Thursday Mar 17, 2011

Virtual Hardware

Kemer's HandtruckI am only accidentally a "hardware person." I joined Sun in the late 80s because of my software background; hardware was essentially forced on me. I was excited because Sun was such a leader in UNIX development and applications. For those who have been around, do you remember those Catalyst Catalog "doorstops" we used to hand out to customers?

Software needs hardware to run on and over the years I developed an uneasy truce with it. Back then we spent a lot of time rolling around gigantic desk-side boxes and enormous monitors for demonstrations. The "missing hand truck" was such a common issue that I went across the street to Sears and got the biggest, baddest one I could find and put my name on it; it still does service in my garage. We used to carry around a specialty combo hex wrench and screw driver to install MultiBus boards. Now, that definitely dates me.

Here's an amusing anecdote: the San Diego sales office often acquired demo machines when the corporate suits were just too lazy to ship them back after a trade show. The guilty are now long gone, and I think the statute of limitations is up, anyway. If you think that is bad, I remember one field systems engineer who would wander around the corporate buildings slapping shipping labels addressed to his office on boxes of new equipment. Apparently, that ploy sometimes worked.

So, being a closet software person, I think the ideal solution to schlepping hardware around would be to have virtual hardware: an interactive, 3D model. Oh, wait: that exists! You will find on many of our OTN hardware pages a 3D Demo section. As one example, take a look at the SPARC Server page: we currently have five models there, including one for the large SPARC Enterprise M9000. These are much, much more than the 3D product views you see on consumer product pages. For example, in the M9000 model, click on Features and select the PCIe to see the extraction of a PCIe card and close look at the module. There are hours of entertainment and education in this virtual hardware: my kind of hardware!

- Kemer

Friday Oct 08, 2010

Sysadmin Resources for Oracle Linux

Ducati missed a great opportunity to call the latest upgrade to my favorite sportbike the Ducati 848 Linux Edition. I think Larry needs to make a phone call....

To make up for Ducati's unpardonable slight to the entire Linux community, we've highlighted some Linux technical content on the front page of the OTN Systems Community, but front page headlines have a tendency to change quickly.

So here's a quick summary that you can slide into the map sleeve of your tank bag (or your Stich jacket if you prize function over form):

What's New

This page will let you know about Oracle announcements, new resources, community blogs or comments, and anything else related to Oracle Linux. Bookmark it someplace safe.


Get the new unbreakable kernel from Oracle's Public Yum Server or go to the Oracle Linux download center to select from a variety of Linux-related software.


  • Install Guides for Oracle Software on Oracle Linux
  • Oracle Linux 4 Release Notes
  • Oracle Linux 5 Release Notes
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux Documentation
  • Also click on the Reference link in the left nav bar of the Linux-Solaris CommandComparo for general linux reference material for sysadmins
  • Forums, Blogs, and Other

    Training and Certification

    Oracle University offers Linux sysadmin certification based on Enterprise Linux that closely maps to Oracle's Linux training offerings. To become certified, you must demonstrate a high level of proficiency with Enterprise Linux including system administration, networking, and security.

    Oracle Unbreakable Linux Network

    The Unbreakable Linux Network is a community that provides Linux software patches, updates, and fixes, plus information on up2date program and support policies. Only for Linux users with Oracle support subscriptions.

    Linux-Solaris Command Comparo

    This wiki shows the equivalent command syntax for common administrative tasks in Oracle Solaris 10 and Oracle Enterprise Linux 5 – especially tasks that have tricky syntax or that you frequently need to double-check. Add, complete, and modify entries to make the wiki more useful and accurate. Anyone can read it, but to make changes, first register and then log in.

    Other Oracle Linux Resources

    Here's Oracle's announcement about the Oracle Unbreakable Linux Kernel, in case you missed it.

    More reviews about the Ducati 848 Linux Edition here:

    - Rick

    Thursday Jul 29, 2010

    Oracle Solaris, OEL, and Oracle VM Available on All Certified non-Sun Hardware

    (updated with new headline to include all Solaris-certified hardware vendors.)

    This has been a big question for fans of Solaris on non-Sun hardware, but it's finally been answered.

    Oracle Solaris can be certified and resold by Dell, IBM, HP, Fujitsu, and any Solaris-Certified hardware vendor on their own hardware.

    So can Oracle Enterprise Linux and Oracle VM.

    Oracle Premier support is available for Oracle Solaris, Oracle Enterprise Linux, and Oracle VM.

    A few quick resources:

    More info later....

    - Rick

    Monday Jun 28, 2010

    Flops and GigaFlops

    This blog is about the benefits of running Solaris on SPARC.

    Although I was born in Santiago, Chile, I became a teenager in Lima, Peru in time to watch the beautiful Peruvian National Team advance all the way to the quarter finals of the 1970 World Cup.  For a small country like Peru, this was a gigantic achievement.  

    If you've watched any World Cup matches lately, you've probably noticed two things:

    1. The best players get fouled incessantly.
    2. Everybody flops.

    I'm not a fan of either.  (And don't even get me started on the NBA.)

    In Peru we believed you were a good defender only if you could strip the ball away without touching your opponent.  A foul might save a goal, but it wouldn't save your honor.  As a result of this appreciation for technique, the1970 team won the FIFA Fair Play Trophy. With flopping and strategic fouling so prevalent in the World Cup, it's a miracle we made it to the quarter finals! 

    Because I'm also a geek, I have the same respect for the combination of Solaris and SPARC

    Oracle Solaris and Sun SPARC Systems—Integrated and Optimized for Enterprise Computing

    Oracle Stack

    By now you've probably heard how all the products in the Oracle stack have been optimized for the best possible scalability, security, and reliability.  This is particularly true for Solaris, our Virtual Machine, and Sun SPARC enterprise servers.

    This white paper takes the discussion one step further.

    Written by Mike Mulkey with the help from Solaris engineers, this paper discusses the benefits of Oracle Solaris running on Sun SPARC Enterprise M-Series and T-Series servers, but drills down on the specific optimizations for reliability, scalability, security, and virtualization. It describes the superior results of taking a comprehensive, integrated architectural approach to designing the operating system with the hardware, such as:

    • Solaris multi-threading capabilities, when combined with the SPARC multi-core chips, provide the capacity to run 64 threads per chip, which can make your data center more flexible, quicker, and far more reliable. 
    • Solaris running on the SPARC64 VII chips of Sun M-Series servers provide mainframe-class performance and reliability at lower cost.  Not to mention vertical scalability.  Plus hot-swapability for major components.
    • Predictive self-healing in Solaris works with the highly reliable memory subsystems of the SPARC Enterprise server to stop faults from bringing down your system.
    • In addition to its scalability and reliability features, ZFS lets you add, change or remove storage devices on the run.

    After you finish reading Mulkey's white paper you might come to the same conclusion as I did:

    The combination of Solaris and SPARC Enterprise servers lands squarely in the world of American Football, a game that leaves little room for flopping, whining, or making excuses.

    (Read this forum discussion if you want to find out how many floating point operations a SPARC chip supports).

     - Rick


    Logan Rosenstein
    and members of the OTN community


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