Thursday Jan 23, 2014

Hands-On Lab Setup Instructions Now Available for Next Virtual Sysadmin Day

As you may already know, OTN's next Virtual Sysadmin Day is on January 28 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm PT. This sysadmin day is going to be very cool because its hands-on labs focus on solving real-world problems with Oracle technologies.

You'll definitely want to do the prep work before the day of the event. The prep work consists of configuring your laptop and uploading the images. Don't be that guy. The one who, the day of, asks where the instructions are. Him. Don't be him.

Pre-Event Checklist

The checklist provides:

  • Virtual Conference hardware requirements
  • Virtual Conference software requirements
  • Setup instructions for Oracle Solaris labs
  • Setup instructions for Oracle Linux labs
  • Setup instructions for Oracle VM labs

If You Must Tweet

If you can't keep your hands off your danged phone while working on the labs, at least use this hashtag:

#OTNVSAD

Questions for Ed

Oracle ACE extraordinaire Ed Whalen and I will be hanging out at the Sysadmin Lounge during the last 30-45 minutes of the event. Ed knows his stuff, so if you have any questions about Linux, such as how to optimize it for the database or other applications, ask Ed. If you have questions about Harleys or Ducatis, ask me.

See you next week.

photograph of Harleys in Wisconsin by Rick Ramsey

- Rick

Follow me on:
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Friday Jan 10, 2014

It's Friday, Ask Your Boss to Dance

Happy Friday, OTN Garage!

- Rick

Follow me on:
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Tuesday Dec 31, 2013

Is it Over, Already?

That was a helluva year. Here's hoping 2014 is just as wild and crazy.

You can find the articles we posted during 2013 here:

Thursday Dec 19, 2013

Next Virtual Sysadmin Day Is On Jan 28

OTN's next virtual sysadmin day is on January 28. It's four hours long, from 9:00 am - 1:00 pm PT. (Time converter here.) This time we have a whole new set of hands-on labs for Oracle Solaris, Oracle Linux, and Oracle VM. Proctored, of course, which means you can ask questions. The labs in our previous virtual sysadmin day focused on the basics. These focus on using these technologies in real-world scenarios. Click on the Agenda tab in the registration page to see the labs.

The event is free, but you do need to register. And there's a little homework involved. Nothing too complicated. We just expect you to have VirtualBox installed and the proper images already imported before we begin class. Click on the the Instructions tab for more info.

Register here.

Picture is of Mosquito Pass, in Colorado, taken from Mosquito Gulch. You need a 4x4 with good ground clearance to get up and over the top, and the rocks on the road will slice up your tires unless they're good and thick. A great place to catch your breath after you finish the hands-on labs.

- Rick

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Monday Sep 23, 2013

Live Video Interviews on OTN Central at Oracle OpenWorld 2013

Good thing I drove to Oracle OpenWorld this year instead of riding the moto like I have on some previous OOW's. We had an inch of slush on Donner pass, and if we hadn't skeedaddled outta there when we did, we might have wound up like the ATV in my driveway in Colorado.

This year Oracle wants its customers to talk about their experiences with Oracle technologies, so OTN has lined up three live interviews. If you're at Oracle OpenWorld, you can watch them on the big screens. If you're not at the event, you can still watch them live from our home page at www.oracle.com. If you want to watch them later, look for a future blog in which I'll post the location of the recorded interviews.

Monday, 12:00 noon PT - John Dome, Systems Engineering Lead, Progressive Insurance

John will describe the business opportunity that lead Progressive Insurance to switch from Red Hat Linux to Oracle Linux, he'll explain why he recommended they switch, the results they got, and how it has changed the way Progressive's DBA's and SA's work together. We'll try to get as techie as we can in the time we have.

Tuesday, 11:50 am PT - Gautham Sampath, Chief Information Technologist, Pinellas County Government

Gautham (pronounced like Batman's Gotham) recently led an effort to refresh the Pinellas County hardware systems. He'll explain what they were looking for, why they chose Oracle Exalytics, how they became convinced it was the right decision, and how it changed the way they managed their data center.

Wednesday, 11:00 am PT - Brian Bream, CTO, Collier IT

Brian Bream, Chief Technology Officer of Collier IT, will describe the biggest changes data centers must deal with today, and how Collier IT recommends they face them. When we're done, he'll confess how he deals with his personal addiction to SPARC systems and the Oracle Solaris operating system.

Plus recorded videos

We're also going to have a snowsquallfull of recorded interviews, which we'll begin posting during the evenings, since going to all-night parties is getting harder and harder to recover from. Look for them on OTN Garage YouTube Channel.

- Rick

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Thursday Jun 20, 2013

Hands-On Labs + Proctors = Genius

If Albert Einstein (image removed from blog) had attended OTN's virtual sysadmin days, he wouldn't have gotten so old figuring out his Theory of Relativity. Thanks to the relentless advance of technology, you can outsmart Einstein from the comfort of your own office. See below.

