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

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
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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

Wednesday Jun 15, 2011

Pimp my Ride - Installing Additional Packages on Oracle Linux

Lee Cannon: Wings Wheels 2010
"Wings Wheels 2010" by Lee Cannon (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Oracle Linux already ships with an impressive amount of software packages which can be downloaded from our public Yum server.

For example, adding the external package repository for Oracle Linux 6.1 is a trivial task:

  1. Download and copy the appropriate yum configuration file in place, by running the following command as root:
    # wget -O /etc/yum.repos.d/public-yum-ol6.repo \
  2. Now edit the file using your favorite text editor and enable the appropriate repository ([ol6_u1_base] in our case) by changing the value of the enabled variable from 0 to 1.
  3. Now you can run yum list all to get a full list of all available packages. You can install them by running yum install <packagename>
However, being a distribution with a focus on the enterprise and data center, the package selection is limited to this scope. If you are looking for additional packages, you would have to either compile them from source or download pre-built binaries from an external package repository.

Enter EPEL, the "Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux" repository. According to their extensive FAQ, EPEL "is a volunteer-based community effort from the Fedora project to create a repository of high-quality add-on packages that complement the Fedora-based Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and its compatible spinoffs, such as CentOS and Scientific Linux.".

Oracle Linux is based on RHEL, too, and is 100% userland-compatible with it. Therefore any package available from EPEL will install and run just fine, giving you access to a large pool of additional software. However, please keep in mind that this software is not covered by any Oracle Linux Support agreement you may have!

You can add and enable the EPEL repository by performing the following steps (as the root user):

  1. Download and install the repository package which includes the appropriate repository information for your version of Oracle Linux:
    rpm -Uvh
  2. The repository is automatically enabled, which you can verify by running yum repolist.
  3. To get a listing of all the additional packages you now have access to, run yum list available | grep epel | less.
  4. Now simply run yum install <packagename> to install any of the additional packages (over 4800 for Oracle Linux 6, last time I counted!).

See more articles about Oracle Linux at the Oracle Linux Blog!

Monday Jun 06, 2011

Feed Me!

Photo courtesy of William Lee.

At the bottom of every Oracle's web page there's a corporate RSS Feed button. It takes you to a page that has some useful high-level feeds. But, unlike high-level corporate planners, we are privy to the fact that Systems admins and developers constitute a higher life form. So we created a set of highly refined feeds just for you.

The OTN System Admin and Developer Community Feeds are grouped into these categories:

By Technology

  • Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 11g
  • Solaris Studio
  • Oracle Linux
  • Solaris 11 Express
  • Storage
  • Servers
  • Desktops
  • Peripherals

By Topic

  • Availability
  • Backup and Restore
  • Containers and Zones
  • Filesystems
  • Installation
  • Interoperability
  • Networking
  • Performance
  • Security
  • Tools

By Type

  • Blogs
  • Videos
  • Technical Articles

All OTN Systems Content

  • All Developer
  • All Sysadmin
  • All
  • Let me know if you'd like any more.

    - Rick System Admin and Developer Community of OTN

    Thursday Jun 02, 2011

    Hardware Compatibility List Now on OTN

    The Hardware Compability List (HCL), which was previously created for BigAdmin by Robert Weeks, has been re-created on the Oracle Technology Network.

    OTN's Hardware Compability List for Oracle Solaris

    The HCL lists all the hardware, including servers, desktops, laptops, and peripheral devices, that are compatible with Oracle Solaris 10 and Oracle Solaris 11 Express.

    The HCL includes :

    Jack is pleased.

    - Rick System Admin and Developer Community of OTN

    Monday May 23, 2011

    OTN Doesn't Do Advertising

    A couple of the guys at the first OTN Sysadmin Day told me they thought the Highlights Panel on the OTN Systems Home Page was advertising. (The Highlights Panel is the one with the pictures in it.)

    There's nothing wrong with advertising and, frankly, in spite of the (mostly) lousy ads during recent Super Bowls, I watch the Super Bowl as much for the ads as for the games. But I want to make it clear that the Oracle Technology Network doesn't do advertising. So you can rest assured that, even if you see text over a picture, it's the same type of technical info you'll find everywhere else on OTN.

