Solaris Guests on VMware ESXI – Industry’s Best Practice

VMware Solaris guest Industry's best practices
VMware Solaris guest Industry’s best practices

VMware ESXi servers transform datacenters into scalable and aggregated infrastructure along with vCenter Server. VMware provides platform to use the various services on single physical node.For an example,We can have different Linux flavours,Solaris x86 and windows operating systems on same box as virtual guests using VMware vSphere . As we all know Oracle SUN SPARC hardware is too costly and can’t be affordable for many smaller clients. But still they may need to use the Oracle solaris operating system for the application needs and performance. To meet the customers requirement , oracle/sun has released the x86 version of oracle solaris from solaris 10 onwards. Since everybody behind the hardware consolidation , Solaris x86 version is mostly utilized on VMware ESXi as virtual guests.

We can easily deploy the Oracle Solaris operating on VMware ESXi servers  as virtual guest. But you need to be very careful with system configuration and volume manager selection on  guest OS.

Solaris Guest Minimum/Recommended configuration:

  • Vcpu – 1
  • Memory – 2GB (Only for OS)
  • Network adapter- 1 (Networking)
  • Virtual Hard Disk – 20GB (For root)

The above mentioned configurations are only for operating system use and administration. If you are going to deploy the larger application,you may need to increase the memory and vcpu according to that. You may also need to add additional virtual harddisk for application use.

Volume Manager Selection on Solaris : 

In my current environment, we have faced the lot of issue with Solaris volume manager (SVM) where the  operating system is running on VMware ESXi .So we have moved from SVM to Disk Slice method or ZFS for those solaris guests.

  1. Do not use SVM on Solaris VMware Guests.
  2. Use the Disk slice for root (Guest memory is less than 2GB and Filesystem is UFS)
  3. Use ZFS for root and application (If the Guest memory is more than 2GB)

Solaris Operating system – OS patching :

Unix system administrators need to patch the solaris guests periodically. When you are planning for OS patching ,you should have proper rollback mechanism to bring the OS back to older patchlevel if there is any issue with new patches.

Method:1 (Only for ZFS filesystem)

If the solaris guest OS’s root filesystem is ZFS , then you can use liveupgrade for OS patching .You can easily rollback the change by just activating the old boot environment.

Method:2 (VMware Snapshot  – UFS & ZFS filesystems)

Prior to the OS patching , Request VMware team to take the snapshot of the guest OS . If there is any issue with new patches , you can VMware team restore the snapshot which they took just prior to the OS patching.

Filesystem Expansion os Solaris Guests:

Its better to add a new virtual disk instead of adding space on the existing virtual  disks for additional storage. Dynamic LUN expansion is supported only of ZFS .

Hope this article will help you to design and implement the solaris guest on VMware vSphere Environment.

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One comment

  1. Yes, this articular help to start planning the Solaris guest deployment . Also i have following question can any one help out

    Vmtool is mandatory for solaris guest?
    How the vCPU need to be calculate, when we migrate SUN Fire X4470 M2 server zones to Solaris guest.
    Which memory type is recommended for Solaris guest.
    Which virtualization technical best suite for Solaris guest. ( para or full virtualization)
    Disk I/O performance factor for Solaris guest.