Thursday Sep 17, 2015

Who is this new guy? Meet Logan Rosenstein, the new OTN Systems Community Manager.

As many of you know, back in May after a long career in the communities of Sun and Oracle, the great Rick Ramsey announced his retirement. This left such a gaping hole in the OTN Systems community that the amazing staff at Oracle and in the Oracle Technology Network searched day and night to find a magical foot growing potion in an effort to fill those giant shoes.

After an exhaustive search, they decided my size 11s will do and hired me, Logan Rosenstein, as the new OTN Systems Community Manager.

For the last several years, I've worked in various communities and dabbled at IT in the video game industry. When I was able to separate my hands from a video game controller (work related research obviously), I worked on degrees in Business and Computer Science. Now that I've earned the piece of paper that says I have a Masters in Computer Science, I figured it was a good time to join the real world and jump from video game publishing over to Oracle. As a big fan of aviation, I've studied and written about real-time operating systems use in avionics and other embedded systems, network security in the FAA's Next Gen system, and I have great interests in artificial intelligence and its use with computer vision in autonomous vehicles; all of which are great topics to bring up during speed dating.

Over the next several months, you may see some minor changes to the structure of the community, some renaming of forums to make navigation a little easier, and some community infrastructure upgrades to improve the overall experience. Please don't be alarmed, it will likely just be my colleagues and I tinkering around to make sure that the community platform is keeping up with the needs of the members. I will do my very best to explain all the changes, roll them out slowly, and ask for input. If you have anything you would like to see happen, feel free to reach out to me and let me know.

I am extremely excited to be a part of the community and to do my part to help members learn, grow, and communicate. Feel free to reach out to me via any of the OTN Systems social media channels as well as through my community profile. Harmless plug inbound! Please follow the OTN Systems Hub blog, this is where all the new blog posts will be hosted. Don't worry, the OTN Garage blog isn't going anywhere and all its past content will remain available.

About the picture: This is a picture I took of my Chocolate Lab "Gunner" Besides being the best dog on the planet (don't even attempt to argue, I've made my decision and it's final), his expression accurately portrays my own at this very moment as I am welcomed into the OTN family; wide-eyed and focused from excitement, legs spread out to handle the weight of all the responsibilities, completely frazzled hair from stress and covered in water in an attempt to push it back down and look composed. At the end of the day, my eyes are on the prize and I'm ready!

Thursday Feb 07, 2013

Five Perspectives on Virtual Networks


At about the time I finally understood server virtualization, they hit me with network virtualization. Or was it virtualized networks? Virtual networking? So, did that mean that you networked your virtual environments together? Or did it mean that you created a virtual network? A virtual network of virtual servers? Or physical servers?

I did what any techie would do when confronted with a conundrum: I played video games until 2:00 am. Then it came to me: a virtual network is simply a physical network sliced into multiple virtual networks. That wasn't so hard. In fact, we currently provide two ways to create a virtual network: within the OS and at the hypervisor. Shoot, you can even pretend to create a virtual network by firing up VirtualBox. To help you decide which type of network virtualization to use, we put together a few perspectives:

How Networking Works in VirtualBox

by the Fat Bloke

Start here, just in case you want to become familiar with virtual networks to avoid bringing down your entire data center. The Fat Bloke describes how to set up your virtual networks inside VirtualBox and configure them so the physical networks understand what you're trying to do. He covers Network Address Translation (NAT), bridged networking, internal networking, host-only networking, and NAT with Port-forwarding.

Evaluating Oracle Solaris 11 from Inside Oracle VM VirtualBox

by Yuli Vasiliev

Now you can horse around a little bit with the Oracle Solaris virtual network goodies. Yuli Vasiliev explains how to import an Oracle Solaris 11 image into VirtualBox, how to configure the virtual machine settings, and how to explore virtual networking at the OS layer, among other things.

Looking Under the Hood at Networking in Oracle VM Server for x86

by Greg King and Suzanne Zorn

Now you're ready to take a closer look at virtual networking in the hypervisor; specifically, Oracle VM Server for x86. Greg King and Suzanne Zorn describe how you can create logical networks out of physical Ethernet ports, bonded ports, VLAN segments, virtual MAC addresses (VNICs), and network channels. And how to assign channels (or "roles") to each logical network so that it handles the type of traffic you want it to. Very cool read + additional resources.

Which Tool Should I Use to Manage Which Virtualization Technology?

by Ginny Henningsen

Now that you have a better understanding of each method, it's only natural to wonder which tools to use, right? Ginny Henningsen provides an overview of the interfaces and tools that you can use to set up and manage virtual network resources, among other things..