OTN Virtual Sysadmin Day - July 2013

It's free - register here

We held our first ever virtual sysadmin day for North America on January 15 of this year. Almost 600 sysadmins attended and over 80% of them remained online for the duration of the event. Which means they found it a good use of their time. If you missed that one, we're doing another one in July. Oddly enough, we chose the same date and time: the 15th at 9:00 am PT. Which is at exact same spot of the Earth's rotation, but on the other side of the sun and closer to our upcoming collision with Adromeda.

That galactic fender-bender aside, we have updated some of the hands-on labs about Oracle Solaris and Oracle Linux that we presented at our in-person sysadmin days, and we added three new labs about Oracle VM:

  • Deploying Infrastructure as a Service
  • How to Virtualize and Deploy Oracle Applications Using Oracle VM Templates
  • Creating an x86 Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure

Details here.

The event is free, but you do need to register. And there's a little homework involved. Nothing too complicated. We just expect you to have VirtualBox installed and the proper images already imported before we begin class. You'll see the instructions after you register.

When was that again?

Monday, July 15 at 9:00 am Pacific Time. (Time converter here.)

Register here

- Rick

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Thursday Jan 31, 2013

Deep Inside Every Sysadmin Is ...

#WWI-Ace

photo courtesy of James Vaughan - all rights reserved

... an Oracle ACE!

The thrills. The glory. The fame. Who can resist?

Turns out sysadmins can.

Last time I checked, the Oracle ACE program had 417 ACES and ACE Directors. Of those 417, only 6 have a specialty in Oracle Solaris or Oracle Linux.

That's simply not enough to defend the homeland! I know there are many more sysadmins and developers proficient in Oracle Solaris and Oracle Linux who can qualify to become Oracle ACES. Toss your silk scarf around your neck and grab your goggles. Then talk to me on the OTN Garage page on Facebook. I'll explain the benefits and help you enroll in pilot training.

Current Oracle ACES With Specialties in Oracle Solaris or Oracle Linux

Suk Kim, ACE Director, Oracle Solaris, Korea

Proficient in Oracle Solaris system tuning, troubleshooting Oracle Solaris security, audit information security, penetration tester incident and response, digital forensics virtualization, and cloud computing. Member of Korea Oracle Solaris User Network, Chairman of Oracle Solaris Tehchnet, Manager of Solaris School, adjunct professor at Ansan University, senior consultant at NoBreak Co., LTD.

Diego Aguirre, ACE, Oracle Solaris, Argentina

Diego Aguirre has been a Solaris Support Specialist since 1998. Over the past several years, he has contributed to the Oracle Solaris Community and has published technical articles for Sun Microsystems and now Oracle. He is the author of http://solaris4ever.blogspot.com.

Alexander Eremin, ACE, Oracle Solaris, Russia

Alexander Eremin is a user on Solaris and Linux platforms since 1995. Over the past ten years, he has worked as a Senior Unix Administrator. He is also the creator of the MilaX - Small Live Distribution of OpenSolaris. Alexander is also taking part in the Caiman OpenSolaris project.

Julien Gabel, ACE, Oracle Solaris, France

Julien Gabel is a Multi-platform UNIX systems consultant and administrator in mutualized and virtualized environments. He has architecture and expertise in building Solaris and UNIX experience in large enterprises such as banking and financial services, IT services, Telecoms and multimedia companies.

Raimonds Simanovskis, ACE, Oracle Linux, Latvia

Raimonds Simanovskis in founder of EazyOne which develops business intelligence web application eazyBI.com. Previously he was working at Tieto Latvia where he was using and promoting new technologies, open source and Agile software development. Raimonds has participated in many Oracle E-Business Suite implementation projects as well as Oracle based software development projects. In recent years he is active Ruby language and Ruby on Rails framework user and contributor. He has created and maintains Oracle database adapter for Ruby on Rails as well as PL/SQL and Ruby integration libraries.

Damian Wojslaw, ACE, Oracle Solaris, Poland

Damian is currently working as systems operator since 1999. Since 2006 he has worked with Solaris and OpenSolaris operating systems and other Sun Microsystems born applications. He blogs regularly on TrochejEN and reposts on Planet OpenSolaris. Damian has translated four OpenSolaris related Guides (ZFS Administrator Guide, OpenSolaris Installation Guide: Basic Installations, DTrace User Guide, Device Driver Tutorial) to Polish.

Defend the homeland!

- Rick

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Thursday Dec 20, 2012

Top 10 Articles of 2012 Include Oracle Solaris, Linux, Virtualization

source

That's a 72 Norton Commando fashioned into a cafe racer. Heavy.com named a newer version the #1 bike in the 2012 New York International Motorcycle Show. (I didn't like Heavy.com's picture, so I found a better one from the blog listed as source, above.)

OTN also has an annual top 10. In that post by Bob Rhubart, from OTN's Architect community, six of the top ten technical articles were about technologies of interest to system admins and developers.

Boo-yah!

