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
Follow Rick on:
Personal Blog | Personal Twitter
  Follow OTN Garage on:
Web | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

Monday Apr 14, 2014

Which Type of Virtualization Should I Use?

I routinely ask techies which type of virtualization they'd recommend for which type of job. I seldom get an answer as crystal clear as Brian Bream's.

Video Interview: Which Type of Virtualization Should I Use?

with Brian Bream, CTO Collier IT

Oracle's portfolio of virtualization technologies includes Oracle VM Server for x86, Oracle VM Server for SPARC (previously known as LDOMS), and Oracle Solaris Zones, among others. Brian Bream provides a crystal clear technical overview of their differences and examples of what you would use them to do to. After you listen to the recording, which is about 5 minutes long, you'll understand why Brian was selected Instructor of the Year for both Oracle University and Sun Microsystems University before that.

More Resources About Virtualization

Here's an 8-part series about Oracle virtualization products written by Detlef Drewanz and Lenz Grimmer that might also be helpful:

About the Photograph

Photograph of Vaillancourt Fountain in San Francisco taken by Rick Ramsey, April 2014.

- Rick

Follow me on:
Web | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

Friday Apr 11, 2014

New Oracle Solaris/SPARC SIG Launched by IOUG

What happens in Vegas ...

... stays in Vegas.

Well, most of it does, anyway.

Collaborate 2014, put on by the Independent Oracle User Group (IOUG), the Oracle Applications User Group (OAUG), and the Quest International User Group was terrific. Great content, great people, great event. And lots of sysadmins!

One of the most interesting things to come out of Collaborate is a new Special Interest Group (SIG) for Oracle Systems technologies, sponsored by Independent Oracle User Group (IOUG). It's called the Solaris/SPARC SIG, but the first meeting covered a lot of ground that included the other technologies in Oracle's Systems portfolio, including engineered systems, storage, networking, and optimized solutions. This perspective on Oracle Solaris is significant because the value of Oracle Solaris becomes increasingly evident when viewed from the perspective of the database, engineered systems like Oracle SuperCluster, and cloud strategies.

So keep an eye on the SIG and join us in future activities. I'll be sure to promote them here, but also keep an eye on the SIG Calendar.

Seth Miller and Ed Whalen, Oracle ACES, were kind enough to tape a couple of video interviews for the OTN Garage. I'll be posting them there soon.

About the Photograph

Photograph of your Systems Community Manager and friends taken by Laura Ramsey in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, in April 2014.

- Rick

Follow me on:
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

Tuesday Mar 18, 2014

Configuring COMSTAR to Provide Local iSCSI Storage

Oracle Solaris 11 introduced two storage capabilities that I wasn't aware of until Oracle ACE Alexandre Borges brought them to my attention.

A Solaris 11 system can serve as an iSCSI target that offers storage to other machines, or as an iSCSI initiator to access the storage offered by another iSCSI target. This capability is a real advantage, because any storage offered through the iSCSI protocol is available to an iSCSI initiator as local storage, without the need to use expensive technologies such as Fibre Channel (FC).

Solaris provides this service through a framework named Common Multiprotocol SCSI TARget (COMSTAR). Alexandre Borges shows you how to use it:

Tech Article: Using COMSTAR and ZFS to Configure a Virtualized Storage Environment

How to use COMSTAR to provide local iSCSI storage for any service that runs in Windows, Linux, or Mac OS. It also shows you how to configure authentication using the Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol (CHAP) to secure the iSCSI storage against forbidden access. Part 1 of a series about ZFS.

About Alexandre Borges

Alexandre Borges is an Oracle ACE who worked as an employee and contracted instructor at Sun Microsystems from 2001 to 2010 teaching Oracle Solaris, Oracle Solaris Cluster, Oracle Solaris security, Java EE, Sun hardware, and MySQL courses. Nowadays, he teaches classes for Symantec, Oracle partners, and EC-Council, and he teaches several very specialized classes about information security. In addition, he is a regular writer and columnist at Linux Magazine Brazil.

