Tuesday Jul 16, 2013

AIX2Solaris

Maximize the Value, Minimize the Effort

Are you among the people migrating workloads from IBM AIX to Oracle Solaris 11? Even if you have not yet begun this migration, you will benefit from the knowledge contained in these resources:
  1. an online comparison of features
  2. the IBM AIX to Oracle Solaris Technology Mapping Guide.

Wednesday Jun 12, 2013

Comparing Solaris 11 Zones to Solaris 10 Zones

Many people have asked whether Oracle Solaris 11 uses sparse-root zones or whole-root zones. I think the best answer is "both and neither, and more" - but that's a wee bit confusing. :-) This blog entry attempts to explain that answer.

First a recap: Solaris 10 introduced the Solaris Zones feature set, way back in 2005. Zones are a form of server virtualization called "OS (Operating System) Virtualization." They improve consolidation ratios by isolating processes from each other so that they cannot interact. Each zone has its own set of users, naming services, and other software components. One of the many advantages is that there is no need for a hypervisor, so there is no performance overhead. Many data centers run tens to hundreds of zones per server!

In Solaris 10, there are two models of package deployment for Solaris Zones. One model is called "sparse-root" and the other "whole-root." Each form has specific characteristics, abilities, and limitations.

A whole-root zone has its own copy of the Solaris packages. This allows the inclusion of other software in system directories - even though that practice has been discouraged for many years. Although it is also possible to modify the Solaris content in such a zone, e.g. patching a zone separately from the rest, this was highly frowned on. :-( (More importantly, modifying the Solaris content in a whole-root zone may lead to an unsupported configuration.)

The other model is called "sparse-root." In that form, instead of copying all of the Solaris packages into the zone, the directories containing Solaris binaries are re-mounted into the zone. This allows the zone's users to access them at their normal places in the directory tree. Those are read-only mounts, so a zone's root user cannot modify them. This improves security, and also reduces the amount of disk space used by the zone - 200MB instead of the usual 3-5 GB per zone. These loopback mounts also reduce the amount of RAM used by zones because Solaris only stores in RAM one copy of a program that is in use by several zones. This model also has disadvantages. One disadvantage is the inability to add software into system directories such as /usr. Also, although a sparse-root can be migrated to another Solaris 10 system, it cannot be moved to a Solaris 11 system as a "Solaris 10 Zone."

In addition to those contrasting characteristics, here are some characteristics of zones in Solaris 10 that are shared by both packaging models:

  • A zone can modify its own configuration files in /etc.
  • A zone can be configured so that it manages its own networking, or so that it cannot modify its network configuration.
  • It is difficult to give a non-root user in the global zone the ability to boot and stop a zone, without giving that user other abilities.
  • In a zone that can manage its own networking, the root user can do harmful things like spoof other IP addresses and MAC addresses.
  • It is difficult to assign network patcket processing to the same CPUs that a zone used. This could lead to unpredictable performance and performance troubleshooting challenges.
  • You cannot run a large number of zones in one system (e.g. 50) that each managed its own networking, because that would require assignment of more physical NICs than available (e.g. 50).
  • Except when managed by Ops Center, zones could not be safely stored on NAS.
  • Solaris 10 Zones cannot be NFS servers.
  • The fsstat command does not report statistics per zone.

Solaris 11 Zones use the new packaging system of Solaris 11. Their configuration does not offer a choice of packaging models, as Solaris 10 does. Instead, two (well, four) different models of "immutability" (changeability) are offered. The default model allows a privileged zone user to modify the zone's content. The other (three) limit the content which can be changed: none, or two overlapping sets of configuration files. (See "Configuring and Administering Immutable Zones".)

Solaris 11 addresses many of those limitations. With the characteristics listed above in mind, the following table shows the similarities and differences between zones in Solaris 10 and in Solaris 11. (Cells in a row that are similar have the same background color.)

Characteristic Solaris 10
Whole-Root
Solaris 10
Sparse-Root
Solaris 11 Solaris 11
Immutable Zones
Each zone has a copy of most Solaris packagesYesNo YesYes
Disk space used by a zone (typical)3.5 GB100 MB 500MB500MB
A privileged zone user can add software to /usrYesNo YesNo
A zone can modify its Solaris programsTrueFalse TrueFalse
Each zone can modify its configuration filesYesYes YesNo
Delegated administrationNoNo YesYes
A zone can be configured to manage its own networkingYesYes YesYes
A zone can be configured so that it cannot manage its own networkingYesYes YesYes
A zone can be configured with resource controlsYesYes YesYes
Integrated tool to measure a zone's resource consumption (zonestat)NoNo YesYes
Network processing automatically happens on that zone's CPUsNoNo YesYes
Zones can be NFS serversNoNoYesYes
Per-zone fsstat dataNoNoYesYes

As you can see, the statement "Solaris 11 Zones are whole-root zones" is only true using the narrowest definition of whole-root zones: those zones which have their own copy of Solaris packaging content. But there are other valuable characteristics of sparse-root zones that are still available in Solaris 11 Zones. Also, some Solaris 11 Zones do not have some characteristics of whole-root zones.

