Wednesday Mar 26, 2014

If You Have to Ask, You Wouldn't Understand

Although being subjected to that kind of attitude is unpleasant, subjecting someone else to it is loads of fun. Just ask someone who rides a Harley why they ride a Harley, and watch how much they enjoy unloading that sentiment on your head, you member of the unwashed, you.

I feel the same way about Oracle Solaris. Don't talk to me about how much Windows or some other OS is capable of doing. I don't care. Your OS is a metric cruiser. Go away.

That feeling of vast superiority is even more pronounced when I'm talking about Oracle Solaris Studio. Which should have been renamed Oracle Solaris and Oracle Linux Studio, if you are insightful enough to ask me, because any Linux developer who is working on anything remotely interesting should be using Oracle Solaris Studio as their IDE. I freakin love it. I've had the pleasure of interviewing Don Kretch, the head of the Solaris Studio engineering team, many times. And I've enjoyed myself every single time. If you think you're worthy, you are welcome to try to understand our conversation (jump to "Interviews with Don Kretch," below).

If my rhetoric has convinced you, as it would convince anyone of vastly superior intelligence, you'll want to pretend that you already knew how good Oracle Solaris (and Linux) Studio is, and berate me for even suggesting you didn't. Good for you. You're catching on. But you'll still be faced with a dearth of actual knowledge about this IDE for the Vastly Intelligent.

Not to worry. There's a way for you to learn what you need to learn without anyone else finding out so you can pretend to have known all along.

Oracle Solaris (and Linux) Studio 12.4 Beta Program

The Beta Program for Oracle Solaris Studio 12.4 begins today. Download the software, try out its new features, and join in the discussions. These resources will help:

Landing Page, including links to Beta Program Forums
Download Center, where you can download a free copy

Interviews with Don Kretch

About the Photograph

Photograph of 2002 Harley Davidson Softail Deuce taken by Rick Ramsey in Massachusetts, USA.

- Rick

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Wednesday Mar 05, 2014

Preserving Unpacked Software During a Package Uninstall

I love it when I can wriggle out of the unintended side effects created by an automated system designed to simplify my life.

Here's a side effect created by the very good Image Packaging System (IPS) in our beloved Oracle Solaris 11. If you use the IPS to uninstall all packaged content from a directory, it also removes the directory. Not good if you also kinda sorta loaded unpackaged content into that directory.

For instance, let's say you worked with a third-party IPS package that installed its software into /usr/local. After a pause to polish the chrome on your custom Softail Deluxe, you install a second application into /usr/local from a tar file. What happens to that second application when you use IPS to remove the third-party IPS package from the /usr/local directory? Yup. IPS dumps the directory on the asphalt and high-sides the unpackaged content all the way to /var/pkg/lost+found.

Thank goodness somebody watches out for those of us who don't follow directions. Alta Elstad, from the Solaris Documentation Team at Oracle, is one of them. Here's how she suggests you avoid this problem.

How to Preserve the Directory

To prevent the packaged directory from being removed along with its content, package the directory separately. Create an IPS package that delivers only the one directory or directory structure that you want. Then that directory structure will remain in place until you uninstall that specific package. Uninstalling a different package that delivers content to that directory will not remove the directory.

Here's a detailed example.

  1. Create the directory structure you want to deliver. This example shows /usr/local. You could easily expand this to include /usr/local/bin and other subdirectories if necessary.
    $ mkdir -p usrlocal/usr/local
  2. Create the initial package manifest.
    $ pkgsend generate usrlocal | pkgfmt > usrlocal.p5m.1
    $ cat usrlocal.p5m.1
    dir path=usr owner=root group=bin mode=0755
    dir path=usr/local owner=root group=bin mode=0755
  3. Create a pkgmogrify input file to add metadata and to exclude delivering /usr since that directory is already delivered by Oracle Solaris. You might also want to add transforms to change directory ownership or permissions.
    $ cat usrlocal.mog
    set name=pkg.fmri value=pkg://site/usrlocal@1.0
    set name=pkg.summary value="Create the /usr/local directory."
    set name=pkg.description value="This package installs the /usr/local \
    directory so that /usr/local remains available for unpackaged files."
    set name=variant.arch value=$(ARCH)
    <transform dir path=usr$->drop>
    
  4. Apply the changes to the initial manifest.
    $ pkgmogrify -DARCH=`uname -p` usrlocal.p5m.1 usrlocal.mog | 
      pkgfmt > usrlocal.p5m.2
    $ cat usrlocal.p5m.2
    set name=pkg.fmri value=pkg://site/usrlocal@1.0
    set name=pkg.summary value="Create the /usr/local directory."
    set name=pkg.description value="This package installs the /usr/local \
    directory so that /usr/local remains available for unpackaged files."
    set name=variant.arch value=$(ARCH)
    <transform dir path=usr$->drop> 
    
  5. Check your work.
    $ pkglint usrlocal.p5m.2
    Lint engine setup...
    Starting lint run...
    $
    
  6. Publish the package to your repository.
    $ pkgsend -s yourlocalrepo publish -d usrlocal usrlocal.p5m.2
    pkg://site/usrlocal@1.0,5.11:20140303T180555Z
    PUBLISHED
    
    
    
  7. Make sure you can see the new package that you want to install.
    $ pkg refresh site
    $ pkg list -a usrlocal
    NAME (PUBLISHER)      VERSION      IFO
    usrlocal (site)       1.0          --- 
    
  8. Install the package.
    $ pkg install -v usrlocal
               Packages to install:         1
         Estimated space available:  20.66 GB
    Estimated space to be consumed: 454.42 MB
           Create boot environment:        No
    Create backup boot environment:        No
              Rebuild boot archive:        No
    
    Changed packages:
    site
      usrlocal
        None -> 1.0,5.11:20140303T180555Z
    PHASE                                          ITEMS
    Installing new actions                           5/5
    Updating package state database                 Done
    Updating package cache                           0/0
    Updating image state                            Done
    Creating fast lookup database                   Done
    Reading search index                            Done
    Updating search index                            1/1
    
