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What's New in Oracle® Solaris 11.3

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Updated: October 2017

Platform and Performance Enhancements

This section describes the platform and performance enhancements in this release. These features help optimize Oracle Solaris for SPARC and x86 based systems thereby increasing performance, and also provide better diagnosis for your systems.

Optimized Shared Memory V2

Optimized Shared Memory (OSM) V2 brings up the system global area (SGA) of an Oracle Database 12c instance faster. The Oracle Database 12c instance is brought up twice as fast for a small SGA and 6.5 times faster for a large (28TB) SGA. Oracle Database shutdown times have also improved to nearly twice as fast for a small SGA and 6 times faster for large SGA.

Applications that lock down their memory for performance reasons are likely to experience even better start, stop, or restart times with the new OSM. It is an important improvement over earlier shared memory mechanisms like Intimate Shared Memory (ISM) and Dynamic Intimate Shared Memory (DISM).

For more information about the OSM API, see the coreadm(1M), proc(4), and pmap(1) man pages.

Oracle Solaris Kernel Dynamic Trap Trace Administrative Tool

Dynamic kernel-level trap trace enables you to collect information about trap activities on the system with no down time. The trap trace therefore can help reduce the impact down to the minimum level. You can enable and disable tracing dynamically, and configure the trace as needed by using the system administrative tool ttrace. This tool provides the dynamic kernel trap trace on both SPARC and x86 platforms.

For more information, see the ttrace(1M) man page.

Platform Firmware IPS Packages

Platform firmware updates for selected SPARC systems are now available in the Oracle Solaris IPS support repository in addition to the .zip file downloads from My Oracle Support. Installing or updating the firmware package delivers files to /var/firmware/server-typebut does not automatically update the server's firmware. You still need to perform the manual steps as per the instructions in the README file.

To identify the firmware update packages for your platform, use the following command:

# pkg list -af 'firmware/system/*'

You can use the pkg contents and pkg info commands to get more information about the packages for your platform.

For example, the firmware/system/T5-4 group package installs the firmware/system/T5-4/sysfw9-4, firmware/system/T5-4/hbafw, and firmware/system/T5-4/hwprogrammables packages. The pkg info command shows that the firmware/system/T5-4/sysfw9-5 package provides Version 9.5.3 Patch 22270913. You would follow the instructions in /var/firmware/system/T5-4/sysfw9-5/p22270913_953/README.html to install the firmware update. After you install the firmware package, you could use the pkg update command to download newer firmware updates.

For more information about the pkg list, pkg contents, pkg info, pkg install, and pkg update commands, see Adding and Updating Software in Oracle Solaris 11.3. For more information about firmware updates, see Oracle ILOM Feature Updates and Release Notes Firmware Release 3.2.x.

Performance Improvement for High-Resolution Real Time Calculations

The performance of the gethrtime and gettimeofday routines that calculate and report time values has been improved on the SPARC (sun4v) platform. The code of these routines was refactored to be more efficient, boosting the overall calculation performance.

For more information, see the gethrtime(3C) and gettimeofday(3C) man pages.

Updated NVIDIA Drivers

The NVIDIA Graphics legacy driver has now been updated to version 346.35, and supports the newer family of NVIDIA GPUs. Support for older NVIDIA cards is provided by the R340 or R304 legacy drivers.The drivers are available in the repository as driver/graphics/nvidiaR340 and driver/graphics/nvidiaR304 packages.

To install the R340 legacy driver, use the following command:

$ sudo pkg install --reject driver/graphics/nvidia driver/graphics/nvidiaR340 

To install the R304 legacy driver, use the following command:

$ sudo pkg install --reject driver/graphics/nvidia driver/graphics/nvidiaR304

For a complete list of legacy GPU support, see https://www.nvidia.com/object/IO_32667.html. For more information, see the /usr/share/doc/NVIDIA/README.txt file.

Scalable Read/Write Locks

Scalable read/write locks enable much faster acquisition of read/write locks, enhancing the performance of applications especially on larger systems. Modern systems use non-uniform memory access (NUMA) designs, which result in an increasing disparity between the speed of the processors and the speed of the interconnect to other processors.

Application performance is highly dependent on how well the operating system places the application and the data it needs on the same node (same processor or group of processors). The scalable read/write locks project distributes the locks and is NUMA-aware to facilitate placing a requested lock local to the application using it. Ensuring that a request lock is local to the application avoids high-latency internode communication and increases application performance.

For more information, see the pthread_rwlockattr_setpshared(3C) and pthread_rwlock_init(3C) man pages.

Oracle VTS 7.0 Patch Set 19.2

The Oracle Validation Test Suite (Oracle VTS) is a comprehensive hardware diagnostic tool that tests and validates the connectivity and functionality of most controllers and devices on Oracle platforms. The tests are targeted for each hardware component or function in a system. The tool supports three types of user interfaces (UIs): a graphical UI (GUI), a terminal-based UI, and a command-line interface (CLI).

Oracle VTS 7.0 Patch Set 19.2 includes the following significant enhancements to processor, power, disk, and power management diagnostics:

  • Support added for Intel Haswell-EP 18-core CPU

  • ramtest tuned for higher MCU bandwidth and memory power

  • dtlbtest/apat subtest's VA generation logic improved

  • diskmediatest modified to identify NVMe devices and new SAS3 HBAs

  • diskmediatest modified for mixed workload support

  • vtsk modified to dump data of the LT

For more information, see the VTS User Guide.

Deferred Dump

Oracle Solaris 11.3 now supports a deferred dump mechanism for collecting system crash dumps. This process is much faster, preserving the dump in memory until the system has rebooted, and can write the dump to the filesystem, bypassing any disk-based dump device entirely.

For more information, see the dumpadm(1M) man page and Troubleshooting System Administration Issues in Oracle Solaris 11.3.

ZFS Adaptive Replacement Cache and Kernel Cage Reduction

Oracle Solaris 11.3 includes new physical memory allocation mechanisms that benefit applications, especially databases and Java applications, when the system is under memory pressure. The mechanisms enable the kernel to reduce the ZFS ARC and free the kernel pages so that they can be used by other user processes. This enhancement is especially relevant when starting or restarting an application on a system with long uptime.

IOMMU Enhancement

Input output memory management unit (IOMMU) statistics support has been added to the kstat tool to report the following statistics:

  • The number of successful and failed large page allocations

  • The number of DMA mappings existing for supported page sizes such as 4k and 2M

  • The number of IOTLB invalidations

  • The number of bind and unbind DMA operations

  • The amount of time spent on bind and unbind DMA operations

  • The duration of the active large page mappings

  • The comparison between the number of small page (4k) allocations and the use of pre-allocated pages

These statistics help in analyzing performance, determining the impact of DMA operations on the system, and the use of resources. Currently, this enhancement is available on the x86 platform. For more information, see the kstat(1M) man page.