For example, the table above shows that you can configure a Solaris 11 zone that has read-only Solaris content. And Solaris 11 takes that concept further, offering the ability to tailor that immutability. It also shows that Solaris 10 sparse-root and whole-root zones are more similar to each other than to Solaris 11 Zones.

Conclusion

Solaris 11 Zones are slightly different from Solaris 10 Zones. The former can achieve the goals of the latter, and they also offer features not found in Solaris 10 Zones. Solaris 11 Zones offer the best of Solaris 10 whole-root zones and sparse-root zones, and offer an array of new features that make Zones even more flexible and powerful.

Wednesday Nov 14, 2012

Webcast: New Features of Solaris 11.1 and Solaris Cluster 4.1

If you missed last week's webcast of the new features in Oracle Solaris 11.1 you can view the recording. The speakers discuss changes that improve performance and scalability, particularly for Oracle DB, and many other enhancements.

New features include Optimized Shared Memory (improves DB startup time), accelerated kernel locks (improves Oracle RAC performance and scalability), virtual memory improvements, a DTrace data collecter in the DB, Zones installed on Shared Storage (simplifies migration), Data Center Bridging, and Edge Virtual Bridging.

To view the archived webcast, you must register and use the URL that you receive in e-mail.

Tuesday Nov 13, 2012

Oracle Solaris: Zones on Shared Storage

Oracle Solaris 11.1 has several new features. At oracle.com you can find a detailed list.

One of the significant new features, and the most significant new feature releated to Oracle Solaris Zones, is casually called "Zones on Shared Storage" or simply ZOSS (rhymes with "moss"). ZOSS offers much more flexibility because you can store Solaris Zones on shared storage (surprise!) so that you can perform quick and easy migration of a zone from one system to another. This blog entry describes and demonstrates the use of ZOSS.

ZOSS provides complete support for a Solaris Zone that is stored on "shared storage." In this case, "shared storage" refers to fiber channel (FC) or iSCSI devices, although there is one lone exception that I will demonstrate soon. The primary intent is to enable you to store a zone on FC or iSCSI storage so that it can be migrated from one host computer to another much more easily and safely than in the past.

With this blog entry, I wanted to make it easy for you to try this yourself. I couldn't assume that you have a SAN available - which is a good thing, because neither do I! :-) What could I use, instead? [There he goes, foreshadowing again... -Ed.]

Developing this entry reinforced the lesson that the solution to every lab problem is VirtualBox. ;-) Oracle VM VirtualBox (its formal name) helps here in a couple of important ways. It offers the ability to easily install multiple copies of Solaris as guests on top of any popular system (Microsoft Windows, MacOS, Solaris, Oracle Linux (and other Linuxes) etc.). It also offers the ability to create a separate virtual disk drive (VDI) that appears as a local hard disk to a guest. This virtual disk can be moved very easily from one guest to another. In other words, you can follow the steps below on a laptop or larger x86 system.

Please note that the ability to use ZOSS to store a zone on a local disk is very useful for a lab environment, but not so useful for production. I do not suggest regularly moving disk drives among computers. [Update, 2013.01.28: Apparently the previous sentence caused some confusion. I do recommend the use of Zones on Shared Storage in production environments, when appropriate storage is used. "Appropriate storage" would include SAN or iSCSI at this point. I do not recommend using ZOSS with local disks in production because doing so would require moving the disks between computers.]

In the method I describe below, that virtual hard disk will contain the zone that will be migrated among the (virtual) hosts. In production, you would use FC or iSCSI LUNs instead. The zonecfg(1M) man page details the syntax for each of the three types of devices.

Why Migrate?

Why is the migration of virtual servers important? Some of the most common reasons are:
  • Moving a workload to a different computer so that the original computer can be turned off for extensive maintenance.
  • Moving a workload to a larger system because the workload has outgrown its original system.
  • If the workload runs in an environment (such as a Solaris Zone) that is stored on shared storage, you can restore the service of the workload on an alternate computer if the original computer has failed and will not reboot.
  • You can simplify lifecycle management of a workload by developing it on a laptop, migrating it to a test platform when it's ready, and finally moving it to a production system.