    In fact, the Highlights Panel contains some of our most important news about upcoming technical events (such as OTN's First Sysadmin Day), OTN Live videos (such as Chris Baker's exposition on the Oracle Solaris optimizations for x86 hardware), and latest downloads such as the latest Pre-Built VirtualBox Images for Solaris or Linux Developers. Which, fittingly enough, why we refer to it as the Headlines Panel. :-)

    Read it with full confidence. Click on it without fear. And, please, let us know if you have any other questions (or gripes) about how OTN works.

    - Rick
    The System Admin and Developer Community of the Oracle Technology Network

    Thursday May 19, 2011

    How Far We've Come

    Sys Admin Days

    The first of what I hope are many OTN Sysadmin Days had its debut in San Diego, my home town, this week. The topic: Oracle Solaris 11 Express. So, I had the pleasure of having Rick (working with one of the attendees in the picture to the right) in town with a roomful of sys admins – our favorite people – staring at laptops as they worked through exercises designed to build a better understanding of our next generation operating system.

    Solaris 11! Oh, my! I feel a reminiscence coming on... When I joined Sun (23 years and one day after our first OTN Sysadmin Day), the battle was to get people to simply accept Unix. The marketplace was dominated by proprietary operating systems, like VMS and Aegis (remember them?), and it was often difficult to simply get our foot in the door. We were, of course, running SunOS 3.5, a BSD derivative, at the time. It was often a hard sell. We targeted sys admins, telling them that "if you let Unix be your friend, it will be a very good friend." And the sys admins became our good friends, although we may have occasionally strained that friendship.

    Unix was splintering and evolving very quickly back then. We ran everything in 2 MB of memory, although everyone knew 4 MB was much, much better...if you could get it. Nowadays, we often try to squeeze things on our home systems into 2 GB of memory, knowing that 4 GB is much, much better.

    Remember when we "abandoned" BSD and embraced SVR4? Same language, different dialect, but boy did that make life a challenge. The evolution to Solaris was important – and often painful – for us, but it had to be done. It would have been difficult for us to even conceptualize such things as ZFS and Oracle Solaris Containers. Features we now take them for granted.

    Also, remember when many of those proprietary houses took notice of this important trend, and tried to slow progress by establishing OSF, which Scott McNealy characteristically quipped stood for "Oppose Sun Forever"? Those were the good old days!

    So, I take my hat off to the "pioneers" of our next operating system. I might call them "brave," but that label rightfully goes to those early adopters of Solaris 7, back in 1998. Solaris 11 is just "more, better."

    - Kemer

    Tuesday May 10, 2011

    You Know You Want to Do This To Your Boss

    Every time they walk into the data center, right? Darned monkey is an inspiration to us all.

    So close the monkey link and pop up this one:

    OTN Live - Chris Baker Describes Oracle Solaris Optimizations for x86 Servers

    The show starts today, Tuesday, at 10:00 am PT. Have it playing in the background. It will make you look highly intelligent and full of initiative. (You can even ask questions via Twitter - just use the #techcast live tag.) As soon as you hear that data center door open, close Need for Speed and act wicked interested in what my good buddy Chris Baker is telling Justin about the Shakespearean love affair between Solaris and x86 servers. Make sure to point to your Twitter questions.

    I can guaran-freakin-tee you that your boss will say "Hmm ... I thought Solaris was only optimized for SPARC hardware." At which point you can launch into a highly intelligent regurgitation of the excellent points Chris will make. You might just save your job!

    If you'd like some additional background info about Solaris on x86, see this white paper: Oracle Solaris Operating System: Optimized for Sun x86 Systems In The Enterprise

    In other animal news, did you realize that there is actually a medical term for someone who is afraid they are being watched by a duck? I kid you not. It's called ... ANATIDAEPHOBIA. Look it up.

    -Rick System Admin and Developer Community of the Oracle Technology Network

    Friday Apr 29, 2011

    OTN's First Sysadmin Day

    image courtesy of Shutter Eye

    Before winding up at Berkeley, I went to school for four quarters at the San Diego campus of the University of California. I paid the bills by working first as a dishwasher at a restaurant called The Magic Pan, not far from campus. Eventually I made busboy, then host, and finally waiter. The only time I had left to surf was dawn.

