A Solaris 9 brand­ed zone on Solaris 10

Last week we installed a Solaris 9 brand­ed zone. It is easy to do it, but in the end we rec­om­mend­ed to our client to use a real machine with a native Solaris 9 instal­la­tion. There is too much bro­ken:

  • Start scripts (like the one for cron) use the -P 1 option to pkill. This means only kill if the par­ent PID is 1. In a zone this is not valid, and as such cron (and oth­er dae­mons) do not get stopped, respec­tive­ly a check if it is already run­ning at the start fails and cron can be start­ed mul­ti­ple times. There are already some patch­es which get auto­mat­i­cal­ly deployed dur­ing the first boot of the Solaris 9 brand­ed zone, but there are still sev­er­al easy to detect bugs around.
  • SNMP does not work out of the box. A col­league tried to get it run­ning, but he failed. Googling for the error mes­sage shows two hits. One hit is a link to the source, and anoth­er one is a report of a per­son which has the same prob­lem. MAybe we could get net-snmp up and run­ning, but we did­n’t test this, as we want to have our Solaris 9 sys­tems sim­i­lar (few­er changes and spe­cial cas­es for cfengine… it is already not easy to under­stand for some col­leagues as it is).
  • There is no doc­u­men­ta­tion how to han­dle the first set­up auto­mat­i­cal­ly. We think we can han­dle it by extract­ing all files from the Solaris 9 flar we down­loaded from Ora­cle for this instal­la­tion, mod­i­fy­ing the con­tents (e.g. adding a sysid.cfg), and cre­at­ing a flar again. We did not try to do it.

All this we detect­ed in less than half a day of the first play­ing around with it. To us Solaris 9 brand­ed zones are more like alpha or beta qual­i­ty fea­tures. We gave the rec­om­men­da­tion to our boss to tell the client that we do not think this is a pro­duc­tion ready fea­ture, and if the client insists on using a Solaris 9 brand­ed zone we can not real­ly accept to han­dle it with­in the nor­mal SLA.

So far we did not report any of the above prob­lems to Ora­cle. Those prob­lems are direct­ly vis­i­ble if you try to inte­grate a Solaris 9 brand­ed zone into a good enter­prise class envi­ron­ment, so it looks to me as there is no real pro­duc­tion qual­i­ty test­ing done on the side of Ora­cle. To me this means there is no real com­mer­cial inter­est. It also means that there are prob­a­bly a lot of uncov­ered prob­lems, which is a night­mare to han­dle in a pro­duc­tion envi­ron­ment.

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