data management solutions birmingham

Why choose Solaris managed services from WTL?

IT managed services provide a way for your business to stretch its IT budget and ensure your systems deliver maximum benefits. When you partner with WTL for Solaris and Linux-managed service you can expect the following five benefits:

1. Increased operational efficiency

By optimising your Oracle Solaris/Linux systems for performance, WTL immediately helps you realise the maximum available benefits from your systems. Our experts work to ensure you can achieve more from existing investments, reducing TCO and improving ROI. And as systems perform better, so do your processes and people.

2. Reduced operating costs

Under-optimised systems create bottlenecks and delays that reduce efficiency and increase costs. WTL’s optimisation experts not only ensure your Oracle software has been optimised for efficiency, we will also help to reduce the amount of resources required to ‘keep the lights on’.

3. Enterprise-level support and services

Oracle and Linux skills are in high demand, creating a shortage of experienced engineers for your team. Worse still, supply and demand is pushing salaries ever upwards. With managed services from WTL, hiring skilled Linux / Solaris engineers is our problem; but we make sure you always have access to the right people, skills and experience you need to keep systems up and running.

4. Minimised downtime

Because of the importance of IT, uptime SLAs are typically measured to ‘five nines’ (99.999%). Downtime is expensive and to be avoided at all costs – but how can you meet your obligations when your IT team is already stretched to the limit? By optimising your systems, WTL can help to address many of the issues that cause system failures in advance. And our helpdesk team is available round the clock to help you quickly recover Oracle servers after unexpected failures or disasters.

5. Improved strategic focus

Although vital, keeping the lights on is a significant drain on available resources and budget – Gartner once estimated that as much as 80% of IT budgets are spent on maintaining existing infrastructure and assets. WTL managed services can help reduce some of that burden by taking over many routine maintenance and administration tasks. This then frees your internal team to focus on the strategic projects that will help your business achieve its strategic goals.

Contact us to learn more

WTL tailors managed services to your needs, ensuring you have the correct coverage to help your business meet its digital transformation goals. We work alongside your stakeholders to implement a plan that maximises value from your Oracle Solaris / Linux systems – and which will help carry your organisation forwards.

To learn more about Linux / Solaris managed services from WTL, please give us a call .

Solaris Managed Service West Midlands

Running A SPARC/Solaris Environment? Then “Do Nothing” Isn’t An Option.

If your organisation is running a legacy SPARC/Solaris environment, it is tempted to leave things as they are. You know what the shortcomings of these systems are – and how to work around them.

But to simply ‘ignore’ issues is a false economy. Inefficient operations are a drain on financial and technical resources, adding to the cost of the legacy environment – a concept that Gartner calls ‘technical debt’.

Resolve the issues

Replacing a legacy operating environment is costly and disruptive – both good reasons for delaying a migration. But this is not to say that a legacy SPARC platform should remain entirely untouched.

If outright replacement is not yet an option, your business should be looking at ways to optimise the environment. This will ensure your systems (and processes) are running at their very best – and that bottlenecks and outages can be resolved to maximise efficiency and better contain costs.

Build a roadmap

Extended support for Solaris 10 will be withdrawn in January 2024. This creates a relatively narrow window for businesses to decide what happens next. At the most basic level are three choices:

1. Do nothing

2. Upgrade to Solaris 11, (possibly as a Solaris 10 Container running on the new OS)

3. Migrate to an alternative database/application

In reality, option 1 is not an option at all – particularly for mission-critical workloads. The increased risk presented by an unsupported OS is simply unacceptable. This means that your business needs to develop a SPARC/Solaris strategy – even if that is to permanently retire those systems.

A chance to get ahead

Developing a SPARC / Solaris 10 strategy offers you a chance to bring your overall IT estate back on track:

Optimising performance and operations to reduce running costs, freeing up the budget for investment in other strategic projects.

Planning an upgrade and migration path ensures you escape the technical debt trap, paying over the odds to maintain an officially unsupported operating environment.

Hardware resources can be redeployed for non-mission critical tasks, maximising return on investment without compromising your line of business operations.

Resources can be consolidated or retired, reducing costs of operations, licensing and support. Again, the money saved can be reinvested in strategic projects elsewhere.