  9. Make sure the package is installed.
    $ pkg list usrlocal
    NAME (PUBLISHER)      VERSION      IFO
    usrlocal (site)       1.0          i-- 
    $ pkg info usrlocal
              Name: usrlocal
           Summary: Create the /usr/local directory.
       Description: This package installs the /usr/local directory so that
                    /usr/local remains available for unpackaged files.
             State: Installed
         Publisher: site
           Version: 1.0
     Build Release: 5.11
            Branch: None
    Packaging Date: March  3, 2014 06:05:55 PM
              Size: 0.00 B
              FMRI: pkg://site/usrlocal@1.0,5.11:20140303T180555Z
    $ ls -ld /usr/local
    drwxr-xr-x   2 root     bin            2 Mar  3 10:17 /usr/local/
    

For More Information

About the Photograph

Photograph of Vancouver's laughing statues courtesy of BMK via Wikipedia Commons Creative Commons License 2.0

- Rick

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Monday Feb 24, 2014

If Your Processor Stalls From a Read After Writer Operation ...

... rewrite your code. Better yet, write code that avoids this problem in the first place. The problem can occur when an application wants to load a value that it has just stored in memory. Read After Write (RAW) operations are common, so most chips are designed with hardware that makes that happen fast. But in some cases, you can write code that stumps the hardware. And so it stalls.

And you tumble to earth in horror, screaming for your life and clawing at the controls.

And you smack into the a pile of rocks. Or, to the horror of young mothers in minivans, the freeway during rush-hour traffic. Or worse, the middle of the ocean, so that if you somehow survive the impact, you drown. And nobody finds your body. And your loved ones can never move on.

Unless you're wearing a parachute. Like the one we just published from Darryl Gove.

Tech Article: Avoid Performance Loss (And a Fiery Death) from RAW Hazards

by Darryl Gove

Darryl explains exactly how a processor can stall from a bad RAW operation, and the common situations that cause this problem. Then he shows you how to identify, fix, and avoid writing that kind of code. Examples included. Help your loved ones move on. Read Darryl's article.

About the Author

Darryl Gove is a senior principal software engineer in the Oracle Solaris Studio team, working on optimizing applications and benchmarks for current and future processors. He is also the author of the books Multicore Application Programming, Solaris Application Programming, and The Developer's Edge.

Read Darryl Gove's blog on blogs.oracle.com/d.

Picture of radial engine taken by Rick Ramsey at Bay Area Aerospace Museum

- Rick

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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

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Thursday Nov 21, 2013

How to Limit Upgrades Beyond a Prescribed Version of Oracle Solaris

by Bart Smaalders and Alta Elstad

The Oracle Solaris 11 Image Packaging System (IPS) provides various methods to control the operating system version to which a server can be upgraded. One method is to provide a custom incorporation package.

An incorporation package specifies the versions of other packages that can be installed. An incorporation package ensures that if you install an incorporate dependency package of that incorporation package, only the prescribed version of the dependent package can be installed. You can create your own custom incorporation package to specify the constraints you want. Using a custom incorporation to control the version of software that can be installed enables you to easily maintain different versions of Oracle Solaris on different machines without maintaining multiple package repositories. Each image can install a different version of the custom upgrade control incorporation package. All systems share the same package repository that contains all versions of software needed by any of the systems.

In the example in this article, a system has been newly installed with Oracle Solaris 11.1. The solaris publisher origin is the Oracle Solaris support repository, which includes many updates since Oracle Solaris 11.1 was released. The IT department in the example company has not yet qualified the most current support updates, and they want to limit administrators to upgrading to only the latest update that is qualified for their environments, not the latest update that is available from the package repository.

Create a Custom Incorporation Package

The versions of core operating system packages that can be installed in an image are controlled by the pkg:/entire incorporation package. To control system upgrades, create a package that specifies a particular version of the pkg:/entire package as an incorporate dependency.

The following example shows a manifest named upgradectrl.p5m for a custom incorporation package that controls the version of the pkg:/entire package that can be installed. Some of the settings in this manifest are described below.

set name=pkg.fmri value=upgradectrl@1.0
set name=pkg.summary value="Incorporation to constrain the version of the OS"
set name=pkg.description value="This package controls the version of \
pkg://solaris/entire that can be installed."
set name=info.classification value="org.opensolaris.category.2008:Meta Packages/Incorporations"
set name=pkg.depend.install-hold value=core-os
set name=variant.opensolaris.zone value=global value=nonglobal
set name=variant.arch value=sparc value=i386
depend fmri=feature/package/dependency/self type=parent variant.opensolaris.zone=nonglobal
depend fmri=pkg://solaris/entire type=require
depend fmri=pkg://solaris/entire@0.5.11,5.11-0.175.1.0 type=incorporate
  • pkg.depend.install-hold This setting ensures that if a user updates the upgradectrl package, the pkg:/entire package is automatically updated as well.

  • variant.opensolaris.zone This setting enables this package to be installed in both global and non-global zones. See also the description of the parent dependency.

  • variant.arch This setting enables this package to be installed on both SPARC and x86 systems.

  • parent dependency This package can be installed in a non-global zone only if it is already installed in the global zone.

  • require dependency The upgradectrl package can be installed only if the pkg://solaris/entire package is already installed or can be installed in this same operation.

  • incorporate dependency The pkg://solaris/entire package must be installed at the specified version. More than one version can satisfy an incorporate dependency, depending on how many places of accuracy are specified. In this example, 0.175.1.0 specifies Oracle Solaris 11.1 SRU 0. This upgrade control package will keep systems at the newly installed Oracle Solaris 11.1 version, no support updates. This upgrade control package will, however, allow packages that are not contrained by the pkg:/entire incorporation to be updated.

Publish the upgradectrl package to a local file-based repository. This repository is for developing and testing this new package. If you create a repository for general use, you should include additional steps such as creating a separate file system for the repository. For information about creating package repositories for general use, see Copying and Creating Package Repositories in Oracle Solaris 11.2.