    So while it was still dark I'd don my wetsuit, grab my board, and head out to the beach. I'd sit on the sand with my board on my lap, waiting for enough light to see the surf. Four of us were there every morning, spread about 25 yards apart, doing the exact same thing. We never spoke, just nodded to each other. San Diego's Dawn Patrol. I never did find out who those other guys were.

    Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall, we enjoyed pristine surf till about 8:00 am, when the waves would get so crowded with surfers we lost the zen of it. That's when I'd ride my last wave in, then head off to class, smelling like seaweed.

    So it's kinda cool that our OTN's first Sysadmin Day will be held in San Diego. May 17 at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla. We're going to have some excellent hands-on labs to make sure you master some of the key Oracle Solaris 11 Express technologies. You can get the details here.

    Treat yourself to a vacation day the day after, and spend some time on the beach. I'm going to see if I can't finagle a day off, myself.

    By the way, will become over the next few weeks. When the migration is complete, you'll find this blog at You won't see any new content posted until the migration is complete. Once it is, though, we'll pick up where we left off, and might even have a few new technical guys joining the garage.

    - Rick
    Systems Community of the Oracle Technology Network

    Wednesday Apr 20, 2011

    Flash Magic

    Flash GordonWho knew that Flash would turn out to be so powerful ... and so enduring? Flash memory in its various forms is probably the electronic component that is most impacting the performance and utility of our devices, from our portable audio players, to our tablets, and all the way to our our Oracle Exadata Database Machines.

    Combining flash memory with more traditional disk has already been shown to be a great way to improve both performance and availability in a variety of scenarios. Don't have flash memory in your computer? Check out the Sun Flash Accelerator F20 PCIe Card, a low-profile PCIe card that supports onboard solid-state based storage. 

    Roger Bitar has written an article that takes a look at how coupling this card with Oracle Database 11g Release 2 can improve performance: Oracle Database Performance Results with Smart Flash Cache on Sun SPARC Enterprise Midrange Server. Roger used the GEN-OLTP 1.6 benchmark, an internally developed transaction processing database workload, to do some before-and-after comparisons. This workload simulates a lightweight Global Order System, and it was developed from a variety of customer workloads. It has a high degree of concurrency and stresses database commit operations. Testing was done with a variety of parameters, but as an example, using Database Smart Flash Cache with 2.5 times the original SGA buffer cache size (20 GB) yielded the following improvement over the original run without flash:

    • 25% increase in number of users
    • 17.2% more TPM

    Take a look. Perhaps you can conquer your IT Ming the Merciless with a little Flash.

    - Kemer

    Monday Apr 18, 2011

    Round Number Nostalgia

    I almost missed a couple of nice round numbers for birthdays this month: the big Three-O and the big Four-O!

    Osborne-1The first birthday is for the Osborne-1: 30 years old this month. I remember this vividly, as my older brother must have been one of the first to acquire one. I had pushed him in the direction of databases in the very early 80s and he became something of an expert in dBase. He bought this supremely clunky "portable" to allow him to program in the field. The 5-inch monochrome monitor was barely adequate even back then, but those were the days when we were hearty and resilient, trudging to work in snow in our bare feet (in San Diego, no less!), using audio cassette players to back up our files...

    For those who will remember, Osborne went bust pretty quickly. dBase is still around on the Microsoft platform. My brother still does databases in the restaurant business...

    FTPEven more significant is the birthday of ftp: 40 years old this month! The Register has a writeup you won't want to miss. As The Register puts it, 'The venerable network protocol was first proposed by Abhay Bhushan of MIT in April 1971 as a means to transfer large files between disparate systems that made up ARPANet, the celebrated forerunner to the modern interweb.'

    I still use ftp, perhaps not as often as I used to. It's like that classic tool I inherited from my grandfather, waiting in my toolbox for the right jobs.

    - Kemer

    Thursday Apr 14, 2011

    Solutions Nirvana

    NirvanaNirvana is described as a transcendent state in which there is neither suffering, desire, nor sense of self. One would associate none of these attributes with meaningful enterprise solutions. Indeed, many of us have experienced "solutions hell" most of our careers: cobbled together, evolving like a pride of feral cats in your neighborhood, to the point where at best the solution's long-term maintenance is viewed as "job security" by the sys admins – and "the money pit" by the CFO.