Network Virtualization and Network Resource Management

by Detlef Drewanz

And, if you want to take it a step further, consider adding resource management to your virtual network picture. This article describes what's involved in managing network resources in conjunction with hypervisors, containers, and zones in an internal virtual network.

Let me know if you'd like any more info about virtual networks. We've got a bunch.

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Thursday Nov 15, 2012

Looking Under the Hood of ...

copyright 2012 Rob Lang

Fair is fair. Our last post featured a conversation with the beautiful and talented Eva Mendez, so today we're featuring something for those of you who prefer the other gender of our fair species.

This dude has quite the hardware challenge ahead of him. He hasn't begun to find out what's really under that hood. Life is much easier for you and me, thanks to Greg King and Suzanne Zorn. They wrote a wicked cool article about Oracle VM Server for x86. Here's a little bit about it...

Looking Under the Hood of Networking in Oracle VM Server for x86

Oracle VM Server for x86 lets you create logical networks out of physical Ethernet ports, bonded ports, VLAN segments, virtual MAC addresses (VNICs), and network channels. You can then assign channels (or "roles") to each logical network so that it handles the type of traffic you want it to.

Greg King explains how you go about doing this, and how Oracle VM Server for x86 implements the network infrastructure you configured. He also describes how the VM interacts with paravirtualized guest operating systems, hardware virtualized operating systems, and VLANs.

Finally, he provides an example that shows you how it all looks from the VM Manager view, the logical view, and the command line view of Oracle VM Server for x86.

More Resources for Oracle VM Server for x86

If you liked Greg and Suzanne's paper, you can ...

Now, if we could just come up with a name for this awesome product that doesn't feel like I'm talking with a mouthful of marbles ... :-)

- Rick

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Tuesday Feb 21, 2012

How I Explained Network Virtualization to Bikers

Back when we first launched Oracle Solaris Express, I stumbled upon a couple hundred bikers who were building a bonfire in the woods with the timber from an old cabin, a dozen cans of gasoline, and a couple of Honda Priuses. To avoid a beating, I convinced them to let me explain how virtual networks work. They set down their gasoline and I rescued some upholstery from the fire.

In the good old days, I explained, a proper biker had only one bike, a hardtail Knucklehead with a kick-starter, 5" over forks, and apes with purty leather tassels fabricated from the remnants of a favorite biker momma's chaps. And one leather jacket. Well worn. Naturally, that proper biker wanted to go to many rallies. But because he only had one bike, he could only go to one rally at a time. And he wore the same jacket to each rally. I suggested they call that favorite leather jacket Solaris, and that hardtail knucklehead a NIC.

"Nick," they asked. "Who's Nick?"

"Well, N-I-C," I explained. "It's short for Network Interface Card."

That made them a little restless, but I quickly added that as a result of the one-jacket, one-bike rule, life was good, pipes were loud, and America ruled the world.

They liked that. I got several pats on the back.

Fast forward 50, maybe 60 years, I explained while drawing the diagram above, and now we call ourselves motorcyclists. We have multiple bikes. And they are all EPA-compliant. And in keeping with the sartorial splendor of the court of Louix the XIV, we have one outfit for each bike. I asked them to pretend that each outfit was a zone, and each motorcycle was a virtual NIC, or VNIC. They got restless at the mention of Nick again, particularly after I brought up France, but I held up a well-manicured hand so they would allow me to elaborate. When modern motorcyclists like me want to go to Sturgis, I explained, we get into our Sturgis zone (a 5-day shadow, leather chaps, and obligatory bandana), and throw a leg over our Sturgis VNIC (a blinged-out CVO Harley Davidson 110" Ultra Classic with the dual-tone paint job). When we want to go to Americade, we slip into our Americade zone (a clean shave, a heated vest, and a reflective yellow Aerostich waterproof suit with 10 large pockets), and hop onto our Americade VNIC (a BMW K1200LT with heated seats, cup holder, and GPS). And so on. One outfit for each motorcycle, one zone for each vnic.

That's as far as I got. They gave me a beating and tossed me, my Vespa, and my modster jacket into the lake.

I decided to get some help.

Nicolas Droux, who was part of the engineering team that developed network virtualization (project Crossbow), agreed to explain all this to me. After assuring me that he was not a biker, we got on the phone. And we turned our phone conversation into a nifty podcast.

Podcast: Why and How to Use Network Virtualization

This podcast is easier to absorb if you listen to it in two parts, each about 15 minutes long.