#2 - How Dell Migrated from SUSE Linux to Oracle Linux

by Jon Senger, Aik Zu Shyong, and Suzanne Zorn

In June of 2010, Dell made the decision to migrate 1,700 systems from SUSE Linux to Oracle Linux, while leaving the hardware and application layers unchanged. The people who worked on the migration describe how Dell planned and implemented the migration, including key conversion issues and an overview of their transition process.

#4 - Getting Started with Oracle Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 2

by Lenz Grimmer

How to update your Oracle Linux systems to the latest version of the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel. Switching is easy—applications and the operating system remain unchanged. There is no need to perform a full re-install; only the relevant RPM packages are replaced.

#6 - How to Use Oracle VM VirtualBox Templates

by Yuli Vasiliev

This article explains how to use Oracle VM VirtualBox Templates in Oracle VM VirtualBox. It is similar to the article that explains how to prepare an Oracle VM environment to use Oracle VM Templates, but it describes how to download, install, and configure the templates within Oracle VM VirtualBox, instead of on bare metal.

#7 - How to Update Oracle Solaris 11 Systems From Oracle Support Repositories

by Glynn Foster

You may already know that you don't have to worry about manually tracking and validating patch dependencies when you update a version of Oracle Solaris 11. This makes updates much easier. Glynn Foster demonstrates how easy it is to update the OS from a support repository, and how to make sure everything went well.

#8 - Tips for Hardening an Oracle Linux Server

by Lenz Grimmer and James Morris

General strategies for hardening an Oracle Linux server. Oracle Linux comes "secure by default," but the actions you take when deploying the server can increase or decrease its security. How to minimize active services, lock down network services, and many other tips.

#9 - How to Create a Local Yum Repository for Oracle Linux

by Jared Greenwald

How to create a local yum repository for Oracle Linux, and configure up2date and yum to install and update packages from the repositories.

More About OTN's Technical Articles

See all system admin- and systems developer-related technical articles published on OTN here.

Interested in publishing an article on OTN? Click here or join the conversation on the OTN Garage Facebook page.

- Rick

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Friday Oct 05, 2012

Hurry! See the uncensored OOW videos before they get edited!

source

Uploaded so far:

Which Oracle Solaris 11 Technologies Have Sysadmins Been Using Most?

Director's Cut - Uncensored - Markus Flierl, VP Solaris Core Engineering, describes how Oracle Solaris 11 customers are taking advantage of the Image Packaging System and the snapshot capability of ZFS to run more frequent updates of not only the OS, but also the applications (agile development, anyone?), and how they're using the network virtualization capabilities in Oracle Solaris 11 to isolate applications and manage workloads on the cloud.

Watch How Hybrid Columnar Compression Saves Storage Space

Director's Cut - Uncensored - Art Licht shows how hyprid columnar compression (HCC) compresses data 30x without slowing down other queries that the database is performing. First he shows what happens when he runs database queries without HCC, then he shows what happens when he runs the queries with HCC.

Security Capabilities and Design in Oracle Solaris 11

Director's Cut - Uncensored - Compliance reporting. Extended policy. Immutable zones. Three of the best minds in Oracle Solaris security explain what they are, what customers are doing with them, and how they were engineered. Filmed at Oracle Open World 2012.

Why DTrace and Ksplice Have Made Oracle Linux 6 Popular with Sysadmins

Use the DTrace scripts you wrote for Oracle Solaris on Oracle Linux without modification. Wim Coekaerts, VP of Engineering for Oracle Linux, explains how this capability of DTrace, the zero downtime updates enabled by KSplice, and other performance and stability enhancements have made Oracle Linux 6 popular with sysadmins.

Why Solaris 11 Is Being Adopted Faster Than Solaris 10

Sneak Preview - Uncut Version - Lynn Rohrer, Director of Oracle Solaris Product Management explains why customers are adopting Oracle Solaris 11 at a faster rate than Oracle Solaris 10, and proves why you should never challenge a Montana woman to a test of strength.

What Forsythe Corp Is Helping Its Customers Do With Oracle Solaris 11

Director's Cut - Unedited - Lee Diamante, Solutions Architect for Forsythe Corp, an Oracle Solaris Partner, explains why Forsythe has been recommending Oracle Solaris to its customers, and what those customers have been doing with it.

Lots more to come ...

- Rick

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Thursday Sep 27, 2012

Heading Out to Oracle Open World

In case you haven't figured it out by now, Oracle reserves an awful lot of announcements for Oracle Open World. As a result, the show is always a lot of fun for geeks. What will the Oracle Solaris team have to say? Will the Oracle Linux team have any surprises? And what about Oracle hardware?

For my part, I'll be one of the lizards at the OTN Lounge with the OTN crew, handing out t-shirts to system admins and developers, or anyone who is willing to impersonate one. I understand, not everyone can have the raw animal magnetism of a sysadmin, or the debonair sophistication of a C++ developer, so some of you have no choice but to pretend. I won't judge.