Concepts

For ZOSS, the important new concept is named "rootzpool". You can read about it in the zonecfg(1M) man page, but here's the short version: it's the backing store (hard disk(s), or LUN(s)) that will be used to make a ZFS zpool - the zpool that will hold the zone. This zpool:

  • contains the zone's Solaris content, i.e. the root file system
  • does not contain any content not related to the zone
  • can only be mounted by one Solaris instance at a time

Method Overview

Here is a brief list of the steps to create a zone on shared storage and migrate it. The next section shows the commands and output.
  1. You will need a host system with an x86 CPU (hopefully at least a couple of CPU cores), at least 2GB of RAM, and at least 25GB of free disk space. (The steps below will not actually use 25GB of disk space, but I don't want to lead you down a path that ends in a big sign that says "Your HDD is full. Good luck!")
  2. Configure the zone on both systems, specifying the rootzpool that both will use. The best way is to configure it on one system and then copy the output of "zonecfg export" to the other system to be used as input to zonecfg. This method reduces the chances of pilot error. (It is not necessary to configure the zone on both systems before creating it. You can configure this zone in multiple places, whenever you want, and migrate it to one of those places at any time - as long as those systems all have access to the shared storage.)
  3. Install the zone on one system, onto shared storage.
  4. Boot the zone.
  5. Provide system configuration information to the zone. (In the Real World(tm) you will usually automate this step.)
  6. Shutdown the zone.
  7. Detach the zone from the original system.
  8. Attach the zone to its new "home" system.
  9. Boot the zone.
The zone can be used normally, and even migrated back, or to a different system.

Details

The rest of this shows the commands and output. The two hostnames are "sysA" and "sysB".

Note that each Solaris guest might use a different device name for the VDI that they share. I used the device names shown below, but you must discover the device name(s) after booting each guest. In a production environment you would also discover the device name first and then configure the zone with that name. Fortunately, you can use the command "zpool import" or "format" to discover the device on the "new" host for the zone.

The first steps create the VirtualBox guests and the shared disk drive. I describe the steps here without demonstrating them.

  1. Download VirtualBox and install it using a method normal for your host OS. You can read the complete instructions.
  2. Create two VirtualBox guests, each to run Solaris 11.1. Each will use its own VDI as its root disk.
  3. Install Solaris 11.1 in each guest.Install Solaris 11.1 in each guest. To install a Solaris 11.1 guest, you can either download a pre-built VirtualBox guest, and import it, or install Solaris 11.1 from the "text install" media. If you use the latter method, after booting you will not see a windowing system. To install the GUI and other important things, login and run "pkg install solaris-desktop" and take a break while it installs those important things.
  4. Life is usually easier if you install the VirtualBox Guest Additions because then you can copy and paste between the host and guests, etc. You can find the guest additions in the folder matching the version of VirtualBox you are using. You can also read the instructions for installing the guest additions.
  5. To create the zone's shared VDI in VirtualBox, you can open the storage configuration for one of the two guests, select the SATA controller, and click on the "Add Hard Disk" icon nearby. Choose "Create New Disk" and specify an appropriate path name for the file that will contain the VDI. The shared VDI must be at least 1.5 GB. Note that the guest must be stopped to do this.
  6. Add that VDI to the other guest - using its Storage configuration - so that each can access it while running. The steps start out the same, except that you choose "Choose Existing Disk" instead of "Create New Disk." Because the disk is configured on both of them, VirtualBox prevents you from running both guests at the same time.
  7. Identify device names of that VDI, in each of the guests. Solaris chooses the name based on existing devices. The names may be the same, or may be different from each other. This step is shown below as "Step 1."

Assumptions

In the example shown below, I make these assumptions.
  • The guest that will own the zone at the beginning is named sysA.
  • The guest that will own the zone after the first migration is named sysB.
  • On sysA, the shared disk is named /dev/dsk/c7t2d0
  • On sysB, the shared disk is named /dev/dsk/c7t3d0

(Finally!) The Steps

Step 1) Determine the name of the disk that will move back and forth between the systems.
root@sysA:~# format
Searching for disks...done

AVAILABLE DISK SELECTIONS:
       0. c7t0d0 
          /pci@0,0/pci8086,2829@d/disk@0,0
       1. c7t2d0 
          /pci@0,0/pci8086,2829@d/disk@2,0
Specify disk (enter its number): ^D
Step 2) The first thing to do is partition and label the disk. The magic needed to write an EFI label is not overly complicated.
root@sysA:~# format -e c7t2d0
selecting c7t2d0
[disk formatted]

