Learning Solaris 11: first impressions

One of my new job responsibility is to administer a couple of Solaris 11 servers. Although I’ve used Solaris 10 in the past, unlike Linux and with FreeBSD to a certain point, my Solaris skills are not as strong as I would want them to be. After all, I’m a Linux sysadmin and not a full-fledged UNIX systems administrator. I’m not a Hawaiian shirt, facial haired fashioned 30-60 year old (at least for now), but I digress. Like with other technologies that I’ve learned and mastered, I decided to buy a book on Solaris as a starting point to start using and learning Solaris 11.


I’ve downloaded the x86 text install from Oracle’s website (585 MB), and installed it using VirtualBox. The installer is dead simple, and less than 20 minutes I had my first full Solaris 11 VirtualBox instance up and running.


Solaris 11 manages its service/daemons on a well structured matter using the Service Management Facility (SMF). I really like how the SMF works, essentially all services can be created, monitored, and managed on a unified way. I kind of see it as chkconfig or update-rc.d done right.


As far as its package manager, Solaris 11 uses the Image Packaging System. Like with yum and apt-get, pkg in Solaris does pretty much the same thing of installing, updating, searching and removing system packages. Off the bat, this is probably one of the weakest things in Solaris. From what I can tell the only major community repository is the one by the http://openindiana.org/ folks.


Immediate things I liked:
GNU Bourne-Again SHell is the default shell
vim installed by default.

Immediate things I didn’t liked.
The Solaris grep utility does not support recursive searching. Seriously, WTF! Yet, Oracle claims Solaris is the best enterprise operating system, this reminds me much like how Apple claims OS X is the most advance operating system in the world. I’m getting off topic here so whatever, lucky I can mimic a recursive grep search using the following technique: ` find . | xargs grep ‘your search string here’


I already know basic ZFS sysadmin stuff, but I still haven’t gotten into ZFS in depth, so I can’t really write much about it, other that what I already know, which is that ZFS is a kick ass file system, light years ahead of ext4, and maybe btrfs its closest competitor.

Oracle Solaris 11 System Administration The Complete Reference

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