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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Monday Sep 16, 2013

Cloud Building with Oracle Solaris 11

Three resources to help you build clouds with Oracle Solaris 11

Training Class - How to Build a Private Cloud with Oracle Solaris 11

by Oracle University

This training class combines multiple enterprise level technologies to demonstrate a full cloud infrastructure deployment using SPARC technology. Learn To:

  • Plan for and deploy a private Infrastructure as a Service cloud
  • Combine various Oracle technologies into a robust cloud infrastructure
  • Practice cloud component creation and configuration tasks by performing a series of guided hands-on labs
  • Perform the critical steps associated with the configuration of cloud and related facilities.

Tech Article - How to Build a Web-Based Storage Solution Using Oracle Solaris 11.1

by Suk Kim

Have you ever wanted to build a cloud just to see if you can? Turns out it's not that difficult. Install Oracle Solaris 11.1 on your laptop via VirtualBox, set up a little ZFS storage, a little access control, and configure AjaXplorer so you and your friends can manage your files. Don't neglect to drop phrases like "Download that from the cloud I just built" into casual conversation.

Tech Article - How to Put Oracle Solaris Zones on Shared Storage for Easy Cloning

We liked this blog so much when Jeff Victor first posted it, that we turned it into a bonafide OTN tech article. You might recognize it. It's about ZOSS: zones on shared storage. Why? When you configure a zone on shared storage, you can quickly clone it on any server that uses that storage. Jeff explains how.

Bonus! - Oracle VM Templates with Oracle Solaris 11

picture of cloud taken in Colorado, copyright Rick Ramsey

- Rick

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Friday Sep 13, 2013

About LTFS - Library Edition

Oracle just launched the T10000D tape drive with its incredible 8.5 TB of native capacity and LTFS-Library Edition (LTFS-LE), which expands the LTFS concept to an entire library. The Oracle T10000D has some neat features that I would like to address in the future, but today I’d like to talk about LTFS-LE since it really is a new concept.

About LFTS-LE

LTFS is an open source specification for writing data to tape on single tape drives. It is supported by Oracle and other tape vendors. The version you can download from Oracle is called StorageTek LTFS, Open Edition (LTFS-OE).

When an LTFS-compatible T10000 or LTO tape is formatted for LTFS, it is split into two partitions. The first partition holds the metadata that tells the user which files are on the tape and where they are located. The second partition holds the files themselves.

Benefits of Using LTFS-LE

There are a few nice benefits for those who utilize LTFS. Most important is the peace of mind that you will always be able to recover your data regardless of your backup application or any other proprietary software because it’s based on an open source specification. It also improves the portability of tape because two parties don’t both need the same application to read a tape. In fact, LTFS has seen tremendous adoption in industries that require the ability to transport large amounts of data.

The limitation with the open source version of LTFS is that it’s limited to just a single drive. Users with even the smallest archives would like to have their entire environment to be LTFS-based. That’s the impetus for StorageTek LTFS, Library Edition (LTFS-LE), but it also serves as a backup application eliminator because of how it’s architected. With LTFS-OE, after you download the driver, a tape looks like a giant thumb drive. LTFS-LE makes the tape library look like a shared drive with each tape appearing as a sub-folder. It’s like having a bucket full of thumb drives that are all accessible simultaneously!

Just as before, you don’t need any additional applications to access files. And end users are almost completely abstracted from the nuances of managing tape. All they need is a Samba or CIFS connection and they have access to the tape library. LTFS-LE is agnostic to corporate security architectures so a system administrator could make some folders (tapes) available to some users while restricting others based on corporate security guidelines.

Security and Performance Considerations

However, security is arguably one of the more straightforward considerations when deciding how to integrate an LTFS-LE implementation into your environment. An additional consideration is to ensure that LTFS-LE can meet your performance expectations. Tape drives are remarkably faster than they are given credit for (the Oracle T10000D can write at 252 MB/sec.), but sometimes networks aren’t designed to handle that much traffic so performance requirements need to be considered accordingly. In addition, it may take some time before a read operation actually starts as the library needs time to mount a tape. As a result, system administrators need to be cognizant of how end user applications will accept response times from any tape storage-based solution.

A final performance consideration is to be aware of how many tape drives are in your library relative to how many users may be accessing files directly from tape. If you have a disproportionately large number of users you may want to consider a more traditional enterprise-level archiving solution such as StorageTek Archive Manager (SAM), which writes files based on the Tape Archive Record (TAR) open source standard.

Ultimately, LTFS-LE provides exciting new opportunities for system administrators looking to preserve files with a format that isn’t dependent on proprietary solutions. It also makes it easy for users who need access to large amounts of storage without a lot of management difficulties. Support for LTFS continues to grow. Oracle is actually one of the co-chairs of the SNIA committee that’s working towards standardizing LTFS. And this is just the start for LTFS-LE as well, as Oracle will continue expanding its capabilities in the near future.

picture of 2008 Harley Davidson FXSTC taken by Rick Ramsey
- Brian Zents

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Thursday Sep 12, 2013

Should You Consolidate Your Servers Onto Oracle SuperCluster?