FORMAT MENU:
...
format> fdisk
No fdisk table exists. The default partition for the disk is:

  a 100% "SOLARIS System" partition

Type "y" to accept the default partition,  otherwise type "n" to edit the
 partition table. n
SELECT ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:
...
Enter Selection: 1
...
  G=EFI_SYS    0=Exit? f
SELECT ONE...
...
6

format> label
...
Specify Label type[1]: 1
Ready to label disk, continue? y

format> quit

root@sysA:~# ls /dev/dsk/c7t2d0
/dev/dsk/c7t2d0

Step 3) Configure zone1 on sysA.
root@sysA:~# zonecfg -z zone1
Use 'create' to begin configuring a new zone.
zonecfg:zone1> create
create: Using system default template 'SYSdefault'
zonecfg:zone1> set zonename=zone1
zonecfg:zone1> set zonepath=/zones/zone1
zonecfg:zone1> add rootzpool
zonecfg:zone1:rootzpool> add storage dev:dsk/c7t2d0
zonecfg:zone1:rootzpool> end
zonecfg:zone1> exit
root@sysA:~#
oot@sysA:~# zonecfg -z zone1 info
zonename: zone1
zonepath: /zones/zone1
brand: solaris
autoboot: false
bootargs:
file-mac-profile:
pool:
limitpriv:
scheduling-class:
ip-type: exclusive
hostid:
fs-allowed:
anet:
...
rootzpool:
        storage: dev:dsk/c7t2d0
Step 4) Install the zone. This step takes the most time, but you can wander off for a snack or a few laps around the gym - or both! (Just not at the same time...)
root@sysA:~# zoneadm -z zone1 install
Created zone zpool: zone1_rpool
Progress being logged to /var/log/zones/zoneadm.20121022T163634Z.zone1.install
       Image: Preparing at /zones/zone1/root.

 AI Manifest: /tmp/manifest.xml.RXaycg
  SC Profile: /usr/share/auto_install/sc_profiles/enable_sci.xml
    Zonename: zone1
Installation: Starting ...

              Creating IPS image
Startup linked: 1/1 done
              Installing packages from:
                  solaris
                      origin:  http://pkg.us.oracle.com/support/
DOWNLOAD                                PKGS         FILES    XFER (MB)   SPEED
Completed                            183/183   33556/33556  222.2/222.2  2.8M/s

PHASE                                          ITEMS
Installing new actions                   46825/46825
Updating package state database                 Done
Updating image state                            Done
Creating fast lookup database                   Done
Installation: Succeeded

        Note: Man pages can be obtained by installing pkg:/system/manual

 done.

        Done: Installation completed in 1696.847 seconds.


  Next Steps: Boot the zone, then log into the zone console (zlogin -C)

              to complete the configuration process.

Log saved in non-global zone as /zones/zone1/root/var/log/zones/zoneadm.20121022T163634Z.zone1.install
Step 5) Boot the Zone.
root@sysA:~# zoneadm -z zone1 boot
Step 6) Login to zone's console to complete the specification of system information.
root@sysA:~# zlogin -C zone1
Answer the usual questions and wait for a login prompt. Then you can end the console session with the usual "~." incantation.

Step 7) Shutdown the zone so it can be "moved."

root@sysA:~# zoneadm -z zone1 shutdown
Step 8) Detach the zone so that the original global zone can't use it.
root@sysA:~# zoneadm list -cv
  ID NAME             STATUS     PATH                           BRAND    IP
   0 global           running    /                              solaris  shared
   - zone1            installed  /zones/zone1                   solaris  excl
root@sysA:~# zpool list
NAME          SIZE  ALLOC   FREE  CAP  DEDUP  HEALTH  ALTROOT
rpool        17.6G  11.2G  6.47G  63%  1.00x  ONLINE  -
zone1_rpool  1.98G   484M  1.51G  23%  1.00x  ONLINE  -
root@sysA:~# zoneadm -z zone1 detach
Exported zone zpool: zone1_rpool
Step 9) Review the result and shutdown sysA so that sysB can use the shared disk.
root@sysA:~# zpool list
NAME    SIZE  ALLOC   FREE  CAP  DEDUP  HEALTH  ALTROOT
rpool  17.6G  11.2G  6.47G  63%  1.00x  ONLINE  -
root@sysA:~# zoneadm list -cv
  ID NAME             STATUS     PATH                           BRAND    IP
   0 global           running    /                              solaris  shared
   - zone1            configured /zones/zone1                   solaris  excl
root@sysA:~# init 0
Step 10) Now boot sysB and configure a zone with the parameters shown above in Step 1. (Again, the safest method is to use "zonecfg ... export" on sysA as described in section "Method Overview" above.) The one difference is the name of the rootzpool storage device, which was shown in the list of assumptions, and which you must determine by booting sysB and using the "format" or "zpool import" command.