    "Solutions nirvana" would probably involve the total absence of hardware and software. Even better, how about problems that solve themselves: that's what we really want! Time to wake up from this lovely daydream... Fortunately, there is a way to bring peace to your enterprise: build your IT solutions from carefully designed architectures with pre-tested components and configurations. Like Oracle Optimized Solutions.

    I remember a decade ago Sun tried creating specialized solutions packages built around "VOS," the Veritas/Oracle/Sun combination. Lots of engineering went into these, but the results weren't what we hoped: they were both too rigid and didn't complete enough of the stack. They were fundamentally too general. The Oracle Optimized Solutions go a lot farther because each is optimized to a different stack.

    I mentioned last week that we had just published a new optimized solution. I'd also like to mention that we updated a passel of previously published Oracle Optimized Solutions. These are all larger technical white papers. Just in case you missed them, these are:

    All of these papers will help you understand how we fit the pieces together. We now know there is no one-size-fits-all, but one of these integrated stacks may provide a rational starting point for your move toward solutions nirvana.

    - Kemer

    Thursday Apr 07, 2011

    Cloning for Dummies

    Clone TrooperIf it seems like we have published a lot of articles around the Sun ZFS Storage Appliance, it is because we have. Busy Oracle engineer and frequent contributor Sridhar Ranganathan has handed us another jewel: Oracle Database Cloning Solution Using Oracle Recovery Manager and Sun ZFS Storage Appliance. What a great pair of topics!

    Let's forget for a minute that I work for Oracle, the leading database company in the World: that is a relatively new phenomenon. The truth is I've always known that databases dominate the solutions that computer hardware enables. Indeed, I vividly remember the early 1980s, when the emerging personal computer market was propelled largely by two primitive database applications: for balancing checkbooks and saving recipes. When Apple announced their new soft-sectored floppy drive, we had to get onto a waiting list to buy 360 KB of random access disk for our puny databases. The CEO of General Dynamics, where I worked at the time, discovered this power and the company was transformed almost overnight from analog to digital.

    There are many important things DBAs do to secure their hefty compensation (had I anticipated that trend, I would have started off as a DBA, rather than as an actuary. Wait! I'm afraid there wasn't even the acronym "DBA" way back then...) One of these activities is that of cloning databases, which is done for a variety of reasons, including development, testing, and training without disrupting the actual database itself. As Sridhar points out, the Sun ZFS Storage Appliance provides an ideal platform for performing database cloning. It comes with a user-friendly interface for ease of management, a full set of data services for business continuity and disaster recovery purposes, multi-protocol support to cater to any infrastructure, analytics for monitoring and resolution purposes, and a hybrid storage pool for faster response time for test, development, and QA activities. With unlimited snapshots and cloning possibilities, many concurrent database instances can be launched for various purposes without impacting the production database.

    This paper gives you a good look at the power of the graphical front end, includes examples, recommendations, best practices, and sizing considerations. As I said, this is another jewel, not to be missed.

    - Kemer

    Thursday Mar 31, 2011

    Magic Solution

    Solution"Solution" is defined in the New Oxford American Dictionary as a means of solving a problem or dealing with a difficult situation. (Also, a liquid mixture in which the minor component (the solute) is uniformly distributed within the major component (the solvent)...) "Solution" as a term in our industry has been used and abused for as long as I remember. Everything is a solution if the problem is sufficiently atomic. I'm rather passionate about this because I have argued for years that a computer isn't a solution: solutions are built with computers, networks, software, procedures... everything it takes to resolve a problem. I'm on thin ice here, because I know there are those even more passionate, ready to pounce on any attempt at a definition, but I will define a solution as a comprehensive combination of components and procedures to solve a well-defined problem. The more non-trivial the problem, the more interesting the solution.

    Since Oracle acquired Sun, we have been in a position to build complete, tested solutions to real problems. I know there are many who feel compelled to roll their own using what they consider to be best-of-breed components, but that shifts the burden of integrating, testing, and ongoing maintenance to a panoply of vendors. Do you want to get work done, or spend your resources grooming the tools that should be doing the work?

