Introduction to Zones : Solaris 10

Solaris Zones

This post covers new feature ZONESintroduced in Solaris 10,  zone is virtualized solaris operating system within Solaris. You can install multiple Solaris Operating System (Multiple Machine) with in Single Big Machine. This will help in consolidating multiple small Solaris machine into one big machine with multiple Solaris operating system each running different application.

Zones: is virtualized operating system created with in single instance of Solaris operating system.

Container : Zone which includes resource management feature is called as container.

Key Points for Solaris 10 Zones

1. Zones can be created on any machine running Solaris 10

2. Maximum number of zones (virtualised solaris o.s.) is 8192

3. Master zone or base operating system is called as Global Zoneand any zone (virtualised Solaris o.s.) created is called as Non-Global zone.

In figure is global zone where as , and are Non-Global zone.

4. Non global zones can only be created, managed, configured or uninstalled from Global zone.
5. Each zone (global & non global) is assigned a name and global zone always has zone name as global. Each zone is also given number ID and for global zone ID/zone number is always 0.

6. Each zone has path to its root directory which is relative to global zone’s root directory.

7. Root File system on non-global zone are of two type : Sparse and Whole root

Whole root file system provide more flexibility where as Sparse root zone model provide maximum configuration.

8. Dynamic resource reallocation permits unused resource to be shifted to other containers (aka zones)

9. Process within same zone can communicate each other but if process in one zone need to communicate with process in other zone, they can do it only by using network APIs.

10. IP networking can be configured with each zone having its own exclusive IP address or can share IP layer configuration and state with global zone (aka shared-IP zone).

11. IP configuration of an exclusive-IP can only be viewed from global zone using zlogin like
zlogin my-zone ifconfig -a

12. You use “zonecfg” command to configure a non-global zone

13. You use “zlogin” to login to a zone from global zone

14. “zoneadm” is used to administer zone including installation, stopping, starting.

15. Parameters changed using zonecfg don’t affect running zone, you have to restart zone using “zoneadm -z zone_name reboot


Zones and Container FAQ

Solaris 10 is free and you can download(X86 or Sparc) or order from here (Opensolaris and Solaris 10 are different, go for Solaris 10 5/08 which means Solaris 10 May 2008 release)

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About the Author Atul Kumar

Oracle ACE, Author, Speaker and Founder of K21 Technologies & K21 Academy : Specialising in Design, Implement, and Trainings.

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Leave a Comment:

SubbaRao says June 21, 2008

Hi Atul,

Nice post.

I heard that, Zones in Solaris looks like similar to vPAR (Virtual Partitioning in HP-UX) and LPAR (Logical Partitioning in IBM-AIX).

Have you experienced these any where?

Can you please share, which one is flexible and powerful?

Thanks and Regards,

Atul says June 21, 2008

To be frank I never heard of vPAR or LPAR and I am trying to get my hands on virtualization feature in solaris 10.

db says January 10, 2011

Hi Atul

How can you tell as a DBA (with no root access) how much cpu, ram etc has been given to the zone you are working in ?


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