When that is done, you should see the output shown next. (I used the same zonename - "zone1" - in this example, but you can choose any valid zonename you want.)

root@sysB:~# zoneadm list -cv
  ID NAME             STATUS     PATH                           BRAND    IP
   0 global           running    /                              solaris  shared
   - zone1            configured /zones/zone1                   solaris  excl
root@sysB:~# zonecfg -z zone1 info
zonename: zone1
zonepath: /zones/zone1
brand: solaris
autoboot: false
bootargs:
file-mac-profile:
pool:
limitpriv:
scheduling-class:
ip-type: exclusive
hostid:
fs-allowed:
anet:
        linkname: net0
...
rootzpool:
        storage: dev:dsk/c7t3d0
Step 11) Attaching the zone automatically imports the zpool.
root@sysB:~# zoneadm -z zone1 attach
Imported zone zpool: zone1_rpool
Progress being logged to /var/log/zones/zoneadm.20121022T184034Z.zone1.attach
    Installing: Using existing zone boot environment
      Zone BE root dataset: zone1_rpool/rpool/ROOT/solaris
                     Cache: Using /var/pkg/publisher.
  Updating non-global zone: Linking to image /.
Processing linked: 1/1 done
  Updating non-global zone: Auditing packages.
No updates necessary for this image.

  Updating non-global zone: Zone updated.
                    Result: Attach Succeeded.
Log saved in non-global zone as /zones/zone1/root/var/log/zones/zoneadm.20121022T184034Z.zone1.attach

root@sysB:~# zoneadm -z zone1 boot
root@sysB:~# zlogin zone1
[Connected to zone 'zone1' pts/2]
Oracle Corporation      SunOS 5.11      11.1    September 2012
Step 12) Now let's migrate the zone back to sysA. Create a file in zone1 so we can verify it exists after we migrate the zone back, then begin migrating it back.
root@zone1:~# ls /opt
root@zone1:~# touch /opt/fileA
root@zone1:~# ls -l /opt/fileA
-rw-r--r--   1 root     root           0 Oct 22 14:47 /opt/fileA
root@zone1:~# exit
logout

[Connection to zone 'zone1' pts/2 closed]
root@sysB:~# zoneadm -z zone1 shutdown
root@sysB:~# zoneadm -z zone1 detach
Exported zone zpool: zone1_rpool
root@sysB:~# init 0
Step 13) Back on sysA, check the status.
Oracle Corporation      SunOS 5.11      11.1    September 2012
root@sysA:~# zoneadm list -cv
  ID NAME             STATUS     PATH                           BRAND    IP
   0 global           running    /                              solaris  shared
   - zone1            configured /zones/zone1                   solaris  excl
root@sysA:~# zpool list
NAME    SIZE  ALLOC   FREE  CAP  DEDUP  HEALTH  ALTROOT
rpool  17.6G  11.2G  6.47G  63%  1.00x  ONLINE  -
Step 14) Re-attach the zone back to sysA.
root@sysA:~# zoneadm -z zone1 attach
Imported zone zpool: zone1_rpool
Progress being logged to /var/log/zones/zoneadm.20121022T190441Z.zone1.attach
    Installing: Using existing zone boot environment
      Zone BE root dataset: zone1_rpool/rpool/ROOT/solaris
                     Cache: Using /var/pkg/publisher.
  Updating non-global zone: Linking to image /.
Processing linked: 1/1 done
  Updating non-global zone: Auditing packages.
No updates necessary for this image.

  Updating non-global zone: Zone updated.
                    Result: Attach Succeeded.
Log saved in non-global zone as /zones/zone1/root/var/log/zones/zoneadm.20121022T190441Z.zone1.attach

root@sysA:~# zpool list
NAME          SIZE  ALLOC   FREE  CAP  DEDUP  HEALTH  ALTROOT
rpool        17.6G  11.2G  6.47G  63%  1.00x  ONLINE  -
zone1_rpool  1.98G   491M  1.51G  24%  1.00x  ONLINE  -
root@sysA:~# zoneadm -z zone1 boot
root@sysA:~# zlogin zone1
[Connected to zone 'zone1' pts/2]
Oracle Corporation      SunOS 5.11      11.1    September 2012
root@zone1:~# zpool list
NAME    SIZE  ALLOC   FREE  CAP  DEDUP  HEALTH  ALTROOT
rpool  1.98G   538M  1.46G  26%  1.00x  ONLINE  -
Step 15) Check for the file created on sysB, earlier.
root@zone1:~# ls -l /opt
total 1
-rw-r--r--   1 root     root           0 Oct 22 14:47 fileA

Next Steps

Here is a brief list of some of the fun things you can try next.
  • Add space to the zone by adding a second storage device to the rootzpool. Make sure that you add it to the configurations of both zones!
  • Create a new zone, specifying two disks in the rootzpool when you first configure the zone. When you install that zone, or clone it from another zone, zoneadm uses those two disks to create a mirrored pool. (Three disks will result in a three-way mirror, etc.)

