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Thread: Why Use Illumos?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    15

    Default Why Use Illumos?

    Prolog:
    A usual tenor in this forum is kind of a combination of "Why should I/you move from BSD to Linux?" and THIS

    I'll not speak about BSD here but instead about Illumos.
    End Prolog

    Anyway - Why should I/you move from Linux to Illumos?

    The top Reasons: Stability, Performance, a more mature and stable Network Stack

    Lets do a Comparison between Linux and Illumos:

    Filesystem

    Illumos: ZFS
    Linux: There are "ext" file systems, the newest: ext4 (wich means 4 times extended from the minix file system), also btrfs and various ported ones

    Networking

    Illumos: Crossbow - a next generation fully virtualised high performance network stack
    Linux: nameless - yet another independently written TCP/IP stack (we should call it "Bottleneck")

    My discussions with Unix specialists from companies which deploy both linux and one or several commercial flavors of OS also support the impression that linux networking stack is still less mature and less stable then in all three major commercial flavors of Unix (AIX, HP-UX and Solaris). (Illumos comes from (Open)Solaris)
    ...
    Achieved 43% gain (over Linux) on web like workload on x86
    (source)
    Also a nice feature: IPMP IP Multipathing provides high availability networking and greater bandwidth

    Security

    Illumos: RBAC - Role Based Access Control, for granting least-privilege access to processes and users
    Linux: SELinux - Security framework implementing RBAC by RedHat and the NSA (sounds dangerous) (Management is Catastrophic) and AppAmor - another security framework

    Finally

    Illumos uses the Distribution model to Distribute the Operating system.

    Compared to linux, there are only a few Distributions of Illumos.

    You can check out the list of distributions here

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Manchester
    Posts
    103

    Default Moving from X to Illumos

    Okay, First off, I'm an OpenIndiana user, on a laptop, and we use OpenIndiana on a few servers, and it is great for this role.

    I have to say however that the kind of proselytising, and almost idolatry, which you are exhibiting towards Illumos is offputting even for me.

    ZFS is the most awsome filesystem out there, but please keep in mind that Linux has ZFS, if you add it as an additional, and *BSD has it native.

    Yes, Illumos/Solaris networking with crossbow is better, but Linux is _good_enough_(tm) for almost all uses out there.

    RBAC is great, if you trust people to do specific roles on specific servers, but learning how it works is probably on a par with modifying your sudoers file for specific tasks in Linux. And if you don't trust people, you're just going to end up with a limited number of people who can assume root, where you're back to where you started.

    and I don't know what you mean by "Illumos uses the Distribution model" ... almost all operating systems do something like this ... in fact you can make your own Illumos Distro (if you're willing to hit that learning curve) in the same way that you can build your own Linux, I don't see how this is a differentiator.

    You didn't mention that Illumos (at least OI, and smartOS) has KVM support native to the system, which means that they're catching up to Linux for virtualisation.

    Reasons not to use Illumos:
    USB support is sh*t ... connect more than ~ 6 devices and you'll soon find that those hard disks aren't available, very not good if you're using ZFS on raided external disks.
    USB3 support is non-existent.
    Fuse support is mostly broken.
    FAT disk support is limited to almost Dial-up speed, NTFS support (because of Fuse) works some of the time and kernel-panics the rest ...
    Hardware support is limited. Where hardware is supported it works very well, but if it isn't supported then you may as well go fish.
    Although Illumos development is supported financially by companies, OpenIndiana is not, and is run by Individuals in their own time, so development of applications (Desktop and Server side) can be slow to very slow.

    Jon

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    15

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jadrevenge View Post
    Yes, Illumos/Solaris networking with crossbow is better, but Linux is _good_enough_(tm) for almost all uses out there.
    For home and business users (Desktop) and websites, i admit, that it is good enough. But there are use cases out there where _good_enough_(tm) is not good enough.

    Quote Originally Posted by jadrevenge View Post
    RBAC is great, if you trust people to do specific roles on specific servers, but learning how it works is probably on a par with modifying your sudoers file for specific tasks in Linux. And if you don't trust people, you're just going to end up with a limited number of people who can assume root, where you're back to where you started.
    Yes... I think RBAC is useful finer grained access control.
    An example use case with a website:
    - We have PHP files
    - We have a Sqlite Database (bad example propably)
    - We have .htacess files

    The Webserver must be able to access the htacess files (readonly) and the non PHP files.
    The PHP-FPM must be able to access the PHP files (readonly) and the Sqlite Database (read/write).
    The DevOp must be able to modify the PHP files but must not be able to read the Sqlite Database (because of sensible data).


    Quote Originally Posted by jadrevenge View Post
    and I don't know what you mean by "Illumos uses the Distribution model" ... almost all operating systems do something like this ... in fact you can make your own Illumos Distro (if you're willing to hit that learning curve) in the same way that you can build your own Linux, I don't see how this is a differentiator.
    I didn't intent to see/mark this as a differentiator. I should rename "Finally" into "---How-to-get-it---".

    Quote Originally Posted by jadrevenge View Post
    You didn't mention that Illumos (at least OI, and smartOS) has KVM support native to the system, which means that they're catching up to Linux for virtualisation.
    Linux and Illumos have KVM in common. My oppinion is, that OpenVZ on Linux and Zones on Illumos are a more lightweight and thus better Solution, if there is no need to run a "special" OS or distro or running Illumos and Linux on the same machine.

    Quote Originally Posted by jadrevenge View Post
    Although Illumos development is supported financially by companies, OpenIndiana is not, and is run by Individuals in their own time, so development of applications (Desktop and Server side) can be slow to very slow.
    Fortunately OpenIndiana fetches from the Illumos upstream so it gains benefits of the financially Illumos support by companies.

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