Tuesday May 28, 2013

What If I Want to Update Just Java?

Sometimes all you want to update is Java, and not your entire Oracle Solaris environment. But Java is packaged as part of the Oracle Solaris systems software, and Oracle recommends that you update all the system software at once, since it was tested together.

What can you do?

How to Update Only Java in Your Oracle Solaris Environment

by Peter Dennis and Alta Elstad

This article describes how to update one piece of software that is constrained by an incorporation without altering any other software that is constrained by that incorporation, and still end up with a supported system. This article by Peter Dennis and Alta Elstad explains how to do that. It focuses on Java, but you can use the same technique for other software.

More Information About Oracle Solaris Packaging

- Rick

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Wednesday May 22, 2013

Just Add Water

When it comes to web browsing, I have little patience with amateurish sites and won’t hesitate to point out problems and flaws to the webmaster—if I can find a link to them, that is. Have you ever had this experience: you are on a web site trying to buy something and it is so slow and unresponsive that you decide to forget it: it isn’t worth the trouble or you just don’t have time? Chalk that up as one lost sale! This is—or at least should be—the web team’s nightmare.

Sure, the Web is the ultimate source of free information. But, ultimately something needs to pay the bills. Since the Web has become the universal marketplace, you would think every business would want to maximize their return by optimizing their web commerce infrastructure…

Do you remember Sea Monkeys? Just add water and soon you would have your own little amusing zoo. “Sea Monkeys” (actually dried brine shrimp) have been around since I was a kid. Advertisements were a staple of comic books. I see their purveyor, Transcience Corporation, is still in existence and taking orders!

Where is this leading? I would like to think of Oracle ATG Web Commerce as the sea monkeys of web commerce: just add Oracle’s SPARC SuperCluster. “Sure,” you are thinking to yourself, “he is paid to say that.” I can’t deny that, but my entire career in the computer industry has swirled around the dream of reusable components. We now have them: software and hardware. My enthusiasm is both justified and sincere.

A proof is in one of the best articles to cross my screen in some time: “How to Optimize Your Web Commerce Infrastructure By Tuning Oracle ATG Web Commerce Applications on SPARC SuperCluster”. This dissertation is surprisingly compact for the amount of information behind it. As the authors put it:

The objective of deploying an internet storefront or what is commonly called an e-commerce Website is to produce revenue through product offerings and subsequent purchases at the Website while at the same time “learning” about customers and their preferences. Ultimately, the goal is to make it easy for customers to research and purchase items on the site while encouraging customers to purchase related products and services. … Delivering a positive user experience also requires fast response time.

The article discussed the architecture used for testing. To get there, they had to figure out what an optimal test workload would look like and then how to simulate it. They then ask the really important question, “can this workload scale on a bigger system?”

In this study the authors developed a number of best practices, tweaks to make things run better, which they share:

  • Configuring Oracle SPARC SuperCluster with Oracle VM Server for SPARC
  • Setting Up the Oracle WebLogic Server Zone
  • Setting Up the Oracle ATG Web Commerce Zone
  • Modifying the General Purpose Domain
  • Modifying the Oracle ATG Web Commerce Environment
  • Modifying the Oracle WebLogic Server Environment
  • Modifying the Database Server

For example, because the Web server will generate a lot of concurrent processes, all accessing the database, you will want increase these in the database configuration. If you think about it, this is a meager list of tweaks for such a complex system.

Response time metrics as Oracle ATG Web Commerce workload was incrementally increased
Response time metrics as Oracle ATG Web Commerce workload was incrementally increased

This article is a great read. At the very least, it gives you an approach and methodology to testing. More importantly, it demonstrates how easy it is to create a stable and scalable solution today. Just add water.


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Thursday May 16, 2013

Draw, Partner!

Well, I’ve already made one reference reference to Clint Eastwood (image removed from blog), I might as well make another, if only indirectly. So, here goes: the topic today is drawing. That is, making drawings with Oracle hardware components.

For those of you who like to (or need to) create architectural drawings with reasonable renditions of components and all the requisite connections, you are probably already aware of Microsoft Visio, or for those of you who prefer Macs (such as myself), Omnigraffle Pro. Did you know that we have an open repository with a growing selection of components on VisioCafe? We just updated this Tuesday night, adding stencils of Oracle’s new SPARC T5 and SPARC M5 servers. You will find them in the zip bundle Oracle-Servers.

We have also added Visio templates for Oracle's Exadata Database Machines. In case you didn’t know the difference between stencils and templates, templates provide a more powerful (and efficient) representation that allows you to reorganize the racks to match your actual configuration.

For those of us who use OmniGraffle Pro, you will be pleased to note that we are now getting greater, but not always perfect, compatibility. So, your mileage may vary: our official target is Microsoft Visio.

So, what can I say? "Make my day! Draw, Partner!"


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Wednesday May 08, 2013

Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?

The year is 1971. Apollo 14 lands on the Moon. The Ed Sullivan Show airs its final episode. IBM invents the 8-inch floppy disk. The first e-mail is sent. Dirty Harry utters his most famous line: '...you've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?' (image removed from blog)

Back then, we built from the ground-up because there was no other way. There are those who still think that is the way to build integrated systems.

What would it take to persuade you to build from pre-tested components? You are probably thinking, “But, I already do that!” No, I mean really big and meaningful components, the type that are going to cost money. Real money. It’s at that point when many a red-blooded engineer thinks, “I’ll bet that I can do it cheaper.” Trust me, you can’t.

You would think that the days of building the service infrastructures from the ground, up were long gone. But, there are plenty of excuses: “I need everything to work exactly my way, and nothing out there can do it…,” or “But, I could save a ton of money if I built a home-brew using free open source and distributed it across a bunch of white boxes…” I know: it is so tempting, because it is such an interesting challenge and you don’t have to wrestle with the Suits to get the budget. But, when the numbers get big, too much is at risk.

The Industry has been moving in the direction of creating bigger components. Oracle’s decision to buy Sun was largely because we wanted to add hardware components to our mix. And, indeed we have: consider products like Oracle Exadata Database Machine and Oracle’s SPARC SuperCluster. Big. Powerful. Expensive. Face it: big problems need big solutions.

Our engineers recently tested how well this approach worked by simulating a large communications service provider. Is a simulation of 20-million GSM customers big enough? Step back for a second and consider just how much a glitch anywhere in such a system would ruin your day, if not your career.

Building Consolidation Efficiency into Operations Support Systems is a quick read aimed at you, and not the Suits. I think you will find several things of interest here. First of all, no matter how you plan to build your solution, you will want to test it first. Take a look and see how we approached the problem.

Benchmark Configuration
Benchmark Configuration

Secondly, we show how we would actually deploy such a solution. I think you might be surprised at how compact the solution can be. Back in 1971 (long before cell phones, of course!) you would build a datacenter that would fill an entire office building. Today, you can fit it into a rack:

Sample Deployment Configuration
Sample Deployment Configuration

Still think you can do it yourself? Well, do ya, punk?



Logan Rosenstein
and members of the OTN community


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