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Introduction to Oracle® Solaris Zones

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Updated: October 2017

About Oracle Solaris Zones in This Release

This section lists changes in Oracle Solaris Zones features, including Oracle Solaris Kernel Zones, for this release.

The default non-global zone in this release is solaris, described in this guide and in the solaris (5) man page.

To verify the Oracle Solaris release and the physical machine architecture, type:

$ uname -r -m

    The virtinfo command described in the virtinfo(1M) man page is used to obtain the following information:

  • Determine system support for Oracle Solaris virtualization technologies

  • Detect the type of virtual environment Oracle Solaris is running in, such as Oracle VM Server for SPARC

The solaris zone uses the branded zones framework described in About the Branded Zones Framework and in the brands(5) man page to run zones installed with the same software that is installed in the global zone. The system software must always be in sync with the global zone when using a solaris brand non-global zone. The system software packages within the zone are managed using the Image Packaging System (IPS). IPS is the packaging system on the Oracle Solaris 11 release, and solaris zones use this model.

Default ipkg zones created on the Oracle Solaris 11 Express release will be mapped to solaris zones. See About Converting ipkg Zones to solaris Zones.

Each non-global zone specified in the Automated Install (AI) manifest is installed and configured as part of a client installation. Non-global zones are installed and configured on the first reboot after the global zone is installed. When the system first boots, the zones self-assembly SMF service, svc:/system/zones-install:default, configures and installs each non-global zone defined in the global zone AI manifest. See Adding and Updating Software in Oracle Solaris 11.3 for more information. It is also possible to manually configure and install zones on an installed Oracle Solaris system.

For package updates, persistent proxies should be set in an image by using the --proxy option. If a persistent image proxy configuration is not used, http_proxy and https_proxy environment variables can be set.

Zones can be configured to be updated in parallel instead of serially. The parallel update provides a significant improvement in the time required to update all the zones on a system.

By default, zones are created with the exclusive-IP type. Through the anet resource, a VNIC is automatically included in the zone configuration if networking configuration is not specified. For more information, see Zone Network Interfaces in Oracle Solaris Zones Configuration Resources.

For information on the auto-mac-address used to obtain a mac-address for a zone, see the entry anet in Resource Type Properties in Oracle Solaris Zones Configuration Resources.

A solaris zone on shared storage has a zonecfg rootzpool resource. A zone is encapsulated into a dedicated zpool. Zones on shared storage access and manage shared storage resources for zones. Kernel zones do not have zpool or rootzpool resources.

    A solaris brand zone can use the following shared storage for zone device resources, and for zpool and rootzpool resources.

  • iSCSI

  • FC LUNs

  • DAS

Properties used to specify IP over InfiniBand (IPoIB) datalinks are available for the zonecfg anet resource. IPoIB is supported for solaris and solaris10 brand zones.

The Reliable Datagram Sockets (RDS) IPC protocol is supported in both exclusive-IP and shared-IP non-global zones.

The fsstat utility has been extended to support zones. The fsstat utility provides per-zone and aggregate statistics.

solaris zones can be NFS servers, as described in the section Running an NFS Server in a Zone in Creating and Using Oracle Solaris Zones.

Trial-run, also called dry-run, zoneadm attach –n, provides zonecfg validation, but does not perform package contents validation.

All zoneadm options that take files as arguments require absolute paths.

Oracle Solaris 10 Zones provide an Oracle Solaris 10 environment on Oracle Solaris 11. You can migrate an Oracle Solaris 10 system or zone into a solaris10 zone on an Oracle Solaris 11 system. See Creating and Using Oracle Solaris 10 Zones.

The zonep2vchk tool identifies issues, including networking issues, that could affect the migration of an Oracle Solaris 11 system or an Oracle Solaris 10 system into a zone on a system running the Oracle Solaris 11 release. The zonep2vchk tool is executed on the source system before migration begins. The tool also outputs a zonecfg script for use on the target system. The script creates a zone that matches the source system's configuration. For more information, see Chapter 7, Migrating and Converting Oracle Solaris Zones in Creating and Using Oracle Solaris Zones.

    The following differences between solaris zones on the Oracle Solaris 11 release and native zones on the Oracle Solaris 10 release should be noted:

  • The solaris brand is created on Oracle Solaris 11 systems instead of the native brand, which is the default on Oracle Solaris 10 systems.

  • solaris zones are whole-root type only.

    The sparse root type of native zone available on Oracle Solaris 10 uses the SVR4 package management system, and IPS does not use this system. A read-only root zone configuration that is similar to the sparse root type is available.

  • Zones in this release have software management related functionality that is different from the Oracle Solaris 10 release in these areas:

    • IPS versus SVR4 packaging.

    • Install, detach, attach, and physical to virtual capability.

    • The non-global zone root is a ZFS dataset.

      A package installed in the global zone is no longer installed into all current and future zones. In general, the global zone's package contents no longer dictate each zone's package contents, for both IPS and SVR4 packaging.

  • Non-global zones use boot environments. Zones are integrated with beadm, the user interface command for managing ZFS Boot Environments (BEs).

    The beadm command is supported inside zones for pkg update, just as in the global zone. The beadm command can delete any inactive zones BE associated with the zone. See the beadm(1M) man page.

  • All enabled IPS package repositories must be accessible while installing a zone. See How to Install a Configured Zone in Creating and Using Oracle Solaris Zones for more information.

  • Zone software is minimized to start. Any additional packages the zone requires must be added. See Adding and Updating Software in Oracle Solaris 11.3 for more information.

    Zones can use Oracle Solaris products and features such as the following:

  • Oracle Solaris ZFS encryption

  • Network virtualization and QoS

  • CIFS and NFS

    The following functions cannot be configured in a solaris branded zone:

  • DHCP address assignment in a shared-IP zone

  • ndmpd

  • SMB server

  • SSL proxy server

  • FC services

  • FCoE services

  • iSCSI services

  • ZFS pool administration through zpool commands cannot be used

    The following functions cannot be configured in a solaris-kz brand zone:

  • FC services

  • FCoE services

Zones Support in This Release

Non-global solaris and solaris10 brand zones running within a single host global zone are supported on all architectures that are defined as supported platforms for the Oracle Solaris 11.3 release. See the Oracle Solaris Hardware Compatibility List (HCL).

For information about Oracle Solaris Kernel Zones physical machine support and system requirements, see Hardware and Software Requirements for Oracle Solaris Kernel Zones in Creating and Using Oracle Solaris Kernel Zones.

About Converting ipkg Zones to solaris Zones

To support Oracle Solaris 11 Express release customers, any zone configured as an ipkg zone is converted to a solaris zone and reported as solaris upon pkg update or zoneadm attach to Oracle Solaris 11.3. The ipkg name will be mapped to the solaris name if used when configuring zones. Import of a zonecfg file exported from an Oracle Solaris 11 Express system will be supported.

The output of commands such as zonecfg info or zoneadm list –v displays a brand of solaris for default native zones on an Oracle Solaris 11.3 system.