In the first half, Nicolas explains how the process of managing network traffic for multiple Solaris zones across a single Network Interface Card (NIC) naturally led to the development of virtual NICs. And then to the network-in-a-box concept, which allowed you for the first time to create complete network topologies and run them within a single host to experiment, simulate, or test.

In the second half, Nicolas provides more details about combining zones and VNICS to create a test environment. He explains how you can create a zone to function as a virtual network router, for instance, or a virtual load balancer. By isolating these network functions into zones, you can test how your application performs with different settings, and use DTrace to follow the application calls as they are routed through your virtual network. Once you have the optimum settings for the network and the application, you can deploy it in your data center.

Here are some more resources to help you understand network virtualization:

- Rick Ramsey





Friday Dec 23, 2011

Santa in the OTN Garage

You are welcome to peruse content the OTN Systems Community posted for sysadmins and developers over the past year, like Santa is doing:

Here's wishing that your moto start on the first kick, your engine oil run clear, your bolts not vibrate off before you reach home, your fuel not gum up your carburetor, and your face remain merrily in the wind.

Merry Christmas, or whatever you celebrate during the Holiday Season.

- Rick


Wednesday Nov 16, 2011

Silly Developers, VirtualBox Is For Sysadmins!

That's one of my favorite bumper stickers. (Well, along with the sticker placed upside down on Jeep windows that says "If you can read this, roll me over.") I don't object to the "silly boys" sticker because, in my humble opinion, girls look much cuter in Jeeps than guys do. But as Ginny Henningsen points out, a similar sentiment can be applied to Oracle VM VirtualBox.

While writing her other sysadmin-related articles for OTN, Ginny horsed around with VirtualBox so much that she fell in love with it. Not as a developer, but as a sysadmin. Read why she thinks it's such a great sysadmin tool:

My New Favorite Sysadmin Tool: Oracle VM VirtualBox

Here are some of Ginny's other articles:

- Rick Ramsey

Friday Jul 15, 2011

Using Oracle Solaris Resource Manager with Oracle Database Resource Manager

photo courtesy of Square Space.

I don't like to budget my spending, I don't like to count my calories, and I don't like to plan my rides too carefully. Takes all the adventure out of life.

But it's different at work.

If you are accustomed to working with either the resource manager for Oracle Solaris or the resource manager for Oracle Database, you may be wondering what the other resource manager is for. Can you simply pretend it doesn't exist until the quarter is over? Or will it act like your wife's cat and break something if you ignore it? Could it, perhaps, be better than the one you're used to? What if you combined them?

This might help ...

Introduction to Consolidated Resource Management with Oracle Database and Oracle Solaris

This white paper not only describes the differences between Oracle's Solaris resource manager and its database resource manager, it shows you how to use them together in the best way. Apparently that's referred to as consolidated resource management. (If you ask me, they shoulda called it amalgamated resource management, but the people in the Naming Department stopped consulting me years ago, after I suggested they name the next SunOS Jaws.)

(Think about it. Java on Jaws. It woulda rocked.)

Anyhow, because it is a white paper, it does spend a little time talking about resource management in general and the role of Oracle's resource managers in server workload consolidation. Did you know that resource management is particularly good at maintaining a service level agreement (SLA)? It makes sense, right, but it's not something I would have used to start a conversation in a biker bar. What I did know is that SLA used to mean Symbionese Liberation Army).

Control mechanisms, which resource manager to use for what, and how this all plays in a high-availability environment are also covered in this first of four papers on resource management. Read it. You'll learn a lot that you thought you already knew.

- Rick
System Admin and Developer Community of OTN
OTN Garage Blog
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OTN Garage on Twitter

Monday Nov 01, 2010

Anybody Remember Grammar School?

There's a better way to learn System Administration for the Solaris OS - Part I.

It's Oracle University's E-Kit Plus. The E-Kit Plus is a free Apple iPad application you can download from the Apple App Store.

  1. Register for the course at Oracle University.
  2. Download the eKit Plus app from the App Store
  3. Activate the app and begin enjoying the cool multi-media content.

Take your class from the cool comfort of your Apple iPad and start having things your way for a change.

- Rick
Oracle Technology Network System Admin and Developer Community

Thursday Aug 19, 2010

Updates to the Oracle Technology Network (Systems)

picture courtesy of a Peruvian compadre of mine.

Here's a summary of the latest updates to the System Admin and Developer Community of OTN, plus posts to the OTN Garage on Facebook. Give me a shout if you have any other news to share.

New Technical Articles

Using Oracle Solaris 10 to Overcome Security Challenges

How to use the security features of Solaris to combat intrusion and meet requirements for security, privacy, and worldwide internal auditing standards. Privileges, hardening, networking, virtualized environments, certifications, and more.

