I‘ve just put together a brief guide to installing Solaris 11 in text mode and making it ready for a subsequent installation of Oracle 11g. That basically involves installing a minimum of X-related software and then knowing how to get Solaris-based graphical clients talking to a locally-run X server. The results aren’t always pretty …but they’re functional enough to run things like Oracle Universal Installer or Database Configuration Assistant without too much drama!
I haven’t actually documented that sort of Oracle installation on Solaris yet: but consider it a ‘forthcoming attraction’ (it’s already 90% written, so early next week is looking good!)
Solaris 11 has surprised me a bit: even in text mode, it’s easy to install, mostly painless to configure and (!) attractive to use. I wish other OSes would adopt its default choice of bold, serifed fonts in their terminals, anyway! If you prefer the full-on desktop experience, it can be installed with a slick Gnome desktop that is instantly familiar to any Linux user …and it’s Gnome 2, which is even better!
I virtualized my Solaris box in KVM (Linux’s built-in virtualization tool). It worked well enough, provided I lied upfront and said I was about to run a Unix/FreeBSD box. That stops KVM building the virtual machine with virtio hard disks, a format that Solaris neither supports nor recognises. There were a couple of other KVM-specific virtualization issues that arose during and after O/S installation, too -but those are documented in the main article. Anyway, VirtualBox runs Solaris 11 quite well -but VMware Workstation 9 had “issues” that prevented me from ever getting it working. Nevertheless, most people will be able to virtualize a Solaris server pretty easily, I think.
Give it a whirl, anyway: you may be pleasantly surprised!