"Are you planning to consolidate a server running a business-critical application that you want to update with future releases over upcoming years, or are you trying to get rid of an old server running a legacy application that will not be updated anymore?"

This is just one of the questions Thierry asks in his article, which is a great resource for sysadmins, systems architects, and IT managers who are trying to decide whether to consolidate individual servers onto an Oracle SuperCluster. Your answer will determine whether you should put your application in native or non-native Oracle Solaris zone.

Other questions Thierry and friends ask:

  • Is my server eligible for physical-to-virtual (P2V) migration?
  • Are you planning a long-term or short-term migration?
  • How critical are performance and manageability?

Once he has helped you determine your general direction, he discusses these architectural considerations:

  • SuperCluster domains
  • Network setup
  • VLAN setup
  • Licensing considerations

Finally, he provides a thorough step-by-step instructions for the migration itself, which consists of:

  • Performing a sanity check on the source server
  • Creating a FLAR image of the source system
  • Creating a ZFS pool for the zone
  • Creating and booting the zone
  • Performance tuning

And just in case you're still not sure how it's done, he concludes with an example that shows you how to consolidate an Oracle Solaris 8 Server Running Oracle Database 10g. It's all here, give it a good read:

Technical Article: If Virtualization Is Free, It Can't Be Good, Right?

Article by Thierry Manfé, with contributions from Orgad Kimchi, Maria Frendberg, and Mike Gerdts

Best practices and hands-on instructions for using Oracle Solaris Zones to consolidate existing physical servers and their applications onto Oracle SuperCluster using the P2V migration process, including a step-by-step example of how to consolidate an Oracle Solaris 8 server running Oracle Database 10g.

Video Interview: Design and Uses of the Oracle SuperCluster

Interview with Alan Packer

Allan Packer, Lead Engineer of the Oracle SuperCluster architecture team, as explains how the design of this engineered system supports consolidation, multi-tenancy, and other objectives popular with customers.

By the way, that's a picture of an 01 Ducati 748 that I took in the Fall of 2012.

- Rick

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Monday Sep 09, 2013

Latest Linux-Related Content on OTN

photograph copyright 2013 by Rick Ramsey

How to Launch Linux Utilities from Inside Oracle Database

by Yuli Vasiliev

By wrapping a Linux utility in a script and using an external database table's preprocessor directive, you can launch the utility from within Oracle Database and have the utility's output be inserted into the external table. This allows you to do things such as query operating system data and then join it with data in Oracle Database.

How to Use Hardware Fault Management in Oracle Linux

by Robert Chase

Robert Chase is a really good writer. If he was writing about teaching iguanas how to quilt I'd still read it. Fortunately, in this article he's writing about hardware fault management tools in Oracle Linux. What they are, how they work, what you can do with them, and examples with instructions. Give it a read.

How to Get Started Using DTrace on Oracle Linux

by Richard Friedman

DTrace is a powerful tool, and it can do some amazing things. But it's not that difficult to get started doing simple things. You can build up from there. In this article, Richard Friedman gives you a high-level overview of DTrace and its major components:providers, modules, functions, and probes. He explains how you can use either one-liner commands on the command line, or write more complex instructions in scripts, using the D language. He provides simple examples for each. It's a great way to get your feet wet.

Blog: Overview of Linux Containers

by Lenz Grimmer

Linux Containers isolate individual services, applications, or even a complete Linux operating system from other services running on the same host. They use a completely different approach than "classicial" virtualization technologies like KVM or Xen. Lenz Grimmer explains.

Blog: Practical Examples of Working With Oracle Linux Containers

by Lenz Grimmer

In his previous post about Linux Containers, Lenz Grimmer explained what they are and how they work. In this post, he provides a few practical examples to get you started working with them.

Video Interview: On Wim's Mind in August

by Lenz Grimmer

We ran a little long, but once Wim started talking about the history of SNMP and how he's been using it of late to do cool things with KSplice and Oracle VM, we geeked out. Couldn't stop. Wim is not your average Senior VP of Engineering. Definitely a hands-on guy who enjoys figuring out new ways to use technology

Video Interview: On Wim's Mind in June

by Lenz Grimmer

On Wim's Mind in June 2013 - Wim's team is currently working on DTrace userspace probes. They let developers add probes to an application before releasing it. Sysadmins can enable these probes to diagnose problems with the application, not just the kernel. Trying this out on MySQL, first. If you know how to do this on Solaris, already, you'll be able to apply that knowledge to Oracle Linux. Also on Wim's mind is the Playground channel on the Public Yum repository, which lets you play with the latest Linux builds, ahead of official Linux releases, without worrying about having your system configured properly.

- Rick

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