Solaris 10 vs. Solaris 11

What's the Difference?

Solaris 10 and Solaris 11 are both operating systems developed by Oracle Corporation. However, there are several key differences between the two versions. Solaris 10, released in 2005, was known for its stability and reliability. It introduced features like ZFS file system, DTrace, and Containers. On the other hand, Solaris 11, released in 2011, focused on cloud computing and virtualization. It introduced improvements in scalability, security, and performance. Solaris 11 also included features like Unified Archives, Image Packaging System, and Kernel Zones. Overall, Solaris 11 built upon the foundation of Solaris 10 and provided enhanced capabilities for modern computing environments.


AttributeSolaris 10Solaris 11
Operating SystemSolaris 10Solaris 11
Release DateJanuary 2005November 2011
Kernel VersionSolaris 10 KernelSolaris 11 Kernel
Supported ArchitecturesSparc, x86Sparc, x86
VirtualizationSolaris Containers, Logical DomainsOracle VM Server for SPARC, Oracle VM VirtualBox
Package ManagementSVR4, IPSIPS
NetworkingIPMP, DTrace, CrossbowIPMP, DTrace, Crossbow
SecurityRBAC, Trusted ExtensionsRBAC, Trusted Extensions

Further Detail


Solaris, developed by Sun Microsystems, is a Unix-based operating system known for its scalability, reliability, and security. Solaris 10 and Solaris 11 are two major releases of this operating system, each with its own set of features and improvements. In this article, we will compare the attributes of Solaris 10 and Solaris 11, highlighting the advancements and enhancements introduced in the latter version.

Installation and Packaging

Solaris 10 introduced the Solaris Installation Program (SI) which provided a graphical interface for installation, making it more user-friendly. However, Solaris 11 took this a step further with the introduction of the Automated Installer (AI). AI allows for fully automated installations, reducing the need for manual intervention. Additionally, Solaris 11 introduced the Image Packaging System (IPS) which replaced the traditional SVR4 packaging system used in Solaris 10. IPS provides better package management, dependency tracking, and allows for easier software updates and installations.


Solaris 10 introduced the concept of Solaris Containers, also known as Zones. Zones provide lightweight virtualization, allowing multiple isolated environments to run on a single instance of Solaris. This feature was further enhanced in Solaris 11 with the introduction of Kernel Zones. Kernel Zones provide even greater isolation by running each zone in its own independent kernel instance, improving security and performance.

In addition to Zones, Solaris 11 introduced support for Oracle VM Server for SPARC, also known as LDoms. LDoms provide hardware virtualization, allowing for the creation of multiple virtual machines on a single physical server. This feature was not available in Solaris 10.


Solaris 10 introduced the Crossbow project, which provided advanced network virtualization capabilities. Crossbow allowed for the creation of virtual network interfaces, enabling better network resource management and improved performance. Solaris 11 built upon this foundation and introduced the concept of Elastic Virtual Switch (EVS). EVS allows for the creation of virtual switches, enabling more flexible and scalable network configurations. Additionally, Solaris 11 introduced support for Data Center Bridging (DCB) and Virtual Network Interface Cards (VNICs), further enhancing network capabilities.

File Systems

Solaris 10 introduced the ZFS file system, a revolutionary file system that provided advanced features such as data integrity, snapshots, and dynamic striping. ZFS was a major leap forward in file system technology. Solaris 11 continued to improve upon ZFS by introducing features like deduplication, encryption, and triple parity RAID-Z3. These enhancements made ZFS even more robust and reliable, making it the default file system in Solaris 11.

In addition to ZFS, Solaris 11 introduced the Unified Archives feature, which allows for the creation of system archives that capture the entire system configuration, including file systems, network configurations, and installed software. This simplifies system recovery and migration processes, providing a more streamlined experience compared to Solaris 10.


Solaris 10 introduced several security features, including Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) and the Solaris Secure Shell (SSH). RBAC allows for fine-grained access control, enabling administrators to define specific roles and assign privileges accordingly. SSH provides secure remote access to Solaris systems. Solaris 11 continued to enhance security by introducing features like Immutable Zones, which prevent unauthorized modifications to zone configurations, and the Solaris Trusted Extensions, which provide multilevel security capabilities.

Furthermore, Solaris 11 introduced the Compliance Framework, which allows for the assessment and enforcement of security policies. This framework simplifies the process of ensuring compliance with industry standards and regulations, providing a more secure environment compared to Solaris 10.

Performance and Scalability

Solaris 10 introduced several performance enhancements, including the Predictive Self-Healing feature, which automatically detects and resolves system faults, improving system availability. Additionally, Solaris 10 introduced the Solaris Dynamic Tracing (DTrace) framework, which allows for real-time performance analysis and troubleshooting.

Solaris 11 built upon these performance improvements by introducing the Kernel Zones feature mentioned earlier, which provides better isolation and performance for virtualized environments. Solaris 11 also introduced the Resource Management Framework (RMF), which allows for fine-grained control over system resources, improving scalability and performance.


Solaris 10 and Solaris 11 are both powerful operating systems with their own unique set of features and improvements. Solaris 11, however, introduced significant advancements in installation and packaging, virtualization, networking, file systems, security, and performance. These enhancements make Solaris 11 a more robust, scalable, and secure operating system compared to its predecessor. Whether you are considering an upgrade or starting fresh, Solaris 11 offers a wealth of features and improvements that can greatly benefit your enterprise.

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