Conclusion

Hopefully you have seen the ease with which you can now move Solaris Zones from one system to another.

Thursday Nov 08, 2012

Happy Birthday! (to Solaris and SPARC)

Oracle is celebrating the 20th and 25th anniversaries (birthdays?) of Solaris and SPARC.

You can find video highlights of the histories of SPARC and Solaris and brief (static) infographic histories of SPARC and Solaris.

Wednesday Nov 07, 2012

Today: Oracle Solaris [&Cluster] Live Webcast!

Today, Oracle is hosting a live webcast, with Q&A, discussing Solaris 11.1 and Solaris Cluster 4.1 The webcast begins at 11AM EST, but you should register before the event. (Registration is also available at http://bit.ly/RfdkvK.)

Thursday Oct 25, 2012

Oracle Solaris 11.1

Oracle Solaris 11.1 was announced at Oracle OpenWorld recently. This release added 300 new performance and feature enhancements.

My favorite new features:

  • Solaris Zones on Shared Storage
  • Support for 32 TB (!) of RAM
  • Improved Oracle RAC lock latency
  • Dynamically resize the Oracle DB SGA
  • Industry-first support for FedFS
You can learn more from the press release or by attending the Solaris 11.1 webcast on November 7.

Tuesday Oct 23, 2012

Virtual Networks in Oracle Solaris - Part 5

           A
        long
        time
     ago in a
   blogosphere
  far, far away...

I wrote four blog entries to describe the new network virtualization features that were in Solaris 11 Express:

  • Part 1 introduced the concept of network virtualization and listed the basic virtual network elements.
  • Part 2 expanded on the concepts and discussed the resource management features.
  • Part 3 demonstrated the creation of some of these virtual network elements.
  • Part 4 demonstrated the network resource controls.
I had planned a final entry that added virtual routers to the list of virtual network elements, but Jeff McMeekin wrote a paper that discuses the same features. That paper is available at OTN. And this Jeff can't write any better than that Jeff...

All of the features described in those blog entries and that paper are also available in Solaris 11. It is possible that some details have changed, but the vast majority of the content is unchanged.

Tuesday Jan 31, 2012

(Solaris) Destination: Detroit

We will have another Solaris 11 Technology Forum soon. The two I hosted in New York City and Boston included over 150 attendees. Dozens more attended the session in Chicago hosted by my associate Scott Dickson. These sessions pack hundreds of details regarding the practical uses of Solaris 11 into 4 hours - plus lunch!

Next week - February 8, to be exact - I will host a session near Detroit, Michigan. You can attend by registering online. Two other Solaris experts - Dave Miner and Alex Barclay - will join me as we explain new Solaris 11 features such as the Image Packaging System and Automated Installer, network virtualization and resource controls, Immutable Zones, and ZFS Encryption and other new security features.

Registration is not required, but available seating is filling up quickly, so don't wait!

Thursday Nov 10, 2011

Solaris 11 Released!!

Oracle released Solaris 11 on November 9, 2011.

You can download Solaris 11.

You can also watch videos, participate in forums, and read white papers, data sheets and documentation.

Friday Oct 28, 2011

Oracle Solaris 11 Launch

Join Oracle executives Mark Hurd and John Fowler and key Oracle Solaris Engineers and Execs at the Oracle Solaris 11 launch event in New York City, at Gotham Hall on Broadway, November 9th and learn how you can build your infrastructure with Oracle Solaris 11 to:

  • Accelerate internal, public, and hybrid cloud applications
  • Optimize application deployment with built-in virtualization
  • Achieve top performance and cost advantages with Oracle Solaris 11–based engineered systems
The launch event will also feature exclusive content for our in-person audience including a session led by the VP of core Solaris development and his leads on Solaris 11 and a customer insights panel during lunch. We will also have a technology showcase featuring our latest systems and Solaris technologies. The Solaris executive team will also be there throughout the day to answer questions and give insights into future developments in Solaris.

Don't miss the Oracle Solaris 11 launch in New York on November 9. Register Today!

Tuesday Oct 11, 2011

Solaris 11 is Coming!

Yes, the noise you hear is the pre-launch sequence for Solaris 11, which is getting closer every day!

The Launch Event will be held in New York City, at Gotham Hall on Broadway. Space is limited, so if you want to attend in person you should register online. A webcast of the event will also be available. Registration is available for both.

I have registered, so if you attend perhaps I will see you there!