    We have had a series of Oracle Optimized Solutions released over the last year. Most recently, we published Oracle Optimized Solution for Oracle Secure Backup. The problem? End-to-end archiving across a heterogeneous network in a manner that preserves system wide security, assures high availability, and that can scale to meet expanding needs. Simple? Not at all! The generic Oracle Secure Backup architecture supports multiple Media Servers working together under the administrative control of an Admin Server. Additional Media Servers can be deployed or multiple backup domains can be configured to address evolving scalability requirements. Using Oracle servers and the Oracle Secure Backup software, companies can implement cost-effective and powerful backup solutions for the largest, most diverse environments.

    This comprehensive guide discusses the details: setup, sizing, and tuning best practices. At 41 pages, this is no marketing slideware and well worth the time to absorb.

    - Kemer

    Optimized Solution

    Wednesday Mar 30, 2011

    Spotlight On Image Packaging System

    Not getting enough technical specificity out of "record-breaking?"

    How about "industry-leading?"

    Not even "performance-enhancing?"


    The kind folks in Oracle Solaris marketing have decided to dig a little deeper and unearth the kind of information sysadmins and developers look for. They've put together three technology Spotlights.

    Each spotlight provides solid technical info such as podcasts with engineers, how-to guides, quick-reference cards ("one-liners"), technical articles, documentation, training, and more. They're designed to make sure you have all the info you need to start actually using these technologies right now.

    These are the current spotlights we have:

    Keep an eye out for future Solaris 11 spotlights here. And, of course, on the front page of the OTN Systems Community.

    - Rick
    System Admin and Developer Community of the Oracle Technology Network

    Monday Mar 28, 2011

    Dancing in Traffix

    Traffic Cop

    We published an interesting article last week that would seem to have a narrow focus, but in fact covers some fundamental architectural principles that I suspect you can apply to your enterprise.

    As Wikipedia puts it, Diameter is an authentication, authorization and accounting protocol for computer networks, and a successor to RADIUS. In fact, its name is a pun on radius. Diameter provides backward compatibility, with additional functionality. Diameter is twice the radius ... get it? Traffix Systems is the leading Diameter protocol solutions vendor. This paper shows how our lab rats optimized Traffix Systems' Long Term Evolution (LTE) Traffix Diameter Load Balancer and Traffix Diameter Router using features of Oracle's software and hardware. This results in all the things you want to hear: greater throughput and resiliency, while reducing hardware and software costs. The latter is what your IT Manager and CFO want to hear.

    Burt GummerThe same things that helped in this instance will benefit most other solutions. The solution is built on top of Oracle Solaris Cluster to provide both high availability and load balancing. Performance gains result from the intelligent use of Oracle Solaris Containers and Oracle Solaris' ability to squeeze the most out of multithreaded applications on our T-Series servers. Finally, there is something even more fundamental: the optimized TCP/IP stack on Oracle Solaris, which results in better network performance. Combine these the right way – or as Burt Gummer put it in Tremors, 'A few household chemicals in the proper proportions' – and you have a plan!

    So, for a great read with some interesting test results, don't miss Orgad Kimchi's How Traffix Systems Optimized Its LTE Diameter Load Balancing and Routing Solutions Using Oracle Hardware and Software.


    - Kemer

    Friday Mar 25, 2011

    God Bless Full-Spectrum Antibiotics

    image courtesy of

    Every few months I feel moved to blog about something other than technology. OK, truth be told, that's pretty much every day. But some days I feel rash enough to blog about something with zero technology content. Last one was:

    Thursday, November 18, 2010 - Posted as a Public Service Notice

    Seems like it's about time for another. This one is a wee bit more personal. If you know where I'm coming from, please stand, remove your hat, place your hand over your heart, and belt out that old familiar tune with me:

    God Bless full spectrum antibiotics!
    Bugs that I love.
    March inside me, and guide me
    Through my veins to my lungs and beyond.
    Git the virions, and the fungi,
    Streptococcus pneumoniae!
    God bless full-spectrum antibiotics!
    My friends, sweet friends.

    God bless full-spectrum antibiotics!
    My friends, sweet friends.