I'll also be doing video interviews of as many techie people as I can corner. I've got more than 30 interviews already scheduled. Most of them will be 3-5 minutes long. I'll be asking our best technical minds what's cool about their latest technologies and what impact it will have on system admins or system developers. I'll be posting those videos here:

Find OTN Systems Videos from Oracle Open World Here!

We've got some great topics in mind. A dummies guide to hardware-assisted cryptography with Glenn Brunette. ZFS deduplication. The momentum building around Oracle Solaris 11, with Lynn Rohrer, plus conversations with partners who have deployed Oracle Solaris 11. Migrating to Oracle Database with SQL Developer. The whole database cloud thing. Oracle VM and, of course, Oracle Linux.

So even if you can't be part of the fun, keep an eye out for the videos on our YouTube channel.

- Rick

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Tuesday Aug 21, 2012

Worth the Money?

source

Learning a new technology really is the modern equivalent of doing the Ulysees thing in Homer's Odyssey. If you're the person who has to actually deploy the darned thing. And keep it running.

First, you have to wade through the marketing designed to mesmerize your boss ...

The eData Cloud-Optimized Storage Environment solution increases the adaptability of scalable business continuity while protecting infrastructure integrity optimized for the demands of reliability, availability, and security expressly designed for the unique requirements of the data center while enhanced for today's particular, unique, and demanding enterprise challenges. In a heterogenous computing environment.

So you shake your head vigorously in the hope that most of those words will fall out your ears, and go to the documentation, which is wicked, wicked useful. Once once you have a good idea of what you want to do. But frustrating as hell when you're not sure what you're supposed to be doing. Or why.

The technical articles that OTN publishes help a lot, but they don't give you the complete picture, do they? You wind up knowing how to do some really cool things, but not having a clue how to do others. Or worse: not knowing if there are other things you need to know.

So you go to the forums. And ask a question. OTN's forums are pretty good, but even in our forums you might not get an answer. And you might develop a lasting relationship with somebody born in San Quentin Prison who dedicates himself to stalking you for the rest of his life for wasting 18 seconds of his precious time.

We're all used to this, and repeat it hundreds of times throughout the year.

But wouldn't it be nice to learn something the easy way? Just once? Have somebody who really knows what they're talking about give us the complete picture? First at the high level so we get to see all the pieces and finally understand what it is we're dealing with. That alone is almost priceless. But also in full detail, so we know how to actually install, deploy, manage, and update a technology. From end to end. Because we've done it ourselves. More than once.

For me, that would be Christmas in August. The catch for most sysadmins nowadays is that there just isn't enough time to take a class. You can't get away from the office long enough without the place burning down. Which is why Oracle University came up with its on-demand format. Here's one example:

On Demand Training: Transition to Oracle Solaris 11

Like the average sysadmin, I have little to no free time during my work week. So I can't sign up for a week-long class. And even if I did, I wouldn't pay attention half the time because I'd be answering emails, IM's, and phone calls. So this on-demand format really works for me. Plus, the content is really good. An example of how the instructor sets the context for the new installation tools in Oracle Solaris 11, with just a few words:

"Now, speaking of Solaris installations, we have essentially three different ways that we can install this. We have the automated installer. Now, the automated installer is the replacement for JumpStart. The idea here is we're installing across the network. We have a manifest that lists what component should get installed. We have client profiles that say OK, these are the clients that should get the software.

"Then we have a couple of different interactive installation options. We have a LiveCD. Now, LiveCD is designed for the desktop environment. It has a GUI environment. So for those of you that are dealing with installations that are going to happen on a desktop or notebook computers, generally, you're going to do a LiveCD installation of that. Then we have the text installer. That's typically what you're probably used to in server deployments where it's a text-based interface where you're answering the questions to install the operating system so that you're not having to worry about the resources of a graphical environment."

If you're wondering why I'm blogging about this course on OTN Garage (again), it's simple: I'm taking the course right now, in between my other work, and I'm freakin' loving it! In my case, Oracle is paying for it. But after decades of trying to learn this technology on my own --with access to Oracle's engineers, mind you-- even if Oracle didn't pay for it, I'd be awfully tempted to stop buying motorcycles and pay for it myself. Just for the peace of mind. For the relief of being certain that I know what I'm talking about.

If the link above doesn't work for you, try this one.

- Rick

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Wednesday Aug 01, 2012

Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean…

KeyholeWhile I’m a passionate computer user–recognized within my family and circle of friends as a reigning (or at least old) geek–I spend at least as much time warning people to be careful as I do showing them the cool things they can do with their computers. I’m shocked at the widespread complacency over computer and network security and privacy: we should all be afraid. Very afraid. I only need remind you of recent security breaches with LinkedIn and Dropbox!

I have been in the business of publishing systems best practices for over a decade: security has been a keystone topic all those years. The good news is that high levels of security can be achieved: you just have to be smart about it. With a few exceptions, security isn’t something we actually sell, because it is dominated by relatively unglamorous concepts, processes, and practices, not extra hardware and software.