Monday Sep 12, 2011

Oracle Solaris 11 Early Adopter Program

The next step in the release of Oracle Solaris 11 is here! Gold members of the Oracle Partner Network (OPN) may download the Early Adopter release to begin qualification of their applications on Oracle Solaris 11.

Oracle Solaris 11 includes the new major feature sets that are available in Solaris 11 Express, released in November 2010, and much more. You can find a complete description and download link of this Early Adopter release at oracle.com.

If you are not currently a member of the Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN), you still have two choices:

  1. Learn more about OPN and register at http://www.oracle.com/partners/en/opn-program/index.html
  2. Begin to experience key new features by downloading Solaris 11 Express

We are looking forward to helping you learn all about these exciting new features and the benefits you will derive from them!

Thursday Aug 18, 2011

Oracle Solaris available for Exadata Database Machines

Oracle Solaris 11 Express is now available on Oracle Exadata Database Machines, enabling you to benefit from all of the OLTP and DW performance of Exadata hardware, and the industry-leading scalability and availability characteristics of Oracle Solaris.

For details, see the press release.

Tuesday Feb 08, 2011

Virtual Network - Part 3

This is the third in a series of blog entries that discuss the network virtualization features in Oracle Solaris 11 Express. Part 1 introduced the concept of network virtualization and listed the basic virtual network elements that Solaris 11 Express (S11E) provides. Part 2 expanded on the concepts and discussed the resource management features which can be applied to those virtual network elements (VNEs).

This blog entry assumes that you have some experience with Solaris Zones. If you don't, you can read my earlier blog entries, or buy the book "Oracle Solaris 10 System Virtualization Essentials" or read the documentation.

This entry will demonstrate the creation of some of these VNEs.

For today's examples, I will use an old Sun Fire T2000 that has one SPARC CMT (T1) chip and 32GB RAM. I will pretend that I am implementing a 3-tier architecture in this one system, where each tier is represented by one Solaris zone. The mythical example provides access to an employee database. The 3-tier service is named 'emp' and VNEs will use 'emp' in their names to reduce confusion regarding the dozens of VNEs we expect to create for the services this system will deliver.

The commands shown below use the prompt "GZ#" to indicate that the command is entered in the global zone by someone with sufficient privileges. Similarly, the prompt "emp-web1#" indicates a command which is entered in the zone "emp-web1" as a sufficiently privileged user.

Fortunately, Solaris network engineers gathered all of the actions regarding the management of network elements (virtual or physical) into one command: dladm(1M). You use dladm to create, destroy, and configure datalinks such as VNICs. You can also use it to list physical NICs:

GZ# dladm show-link
LINK        CLASS     MTU    STATE    BRIDGE     OVER
e1000g0     phys      1500   up       --         --
e1000g2     phys      1500   unknown  --         --
e1000g1     phys      1500   down     --         --
e1000g3     phys      1500   unknown  --         --
We need three VNICs for our three zones, one VNIC per zone. They will also have useful names - one for each of the tiers - and will share e1000g0:
GZ# dladm create-vnic -l e1000g0 emp_web1
GZ# dladm create-vnic -l e1000g0 emp_app1
GZ# dladm create-vnic -l e1000g0 emp_db1
GZ# dladm show-link
LINK        CLASS     MTU    STATE    BRIDGE     OVER
e1000g0     phys      1500   up       --         --
e1000g2     phys      1500   unknown  --         --
e1000g1     phys      1500   down     --         --
e1000g3     phys      1500   unknown  --         --
emp_web1    vnic      1500   up       --         e1000g0
emp_app1    vnic      1500   up       --         e1000g0
emp_db1     vnic      1500   up       --         e1000g0
GZ# dladm show-vnic
LINK         OVER         SPEED  MACADDRESS        MACADDRTYPE         VID
emp_web1     e1000g0      0      2:8:20:3a:43:c8   random              0
emp_app1     e1000g0      0      2:8:20:36:a1:17   random              0
emp_db1      e1000g0      0      2:8:20:b4:5b:d3   random              0

The system has four NICs and three VNICs. Note that the name of a VNIC may not include a hyphen (-) but may include an underscore (_).

VNICs that share a NIC appear to be attached together via a virtual switch. That vSwitch is created automatically by Solaris. This diagram represents the NIC and NVEs we have created.

Now that these datalinks - the VNICs - exist, we can assign them to our zones. I'll assume that the zones already exist, and just need network assignment.