    - Rick
    System Admin and Developer Community of the Oracle Technology Network

    Tuesday Mar 22, 2011

    Find Out What Oracle's Solaris Engineering Team Has Been Up To - April 14

    On Thursday, April 14, you could waste the morning watching really cool videos of the world's biggest trucks or finding out what the Oracle Solaris Engineering Team has been up to:

    Oracle Solaris Online Forum

    The speakers will be talking not only about the technologies in the upcoming Oracle Solaris 11, but explaining how and why they will make your IT shop more efficient, more available, and more secure.

    Here's the current agenda (in Pacific Time):

    9:00 am - 9:45 am
    Solaris Strategy Overview
    Bill Nesheim, VP Oracle Solaris Engineering

    9:45 am- 10:00 am
    An Industry Analyst's View of the OS Market
    Gary Chen, IDC

    10:00 am- 10:45 am
    Manage Your Deployments With Image Packaging System and the Automated Installer
    Bart Smaalders, Oracle Solaris Engineering
    Dave Miner, Oracle Solaris Engineering
    Glynn Foster, Oracle Solaris Product Management
    Isaac Rozenfeld, Oracle Solaris Product Management

    10:45 - 11:30 am
    Get More out of Your Oracle Solaris Environments With Virtualization
    Dan Price, Oracle Solaris Engineering
    Nicolas Droux, Oracle Solaris Engineering
    Duncan Hardie, Oracle Solaris Product Management

    11:30 am - 12:15 pm
    Learn How All New Features in Oracle Solaris 11 Raise The Bar For Operating Systems
    Markus Flierl, Sr. Director Oracle Solaris Engineering
    Liane Praza, Oracle Solaris Engineering
    Joost Pronk, Oracle Solaris Product Management

    Register today!
    Take advantage of the live chat and have direct access with Oracle Solaris core engineers!

    - Rick
    System Admin and Developer Community of the Oracle Technology Network

    Thursday Mar 17, 2011

    Virtual Hardware

    Kemer's HandtruckI am only accidentally a "hardware person." I joined Sun in the late 80s because of my software background; hardware was essentially forced on me. I was excited because Sun was such a leader in UNIX development and applications. For those who have been around, do you remember those Catalyst Catalog "doorstops" we used to hand out to customers?

    Software needs hardware to run on and over the years I developed an uneasy truce with it. Back then we spent a lot of time rolling around gigantic desk-side boxes and enormous monitors for demonstrations. The "missing hand truck" was such a common issue that I went across the street to Sears and got the biggest, baddest one I could find and put my name on it; it still does service in my garage. We used to carry around a specialty combo hex wrench and screw driver to install MultiBus boards. Now, that definitely dates me.

    Here's an amusing anecdote: the San Diego sales office often acquired demo machines when the corporate suits were just too lazy to ship them back after a trade show. The guilty are now long gone, and I think the statute of limitations is up, anyway. If you think that is bad, I remember one field systems engineer who would wander around the corporate buildings slapping shipping labels addressed to his office on boxes of new equipment. Apparently, that ploy sometimes worked.

    So, being a closet software person, I think the ideal solution to schlepping hardware around would be to have virtual hardware: an interactive, 3D model. Oh, wait: that exists! You will find on many of our OTN hardware pages a 3D Demo section. As one example, take a look at the SPARC Server page: we currently have five models there, including one for the large SPARC Enterprise M9000. These are much, much more than the 3D product views you see on consumer product pages. For example, in the M9000 model, click on Features and select the PCIe to see the extraction of a PCIe card and close look at the module. There are hours of entertainment and education in this virtual hardware: my kind of hardware!

    - Kemer

    Tuesday Mar 15, 2011

    Long Title, Quick Start!

    Linux RAC ClusterClustered applications are the keystone to highly available environments. Where you have clustering, you usually have databases – and where you have clustered databases, it is hard to avoid Oracle Real Application Clusters (Oracle RAC).

    Clustered databases aren't generally known for ease of setup. The Sun BluePrints Program was orginally created over ten years ago to focus on this topic specifically and numerous books and white papers were a mainstay. We once tried to write a book on this topic in six months and this was so complicated that it couldn't be done. However, technology has progressed and it is now much easier to create powerful solutions without all the pain-and-suffering.

