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Creating and Using Oracle® Solaris Kernel Zones

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Updated: December 2018

Hardware and Software Requirements for Oracle Solaris Kernel Zones

Note -  To use the latest features in kernel zones, such as live migration, you must be running at least Oracle Solaris 11.3 on your host operating system.

The physical machine must meet the following requirements.

SPARC based systems:

  • A SPARC T4 series server with at least System Firmware 8.8.

  • A SPARC T5, SPARC M5, or SPARC M6 series server with at least System Firmware 9.5.

  • A SPARC T7 or SPARC M7 series server. All firmware versions are supported.

  • To run kernel zones, a Fujitsu M10 or SPARC M10 server with at least XCP Firmware 2230. To use the kernel zones live migration feature on Fujitsu M10 systems, follow the firmware requirements in Fujitsu M10 Systems Product Notes.

  • A Fujitsu SPARC M12 server. All firmware versions are supported.

See the web page Firmware Downloads and Release History for Oracle Systems (https://www.oracle.com/technetwork/systems/patches/firmware/release-history-jsp-138416.html) for information about downloading the latest system firmware.

x86 based systems:

  • Intel-based systems must have Nehalem or later processors

  • AMD-based systems must have Barcelona or later processors

  • BIOS must enable the following features:

    • CPU virtualization (for example, VT-x)

    • Extended/Nested Page Table support, also referred to as EPT, NPT, or Rapid Virtualization Indexing (RVI )

    • No-eXecute support, also referred to as NX, XD, No-Execute Memory Protection, No Execute Mode Mem Protection, Execute Disable, or Execute Bit Support

SPARC and x86 based systems require the following:

Kernel zones can be installed using any of the following:

  • The global zone's publishers and a default AI manifest

  • A custom AI manifest

  • An ISO image of Oracle Solaris installation media

  • A Unified Archive

The default AI manifest, /usr/share/auto_install/manifest/default.xml, and the global zone's pkg publishers are used to perform the installation unless the –a, –b, or –m options are specified. The supported installers are the text installer and the automated installer. This allows any supported Oracle Solaris version to be installed. Oracle Solaris 11.2 is the first version of Oracle Solaris supported in a kernel zone.

Oracle Solaris Kernel Zones can run in guests on Oracle VM Server for SPARC (previously called Sun Logical Domains). Each Oracle VM Server for SPARC domain has an independent limit for the number of kernel zones that you can run. The limit is 768 for SPARC T4 or SPARC T5 systems, 512 for SPARC M5 or SPARC M6 systems, and 256 for Fujitsu M10 systems.

Kernel zones cannot run in Oracle VM Server for x86 guests or on Oracle VM VirtualBox.

Note -  On SPARC based systems, a running kernel zone within an Oracle VM Server for SPARC domain will block Oracle VM Server for SPARC live migration of the guest domain. Refer to the Oracle Solaris 11.3 release notes for further information.

Kernel zone live migration on SPARC based systems has additional software and firmware requirements. See Live Migration Requirements.

Note -  Although you can run different zone brands on a system, when you run kernel zones, reserve the kernel zone host for running zones and avoid running applications in the global zone.