Learning Solaris

I’ve targeted Solaris (specifically, Solaris 10 on x86) as the next major technology that I’m going to try to learn.  I’ve always been fascinated with UNIX and UNIX-like operating systems such as Linux, and Linux’s popularity on the x86 platform made it much easier to learn because I didn’t have to acquire any exotic hardware.  With Sun’s (apparent) renewed interest in x86/x64, Solaris is much more accessible now than it was in the past.

Obviously, I’m not a complete newbie to the Solaris environment, having written a couple articles on Solaris-AD integration (the latest being found here).  However, I don’t feel like I have a solid understanding of the operating system and its architecture, and I’d feel much more comfortable with that information under my belt.  At some point, the IT industry being what it is, I’ll need to seek some sort of Solaris certification, but that’s not my primary goal.  Understanding the product itself is my primary goal; certification will merely be a side effect.

Here’s what I’ve done so far:

  • I’ve created a Solaris 10 (32 bit) virtual machine on my VMware ESX Server farm; that’s been the system I’ve used mostly for testing the Active Directory integration instructions.  I’ve also done some work with the automounter (automounting home directories via NFS).
  • I’ve also just recently gotten a Solaris 10 (64 bit) VM running under VMware Fusion on my MacBook Pro; I’ll use that system for more day-to-day operational tasks and getting used to the interface.
  • I have a group of Solaris- and UNIX-related RSS feeds in NetNewsWire, including BigAdmin (What’s New and Feature Articles), Inchoate Curmudgeon, and a del.icio.us tag feed, among others.

I’d certainly appreciate any suggestions from those who may have already been down this path as to specific projects I should undertake, books I should acquire, websites to frequent, RSS feeds to which I should subscribe, etc.  In addition, any guidance as to how I should balance Solaris vs. OpenSolaris (on which one should I focus more effort?) would be very helpful.  And what builds of Solaris/Solaris Express are most beneficial to use?  I’m currently using Solaris 10 Update 3, but I’m not sure if a different build would be better to work with.  That’s the kind of information that would be great to get from those wiser and more experienced.

Wish me luck!

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7 comments

  1. David Magda’s avatar

    Check out blogs.sun.com: you may have to wade through things a bit before you find the individuals that you really like, but here are some where you may want to go through their archives:

    http://blogs.sun.com/eschrock/
    http://blogs.sun.com/erickustarz/
    http://blogs.sun.com/relling/
    http://nfsworld.blogspot.com/
    http://blogs.sun.com/jimlaurent/
    http://blogs.sun.com/security/
    http://blogs.sun.com/jonathan/

    There’s opensolaris.org as well: some good resources, especially mailing lists–check out some of the *-discuss lists.

    For ZFS, there’s a good video explaining it’s architecture:

    http://www.sun.com/software/solaris/zfs_learning_center.jsp

    And a good demo of how things work:

    http://opensolaris.org/os/community/zfs/demos/

    Also recently ran across a video on SMF (the init.d replacement):

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=944005411095835887

  2. Kelly Olivier, SCSA’s avatar

    Hi Scott,

    I was forced to learn Solaris before I any Linux distros, so I know what you are going through. The hardest part for me when I was trying to jump into Linux from Solaris was commands that were different but same. For example Linux’s export/ Solaris’s share. For this there is a great O reilly book that “connects” commands from different OS’s for this very purpose.

    Have fun with Solaris’s ZFS file system. It is officially the coolest thing since sliced bread if you ask me. Solaris 11 is also supposed to support booting from ZFS.

    Have fun!

  3. David Magda’s avatar

    There’s one more site that may be of some use, the Unix Rosetta Stone:

    http://bhami.com/rosetta.html

  4. slowe’s avatar

    David and Kelly,

    Thanks for the tips and the resources. I can use all the help I can get!

  5. prasad’s avatar

    hi Iam prasad ,I have to learn Solaris ,How is the Job market in solaris,which is best sites for learning Solaris and job roles and responsibulities .n main topics in solaris can u provide me details about solaris.

    Thanks n Regards,
    Prasad V

  6. Brad’s avatar

    Scott,

    You embarked on this adventure about 18 months ago. I just wondered if we could get an update on what your hindsight learnings were and if you had to do it all over again what advice would make your hurdles a little shorter.

    Did you end up with any certs as a byproduct of your venture?

    /Brad

  7. slowe’s avatar

    Well, my adventure is still continuing. I haven’t had nearly the time I would have liked to spend on this adventure, and professionally I’ve been pulled in a number of other directions that have made it even harder. So, I guess the most accurate answer would be to say that my journey is still underway.

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