Create a package development repository on your system. See the pkgrepo(1) man page for more information about the pkgrepo command.

$ pkgrepo create myrepo

Set the default publisher for this repository. The default publisher is the value of the publisher/prefix property of the repository.

$ pkgrepo -s myrepo set publisher/prefix=site

Publish the upgradectrl package to the development repository.

$ pkgsend -s myrepo publish upgradectrl.p5m
pkg://site/upgradectrl@1.0,5.11:20131120T010105Z
PUBLISHED

Notice that the repository default publisher has been applied to the package FMRI.

Examine the repository to confirm that the package was published.

$ pkgrepo -s myrepo list
PUBLISHER NAME                                       O VERSION
site      upgradectrl                                  1.0,5.11:20131120T010105Z
$ pkg list -vg myrepo
FMRI                                                                         IFO
pkg://site/upgradectrl@1.0,5.11:20131120T010105Z                             ---

Deliver the package to a local repository in a separate ZFS file system in a shared location.

$ pkgrecv -s myrepo -d /export/IPSpkgrepos/Solaris upgradectrl
Processing packages for publisher site ...
Retrieving and evaluating 1 package(s)...
PROCESS                                         ITEMS    GET (MB)   SEND (MB)
Completed                                         1/1     0.0/0.0     0.0/0.0

Verify the package in the repository and the version of pkg:/entire that it incorporates.

$ pkg info -g /export/IPSpkgrepos/Solaris upgradectrl
          Name: upgradectrl
       Summary: Incorporation to constrain the version of the OS
   Description: This package controls the version of pkg://solaris/entire that
                can be installed.
      Category: Meta Packages/Incorporations
         State: Not installed
     Publisher: site
       Version: 1.0
 Build Release: 5.11
        Branch: None
Packaging Date: November 20, 2013 01:01:05 AM 
          Size: 0.00 B
          FMRI: pkg://site/upgradectrl@1.0,5.11:20131120T010105Z
$ pkg contents -Hro fmri -t depend -a type=incorporate upgradectrl
pkg://solaris/entire@0.5.11,5.11-0.175.1.0

See “Creating and Publishing a Package” in Packaging and Delivering Software With the Image Packaging System in Oracle Solaris 11.2 for more detailed information about creating and delivering IPS packages.

Set the origin for the site publisher.

$ pkg set-publisher -g /export/IPSpkgrepos/Solaris site
$ pkg publisher
PUBLISHER              TYPE     STATUS P LOCATION
solaris                origin   online F https://pkg.oracle.com/solaris/support/
site                   origin   online F file:///export/IPSpkgrepos/Solaris/

Install the Upgrade Control Package

Install the upgrade control package. In this case, few changes should be made because the installed version of pkg:/entire is the same as the version incorporated by the upgrade control package.

$ pkg list -v entire
FMRI                                                                         IFO
pkg://solaris/entire@0.5.11,5.11-0.175.1.0.0.24.2:20120919T190135Z           i--
$ zoneadm list
global
z1
$ pkg install upgradectrl
           Packages to install:  1
       Create boot environment: No
Create backup boot environment: No

Planning linked: 0/1 done; 1 working: zone:z1
Planning linked: 1/1 done
Downloading linked: 0/1 done; 1 working: zone:z1
Downloading linked: 1/1 done
PHASE                                          ITEMS
Installing new actions                           9/9
Updating package state database                 Done 
Updating image state                            Done 
Creating fast lookup database                   Done 
Reading search index                            Done 
Updating search index                            1/1 
Executing linked: 0/1 done; 1 working: zone:z1
Executing linked: 1/1 done

The following commands show that versions of pkg:/entire that are newer than the installed version are available from the configured solaris publisher, but an attempt to upgrade is controlled by the newly-installed upgrade control package.

$ pkg list -af entire
NAME (PUBLISHER)                                  VERSION                    IFO
entire                                            0.5.11-0.175.1.13.0.6.0    ---
entire                                            0.5.11-0.175.1.12.0.5.0    ---
entire                                            0.5.11-0.175.1.11.0.4.0    ---
entire                                            0.5.11-0.175.1.10.0.6.0    ---
entire                                            0.5.11-0.175.1.10.0.5.0    ---
...
$ pkg update
pkg update: No solution was found to satisfy constraints
Plan Creation: Package solver has not found a solution to update to latest available versions.
This may indicate an overly constrained set of packages are installed.
latest incorporations:
...
Try specifying expected results to obtain more detailed error messages.
$ pkg update -nv entire@0.5.11-0.175.1.13.0.6.0
pkg update: No matching version of entire can be installed:
  Reject:  pkg://solaris/entire@0.5.11,5.11-0.175.1.13.0.6.0:20131108T211557Z
  Reason:  This version is excluded by installed incorporation pkg://site/upgradectrl@1.0,5.11:20131120T010105Z

Update the Upgrade Control Package

When you are ready to allow users to upgrade their systems to a new version, update the upgradectrl.p5m manifest, and republish and redeliver the new upgrade control package. In the following manifest, the version of the upgrade control package and the version of the pkg:/entire incorporation are updated. As an aid for users, the version of the upgrade control package matches the updated version of the pkg:/entire package.

set name=pkg.fmri value=upgradectrl@1.10
set name=pkg.summary value="Incorporation to constrain the version of the OS"
set name=pkg.description value="This package controls the version of \
pkg://solaris/entire that can be installed."
set name=info.classification value="org.opensolaris.category.2008:Meta Packages/Incorporations"
set name=pkg.depend.install-hold value=core-os
set name=variant.opensolaris.zone value=global value=nonglobal
set name=variant.arch value=sparc value=i386
depend fmri=feature/package/dependency/self type=parent variant.opensolaris.zone=nonglobal
depend fmri=pkg://solaris/entire type=require
depend fmri=pkg://solaris/entire@0.5.11,5.11-0.175.1.10 type=incorporate

