Wednesday Jul 16, 2014

Get Your ZFS On

Surprising as it may seem, there are still many sysadmins out there who don't use ZFS or are not familiar with its best features. We (since I'm one of them) should send expensive gifts to Oracle ACE Alexandre Borges. Alexandre loves Solaris so much he can't stop writing about it. He recently put together a torrent of articles about ZFS that, even if you think you know everything about it, you should peruse. Because I bet he's found things you didn't know about.

I've been posting them at the rate of about one a week. Here are the first five.

1. Using COMSTAR and ZFS to Configure a Virtualized Storage Environment

by Alexandre Borges

How to configure the Common Multiprotocol SCSI TARget (COMSTAR) capability in Oracle Solaris 11 to provide local iSCSI storage to Windows, Linux, and Mac clients.

2. Playing with Swap Space in ZFS Volumes

by Alexandre Borges

Alexandre walks through several ZFS commands that control and monitor swap space, describes the insight they provide, and explains how to use them to increase or decrease swap space.

3. Playing with ZFS Shadow Migration

by Alexandre Borges

If you need to migrate data from a server running Oracle Solaris 10 or 11 to one running Oracle Solaris 11.1, use Shadow Migration. It's easy, and allows you to migrate shared ZFS, UFS, or VxFS (Symantec) file systems through NFS or even through a local file system. Alexandre shows how.

4. Delegating a ZFS Dataset to a Non-Global Zone

by Alexandre Borges

Adding a dataset to a non-global zone does not give the non-global zone's administrator control over the dataset's properties. They are retained by the global zone's administrator. Delegating a dataset, however, does give the non-global zone's administrator control over the dataset's properties. Alexandre explains the difference and how to perform the delegation.

5. Playing with ZFS Encryption

by Alexandre Borges

Oracle Solaris 11 supports native encryption on ZFS so that it can protect critical data without depending on external programs. It's also integrated with the Cryptographic Framework. Alexandre explains the benefits of these and other Oracle Solaris encryption capabilities, and the different methods for encrypting and decrypting files, file systems, and pools.

About the Photograph

In late June I rode from the South Entrance to Yellowstone National Park in heavy rain. When I stopped at the grill for a burger, I inadvertently shocked the good patrons by wringing water out of my neck warmer, sweater, and t-shirt directly onto the stone floor in the cafeteria. When I'm on a long ride it takes me a moment to remember the finer points of civilized behavior. When the clouds temporarily cleared, I took this picture of Yellowstone Falls from Uncle Tom's trail.

- Rick
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Friday Jul 11, 2014

What Can You Do With Data Link Multipathing (DLMP)?

When I first learned about high availability, it was something you provided by creating one or more copies of the operating environment on separate servers. Sometimes on different continents. If the server in Canada failed, the server in Ireland would take over.

Then I found out about Real Application Clusters. Wait, I asked myself, weren't applications invented for the sole purpose of field-testing the OS? Why do test programs need high availability? Haven't these people heard of Oracle Solaris Cluster?

Well, to my great disappointment there are plenty of different approaches to high availability. Just like there are plenty of different approaches to virtualization. And, as you might imagine, you can combine the two.

For instance, if you're going to build a cloud infrastructure using the virtualization capabilities in Oracle Solaris 11, you might as well allocate your network resources to the virtualized environment, as well. And so, you'd probably find yourself creating virtual switches, routers, cards, and what not. Well, what happens if all those virtual networks, which are really just one physical network, go down?

Bjoern Rost, Oracle ACE, provides a nice explanation of a Solaris feature that didn't get a lot of attention when it was released: Data Link Multipathing (DLMP) and DLMP aggregation. DLMP aggregation allows you to combine virtual network interfaces from different physical network interfaces into high availability clusters. You can also use these clusters to improve load balancing, as Bjoern explains in his blog post.

Orgad likes DLMP, too. So much, in fact, that he took a break from reconfiguring the International Space Station so his kids could control it from their XBox, and wrote an article explaining how to apply DLMP to a virtual network. Two articles, in fact.

Tech Article: Using DLMP to Add High Availability to Your Network in Oracle Solaris 11.1

by Orgad Kimchi

How to combine virtual NICs from different physical NICS into a DLMP aggregation assigned to a zone, and configure the aggregation to provide failover for the zone, using Oracle Solaris 11.

Tech Article: Doing More with DLMP

by Orgad Kimchi

You can give an Oracle Solaris 11 zone exclusive access to a physical NIC. Although that approach can ensure that particular zone has full access the entire bandwidth of the NIC, it does leave NIC and the entire network exposed to security breaches. Unless you use DLMP's Link Protection capability. Orgad explains how to do that, as well as enabling resource management for your Oracle Solaris 11 virtual network, improving the availability of an NFS server, and more.

About the Photograph

Lou Ordorica and I took off early a few weeks ago to get in some twisties before the crowds showed up. We stopped at The Last Shot on the Peak to Peak highway to grab a late breakfast/early lunch. While we were there a few more bikes showed up.

- Rick
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