Wednesday Dec 31, 2014

Most Active Systems ACES of 2014

One of the best parts about my job is working with Oracle ACES. They are loads of fun, interesting, and know so much more about Oracle technologies than I ever will. One of the worst parts is not having the time to give them the recognition they deserve. I won't be able to remedy that anytime soon, but I'd like to use this time at the end of the year to at least shout out to the most active Systems ACES of 2014. If you were active in 2014, please let me know so I can update this blog with your activities, as well.



Newest ACE: Brian Bream


Brian Bream is the USA's first official Systems ACE. He had tremendous depth in Solaris, SPARC servers, engineered systems, and Oracle tools, and he's keenly aware of the challenges that sysadmins face today. I've interviewed him several times for OTN Garage and Oracle OpenWorld Live. I recently wrote a blog about Brian's ACE nomination, so you can read more about him there.




Ed "Hulk" Whalen

If you search the ACE repository for Edward Whalen, he is officially listed as an expert in database management and performance. Which he is, of course. But he's also got a keen interest in Oracle Linux and Oracle VM. Here are two of the books he's written on those topics:

See Ed's Amazon page here.

Ed has also been willing to conduct and participate in interviews, plus write technical articles for OTN:

I make sure to interview him when I can, and post links to his content when I can. Ed's got deep expertise, and his community contributions and reputation are growing to the point that I expect him to be accepted as an ACE director soon.


The Prolific Alexandre Borges


Alexandre knows and teaches Oracle Solaris in depth. His real-world perspective with Solaris is priceless. In his latest book, Oracle Solaris 11 Advanced Administration Cookbook he provides in-depth coverage of every important feature in the Oracle Solaris 11 operating system. Starting with how to manage the IPS repository, make a local repository, and create your own IPS package, he explains how to handle boot environments, configure and manage ZFS frameworks, implement zones, create SMF services, and review SMF operations. Also how to configure an Automated Installer, role-based access control (RBAC) and least privileges, how to configure and administer resource manager, and finally an introduction to performance tuning.

Alexandre is also a prolific author of OTN articles. For instance, he recently finished writing an entire series on ZFS. We have published seven of them so far, with more on the way:



Seth Miller - Closet Systems ACE





Seth Miller is another one of those closet Systems ACES. Though he shows up in the ACE repository as a database ACE, he knows an awful lot about engineered systems and sysadmins:



Seth recently co-authored a book about Oracle Enterprise Manager with Kellyn Pot'Vin and Ray Smith, and had the good taste to focus on the command line:

Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Command Line Interface

By the way, that's not Seth Miller, this is Seth Miller.








El Gaucho Diego Aguirre




When Diego is not selecting the best imported beers for his cooler, he's busy trying to keep older SPARC hardware and earlier versions of Oracle Solaris running in the data centers of his native Buenos Aires. It was also his idea to write this year-end wrap-up for Systems ACES. Gracias, Diego! Here are a few of his latest blogs. They're in Spanish, but Google will kinda sorta do a lame translation.






On My Radar

Becoming an Oracle ACE requires skill, expertise, and generosity. These four technologists have it, and I will be working with them over the coming year to help them achieve it.

About the Photograph

I took the photograph of rowdy Oracle ACES at the back of the bus on our way to the ACE Dinner after Oracle OpenWorld 2014.

- Rick

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Monday Dec 08, 2014

Brian Bream, USA's first ACE for Systems Technologies











Since the day I met Brian Bream, I've wanted him to become an Oracle ACE for Systems technologies. He has so much depth in Solaris, SPARC servers, engineered systems, what it takes to get your value out of them, that I couldn't imagine a better cornerstone to the ACE community in the US. Plus, he's very aware of the challenges that sysadmins face today:









You see, out of the 500+ ACES and ACE Directors in Oracle's program, only six specialized in Systems technologies. If you don't believe me, go to the ACE website and enter "Solaris" in the Search field. Until today, these were the only names you'd see:

As of today, you'll also see Brian Bream on that list.

Brian, who is the Chief Technology Officer for Collier IT and has certifications in over 20 industry technologies, had already received impressive awards. He had been named Instructor of the Year twice by Sun Microsystems University. And then he won that award again through Oracle University. But to the Oracle ACE program, depth of knowledge and industry recognition are not enough. They need to see contributions to the community.

That requirement presented another challenge, because Brian made his contributions to the systems admin and systems developer communities through old school communications channels. Which the Oracle ACE program does not monitor.

You try walking up to an ex-Navy, old-school Systems guy and telling him "You need to Tweet more." You'd better duck. And you'd better run. Lest you find a copy of the Sun Systems Handbook in a hard 3-ring binder lodged in your head. (If you're too young to know what a 3-ring binder looks like, see one here.)

But Brian adapted, and we had a lot of fun bringing him into Social Media. Here are three of my favorite contributions from Brian:

You fan follow Brian Bream on the newfangled social media:

About the Photograph

I took the photograph of the wagon wheels outside of the Stovepipe Wells Hotel in Death Valley National Park during a motorcycle ride in April of 2014. It was hot.