The following commands republish and redeliver the upgrade control package:

$ pkgsend -s myrepo publish upgradectrl.p5m
pkg://site/upgradectrl@1.10,5.11:20131120T021902Z
PUBLISHED
$ pkgrepo -s myrepo list
PUBLISHER NAME                                      O VERSION
site      upgradectrl                                 1.10,5.11:20131120T021902Z
site      upgradectrl                                 1.0,5.11:20131120T010105Z
$ pkgrecv -s myrepo -d /export/IPSpkgrepos/Solaris upgradectrl
Processing packages for publisher site ...
Retrieving and evaluating 1 package(s)...
PROCESS                                         ITEMS    GET (MB)   SEND (MB)
Completed                                         1/1     0.0/0.0     0.0/0.0
$ pkg refresh site
$ pkg list -af pkg://site/upgradectrl
NAME (PUBLISHER)                                  VERSION                    IFO
upgradectrl (site)                                1.10                       ---
upgradectrl (site)                                1.0                        i--

Upgrade the Image

The following pkg update command updates all packages to the newest available versions allowed because no packages are specified. The command updates to the newest available version of the upgrade control package, which upgrades the image because the pkg.depend.install-hold setting in the upgradectrl package causes the pkg:/entire package to be updated when the upgradectrl package is updated. The image is upgraded to the version of the pkg:/entire incorporation that is specified in the new upgradectrl incorporation.

$ pkg update --be-name s11u1_10
            Packages to remove:   1
            Packages to update: 186
           Mediators to change:   1
       Create boot environment: Yes
Create backup boot environment:  No

Planning linked: 0/1 done; 1 working: zone:z1
Linked image 'zone:z1' output:
|  Packages to remove:  1
| Packages to install:  3
|  Packages to update: 73
| Mediators to change:  1
|  Services to change:  3
`
Planning linked: 1/1 done
DOWNLOAD                                PKGS         FILES    XFER (MB)   SPEED
Completed                            187/187   16139/16139  507.9/507.9  562k/s

Downloading linked: 0/1 done; 1 working: zone:z1
Downloading linked: 1/1 done
PHASE                                          ITEMS
Removing old actions                       1473/1473
Installing new actions                     3451/3451
Updating modified actions                16378/16378
Updating package state database                 Done 
Updating package cache                       187/187 
Updating image state                            Done 
Creating fast lookup database                   Done 
Reading search index                            Done 
Building new search index                    851/851 
Executing linked: 0/1 done; 1 working: zone:z1
Executing linked: 1/1 done

A clone of s11u1_0 exists and has been updated and activated.
On the next boot the Boot Environment s11u1_10 will be
mounted on '/'.  Reboot when ready to switch to this updated BE.
$ pkg list entire upgradectrl
NAME (PUBLISHER)                                  VERSION                    IFO
entire                                            0.5.11-0.175.1.0.0.24.2    i--
upgradectrl (site)                                1.0                        i--
$ pkg -R /mnt list entire upgradectrl
NAME (PUBLISHER)                                  VERSION                    IFO
entire                                            0.5.11-0.175.1.10.0.6.0    i--
upgradectrl (site)                                1.10                       i--
$ beadm unmount s11u1_10

See Also

Bart Smaalders’ blog

Packaging and Delivering Software With the Image Packaging System in Oracle Solaris 11.2

Copying and Creating Package Repositories in Oracle Solaris 11.2

About the Authors

Bart Smaalders is one of the senior engineers in the Oracle Solaris Core OS group, and led development of the IPS packaging system.

Alta Elstad is a technical writer supporting Oracle Solaris 11 packaging.

photograph of strange plants copyright Beth Ramsey

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Monday Nov 04, 2013

Understanding Process Scheduling in Oracle Solaris

The process scheduler in the Oracle Solaris kernel allocates CPU resources to processes. By default, the scheduler tries to give every process relatively equal access to the available CPUs. However, you might want to specify that certain processes be given more resources than others. That's where classes come in. A process class defines a scheduling policy for a set of processes. These three resources will help you understand and manage it process classes:

Blog: Overview of Process Scheduling Classes in the Oracle Solaris Kernel

by Brian Bream

Timesharing, interactive, fair-share scheduler, fixed priority, system, and real time. What are these? Scheduling classes in the Solaris kernel. Brian Bream describes them and how the kernel manages them through context switching.

Blog: Process Scheduling at the Thread Level

by Brian Bream

The Fair Share Scheduler allows you to dispatch processes not just to a particular CPU, but to CPU threads. Brian Bream explains how to use and provides examples.

Docs: Overview of the Fair Share Scheduler

by Oracle Solaris Documentation Team

This official Oracle Solaris documentation set provides the nitty-gritty details for setting up classes and managing your processes. Covers:

  • Introduction to the Scheduler
  • CPU Share Definition
  • CPU Shares and Process State
  • CPU Share Versus Utilization
  • CPU Share Examples
  • FSS Configuration
  • FSS and Processor Sets
  • Combining FSS With Other Scheduling Classes
  • Setting the Scheduling Class for the System
  • Scheduling Class on a System with Zones Installed
  • Commands Used With FSS

-Rick

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Tuesday Jul 09, 2013

The Case for Running Oracle Database 12c on Oracle Solaris

You may have already seen some of these individually, but here are several resources that explain why Oracle Database 12c runs so well on Oracle Solaris and SPARC.