More content from Alexandre:

Exploring Installation Options and User Roles in Oracle Solaris 11

Part 1 of a two-part series that describes how Alexandre installed Oracle Solaris 11 and explored its new packaging system and the way it handles roles, networking, and services. This article focuses first on exploring Oracle Solaris 11 without the need to install it, and then actually installing it on your system.

Exploring Networking, Services, and the New Image Packaging System in Oracle Solaris 11

Alexandre walks you through the new way Oracle Solaris 11 manages networking, services, and packages, compared to the way it managed them in Solaris 10.

Articles in Linux Brazil Magazine (Portuguese)

Columns in Linux Brazil Magazine (Portuguese)

More About ZFS and COMSTAR

About the Photograph

Photograph of San Rafael Swell taken in Utah by Rick Ramsey on the way to Java One.

- Rick

Follow me on:
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | The Great Peruvian Novel

Wednesday Feb 26, 2014

Oracle Solaris 11 Resources for the AIX Sysadmin

Start buttons belong on Tiger Wood's golf cart. Give me car keys that jangle when I insert them into a 1968 Dodge Charger. The music that engine makes ... it enters your body through your soul before your ear drums even register the vibration. And give me Save buttons on browser-based interfaces, too. This amorphous invisible background save that I'm supposed to trust is happening is the brainchild of developers who put posters of Joseph Stalin on their walls.

In spite of my Luddite tendencies, I do like new technologies. I also like a variety of them. If you ask my personal opinion, the more operating systems, the better. More jobs for sysadmins. More jobs for developers. More arm-wrestling matches in the server room. And more interesting problems. That's my idea of fun.

Unfortunately, it's not The Man's idea of fun. Forces I can't possibly understand and would never take for a joy ride in a stolen Dodge Charger push for consolidation and cost-cutting with the frenzy of a four barrel carburetor sucking air at wide open throttle (WOT). Even if, like me, you prefer a more genteel IT environment, you have to adapt. And so, we sometimes wave good-bye to our friends.

If you're facing a migration away from AIX, consider Oracle Solaris. Yeah, it's designed to handle the competitive pressures of today's IT environments...

  • Cloud-ready provisioning, security, and virtualization
  • Quick to reallocate compute, storage, and network resources
  • Zones, ZFS, Dynamic Tracing, Predictive Self Healing and Trusted Extensions reduce downtime and simplify the application deployment
  • Optimized to run on Oracle hardware, and to run Oracle applications
  • Automated migration tools plus assistance and education for DBAs and Power/AIX administrators migrating to Oracle Solaris.

... and yeah, because the Oracle stack is optimized to run best on Oracle Solaris (and Oracle Linux), it gives you some crazy good numbers compared to AIX ...

  • Up to 2.4x greater database performance
  • Up to 3.4x faster Java application server performance
  • Increased Oracle application performance : 1.9x faster for Siebel CRM (4) and 3x faster for JD Edwards

... but it's also got soul. And it doesn't have a dumb Start button.

Below is a link to a hands-on lab and some other resources to help you understand what's involved in migrating from AIX to Oracle Solaris.

Hands-On Lab: Oracle Solaris Administration for AIX Sysadmins

by Glynn Foster

Walks an AIX sysadmin through the basic administration of Oracle Solaris 11 and how it compares to IBM AIX Enterprise in areas including installation, software packaging, file systems, user management, services, networking, and virtualization. Even makes helps you navigate your way through documentation, man pages, and online how-to articles.

More Resources

About the Photograph

Photograph of '68 Dodge Charger courtesy of Kobac via Wikipedia Commons Creative Commons License 2.0

- Rick

Follow me on:
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | The Great Peruvian Novel

Thursday Feb 13, 2014

Getting Your Hands Dirty with Load Balancing

What Does the Integrated Load Balancer Do?

According to the Oracle Solaris 11 documentation, the Integrated Load Balancer (ILB) intercepts incoming requests from clients, decides which back-end server should handle the request based on load-balancing rules, and then forwards the request to that server. By spreading one server's work load across multiple servers, ILB improves reliability, minimizes response time, and improves performance of the server.