With careful planning, you can realise a greater return from your ageing SPARC infrastructure – even if that is by simply retiring it.

Get help

It is not uncommon for a business to lack direction with their older SPARC / Solaris 10 systems. A major upgrade can be costly and risky – particularly if you lack the requisite skills in-house. Where this is the case, do not hesitate to seek external assistance – particularly as time is running out to define a workable strategy.

To learn more about your post-Solaris 10 options and what they mean for your SPARC/Solaris environment give the WTL team a team a call today.

Solaris Managed Service West Midlands

How To Easily Upgrade From Solaris 10 To Solaris 11.4

Upgrading server operating systems is a serious undertaking. Yes, you gain access to important new features and safeguards – but your mission-critical data is at risk throughout the upgrade and migration process.

With the release of Solaris 11.4, Oracle also made upgrading from previous 10.0 versions more difficult. Initially, there was no direct upgrade available. The move from SVR4 packaging to IPS packaging in Oracle Solaris 11, means that a direct update is not possible.

Instead, Oracle Solaris 10 images had to be hosted on Solaris 11.4 in a “solaris10” branded zone. This was known as an Oracle Solaris 10 Container – and your server image did not benefit from all the new features of the 11.4 upgrade.

The good news is that things have changed.

Introducing sysdiff

Realising that this was far from ideal for their customers, Oracle has released a new tool to assist with migration – sysdiff. sysdiff is a python script that automatically analyses a solaris10 branded zone and creates an IPS package from all the non-OS files it finds there. The package can then be installed natively in the 11.4 OS.

At the most basic level, the migration process can now be completed in three steps:

1. Migrate Solaris 10 applications to a solaris10 branded zone on the target server (running Solaris 11.4).

2. Run the sysdiff script to create a new IPS package of the contents of the solaris10 zone.

3. Install the new IPS package on the 11.4 server native or kernel zone to enjoy all the benefits of the new OS.

Sysdiff does invite manual intervention at each stage of the migration process so you can adjust the list of files included in the IPS package if required.

Oracle is keen to stress that they regard the sysdiff migration process as an avenue of last resort. Instead, they recommend installing an 11.4 version of the application and migrating data via traditionally supported means.

sysdiff works great

Despite these dire warnings, the evidence is that sysdiff does a very good job of migrating workloads effectively. And don’t forget – the Oracle Solaris binary guarantee still applies.

It’s important to note that sysdiff is not yet included with Solaris 11.4. Although created by Oracle engineers for their customers, it is not yet regarded as an “official” tool. If your in-house team wants to test the script (or use it for a production upgrade), they will need to download it from the Oracle Solaris Github contrib area. On a more positive note, the script is well documented, making the upgrade process relatively straightforward.

If you do try the script and find it useful, make sure you provide feedback for the Oracle team. This will not only encourage further development of sysdiff but may also see the tool included as standard with future Solaris upgrades and patches.

For assistance and advice on upgrading the Solaris operating system, or for help using sysdiff to perform an application migration, please do not hesitate to give the WTL team a call.

IT server management Birmingham & West MIdlands

Oracle SPARC – not just another server

As we have discussed previously, Oracle SPARC servers are definitely not the lowest cost – but they do offer an exceptional return on investment . Here are three more factors to consider when planning the future of your Oracle operating environment.

1. Security on chip

Given that security is now a strategic priority, the CTO is under increasing pressure to ensure data is secured at every touchpoint. Oracle SPARC CPUs use the unique Software in Silicon technology to accelerate cryptography, reducing latency and overheads when dealing with encrypted data.

SPARC processors also offer Silicon Secured Memory, a capability for detecting and preventing invalid operations. The CPU monitors software access to memory, automatically identifying and blocking buffer overflows and similar malware attacks designed to exploit application vulnerabilities.

Operating at the very core of your server, SPARC CPUs will strengthen your overall security posture.

2.  More scalability, less complexity

Oracle SPARC servers offer exceptional potential for expansion as your computing loads increase. With support for up to 384 CPU cores and 48TB of memory, you can scale capacity without carrying out a full upgrade or replacement program.