Oracle Solaris 11 + SPARC

Interviews with experts, videos, architectural papers, technical articles, and other resources to help you understand the optimizations between the OS and hardware layers that make Oracle Solaris and SPARC such a winning combination. link

Oracle Solaris 11 + Oracle Database 12c

A deeper dive into the optimizations and capabilities of Oracle Solaris that make it such a good platform for Oracle database 12c. link

Oracle Solaris 11 + Oracle Stack

A high-level overview of the optimizations in Oracle Solaris 11 that make it an excellent platform for the entire Oracle stack. link

Article: How Oracle Solaris 11 Makes Oracle Database So Fast

A technical explanation of the optimizations that make Oracle Database run so fast on Oracle Solaris 11. Memory, critical threads, kernel acceleration, virtualization and resource management, and much more. By Ginny Henningsen. link

Screencast: Outliers

In this screencast, Jon Haslam describes how the Oracle Database and Oracle Solaris engineering teams worked together to integrate DTrace and V$ Views to provide a top-to-bottom picture of a database transaction I/O -- from storage devices, through the Oracle Solaris kernel, up to Oracle Database 12c itself. With this end-to-end view, you can easily identify I/O outliers -- transactions that are taking an unusually long time to complete -- and use this comprehensive data to identify and mitigate storage system problems that were previously extremely hard to debug. link

And Don't Forget ...

WebCast: Introducing Oracle Database 12c

Oracle prez Mark Hurd and friends will be talking about the pluggable databases capability in Oracle Database 12c’s new multitenant architecture. No, they do not let you pause a running database with a cork, unfortunately, but they do make it easy to consolidate onto the cloud. Topics covered:

  • Simplify database consolidation
  • Automatically compress and tier data
  • Improve database and application continuity
  • Redact sensitive data
  • And as an added bonus, hear Tom Kyte’s “Top 12 Features of Oracle Database 12c.”

It's on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 at 9 a.m. PT / 12 p.m. ET. link .

Blogs with Solaris-related Content

- Rick

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Friday Jun 21, 2013

How Oracle Solaris Makes the Database Scream

Few things are as satisfying as a screaming burnout (image removed from blog). When Oracle Database engineers team up with Oracle Solaris engineers, they do a lot of them. Here are a few of the reasons why.

Article: How the OS Makes the Database Fast - Oracle Solaris

For applications that rely on Oracle Database, a high-performance operating system translates into faster transactions, better scalability to support more users, and the ability to support larger capacity databases. When deployed in virtualized environments, multiple Oracle Database servers can be consolidated on the same physical server. Ginny Henningsen describes what Oracle Solaris does to make the Oracle database run faster.

Video Interview: Why Is The OS Still Relevant?

In a world of increasing virtualization and growing interest in cloud services, why is the OS still relevant? Michael Palmeter, senior director of Oracle Solaris, explains why it's not only relevant, but essential for data centers that care about performance.

Interview: An Engineer's Perspective: Why the OS Is Still Relevant

Sysadmins are handling hundreds or perhaps thousands of VM's. What is it about Solaris that makes it such a good platform for managing those VM's? Liane Praza, senior engineer in the Solaris core engineering group provides an engineer's perspective.

Interview in the Lab: How to Get the Performance Promised by Oracle's T5 SPARC Chips

If you want your applications to run on the new SPARC T5/M5 chips, how do you make sure they use all that new performance? Don Kretsch, Senior Director of Engineering, explains.

Interview: Why Oracle Database Engineering Uses Oracle Solaris Studio

The design priorities for Oracle Solaris Studio are performance, observability, and productivity. Why this is good for ISV's and developers, and why it's so important to the Oracle database engineering team. Taped in Oct 2012.

- Rick

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Tuesday May 28, 2013

What If I Want to Update Just Java?

Sometimes all you want to update is Java, and not your entire Oracle Solaris environment. But Java is packaged as part of the Oracle Solaris systems software, and Oracle recommends that you update all the system software at once, since it was tested together.

What can you do?

How to Update Only Java in Your Oracle Solaris Environment

by Peter Dennis and Alta Elstad

This article describes how to update one piece of software that is constrained by an incorporation without altering any other software that is constrained by that incorporation, and still end up with a supported system. This article by Peter Dennis and Alta Elstad explains how to do that. It focuses on Java, but you can use the same technique for other software.

More Information About Oracle Solaris Packaging

- Rick

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Tuesday Apr 16, 2013

Evaluating Oracle Solaris and Oracle Linux From Your Laptop

Evaluating Oracle Linux From Inside VirtualBox

After importing your Oracle Linux virtual image, you can use the yum install command to download additional packages into your Linux environment. Yuli explains how.

But what's really cool about evaluating an OS from inside VirtualBox is that you can assign each virtual image a unique IP address, and have it communicate with the outside world as if it were its own physical machine on the network. Yuli describes how to do this, and also how to install guest additions to, for instance, share files between the guest and host systems.

Evaluating Oracle Solaris 11 From Inside VirtualBox

In this article Yuli shows you how to create and manage user accounts with either the GUI or the CLI, how to set up networking, and how to use the Service Management Facility (SMF) to, for instance, control SSH connections to the outside world.

Both article cover the basics to get you started, but also very valuable are the links that Yuli provides to help you move further along in your evaluation.

- Rick

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Thursday Apr 11, 2013

How Oracle Solaris Engineering Thinks: Liane Praza

It's not often you get a glimpse into how the brightest minds at Oracle think (image removed from blog). And Liane is certainly one of the brightest minds at Oracle. In these two short videos (about 2 minutes each), taken at the recent Oracle Solaris Innovations Workshop, she explains:

Video Interview: Why We Build Virtualization Into the OS

Liane Praza explains why Oracle Solaris engineering continues to build virtualization capabilities into the OS instead of adding more features and better management to the hypervisor.

Why The OS Is Still Relevant

Sysadmins are handling hundreds or perhaps thousands of VM's. What is it about Solaris that makes it such a good platform for managing those VM's? Liane Praza, senior engineer in the Solaris core engineering group provides an engineer's perspective.

- 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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Thursday Jan 10, 2013

Recent How-To Articles About Oracle Solaris Zones

LEGO Clone Army Collection

How to Put Oracle Solaris Zones on Shared Storage for Easy Cloning

by Jeff Victor

What is ZOSS? Zones on shared storage. Why would you do that? When you configure a zone on shared storage, you can quickly clone it on any server that uses that storage. Jeff explains how.

