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

Monday Dec 20, 2010

Content Cluster: Understanding the Local Boot Option of the Automated Installer in Oracle Solaris 11 Express

I really don't care that the Chevy Volt won several Car of the Year awards. I'd rather stare at cool cars that are impossible to live with, like the flat-painted Bonnie above.

When it comes to installing Solaris 11 Express, you have lots of choices. Here's a few resources to help you understand one of the installation options: the bootable automated installer.

What's Cool About a Bootable Automated Installer

Scott Dickson explains how a bootable automated installer helps you boot Solaris from your location of choice without having to set up an install server.

Chapter 1 - Automated Installer Overview

First chapter in the Solaris 11 Express Automated Installer Guide. Describes what the automated installer is and what it does, and provides guidance for using it.

Chapter 8 - Automated Installations That Boot From Media

Chapter 8 of the Solaris 11 Express Automated Installer Guide. Describes how the automated installer can boot from media instead of the install server. Provides system requirements and detailed instructions.

How to Configure a Bootable Automated Installer

In his latest blog, Scott Dickson explains how he configured the automated installer so he could boot Solaris 11 Express directly from a repository without having to go to the trouble of setting up the install server on the net.

Enjoy tonight's rare lunar eclipse. Go pagan.

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

Tuesday Nov 16, 2010

Not Your Mother's Favorite?

Neither was I.

But that's OK.

How many people do you know who can write massively parallel business-critical applications for the world's most secure data centers from their cell phone while their boss chases them around the storage racks with a chain saw?

Not many. Those of us in the Sysadmin and Developer Community of OTN think that's pretty cool. So we've gathered a few resources to make it a little easier for you to become familiar with Oracle Solaris 11 Express.

White Paper: What's New in Oracle Solaris 11 Express for Developers
How the development tools in Solaris 11 Express streamline the application development process, how Containers and ZFS simplify testing, how to migrate Solaris 10 applications to Solaris 11 express, and more.

OTN Live video: What's Great About Solaris 11 Express for Developers
George Drapeau, from Oracle ISV engineering, talks about the capabilities of Oracle Solaris 11 Express that will interest application developers, including the use of Solaris 10 branded zones and new DTrace probes. Also why a potential customer would want to run my application on Solaris 11 instead of Solaris 10.

Oracle Documentation: Software Developer Collection
Over a dozen developer guides for topics ranging from application packaging and device drivers to SPARC and x86 assembly language. A gold mine. Don't miss the complete set of manpages.

Don't forget the Sysadmin and Developer Community Home Page on OTN and the Solaris 11 Express Product Page on OTN

I'll post more resources over the coming weeks.

- Rick

Monday Nov 15, 2010

Solaris 11 Express Resources for Sysadmins

The Beast is here.

Oracle Solaris 11 Express is a big change for Solaris, particularly in:

To help you manage it, we've assembled the following resources:

You can find these links in a tidy package on OTN's Solaris 11 Express Product Page:

Solaris 11 Express Product Page on OTN

Provides technical resources about Solaris 11 Express, including latest white papers and other publication, documentation, download instructions, and other resources for sysadmins, developers, and IT managers.

We've also got a few resources for application developers, and I'll point you to them over the next few days.

- Rick

Tuesday Nov 09, 2010

Oracle Solaris 11 Express Summit - Slides Now Available

The slides are now available for the presentations at the Oracle Solaris 11 Express Summit at the LISA Conference.

Go to The Open Waters Blog.

Slides are available for the presentations listed below:

  • Introduction to Oracle Solaris 11 Express, Markus Flierl
  • Image Packaging System, Bart Smaalders
  • Deploying Oracle Solaris 11 in the Enterprise, Dave Miner
  • Advances in Solaris Networking with Crossbow and Beyond, Nicolas Droux
  • Oracle Solaris Containers in Oracle Solaris 11 Express, Dan Price
  • ZFS Features in Oracle Solaris Express, Cindy Swearingen
  • New Security Features in Oracle Solaris 11 Express, Glenn Faden
  • Deploying Applications Using SMF and Other Solaris 11 Features, Liane Praza

- Rick

Monday Nov 08, 2010

Solaris Summit - Watch It On Video

photo courtesy of

If you can't be at LISA in person but still want to catch the Solaris 11 Express Summit, tune into the Live Stream. It starts at at 9:00 am US Pacific Time Tuesday morning.

During the breaks, catch some of these motorcycle racing crash videos ....

- Rick
(Oracle Technology Network - System Admin and Developer Community)

Tuesday Oct 19, 2010

A Peak Experience

photo courtesy of

The peak experience of the year for Solaris sysadmins will happen all day Tuesday, Nov 9, at the Solaris Summit of the LISA Conference in ballrooms A4 and A5 of the San Jose Convention Center

We have gathered the engineers who designed and built the capabilities in Oracle Solaris 11 Express that are most significant to sysadmins, and they are going to spend the entire day walking you through them:

9:00 - 9:30 am
Introduction to Oracle Solaris 11 Express, by Markus Flierl

9:30 - 11:00 am
Image Packaging Systems, by Bart Smaalders

11:00 am - 12:30 pm
Deploying Oracle Solaris 11 in the Enterprise, by Dave Miner

12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

1:30 pm - 2:30 pm
Advances in Solaris Networking with Crossbow and Beyond, by Nicolas Droux

2:30 pm - 3:00 pm
Oracle Solaris Containers in Oracle Solaris 11 Express, by Dan Price

3:00 pm - 3:15 pm

3:15 pm - 4:15 pm
ZFS Features in Oracle Solaris Express, by Cindy Swearingen

4:15 pm - 4:45 pm
New Security Features in Oracle Solaris 11 Express, by Glenn Faden

4:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Deploying Applications Using SMF and Other Solaris 11 Features, by Liane Praza

5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Beer and Snacks Reception for ALL

The event is free if you're already attending LISA, but you must register beforehand.

Don't be left hanging. Register now.

- Rick


Logan Rosenstein
and members of the OTN community


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