The documentation describes features, components, how it works, and even the command line interface. The docs help you understand what your load balancing toolset is, but if you want to get your hands dirty, try this:

Hands-On Lab - Deploying the Integrated Load Balancer in 60 Minutes

by Amir Javanshir

This is a cool lab because it walks you through the steps that set up an environment that enables you to play with the load balancer. The steps consist more or less of:

  • Installing Solaris
  • Setting up the virtual switches and their VNICs
  • Configuring the zone for the load balancer, including its access to the VNICs
  • Cloning that zone into three other zones
  • Configuring each cloned zone to run Apache Tomcat
  • Installing the load balancer on the first zone

Once the environments are set up, the lab walks you through several exercises to help you become familiar with the different ways in with the load balancer monitors and manages traffic. This lab is a whole lot of fun.

More Hands-On Labs for Oracle Solaris 11

You can find all the hands-on labs for Oracle Solaris 11 here:

All Hands-On Labs for Oracle Solaris 11

- Rick

Follow me on:
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | The Great Peruvian Novel

Tuesday Feb 11, 2014

Understanding The New Economics of Server Performance

See below for image license.

Garage nuts like me always enjoy a truce in the perennial Class War because it lets us enjoy the impressive automobiles the super rich get to drive. Or perhaps their chauffeurs get to drive. When the original Bugatti Veyron was launched in 2006, it had 1001 horses. The base model of the 2006 Honda Accord had 166 horses and cost around $20,000. If the cost of increasing horsepower were linear, going from 166 horses to 1001 horses would only increase the price by a multiple of 6. So, looking only at power, the Bugatti Veyron would cost only cost $120,000.

According to the Jalopnki blog, it costs $1.7 million dollars. Some of that is due to its luxury appointments, but most of it is due to the non-linear increase in cost that invariably accompanies a linear increase in power.

Lucky for us geeks, that's not true of hardware. Well, it was for a while, but that's changed. As these three video interviews explain.

Revolutionizing Server Economics

Interview with Renato Ribeiro

Deploying clusters of small systems used to be the most economical way to get compute power because you had to pay a premium to get all that power on a single system. That's no longer true. Renato explains why that's no longer true. And he has charts.

Horizontal vs Vertical Scalability

Video Smackdown: Michael Palmeter v Renato Ribeiro

Is Oracle's approach to large vertically scaled servers at odds with today's trend of combining lots and lots of small, low-cost servers systems with networking to build a cloud, or is it a better approach? Michael Palmeter, Director of Solaris Product Management, and Renato Ribeiro, Director Product Management for SPARC Servers, discuss.

Like Getting a Ferrari for the Price of a Toyota

Interview with David Lawler

Is buying hardware today like getting a Ferrari for the price of a Toyota? Yes, says Senior Vice President David Lawler, because Oracle has re-engineered the way we develop systems from the hardware side and the software side. You get tremendous performance AND low cost. David, who knows his numbers, explains how Oracle does it, and why our competitors aren't doing the same thing. Sound quality is poor, but content is worth it.

The image used in this blog is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany license. Attribution: M 93

- Rick

Follow me on:
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | The Great Peruvian Novel

Wednesday Jan 29, 2014

Man Vs. Machine

Man vs machine. Command Line vs GUI. It's not a new debate. In fact, when I was a little boy I watched this Paul Bunyan cartoon with the dismay of a sysadmin watching the increasing popularity of GUIs:

Cartoon: Paul Bunyan's Ax vs The Chain Saw

What Skills Do Sysadmins Need to Manage a Modern Data Center?

Video Interview with Brian Bream

When I wrote technical manuals for Oracle Solaris back in the day, I had the luxury of my very own lab. For instance, while writing the NIS+ books, I was able to discover my own procedures on a small network and, when I needed something larger, I could ask the sysadmins in Sun's bigger labs to try some experiments for me. Little did I know those were the Golden Years of technical writing.

They were also the Command Line Years. We used the command line for everything, including email, product testing and, of course, managing Solaris. The command line put the operator in control. You had a mental map of what you were doing, you were completely engaged, and if something became repetitive, you could always write a script for it. The shell was the interface, and emacs was the only tool you needed.