- Rick

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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 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

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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:

#OTNVSAD

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

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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

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Tuesday Apr 23, 2013

The Sysadmin as CEO

Bjoern Rost began his professional life as a sysadmin, and no doubt through the clever use of scripts became the CEO of his own consulting company (image removed from blog). Oracle recently announced his appointment to Oracle ACE Director. Here's some background information about Bjoern and his company, a video interview, and links to his most recent blog posts.

About Bjoern Rost, Oracle ACE Director

Bjoern is the co-founder of Portrix Systems, a service provider and consulting company focused on Oracle technologies including servers, storage, Solaris, Real Application Cluster databases, and desktop virtualization. He enjoys working with software developers to tightly integrate with existing Oracle features, is passionate about sharing knowledge, and has enjoyed speaking at several conferences and user group meetings including OpenWorld, UKOUG, COLLABORATE and DOAG. He also serves as the European Chair of IOUG's RAC special interest group.

Interview with Bjoern at Oracle Open World 2012

Before I knew that Bjoern was even being considered for Oracle ACE Director, I had the good fortune of chatting with him at Oracle Open World 2012. He's an excerpt from our conversation:

A Sysadmin CEO's Favorite Technologies in Oracle Solaris 11
Bjoern Rost, Orace ACE Director, was a sysadmin before he co-founded a consulting company, Portrix Systems. He describes how that happened, which Oracle technologies he used, what he used them for, and what his favorite parts of Oracle Solaris 11 are. Bonus: how engineered systems are leading to a confluence of the system admin and the database admin.

Bjoern's Blog

Bjoern's Blog is actually a team blog with contributions from three Euro-techies named Florian, Markus, and Ole. Recent topics are:

About Portrix Systems

Portrix Systems, an Oracle Gold Partner, is a full service provider helping customers run and operate complex IT systems by integrating infrastructure and services. From their home page:

"We started as the internal system administration division of the PORTRIX group. Duties involved setting up test and development systems for software developers and consulting about their optimal use. This soon evolved into services we provided for our customers who leveraged the potential to receive ISV software products bundled with integration and operation services by the same people who were already involved in development.

Congratulations, Bjoern! We're very glad to have you with us.

- Rick

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Thursday Jan 31, 2013

Deep Inside Every Sysadmin Is ...

#WWI-Ace

photo courtesy of James Vaughan - all rights reserved

... an Oracle ACE!

The thrills. The glory. The fame. Who can resist?

Turns out sysadmins can.

Last time I checked, the Oracle ACE program had 417 ACES and ACE Directors. Of those 417, only 6 have a specialty in Oracle Solaris or Oracle Linux.

That's simply not enough to defend the homeland! I know there are many more sysadmins and developers proficient in Oracle Solaris and Oracle Linux who can qualify to become Oracle ACES. Toss your silk scarf around your neck and grab your goggles. Then talk to me on the OTN Garage page on Facebook. I'll explain the benefits and help you enroll in pilot training.

Current Oracle ACES With Specialties in Oracle Solaris or Oracle Linux

Suk Kim, ACE Director, Oracle Solaris, Korea

Proficient in Oracle Solaris system tuning, troubleshooting Oracle Solaris security, audit information security, penetration tester incident and response, digital forensics virtualization, and cloud computing. Member of Korea Oracle Solaris User Network, Chairman of Oracle Solaris Tehchnet, Manager of Solaris School, adjunct professor at Ansan University, senior consultant at NoBreak Co., LTD.

Diego Aguirre, ACE, Oracle Solaris, Argentina

Diego Aguirre has been a Solaris Support Specialist since 1998. Over the past several years, he has contributed to the Oracle Solaris Community and has published technical articles for Sun Microsystems and now Oracle. He is the author of http://solaris4ever.blogspot.com.

Alexander Eremin, ACE, Oracle Solaris, Russia

Alexander Eremin is a user on Solaris and Linux platforms since 1995. Over the past ten years, he has worked as a Senior Unix Administrator. He is also the creator of the MilaX - Small Live Distribution of OpenSolaris. Alexander is also taking part in the Caiman OpenSolaris project.

Julien Gabel, ACE, Oracle Solaris, France

Julien Gabel is a Multi-platform UNIX systems consultant and administrator in mutualized and virtualized environments. He has architecture and expertise in building Solaris and UNIX experience in large enterprises such as banking and financial services, IT services, Telecoms and multimedia companies.

Raimonds Simanovskis, ACE, Oracle Linux, Latvia

Raimonds Simanovskis in founder of EazyOne which develops business intelligence web application eazyBI.com. Previously he was working at Tieto Latvia where he was using and promoting new technologies, open source and Agile software development. Raimonds has participated in many Oracle E-Business Suite implementation projects as well as Oracle based software development projects. In recent years he is active Ruby language and Ruby on Rails framework user and contributor. He has created and maintains Oracle database adapter for Ruby on Rails as well as PL/SQL and Ruby integration libraries.

Damian Wojslaw, ACE, Oracle Solaris, Poland

Damian is currently working as systems operator since 1999. Since 2006 he has worked with Solaris and OpenSolaris operating systems and other Sun Microsystems born applications. He blogs regularly on TrochejEN and reposts on Planet OpenSolaris. Damian has translated four OpenSolaris related Guides (ZFS Administrator Guide, OpenSolaris Installation Guide: Basic Installations, DTrace User Guide, Device Driver Tutorial) to Polish.

Defend the homeland!

- Rick

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