    As witnessed by Sridhar Ranganathan's and Jeffrey Wright's latest opus: Oracle9i Real Application Clusters Database Quick Start Install Guide for Sun ZFS Storage Appliance Using Oracle Linux. When we say "Quick Start," we mean it: long title, quick start! In the fewest pages possible they take you through everything you need, from downloading and installing the software, to setting up the disk, and creating the database itself.

    No reason to shy away from clustering any longer.

    - Kemer

    Monday Mar 14, 2011

    Did I Repeat Myself? Did I Repeat Myself?

    RepeatThere are many aspects to optimizing storage utilization. We usually think in terms of compression: packing the bits into the minimal space. However, have you ever considered how often we save the same data multiple times? Like that amusing picture that everyone in the office saves a personal copy of. It all adds up.

    Deduplication – one of those geeky terms that is efficiently self-descriptive – solves the problem by removing duplicated data. Frequent contributor Jeff Wright gives us the lowdown in Sun ZFS Storage Appliance Deduplication Design and Implementation Guidelines. Approaches to deduplication vary in both when and how: the when can be synchronous or asynchronous, the how can be block or file level.

    The data deduplication feature provided in the Sun ZFS Storage Appliance is available with Software Release 2010.Q1. This feature is implemented to provide synchronous block-level deduplication and is designed to be applicable to any data stored on the appliance. Jeff's article provides practical application and performance guidelines, along with a list of known issues and limitations.

    The Sun ZFS Storage Appliance is one powerful and nifty device. You can tell from the number of interesting articles we are publishing on it that there is a lot under the hood.

    - Kemer

    Friday Mar 11, 2011

    Compatibility Checker Now Available for Oracle Solaris 11 Express

    Most applications currently running on Oracle Solaris 10 will continue to run unmodified on Oracle Solaris 11 Express, but you wanna be sure. Some applications could have incompatibilities.

    Oracle Solaris 11 Express Compatibility Checker allows developers to zero in on incompatibilities and fix 'em. The Checker includes:

    • Source code analysis
    • Static binary analysis
    • Runtime analysis (coming soon)

    Checkers are available for SPARC and x86 versions of Solaris. Get the README here.

    If you have questions or comments about the tool, send them to the friendly folks at

    - Rick

    Thursday Mar 10, 2011 Will NOT Disappear After June 1 (Corrected)

    A few days ago I wrote:

    The site will be decommissioned on June 1 of this year.

    In the comments I went on to say that I doubted there would be 1:1 redirects.

    I was wrong. (Don't tell my wife I'm capable of saying that!) The domain will NOT be decommissioned or sold on June 1 of this year. Rather, URLs will redirect to URLs, with 1:1 redirects where possible.

    Most of the content that was on BigAdmin,, and some sections of SDN has already been migrated to the System Admin and Developer Community of the Oracle Technology Network (OTN).

    Our engineering team is working on a solution for the Hardware Compatibility List. I'll let you know where it ends up and in what form as soon as I know.

    If you find content on those legacy sites that you'd like to ensure we make available on OTN, please let me know.

    - Rick

    Tuesday Mar 08, 2011

    Who Sez Macho Is Dead?

    Thank God we still have Spain.

    Not ones to be outdone by our Spanish brothers, OTN has formed a new team called Los OTN Matadores.

    Our outfits are marvelous!

    Although our practices are somewhat circumscribed by local animal rights ordinances (No Bullfighting In The Parking Lot!), we have adapted. The matador who loses the rock-paper-scissors game has to make the Sign of the Bull with his hands on his head and charge the rest of us, who wave red tablecloths borrowed from the cafeteria, though sometimes we have to make do with khakhi.

    When we're not practicing for La Corrida, we create virtual images of your favorite technologies so you can upload them in a tidy little package that you could probably squeeze into your very own matador outfit, which we hope is suitably flamboyant.

    But we want to know which other VM's you'd like to have. Would you like a standalone Linux VM? How about Solaris 11 Express plus Solaris Studio? Please use the comments to tell us what you think.

    - Rick


    Rick Ramsey
    Kemer Thomson
    and members of the OTN community


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