When GUI's first came out, we hated them on principle. They were slower than the command line, and they didn't really add any value. Plus, they weakened your skills.

Since then it's been a tossup. GUI's have gotten steadily better, but they didn't add enough value to overcome our attachment to the command line. In fact, we kinda resented them because they were used as a pretext to hire less experienced and cheaper sysadmins.

However, with the advent of vertically-integrated systems such as Oracle's Exadata and SuperCluster, the GUI may have finally come into its own. Listen to Brian Bream explain why.

Watch video interview here

Photograph of bicycle in Durango taken by Rick Ramsey in Oct 2012

- Rick

Follow me on:
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | The Great Peruvian Novel

Thursday Jan 23, 2014

Hands-On Lab Setup Instructions Now Available for Next Virtual Sysadmin Day

As you may already know, OTN's next Virtual Sysadmin Day is on January 28 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm PT. This sysadmin day is going to be very cool because its hands-on labs focus on solving real-world problems with Oracle technologies.

You'll definitely want to do the prep work before the day of the event. The prep work consists of configuring your laptop and uploading the images. Don't be that guy. The one who, the day of, asks where the instructions are. Him. Don't be him.

Pre-Event Checklist

The checklist provides:

  • Virtual Conference hardware requirements
  • Virtual Conference software requirements
  • Setup instructions for Oracle Solaris labs
  • Setup instructions for Oracle Linux labs
  • Setup instructions for Oracle VM labs

If You Must Tweet

If you can't keep your hands off your danged phone while working on the labs, at least use this hashtag:


Questions for Ed

Oracle ACE extraordinaire Ed Whalen and I will be hanging out at the Sysadmin Lounge during the last 30-45 minutes of the event. Ed knows his stuff, so if you have any questions about Linux, such as how to optimize it for the database or other applications, ask Ed. If you have questions about Harleys or Ducatis, ask me.

See you next week.

photograph of Harleys in Wisconsin by Rick Ramsey

- Rick

Follow me on:
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | The Great Peruvian Novel

Wednesday Jan 22, 2014

Cache Algorithms and Other Storage Tricks

This morning I was reading about something called a cache algorithm. According to our friends at TechTarget, a cache algorithm specifies rules for discarding items from a computer's cache. So I started rooting through some of our tech articles to see if I could find any more about it.

I failed.

But I did find a couple of articles about storage, plus a video, that although not specifically about cache algorithms, do talk about storage efficiency. The video interview is new. I recorded it at Oracle OpenWorld, but had not edited until now. The articles have both been published before.

Video Interview: Simplifying the Way You Manage Data

with Art Licht

Simplification, efficiency, and data protection. That's what you get when you manage your data with Oracle Enterprise Manager. Art Licht explains. Recorded at Oracle OpenWorld 2013.

Tech Article: How to Multiply the Capacity of Oracle Storage Systems

by Tom Luckenbach
Hybrid columnar compression can effectively multiply your storage capacity by 10-15 times, increasing performance and reducing your hardware costs. It's available on Oracle's Pillar Axiom storage systems. Tom Luckenbach walks you through the steps to set it up.

Tech Article: How We Improved SAN and NAS Performance with Hybrid Columnar Compression

by Art Licht

A case study showing how Oracle reduced storage space requirements by a multiple of 19 while getting a six-fold increase in database query performance. All thanks to the Hybrid Columnar Compression capability of Oracle Database 11g Release 2. Plus how you can achieve similar results. By Art Licht.

About the Photograph

The photo is real stretch ...
from left to right, my riding partners
JimBob, El Jefe Con Queso, and Da Don.
Snapped at Luckenbach, Texas a couple of years ago,
on the almost famous Ghost Rider Dog Run.

- Rick

Follow me on:
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | The Great Peruvian Novel

Monday Jan 13, 2014

Lab - How to Deploy Oracle Software in Minutes Using Oracle VM Templates

In my first 12 years of school I had a natural ability in Math and Science, but had to work hard at English and History.