Because of this, security experts often find themselves trying to teach really fundamental (and after-the-fact, obvious) concepts. For example, in building a secure environment, you want to make sure your platform fulfills four important points:

  • It must be able to prevent or minimize the damage caused from both accidental and malicious actions. This is referred to as survivability.
  • It provides a layered set of defenses exist so that secure operations continue even after a vulnerability or the failure of a single security control. This is referred to as defense in depth.
  • It provides only those services that are absolutely necessary to the function or user. This is referred to as least privilege.
  • It is critical to be able to detect and report a breach. This is referred to as accountability.

We just posted an important article, written by three security experts I have worked with for a long time: Best Practices for Securely Deploying the SPARC SuperCluster T4–4. In building a solution that will survive a world of sophisticated cyber-criminals, it is more important than ever to pick the correct hardware and software platform. This article gives you a crash course in the things to consider, and explanation of the special features of the SPARC SuperCluster T4–4 that will make your job of creating a secure environment easier, and (most importantly) how to go about putting things together.

This is a big and important topic. Once you have digested this “Reader’s Digest” article, I’m confident that you’ll want to look at the references listed at the end. Now is the time to get smart about security.

–Kemer

Friday Jul 27, 2012

What To Give Your Favorite Sysadmin on Sysadmin Day

Source

Happy Sysadmin Day.

As the site says ...

This is the day that all fellow System Administrators across the globe will be showered with expensive sports cars and large piles of cash in appreciation of their diligent work ..."

We understand that times are tight, so we don't expect you to buy your favorite sysadmin a Ferrari. That can wait till next year. But it wouldn't hurt to rent them one. Just for the weekend. To remind them what a weekend feels like.

- Rick

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Wednesday Jul 25, 2012

OTN Sysadmin Day in Denver, Colorado

Source

Can you find the sysadmin in the picture?

You might be able to on Thursday, August 23rd. OTN is hosting its next Sysadmin Day in Denver, Colorado, and we can never keep track of our sysadmins. In a place as purty as Colorado, it will be even harder.

Note: The date on the link above is incorrect. The correct date is Thursday, August 23rd.

Our previous OTN Sysadmin Day in Santa Clara had almost 100 attendees. The one in Denver will have similar presentations, but we're adding some content on virtualization. Which we hope to expand into a third track in the future. As usual, Pavel Anni opens our OTN Sysadmin Days with a talk about Oracle's dual OS strategy. He explains why Oracle offers two operating systems, and summarizes the main features of each one. Then we split off into two different groups to get our hands on each OS.

One group gets their hands on the ZFS filesystem, virtualization capabilities, and security controls of Oracle Solaris.

The other group gets their hands on the package management tools, services, and runs levels of Oracle Linux, plus its volume management tools and the Btrfs filesystem.

Both groups learn by doing, using the hands-on labs similar to those on OTN's Hands-On Labs page. Why attend an event in person when you could simply work the labs on your own? Two reasons:

  1. Since you are away from the obligations of the data center, you get to focus on working the labs without interruption.
  2. You get help from Oracle experts and other sysadmins who are working on the same labs as you.
The event is free. Here's the agenda:

Time Session
8:00 am System Shakedown
9:00 am Oracle's Dual OS Strategy
 

Oracle Solaris Track

Oracle Linux Track

10:00 am HOL: Oracle Solaris ZFS HOL: Package Management and Configuration
11:30 am HOL: Virtualization HOL: Storage Management
1:00 pm Lunch / Surfing OTN
2:00 pm HOL: Oracle Solaris Security HOL: Btrfs filesystem
3:00 pm Presentation: Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 11g
3:30 pm Presentation: Oracle VM Manager
4:00 pm Discussion: What are the most pressing issues for sysadmins today?
5:00 pm Get lost in the mountains.

- Rick

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Tuesday Jun 19, 2012

Viewing at Impossible Angles

Multibus driverThe picture of the little screwdriver with the Allen wrench head to the right is bound to invoke a little nostalgia for those readers who were Sun customers in the late 80s. This tool was a very popular give-away: it was essential for installing and removing Multibus (you youngsters will have to look that up on Wikipedia…) cards in our systems. Back then our mid-sized systems were gargantuan: it was routine for us to schlep around a 200 lb. desk side box and 90 lb. monitor to demo a piece of software your smart phone will run better today.

We were very close to the hardware, and the first thing a new field sales systems engineer had to learn was how put together a system. If you were lucky, a grizzled service engineer might run you through the process once, then threaten your health and existence should you ever screw it up so that he had to fix it.

Nowadays we make it much easier to learn the ins and outs of our hardware with simulations–3D animations–that take you through the process of putting together or replacing pieces of a system. Most recently, we have posted three sophisticated PDFs that take advantage of Acrobat 9 features to provide a really intelligent approach to documenting hardware installation and repair:

Download one of these documents and take a close look at it. You can view the hardware from any angle, including impossible ones. Each document has a number of procedures, that break down into steps. Click on a procedure, then a step and you will see it animated in the drawing.

