Mark Mulligan wrote:
Hi Community,

I was wondering if any customers had done an evaluation on the administrative time or cost (same thing really) improved by using the efficiencies of Solaris Containers vs. managing individual servers with just one Solaris 10 global zone or one Solaris 8/9 instance. This is a hot topic at one of my customer's site right now where some think that the costs are about the same, i.e., one Solaris Container = one Solaris 8/9 instance or S10 global zone only....taking that further, ten Solaris Containers = cost of managing ten Solaris 8/9 instances or S10 global zones only.

Any thoughts, opinions, studies are appreciated.

Thank you.

We've seen other less obvious benefits as well. As part of the migration from our single app/server model, we've been able to build in much more standardized installs. This standardization has lead to the ability to automate much of the application administration as well, especially in the app/web server space. Since we know we have standard paths, role accounts, and system/zone naming conventions, we can auto-deploy most of our apps, and script the bouncing of applications. Recently we've been able to delegate these tasks to out-sourced test teams, so our environment support team doesn't need to deploy or bounce apps in the middle of the night which was previously delaying testing, and making our support team grumpy as well.

In our integrated environment we have now standardized the set of environments deployed for an application up front. We have production, 4 test/qa, and 2 dev environments. When a new application is being developed, they entire set of environments can be created early in the process. Previously, a team would have to get budget for development environments, then after enough progress was made, justify budged for test and production environments. Sometimes there simply wasn't enough time or budget to acquire all of the equipment to create all of the environments and standards could not be enforced. That no longer happens. And should a project die on the vine, the zones created for it had next to no overhead for us, and can be reaped easily.

While not on the subject of managing zones, we've also found that the cost benefit of zone is much greater than just the savings on the physical server. We did an internal study that showed that the up front cost of the server was really only around 20% of the total cost of running that server in the datacenter over it's life (I'm not sure if they use 3 or 5 years) when cabling, racks, power, cooling... were factored in.

Hope that helps,

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