features, such as zones, with Oracle VM Server for SPARC.

    Each logical domain has its own operating system and identity within a single physical domain, and comprises a discrete logical grouping of resources, such as:

  • Kernel, patches, and tuning parameters

  • User accounts and administrators

  • Disks

  • Network interfaces, MAC addresses, and IP addresses

  • PCIe slots, buses, and end-point devices

  • PCIe SR-IOV physical functions and virtual functions

You can create, destroy, stop, start, reboot, and live migrate each domain independently of one another without requiring a power cycle or reboot of the server or domain. You can also reconfigure resources such as CPUs or memory on domains in this way.

You can run a variety of application software in different domains and keep them independent for performance and security purposes. Each domain is only permitted to monitor and interact with those server resources that are made available to it by the hypervisor. The Logical Domains Manager enables you to create virtual machines and assign hardware resources to them. The Logical Domains Manager runs in the control domain. The hypervisor partitions the server and provides subsets of server resources to each independent virtual machine. This partitioning and provisioning is the fundamental mechanism for creating logical domains.

The hypervisor software also provides logical domain channels (LDCs) that enable logical domains to communicate with each other. Oracle VM Server for SPARC uses LDCs to off-load I/O handling for guest virtual machines to Oracle Solaris service domains, which provide virtual network and disk device services. These service domains leverage the Oracle Solaris features for performance and availability to provide virtual I/O, and make it possible to use a small, efficient hypervisor kernel compared to monolithic designs. You can configure more than one service domain to eliminate single points of failure and to provide high availability. For information about the domain roles, see Roles for Domains in Oracle VM Server for SPARC 3.3 Administration Guide.

The service processor (SP), also known as the system controller (SC), monitors and runs the physical machine, but it does not manage the logical domains. The Logical Domains Manager manages the logical domains. In addition, you can use the browser-based Oracle VM Manager or Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center to provision and manage virtual environments, physical server pools, and storage and network resources on x86 and SPARC platforms.

For more information about Logical Domains Manager and Oracle VM Server for SPARC, see the Oracle VM Server for SPARC documentation (https://www.oracle.com/technetwork/documentation/vm-sparc-194287.html). For information about Oracle VM Manager, see the Oracle VM Documentation (https://www.oracle.com/technetwork/documentation/vm-096300.html). For information about Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center, see https://www.oracle.com/technetwork/oem/ops-center/index.html.