Of course hardware design has generally eliminated the need for things like our old giveaway tools: components snap and lock in. Often you can replace redundant units while the system is hot, but for heaven’s sake, you’ll want to verify that you can do that before you try it!

Meanwhile, we can all look forward to a growing portfolio of these intelligent documents. We would love to hear what you think about them.

–Kemer

Tuesday Feb 28, 2012

Santa Clara On April 10 - Next OTN Sysadmin Day

Before the part of Oracle that was then Sun Microsystems moved in, the facility used to be known as the Agnews Insane Asylum. Some of us who worked for Sun at the time thought the image was hilarious. Some thought it was insensitive. Some believed it was a statement about the rise of the corporate state and the demise of benign government. That was the Santa Clara campus back then, a diverse, magical workplace full of people who held strong opinions about everything, yet managed to have a great time together.

Another topic that incites strong opinions among good friends is Oracle Solaris vs Oracle Linux. Which one is better? Which one should I use? Which one should I learn how to use? At our OTN Sysadmin Days, we let you decide. Pavel Anni always opens our OTN Sysadmin Days with a talk about Oracle's dual OS strategy. He explains why Oracle offers two operating systems, and summarizes the main features of each one. Then we split off into two different groups to get our hands on each OS.

One group gets their hands on the ZFS filesystem, virtualization capabilities, and security controls of Oracle Solaris.

The other group gets their hands on the package management tools, services, and runs levels of Oracle Linux, plus its volume management tools and the Btrfs filesystem.

The truly adventurous sysadmins jump between groups. Both groups learn by doing, using the hands-on labs similar to those on OTN's Hands-On Labs page. Why attend an event in person when you could simply work the labs on your own? Two reasons:

  1. Since you are away from the obligations of the data center, you get to focus on working the labs without interruption.
  2. You get help from Oracle experts and other sysadmins who are working on the same labs as you.

I've been to all our OTN Sysadmin Days so far. The sysadmins and IT managers who attended told me that it was time very well spent. However, our attendance has been low. Not sure whether we haven't gotten the word out to enough people, or whether it's just difficult for sysadmins to get away. In any case, if we don't improve attendance, we'll have to cancel OTN Sysadmin Days.

So if you're interested, register now. Santa Clara on April 10 may be your last chance. The event is free. Here's the agenda:

Time Session
8:00 am System Shakedown
9:00 am Oracle's Dual OS Strategy
 

Oracle Solaris Track

Oracle Linux Track

10:00 am HOL: Oracle Solaris ZFS HOL: Package Management and Configuration
11:30 am HOL: Virtualization HOL: Storage Management
1:00 pm Lunch / Surfing OTN
2:00 pm HOL: Oracle Solaris Security HOL: Btrfs filesystem
3:00 pm Presentation: Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 11g
3:30 pm Presentation: Setting Up and In-House Development Environment with Oracle Solaris Studio
4:00 pm Discussion: What are the most pressing issues for sysadmins today?
5:00 pm We all go home

- Rick Ramsey

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Tuesday Jan 03, 2012

Next OTN Sysadmin Day is on January 18

Our next OTN Sysadmin Day will be held on January 18 in Salt Lake City, Utah. As usual, we will have two tracks of hands-on-labs:

Time Session
8:00 am System Shakedown
9:00 am Oracle's Dual OS Strategy / Overview of OTN
 

Oracle Solaris Track

Oracle Linux Track

10:00 am HOL: ZFS HOL: managing packages, configuring services
11:30 am HOL: Exploring OS, network, and storage virtualization HOL on Storage Part I: managing storage and file systems
1:00 pm Lunch Break
2:00 pm HOL: Managing software with IPS HOL on Storage Part II: Device Mapper, BTRFS
3:00 pm Presentation: Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 11g
4:00 pm Discussion: What are the most pressing issues for sysadmins today?
5:00 pm We all go home

Participants of previous OTN Sysadmin Days found the hands-on labs particularly valuable. You get to learn by doing. And what you get to do is install, configure, and manage the technologies of Oracle Solaris 11 and Oracle Linux in the same way as you would in the real world.

OTN Sysadmin Day in Salt Lake City is free, but you must register. Please stay for the feedback session at the end. They tend to be pretty spirited, and you might win a neat prize. Address:

Salt Lake City Marriott City Center
220 South State Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84111

If you'd like to see some pictures from the Sacramento event, go to the "OTN Sysadmin Day Sacramento" photo folder on the OTN Garage on Facebook.

To find out what there is to do is Salt Lake City and Utah, click on the ski page above. It will take you to National Geographic's Guide to Utah.

- Rick
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Friday Dec 23, 2011

Santa in the OTN Garage

You are welcome to peruse content the OTN Systems Community posted for sysadmins and developers over the past year, like Santa is doing:

Here's wishing that your moto start on the first kick, your engine oil run clear, your bolts not vibrate off before you reach home, your fuel not gum up your carburetor, and your face remain merrily in the wind.