How to Create Oracle Solaris 11 Zones with Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center

You can also create Oracle Solaris 11 zones with Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c. When you set up a zone this way, you can add the zone to a server pool and use the zone migration feature of Oracle Solaris 11. In this article, Laura Hartman shows you how to create and configure a non-global zone from the Plan Management View of this handy-dandy tool.

How to Create a Load-Balanced Application Across Two Oracle Solaris Zones

by Laura Hartman

Install Apache Tomcat on two Oracle Solaris zones. Connect them across a VPN. And let the Integrated Load Balancer in Oracle Solaris 11 manage traffic. Presto: high(er) availability in a single server.

- Rick

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Tuesday Jan 08, 2013

How to Upgrade an Oracle Solaris 11 Repository with 11.1 Packages

These instructions assume you already have a local Oracle Solaris 11 11/11 IPS package repository, and you want to update that local repository by adding Oracle Solaris 11.1 packages.

You can either use the pkgrecv command or you can download a repository image file.

Using pkgrecv

Using pkgrecv takes more time and requires your system to be connected to the Internet for a much longer time. If you use pkgrecv, specify http://pkg.oracle.com/solaris/release as the source, and be sure to specify the -m all-versions option. See the pkgrecv(1) man page for more information.

Using a Repository Image File

If you prefer to use a repository image file, first download the image file and then copy the contents to your existing repository. You can get the Oracle Solaris 11.1 repository image files from OTN or from eDelivery. Then follow these instructions.

Step 0. Assume the root role and snapshot your local Oracle Solaris 11 11/11 repository.

In this example, your local Oracle Solaris 11 11/11 repository is located at /export/repo/Solaris11.

# zfs snapshot rpool/export/repo/Solaris11@11-1111

Step 1. Download Oracle Solaris 11 from OTN.

Go to the download page. Read the "OTN License Agreement for Oracle Solaris" and click the Accept License Agreement button.

Step 2. Click the "MD5 checksum" link to display the checksums for the files you want to download.

Step 3. Scroll down to "Oracle Solaris 11.1 Repository Image."

Step 4. Click "Download Part A SPARC, x86" to get the file sol-11_1-repo-full.iso-a.

Verify the checksum like this:

# digest -a md5 sol-11_1-repo-full.iso-a

Step 5. Click "Download Part B SPARC, x86" to get the file sol-11_1-repo-full.iso-b.

Verify the checksum.

# digest -a md5 sol-11_1-repo-full.iso-b

Step 6. Click "Download Oracle Solaris 11 Pre-Upgrade Repository Image SPARC, x86 to get the file sol-11_1-upgrade-repo.iso.

Verify the checksum.

# digest -a md5 sol-11_1-upgrade-repo.iso

Step 7. Create one image file from the Part A and Part B files.

Verify the checksum of the resulting image file.

# cat sol-11_1-repo-full.iso-a sol-11_1-repo-full.iso-b > sol-11_1-repo-full.iso

Step 8. Merge the Oracle Solaris 11.1 packages from the repository image file into your local Oracle Solaris 11 11/11 repository.

# mount -F hsfs sol-11_1-repo-full.iso /mnt
# rsync -aP /mnt/repo/ /export/repo/Solaris11
# umount /mnt

Step 9. Merge packages from the Oracle Solaris 11 pre-upgrade repository image into your local Oracle Solaris 11 11/11 repository.

# mount -F hsfs sol-11_1-upgrade-repo.iso /mnt
# rsync -aP /mnt/repo/ /export/repo/Solaris11
# umount /mnt

Step 10. Catalog new packages.

# pkgrepo refresh -s /export/repo/Solaris11
# pkg refresh solaris

You can use the pkgrepo info and pkgrepo get commands to check the properties set on the updated repository.

Step 11. Snapshot your updated repository.

# zfs snapshot rpool/export/repo/Solaris11@11.1

Step 12. Check that your Solaris publisher origin is set to your local repository.

- Alta Elstad

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Thursday Dec 20, 2012

Top 10 Articles of 2012 Include Oracle Solaris, Linux, Virtualization

source

That's a 72 Norton Commando fashioned into a cafe racer. Heavy.com named a newer version the #1 bike in the 2012 New York International Motorcycle Show. (I didn't like Heavy.com's picture, so I found a better one from the blog listed as source, above.)

OTN also has an annual top 10. In that post by Bob Rhubart, from OTN's Architect community, six of the top ten technical articles were about technologies of interest to system admins and developers.

Boo-yah!

#2 - How Dell Migrated from SUSE Linux to Oracle Linux

by Jon Senger, Aik Zu Shyong, and Suzanne Zorn

In June of 2010, Dell made the decision to migrate 1,700 systems from SUSE Linux to Oracle Linux, while leaving the hardware and application layers unchanged. The people who worked on the migration describe how Dell planned and implemented the migration, including key conversion issues and an overview of their transition process.

#4 - Getting Started with Oracle Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 2

by Lenz Grimmer

How to update your Oracle Linux systems to the latest version of the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel. Switching is easy—applications and the operating system remain unchanged. There is no need to perform a full re-install; only the relevant RPM packages are replaced.

#6 - How to Use Oracle VM VirtualBox Templates

by Yuli Vasiliev

This article explains how to use Oracle VM VirtualBox Templates in Oracle VM VirtualBox. It is similar to the article that explains how to prepare an Oracle VM environment to use Oracle VM Templates, but it describes how to download, install, and configure the templates within Oracle VM VirtualBox, instead of on bare metal.

#7 - How to Update Oracle Solaris 11 Systems From Oracle Support Repositories

by Glynn Foster

You may already know that you don't have to worry about manually tracking and validating patch dependencies when you update a version of Oracle Solaris 11. This makes updates much easier. Glynn Foster demonstrates how easy it is to update the OS from a support repository, and how to make sure everything went well.

#8 - Tips for Hardening an Oracle Linux Server

by Lenz Grimmer and James Morris

General strategies for hardening an Oracle Linux server. Oracle Linux comes "secure by default," but the actions you take when deploying the server can increase or decrease its security. How to minimize active services, lock down network services, and many other tips.