When I went to college, I didn't do well in Math and Science, so I transferred into Liberal Arts, where strangely enough, I did well. After all these years I just realized why. I never had to study for Math and Science. I just understood the material. If I did any homework, I did it during class. Which means I never listened to lectures. As a result, I never learned how to learn what I didn't know. So, when college presented me with more advanced topics that I couldn't just grok, I didn't know what to do. I fell behind. I assumed I wasn't any good. The opposite was true with Liberal Arts. Literature, History, Economics, it all confused me. So I listened in class. And I studied after class. SoI did well.

And that's why I'm not an engineer.

If you're a hands-on learner like me and Joel Schallhorn, the guy doing bicycle tricks in the picture, you'll appreciate our latest hands-on lab.

Lab: How to Deploy a Four-Node Oracle RAC 12c Cluster in Minutes, Using Oracle VM Templates

Hands-On Lab by Olivier Canonge with contributions from Christophe Pauliat, Simon Coter, Saar Maoz, Doan Nguyen, Ludovic Sorriaux, Cecile Naud, and Robbie De Meyer

This lab demonstrates how easy it is to deploy software environments with Oracle VM Templates. It uses a single-instance, Oracle Restart (Single-Instance High Availability [SIHA]), and Oracle Real Application Clusters (Oracle RAC) for Oracle Database as an example. During this lab, you are going to deploy a four-node Flex Cluster (three hubs and one leaf) with a dedicated network for Oracle Flex ASM traffic.

See more of Joel Schallhorn on Instagram | Facebook | YouTube

- Rick

Follow me on:
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | The Great Peruvian Novel

Friday Jan 10, 2014

It's Friday, Ask Your Boss to Dance

Happy Friday, OTN Garage!

- Rick

Follow me on:
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | The Great Peruvian Novel

Thursday Jan 09, 2014

Why Are So Many People Smarter Than Me?

When Tim said "Heisenbug," I pictured a large dirigible exploding and heard a radio reporter cry, "Oh the Humanity!"

As Tim started talking, I realized he'd said "Heisenbug," not Hindenbug. So I pictured my favorite chemistry teacher. Here is a link to his likeness:

Picture of Heisenberg

It was only when I heard my deceased physicist father-in-law's voice growling his favorite endearment "Rick, you dumbass," that I finally realized Tim was talking about Werner Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle.

Although I wasn't completely sure.

Video Interview: How Ksplice Crushes the Heisenbug

As it turns out, Tim was talking about that phenomenon that happens to all of us when we call in a sysadmin to fix a problem with our system. When the sysadmin shows up, the problem disappears. I know you guys write scripts to make that happen on purpose, but Tim doesn't. And neither does the Ksplice team. So they developed some very cool technology to diagnose these heisenbugs and get our systems running properly again. Don't worry, your secret is safe with me. And everyone who reads this blog.

In any case, you can find out how Ksplice crushes the Heisenbug in this short video:

Video Interview: How Ksplice Crushes the Heisenbug

Here's a video of the Hinderburg crash

- Rick

Follow me on:
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | The Great Peruvian Novel

Tuesday Jan 07, 2014

Tips for Using Linux Huge Pages

Ed Whalen is the Chief Technologist at Performance Tuning Corp. He knows an awful lot about making databases run faster, including the use of Linux Huge Pages. Here are two of his very helpful resources.

Tech Article: How to Configure x86 Memory Performance for Large Databases

by Ed Whalen, Oracle ACE

Performance issues in large databases are not easy to detect using normal analysis methods such as AWR reports and OS tools such as sar, top, and iostat. And yet, if you configure your memory appropriately in x86 environments, your database can run significantly faster. This article describes you can use Linux Huge Pages to do just that.

Ed covers x86 virtual memory architecture, Linux memory management, and enabling Linux Huge Pages. See the article here.

Video Interview: What Are Linux Huge Pages?

with Ed Whalen, Oracle ACE

Ed Whalen, Oracle ACE, explains Linux huge pages, the huge performance increase they provide, and how sysadmins and DBA's need to work together to use them properly. Taped at Oracle Open World 2013.

photograph of cliff face in Perry Park, Colorado, copyright Rick Ramsey

- Rick

Follow me on:
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | The Great Peruvian Novel


Logan Rosenstein
and members of the OTN community


« November 2015
Blogs We Like