Merry Christmas, or whatever you celebrate during the Holiday Season.

- Rick

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Friday Dec 16, 2011

Two Sysadmin Articles Make OTN's Top 20

In the OTN blog, Justin reports that two sysadmin-related articles made OTN's top 20 list for 2011:

Number 2
Taking Your First Steps with Oracle Solaris 11
- by Brian Leonard and Glenn Brunette

Number 11
How I Simplified the Installation of Oracle Database on Oracle Linux
- by Ginny Henningsen

Boo-yah!

The good work of Brian, Glenn, and Ginny makes those of us in the Systems Community of OTN particularly proud because the number of OTN readers who are system admins and developers is dwarfed by the number who are Java developers. Even making the top 20 is notable. To Brian, Glenn, and Ginny, a heartfelt:

- Rick

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Wednesday Sep 14, 2011

OTN Sysadmin Day - Seattle

OTN Sysadmin Day held in Sacramento on Sep 8 was the first time we presented two tracks of hands-on labs:

Time Session
8:00 am System Shakedown
9:00 am Oracle's Dual OS Strategy / Overview of OTN
 

Oracle Solaris Track

Oracle Linux Track

10:00 am HOL: ZFS HOL: managing packages, configuring services
11:30 am HOL: Exploring OS, network, and storage virtualization HOL on Storage Part I: managing storage and file systems
1:00 pm Lunch Break
2:00 pm HOL: Managing software with IPS HOL on Storage Part II: Device Mapper, BTRFS
3:00 pm Presentation: Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 11g
4:00 pm Discussion: What are the most pressing issues for sysadmins today?
5:00 pm We all go home

Participants found the hands-on labs particularly valuable. You get to learn by doing. And what you get to do is install, configure, and manage the technologies of Oracle Solaris 11 and Oracle Linux in the same way as you would in the real world.

Next Sysadmin Day

We are doing another one in Seattle, on September 22nd. From 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. It's free, but you must register. Please stay for the feedback session at the end. They tend to be pretty spirited, and you might win a neat prize. I'll tell you more if you make it to Seattle.

Our next Sysadmin Day won't happen till January 18 (Salt Lake City), so do what you can to make it to Seattle. It's being held at the Seattle Westin Hotel, 1900 5th Avenue.

If you'd like to see some pictures from the Sacramento event, go to the "OTN Sysadmin Day Sacramento" photo folder on the OTN Garage on Facebook.

- Rick
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Wednesday Sep 07, 2011

Oracle OpenWorld for 50 Bucks - Really?

If you're an OTN Member, you can get a Discover Pass to Oracle OpenWorld for $50.00. The Discover Pass won't let you into the technical sessions and hands-on labs, but it will let you into the keynote and executive sessions, the user group meetings, the exhibition halls and Demo Grounds and, of course, the OTN Lounge. And that's not all. Find out how it compares to full registration here:

Discover Pass vs Full Registration

Be sure to use this priority code: DOTN11.

Here's how:

  • First, become an OTN member:
    1. Go to the OTN Membership Page
    2. Select the "join today!" link (underlined, in the middle of a paragraph)
    3. Go to "My Community Memberships"
    4. Select "Oracle Technology Network"
    5. Identify yourself as a "sysadmin."
  • Register for Oracle Open World and use priority code DOTN11

By the way, that's my nephew Anthony on the right. Coolest kid ever.

- Rick
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Thursday Aug 25, 2011

Next OTN Sysadmin Day is in Sacramento

Bottom Line: next OTN Sysadmin Day is September 8 in Sacramento.
Free, but registration is required.

One of the most subtle yet powerful skills I learned from The Missus is how to tell the difference between what was better and what I preferred.

Motorcycle magazines, for instance, spend an awful lot of time telling us why one motorcycle is better than another. They do this by employing their best interpretation of objective criteria: acceleration, braking, cornering, carrying capacity, conveniences, ergonomics, and sometimes even the personal riding experience of the reviewer.

There's nothing wrong with that. Very useful stuff. And fascinating to read. Except that it gets me all confused. Or confuzzled, as my daughter calls it. The objective criteria makes me think one bike is better than the other. But when I buy it, why am I less than fulfilled?

Because features and capabilities don't often match personal preference.

Although we don't usually put personal preference at the top of the list when choosing an operating system, we shouldn't ignore it. Personal preference is not just whim. It takes into account the job we're trying to accomplish, the way we have to handle it, and the tools we prefer to use. In fact, ignoring our personal preference has an impact on productivity: if we hate "our ride," we're not going to get very good at using it, are we?

OTN's second Sysadmin Day (read about the first) will begin with an overview of Oracle's dual OS strategy. Then we'll split off into two tracks, one with hands-on labs for Oracle Linux, one for Oracle Solaris.