#9 - How to Create a Local Yum Repository for Oracle Linux

by Jared Greenwald

How to create a local yum repository for Oracle Linux, and configure up2date and yum to install and update packages from the repositories.

More About OTN's Technical Articles

See all system admin- and systems developer-related technical articles published on OTN here.

Interested in publishing an article on OTN? Click here or join the conversation on the OTN Garage Facebook page.

- Rick

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Monday Dec 03, 2012

December 3 is Stephanie Choyer Day

I don't answer Stephanie Choyer's email just so I can enjoy her French accent when she calls.

"Reek! Reek! Why do joo not answer my eemails?"

Without the French, life on Earth would be so much poorer. No, they don't bring to the party any motorcycles that grow chest on your hair, and the Citroen is such a frightening study in Automobile design that I don't dare climb inside one. But they have French architecture. French sidewalks. French villages. The French Alps. Grenoble. French cheese. French wine. And that glorious French accent.

If I were French, I'd spend all my time enjoying being French. Which makes the work that Stephanie does day in and day with our hard-edged technologies and stubborn technologists so admirable.

Oracle Solaris 11 Resources for Sysadmins and Developers

The page in the link above represents the work of many people, but it was Steph who rounded them up. And it wasn't easy. I know, because I ran and hid from her on many, many occasions. But she was tireless.

"Reek. Reek. Why have you not published Glynn's article? Pleeeease, you must!"

Remember when tech companies gave you a simple choice? You could either read the 27,000 pages of documentation or a double-sided data sheet. Which will it be, pal? Then they started writing white papers. 74 pages of excellent prose did a beautiful job of explaining why the technology was fantastic, but never told you how to use it. Well, have you taken a look at these?

How-To Technical Articles for System Admins and Developers

Now you can get wicked excited about a cool technique described in a 74-page white paper, and find a technical article that shows you exactly how to use it.

The wicked smart marketing folks on the Oracle Solaris team wrote them, but it was Steph who bribed them with a Cabernet or beat them over the head with a baguette until all that work was finished and posted on OTN.

There are songs about French wine, but not about French vintners. There are songs about French cities, but not about French bricklayers. About French sidewalks, but not about the French policemen who keep them safe. As far as I know, there are no songs about OTN, but if there were, they would probably neglect to mention Steph.

Which is why today, Dec 3rd, we celebrate Stephanie Choyer Day. We dedicate this day to our relentless, hardworking, tireless, patient and friendly French colleague with the delightful accent. If I knew how to speak French, I'd say "Thanks for all you do" in French. But I don't speak French. And I don't trust online translations. I'd probably wind up saying "My left foot yearns for curdled milk." So here it is in plain old English:

Thank you, Stephanie.

psssst! about that documentation and those white papers ...

In case you haven't noticed, the Oracle Solaris doc team has done some pretty cool things with the Solaris docs. And those white papers are interesting reading, well worth setting aside some time. Because with Solaris, as you know, it's not just about getting by with a rudimentary grasp of the basics. It's about the amazing stuff savvy sysadmins and developers can do when they really understand it. Find them here:

- Rick

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Tuesday Nov 13, 2012

We Need More Migration!

source

Eva Mendez says, "Oye chico, do you really want to keep your data in that tired legacy file system when it could be enjoying encryption, compression, deduplication, snapshots, remote replication and other benefits provided by ZFS in Oracle Solaris 11?

It's really not that hard to cross over. If you know how."

"I don't know how, me dices? Esta bien, papacito. Go to OTN. Take my word for it. They know how."

<blushing>
Aw shucks, Eva. Anything for you!
</blushing>

The Best Way to Migrate Data From Legacy File Systems to ZFS

To migrate data from a legacy filesystem to ZFS in Oracle Solaris 11, you need to install the shadow-migration package and enable the shadowd service. Then follow the simple procedure described by Dominic Kay.

How to Update to Oracle Solaris 11 Using the Image Packaging System

Oracle Solaris 11.1 has been released. You can upgrade using either Oracle's official Solaris release repository or, if you have a support contract, the Support repository. Peter Dennis explains how.

How to Migrate Oracle Database from Oracle Solaris 8 to Oracle Solaris 11

How to use the Oracle Solaris 8 P2V (physical to virtual) Archiver tool, which comes with Oracle Solaris Legacy Containers, to migrate a physical Oracle Solaris 8 system with Oracle Database and an Oracle Automatic Storage Management file system into an Oracle Solaris 8 branded zone inside an Oracle Solaris 10 guest domain on top of an Oracle Solaris 11 control domain.

- Ricardo

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Monday Oct 29, 2012

Is This Your Idea of Disaster Recovery?

Don't just make do with less.

Protect what you've got.

By, for instance, deploying Oracle Solaris 10 inside a zone cluster.

"Wait," you say, "what is a zone cluster?"

It is a zone deployed across different physical servers.

"Who would do that!" you ask in a mild panic.

Why, an upstanding sysadmin citizen interested in protecting his or her employer's investment with appropriate high availability and disaster recovery. If one server gets wiped out by Hurricane Sandy along with pretty much the entire East Coast of the USA, your zone continues to run on the other server(s). Provided you set them up in Edinburgh. This white paper (pdf) explains what a zone cluster is and how to use it. If a white paper reminds you of having to read War and Peace in school, just use this Oracle RAC and Solaris Cluster Cheat Sheet, instead.

"But wait!" you exclaim. "I didn't realize Solaris 10 offered zone clusters!"

I didn't, either! And in an earlier version of this blog post I said that zone clusters were only available with Oracle Solaris 11. But Karoly Vegh pointed me to the documentation for Oracle Solaris Cluster 3.3, which explains how to manage zone clusters in Oracle Solaris 10. Bite my fist!

So, the point I was trying to make is not just that you can run Oracle Solaris 10 zone clusters, but that you can run them in an Oracle Solaris 11 environment. Now let's return to our conversation and pick up where we left off ...

"Oh no! Whatever shall I do?"