Increasing Application Availability with Oracle VM Server for SPARC: An Oracle Database Example

How to use the warm migration feature of the technology previously known as LDOMS to increase the availability of an Oracle Database 10g Release 2 single-instance database.

Deploying Web 2.0 Applications on Oracle Servers

Best way to deploy Web 2.0 applications on Oracle Sun Servers and Open Source software. How to use the Olio web 2.0 toolkit to measure the performance and scalability of different deployment configurations so you can choose the best one before you deploy.

New Product Pages

Jimmy Huang, Kemer Thomson, and Vicky Hardman added four new server pages to the Product area.

New From The Community

New Headlines

VirtualBox 3.2.8 Available for Solaris, Linux, Windows, MacOS

Get the latest maintenance release of VirtualBox software, version 3.2.8. VirtualBox lets your system run several OS's simultaneously. Great for testing new features before implementing. See this list of 3.2.8 enhancements.

Download the Oracle Solaris 10 10/09 Virtualbox Appliance Image

The Virtualbox Appliance image of Solaris 10 (10/09 release) is a great way to become familiar with the Solaris 10 OS inside the Virtualbox environment. The appliance image is free, and available in Open Virtual Format. Requires VirtualBox 3.0 and 5 GB free space.

Get 35% Off System Administration Training CD

For a limited time you can save 35% when you purchase the Sun System Administrator Library Self-Study CD course. Study for the certification exam on your own schedule. No travel required. To get the discount, contact your Oracle University Sales Rep and mention promotion code SSCD Promo 2.
- Rick

Thursday Aug 05, 2010

Great New Article on Oracle Solaris 10 Security

In "Using Oracle Solaris 10 to Overcome Security Challenges," Mark Thacker describes how Oracle Solaris 10 uses the principle of least privilege to reduce the vulnerabilities of applications that perform privileged operations as root.

"Over 65 discrete, fine-grained privileges are built into the kernel and user access space. The concept of privileges as implemented in Oracle Solaris 10 is extended throughout the operating system — even the built-in tools take these rights and privileges into account. Using this approach, administrators can grant new or existing applications only the appropriate privileges necessary to perform tasks. Many system components such as NFS, the Oracle Solaris Cryptographic Framework, IP Filter, file system mount commands, and more, are already configured to run with reduced privileges by default, with no configuration required by the administrator.

Mark goes on to provide clear explanations of how the following Solaris 10 security features work:

  • User Rights Management (role-based access control), which an administrator uses to limit access to administrative functions while providing access to specific operating functions.
  • Network Security and Encryption, which includes Secure-By-Default (one of those "Duh, why didn't I think of that" ideas), IP packet filtering firewall, an integreated cryptographic framework, and an arsenal of other tools that sysadmins can use to both keep out network intruders and comply with privacy regulations.
  • Minimized and Hardened OS, which reduces the size of the target for hackers by only installing basic features and securing them at the same time.
  • Containers and Trusted Extensions that enable sysadmins to isolate and protect applications and users in a virtualized environment.

This article is clear, easy to understand, and does a great job of explaining exactly how an admin can use the security tools of Solaris 10 to protect and certify an operating environment.  Includes a solid list of security resources.

I found the picture of the bull in this BBC story.

- Rick

Tuesday Jul 27, 2010

System Admin and Developer Community of OTN is Live

Four OTN Communities

photo courtesy of Marvel Comics

As Justin just said in the OTN Blog we are now all One:

There's still a lot of cleaning up to do, but with rare exceptions, all relevant content from BigAdmin, SDN, and is now in the Systems Community of OTN.

In future blogs I'll provide tips and ticks for navigating, finding and, if you're so inclined, submitting content.  That's content for developers and administrators of Solaris, Linux, Servers, Storage, and related software, hardware, and tools. I'll also point out the differences in mechanics between the Systems Community of OTN and the Sun legacy sites.

- Rick

Thursday Jul 01, 2010

How to Stay Informed During BigAdmin/SDN Content Migration

Content from BigAdmin,, SDN/Solaris, and SDN/Studio is being migrated to the Oracle Technology Network.  It will appear, along with content about Oracle Sun servers and storage systems (eventually), in the "Systems Admin and Developer Community" of the Oracle Technology Network. 

I will distribute the URL to that community as soon as migration is complete.

In the meantime, keep an eye on (or subscribe) to these channels to stay informed:

For the complete list of OTN communication channels, see Finding it Difficult To Keep Up?

- Rick (Systems Admin and Developer Community Lead)


Logan Rosenstein
and members of the OTN community


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