Time Session
8:00 am System Shakedown
9:00 am Oracle's Dual OS Strategy
 

Oracle Solaris Track

Oracle Linux Track

9:30 am Overview of Oracle Solaris Overview of Oracle Linux
10:00 am HOL: ZFS HOL: managing packages, configuring services
11:30 am HOL: Exploring OS, network, and storage virtualization HOL on Storage Part I: managing storage and file systems
1:00 pm Lunch Break
2:00 pm HOL: Managing software with IPS HOL on Storage Part II: Device Mapper, BTRFS
3:00 pm Presentation: Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 11g
4:00 pm Discussion: What are the most pressing issues for sysadmins today?
5:00 pm We all go home

Consider it an Oracle Demo Day, if you will. It's free, but you must register to attend.

As for me, after spending a couple of years riding the canyons on a 2005 Ducati 800SS, a 2003 Ducati ST4 with a 4-valve 996 engine, Ohlins shocks, and Marchesini wheels, a 2005 BMW K1200S, and the bikes of a few friends, I went back to a 2006 Harley Davidson Fat Boy. Even though the other bikes performed much better, I prefer the Fat Boy. And my wicked smaht Missus.

- Rick
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Wednesday Aug 10, 2011

Join OTN Or ...

...The Lemur Gets It!


Turns out Oracle wants more sysadmins (Linux, Solaris, systems, storage, or network) to become official, bonafide, full-blown OTN members. I explained that sysadmins aren't really the "joining" type, but I lost. Oracle wants more sysadmins to join OTN. Period.

So I've been wondering how I could convince the more reluctant among you to become official, bonafide, full-blown OTN members. After all you, your bookie, and your bookie's mother-in-law can read our technical articles, view our OTN videos (may take time to load), and visit just about every part of the OTN Systems website without signing up for anything.

But there is a bunch of very cool stuff you can't do unless you're a member. This month I'll tell you about one.


Download Software For Free

You can't download our software for free unless you're an OTN member.

I know Oracle's license terms are not the same as Sun's were, but you still get to download and horse around with world-class software for free. If you're anywhere within a decade of your mid-life crisis, you'll clearly remember when you had to actually pay a lot of money for good software. All we ask is that you be honest about when you deploy our software. That's only fair.

For all the details, read the OTN developer license.

You can read about other benefits of membership here.

So, if you really want that lemur to have a future, sign up here, check the "Oracle Technology Network" box under "My Community Memberships," and identify yourself as a sysadmin.

And while you're at it, sign up for our newsletter. It'll highlight the best content we've published over the previous month, in case you weren't paying attention.

- Rick
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Wednesday Jul 13, 2011

Suicide by C++ And How to Avoid It

photo courtesy of To Be A Pilgrim blog.

You may have seen The Onion's story about some recent ground-breaking research ...

New Study Shows People With Panic Disorders Respond Poorly To Being Locked In Underwater Elevators

If you get the same reaction every time you realize your C++ code is hopelessly tangled up with your C++ libraries, you may find some relief in this series by Darryl Gove and Stephen Clamage.

  • Introduction to Libraries and Linking - How to make sure that your Oracle Solaris application links to the libraries it needs correctly and in the right order.
  • Part II - Resolving Symbols in Libraries - How to use the -z defs flag in your code to make sure the runtime linker links your application to the correct C++ libraries.
  • Part III - What Happens When An Application Starts - How investigate run-time application linking problems by using the LD_DEBUG environment variable.
  • Part IV - Avoiding Linking Problems - How to identify duplicate symbols and circular dependencies in your C++ code that would lead to linking problems between your application and its libraries.
  • Part V - Libraries in C++ - A detailed demonstration of how your C++ compiler can bind to a symbol from the incorrect library at compile time, and how to use the -g compiler flag to detect it.
  • Part VI - Resolving the Initialization Order Problem - Using link *order* to resolve C/C++ library dependencies is quick, but not optimal. Better to use either -instlib to keep the compiler from generating multiple templates, or use the -Bdirect linker flag to record dependencies at run time. This article explains how.
  • Part VII - Using Symbol Scoping to Avoid Linking Issues - By default, a symbol defined in a library is visible to other libraries and executables. You can limit a symbol's scope in a number of ways, including symbolic binding, hidden scope, and interposing. How to and examples described here.
  • Part VIII - Concluding Remarks and Summary of Best Practices - Building an application as a combination of executables and library calls has many advantages but potential problems with the links between the executable and its libraries. By using the techniques described in this series of articles, you can identify problems and make the risks manageable.

- Rick
System Admin and Developer Community of OTN
OTN Garage Blog
OTN Garage on Facebook
OTN Garage on Twitter

Friday Jul 01, 2011

Filtering Your Content

Watch it directly on YouTube

You can't always get what you want, but we do try to get you what you need. Use these OTN System Collections to see what's been published lately in your area of interest:

If you prefer to use your RSS feeder, try this page:

- Rick
System Admin and Developer Community of OTN
OTN Garage Blog
OTN Garage on Facebook
OTN Garage on Twitter

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Contributors:
Rick Ramsey
Kemer Thomson
and members of the OTN community

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