Oracle Sunsetting Solaris Support Doesn’t Mean Disaster for You

How to Support Legacy Systems in a Changing IT World
Raj Patnam

Growing up in the ’90s, Sun Microsystems was synonymous with Java and something more mythical—the “micro-system” for super nerds in middle and high school. At that time Windows and Microsoft pushed to control the PC world. Sure, we could buy a Mac and have Unix underpinnings, but we’d pay a huge and hefty price to use a GUI on top of Unix. Therefore, Sun and their Unix-based Solaris was the dream.

The End of Solaris Support from Oracle

Large parts of the corporate and public sectors also realized their dream of computing, because Solaris systems were capable of running complex applications and keeping them running for long periods of time. In fact, my knowledge of Unix-based Solaris landed me my first job in college as a Sys Admin for a large non-profit. I have a long history with Solaris, so I was saddened by Oracle’s September 4th announcement. Earlier this month, Oracle effectively decommissioned Solaris and their longer-term support for the product.

What’s an Organization to Do Now?

Solaris is still widely used by several of ScienceLogic’s largest customers, so I hear about the challenges with managing Solaris in an ever-changing and more complex IT world. The applications built on top of Solaris are now old, unmanageable in some cases, and often written by engineers who have long left the organization. Oracle could probably close their cloud computing gap quicker with a strategy to migrate Solaris customers to their cloud, but as is usually the case, this isn’t quite as simple as you’d want it to be.

I’m sure there are many questions customers are thinking through right now. If there isn’t an “easy button” to auto-migrate my legacy application, should I re-write it or try to migrate myself? Do I keep my “old faithful” up and running? How does this affect long-term planning like training my engineers to look at the data?

ScienceLogic’s Recommended Plan Moving Forward

Don’t worry about our fallen companion. There are best practices for supporting Solaris and other legacy systems as our IT world changes.

  1. First, determine the ease of moving applications to a new environment. Using Solaris as an example, there are tons of migration resources you can leverage. This is a great guide.
  2. Next, normalize your data across all platforms by using a single solution to manage your legacy Solaris environment with your modern environment. You’ll be able to compare data before and during the migration to understand true performance.
  3. Third, if you can’t migrate, fear not. Solaris is one of the best operating systems ever designed. It’s meant to last forever, but you’ll want to pull back very specific metrics on performance and faults taking place on that system.
  4. If you lost or are losing your admins for Solaris, consider automating common tasks for management of the OS. If you’ve followed steps 2 & 3, you should have a baseline of what normal looks like. If deviations occur, use automation to make best-case decisions when things change.

The Solaris legacy lives on, and (as an administrator) I’d recommend enjoying the beauty of the system. The key is having the right solution to monitor and manage your environment. We here at ScienceLogic understand the importance of merging technologies so you get full visibility of everything from the cloud to your legacy systems.

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