By consolidating servers and workloads, you can also reduce the overall complexity of your data centre. Fewer physical units mean lower maintenance overheads and staffing requirements, offering long-term savings without compromising on the performance of your databases and applications.

At a time when the speed of operations is a competitive advantage, reducing complexity offers distinct benefits.

3. Guaranteed legacy application support

Even in the age of the cloud, legacy applications remain fundamental to operations. As such, they are an important factor in strategic infrastructure planning.

Oracle SPARC servers can help to reduce some of that uncertainty with the Oracle Solaris Binary Guarantee Program . This long-running commitment from Oracle ensures that current applications will run unchanged on new SPARC systems. You can be sure that upgrading your server hardware will not break your legacy applications – and you should realise a performance boost too.

Importantly, this guarantee means that software does not need to be redeveloped or recompiled; if it ran on a previous version of Solaris, it will run on the latest version too. If you do encounter problems with a legacy application on a new SPARC server, help is available.

Planning for a performant, secure, backwards-compatible future

Upgrading to the newest Oracle SPARC server family is an intelligent investment for the future. Fully optimised for Oracle workloads, SPARC systems offer unbeatable performance, particularly for Oracle database applications.

And with security integrated at the chip level, your operations are more resistant to hacking and malware. In this way, SPARC systems improve the overall resilience of your operations.

The value of the Application Binary Guarantee should not be underestimated either. Although the CTO would prefer to retire legacy applications entirely, this is not feasible in most cases. So being able to guarantee full compatibility with new hardware is an extremely valuable strategic benefit.

To learn more about the latest family of Oracle SPARC servers and how they will help your business achieve more, please get in touch.

Oracle Solaris as the best managed service in Birmingham and The West Midlands from WTL

Don’t be a dedicated follower of fashion. Choose the best OS for the job.

Solaris has been the number one UNIX operating system for over 25 years, and while it might not spring to mind as the enterprise OS of choice today, there are many reasons why it still rates very highly by users. Most enterprises are using Oracle Solaris in their business somewhere, but if you are considering a data centre modernisation project, looking to simplify your virtualisation environment, moving to the cloud or are running critical Oracle databases and applications, then Solaris should be your number one choice.

Why Oracle Solaris?

Well, with every new release of Solaris, Sun and now Oracle, have always ensured backwards compatibility to protect your investment in existing applications. In fact, Oracle even offers an application binary guarantee to ensure you can run legacy applications on the latest infrastructure.

In many publicly available reviews Oracle Solaris is hailed as a stable, scalable and super speedy platform. It has been designed with the enterprise and their needs in mind and offers advanced security features on premises and in the cloud, with anti-malware protection from the hypervisor to the application. Oracle Solaris is cloud ready and natively uses ZFS, having been developed by Sun in the early 2000’s, is still in operation and still one of the most popular features. The zones or containers are also commended for being lightweight and simple, so, what are the downsides?

The Future of Oracle Solaris

The biggest issue surrounding Solaris is its image and the speculation around its future and longevity. If customers aren’t sure that their investment is future-proofed, they will be wary about investing. To counter this Oracle have guaranteed that they will deliver binary compatibility until 2034 at least, so any current and future investment will be secure for a minimum of 14 years, and doubtless much longer.

Specialist Skills and Resources

Another issue faced by users is that because Oracle Solaris is a proprietary OS, with different and unique commands to those used to administer other Linux systems, it requires additional skills which may make it more difficult to recruit and retain experienced technical expertise. A quick trawl online Indeed found 209 current jobs requiring Solaris skills, which suggests an immediate skills shortage in this technology. It can even be tricky for organisations to find outsourced support services that have the necessary skills. Not every MSP or IT Support firm has the expertise to best manage an Oracle Solaris environment.

WTL is a Solaris and Linux specialist, with the skills and knowledge required to support all customers’ heterogeneous environments, both on and off premises. We don’t just keep the lights on with your Oracle databases, Solaris and SPARC infrastructure, we optimise your environment, proactively managing your whole estate, improving service levels, efficiencies and availability, driving down costs and suggesting ways of making even more savings.

We also offer a Solaris Heath Check that is designed identify and address configuration, updates, security, and performance problems you might be experiencing.