GZ# zonecfg -z emp-web1 info
zonename: emp-web1
zonepath: /zones/emp-web1
brand: ipkg
autoboot: false
bootargs:
pool:
limitpriv:
scheduling-class:
ip-type: exclusive
hostid:
fs-allowed:
GZ# zonecfg -z emp-web1
zonecfg:emp-web1> add net
zonecfg:emp-web1:net> set physical=emp_web1
zonecfg:emp-web1:net> end
zonecfg:emp-web1> exit

Those steps can be followed for the other two zones and matching VNICs. After those steps are completed, our earlier diagram would look like this:

Packets passing from one zone to another within a Solaris instance do not leave the computer, if they are in the same subnet and use the same datalink. This greatly improves network bandwidth and latency. Otherwise, the packets will head for the zone's default router.

Therefore, in the above diagram packets sent from emp-web1 destined for emp-app1 would traverse the virtual switch, but not pass through e1000g0.

This zone is an "exclusive-IP" zone, meaning that it "owns" its own networking. What is its view of networking? That's easy to determine. The zlogin(1M) command inserts a complete command-line into the zone. By default, the command is run as the root user.

GZ# zoneadm -z emp-web1 boot
GZ# zlogin emp-web1 dladm show-link
LINK        CLASS     MTU    STATE    BRIDGE     OVER
emp_web1    vnic      1500   up       --         ?
GZ# zlogin emp-web1 dladm show-vnic
LINK         OVER         SPEED  MACADDRESS        MACADDRTYPE         VID
emp_web1     ?            0      2:8:20:3a:43:c8   random              0

Notice that the zone sees its own VNEs, but cannot see NEs or VNEs in the global zone, or in any other zone.

The other important new networking command in Solaris 11 Express is ipadm(1M). That command creates IP address assignments, enables and disables them, displays IP address configuration information, and performs other actions.

The following example shows the global zone's view before configuring IP in the zone:

GZ# ipadm show-if
IFNAME     STATE    CURRENT      PERSISTENT
lo0        ok       -m-v------46 ---
e1000g0    ok       bm--------4- ---
GZ# ipadm show-addr
ADDROBJ           TYPE     STATE        ADDR
lo0/v4            static   ok           127.0.0.1/8
lo0/?             static   ok           127.0.0.1/8
lo0/?             static   ok           127.0.0.1/8
lo0/?             static   ok           127.0.0.1/8
e1000g0/_a        static   ok           10.140.204.69/24
lo0/v6            static   ok           ::1/128
lo0/?             static   ok           ::1/128
lo0/?             static   ok           ::1/128
lo0/?             static   ok           ::1/128

At this point, not only does the zone know it has a datalink (which we saw above) but the IP tools show that it is there, ready for use. The next example shows this:

GZ# zlogin emp-web1 ipadm show-if
IFNAME     STATE    CURRENT      PERSISTENT
lo0        ok       -m-v------46 ---
GZ# zlogin emp-web1 ipadm show-addr
ADDROBJ           TYPE     STATE        ADDR
lo0/v4            static   ok           127.0.0.1/8
lo0/v6            static   ok           ::1/128
An ethernet datalink without an IP address isn't very useful, so let's configure an IP interface and apply an IP address to it:
GZ# zlogin emp-web1 ipadm show-if
IFNAME     STATE    CURRENT      PERSISTENT
lo0        ok       -m-v------46 ---
GZ# zlogin emp-web1 ipadm show-addr
ADDROBJ           TYPE     STATE        ADDR
lo0/v4            static   ok           127.0.0.1/8
lo0/v6            static   ok           ::1/128

GZ# zlogin emp-web1 ipadm create-if emp_web1
GZ# zlogin emp-web1 ipadm show-if
IFNAME     STATE    CURRENT      PERSISTENT
lo0        ok       -m-v------46 ---
emp_web1   down     bm--------46 -46

GZ# zlogin emp-web1 ipadm create-addr -T static -a local=10.140.205.82/24 emp_web1/v4static
GZ# zlogin emp-web1 ipadm show-addr
ADDROBJ           TYPE     STATE        ADDR
lo0/v4            static   ok           127.0.0.1/8
emp_web1/v4static static   ok           10.140.205.82/24
lo0/v6            static   ok           ::1/128

GZ# zlogin emp-web1 ifconfig emp_web1
emp_web1: flags=1000843 mtu 1500 index 2
        inet 10.140.205.82 netmask ffffff00 broadcast 10.140.205.255
        ether 2:8:20:3a:43:c8

The last command above shows the "old" way of displaying IP address configuration. The command ifconfig(1) is still there, but the new tools dladm and ipadm provide a more consistent interface, with well-defined separation between datalink management and IP management.

Of course, if you want the zone's outbound packets to be routed to other networks, you must use the route(1M) command, the /etc/defaultrouter file, or both.

Next time, I'll show a new network measurement tool and the ability to control the amount of network bandwidth consumed.

About

Jeff Victor writes this blog to help you understand Oracle's Solaris and virtualization technologies.

The views expressed on this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle.

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