Fear not. Remember how Oracle Solaris 11 lets you create a Solaris 10 branded zone inside a system running Oracle Solaris 11? Well, the Solaris Cluster engineers thought that was a bang-up idea, and decided to extend Oracle Solaris Cluster so that you could run your Solaris 10 applications inside the protective cocoon of an Oracle Solaris 11 zone cluster. Take advantage of the installation improvements and network virtualization capabilities of Oracle Solaris 11 while still running your application on Oracle Solaris 10. You Luddite, you.

That capability is in the latest release of Oracle Solaris Cluster, version 4.1, which became available last Friday.

"Last Friday! Is it too late to get a copy?"

You can still get a free copy from our download center (see below). And, if you'd like to know what other goodies the 4.1 release of Oracle Solaris Cluster provides, see:

As always, you can get the latest information about Oracle Solaris Cluster, plus technical how-to articles, documentation, and more from Oracle Solaris Cluster Resource Page for Sysadmins and Developers.

And don't forget about the online launch of Oracle Solaris 11.1 and Oracle Solaris Cluster 4.1, scheduled for Nov 7.

"I feel so much better, now!"

Think nothing of it. That's what we're here for.

- Rick
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Thursday Oct 25, 2012

Yay! Oracle Solaris 11.1 Is Here!

Even the critters are happy.

This is no cosmetic release. It's got TONS of new stuff for both system admins and system developers. In the coming weeks and months I'll highlight specific new capabilities, but for now, here are a few resources to get you started.

What's New (pdf)

Describes enhancements for sysadmins in:

  • Installation
  • System configuration
  • Virtualization
  • Security and Compliance
  • Networking
  • Data management
  • Kernel/platform support
  • Network drivers
  • User environment

And for system developers:

Download

Free downloads for SPARC and x86 are available, along with instructions and tips for using the new repositories and Image Packaging System.

Tech Article: How to Upgrade to Oracle Solaris 11.1

You can upgrade using either Oracle's official Solaris release repository or, if you have a support contract, the Support repository. Peter Dennis explains how.

Documentation

Superbly written instructions from our dedicated cadre of world-renowned but woefully underpaid technical writers:

  • Getting Started
  • Installing, Booting, and Updating
  • Establishing an Oracle Solaris Network
  • Administering Essential Features
  • Administering Network Services
  • Securing the Operating System
  • Monitoring and Tuning
  • Creating and Using Virtual Environments
  • Working with the Desktop
  • Developing Applications
  • Reference Manuals
  • And more

Training

And don't forget the new online training courses from Oracle University! I really liked them. Here are my first and second impressions. - Rick

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Friday Oct 05, 2012

Hurry! See the uncensored OOW videos before they get edited!

source

Uploaded so far:

Which Oracle Solaris 11 Technologies Have Sysadmins Been Using Most?

Director's Cut - Uncensored - Markus Flierl, VP Solaris Core Engineering, describes how Oracle Solaris 11 customers are taking advantage of the Image Packaging System and the snapshot capability of ZFS to run more frequent updates of not only the OS, but also the applications (agile development, anyone?), and how they're using the network virtualization capabilities in Oracle Solaris 11 to isolate applications and manage workloads on the cloud.

Watch How Hybrid Columnar Compression Saves Storage Space

Director's Cut - Uncensored - Art Licht shows how hyprid columnar compression (HCC) compresses data 30x without slowing down other queries that the database is performing. First he shows what happens when he runs database queries without HCC, then he shows what happens when he runs the queries with HCC.

Security Capabilities and Design in Oracle Solaris 11

Director's Cut - Uncensored - Compliance reporting. Extended policy. Immutable zones. Three of the best minds in Oracle Solaris security explain what they are, what customers are doing with them, and how they were engineered. Filmed at Oracle Open World 2012.

Why DTrace and Ksplice Have Made Oracle Linux 6 Popular with Sysadmins

Use the DTrace scripts you wrote for Oracle Solaris on Oracle Linux without modification. Wim Coekaerts, VP of Engineering for Oracle Linux, explains how this capability of DTrace, the zero downtime updates enabled by KSplice, and other performance and stability enhancements have made Oracle Linux 6 popular with sysadmins.

Why Solaris 11 Is Being Adopted Faster Than Solaris 10

Sneak Preview - Uncut Version - Lynn Rohrer, Director of Oracle Solaris Product Management explains why customers are adopting Oracle Solaris 11 at a faster rate than Oracle Solaris 10, and proves why you should never challenge a Montana woman to a test of strength.

What Forsythe Corp Is Helping Its Customers Do With Oracle Solaris 11

Director's Cut - Unedited - Lee Diamante, Solutions Architect for Forsythe Corp, an Oracle Solaris Partner, explains why Forsythe has been recommending Oracle Solaris to its customers, and what those customers have been doing with it.

Lots more to come ...

- Rick

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Thursday Sep 27, 2012

Heading Out to Oracle Open World

In case you haven't figured it out by now, Oracle reserves an awful lot of announcements for Oracle Open World. As a result, the show is always a lot of fun for geeks. What will the Oracle Solaris team have to say? Will the Oracle Linux team have any surprises? And what about Oracle hardware?

For my part, I'll be one of the lizards at the OTN Lounge with the OTN crew, handing out t-shirts to system admins and developers, or anyone who is willing to impersonate one. I understand, not everyone can have the raw animal magnetism of a sysadmin, or the debonair sophistication of a C++ developer, so some of you have no choice but to pretend. I won't judge.

I'll also be doing video interviews of as many techie people as I can corner. I've got more than 30 interviews already scheduled. Most of them will be 3-5 minutes long. I'll be asking our best technical minds what's cool about their latest technologies and what impact it will have on system admins or system developers. I'll be posting those videos here:

Find OTN Systems Videos from Oracle Open World Here!

We've got some great topics in mind. A dummies guide to hardware-assisted cryptography with Glenn Brunette. ZFS deduplication. The momentum building around Oracle Solaris 11, with Lynn Rohrer, plus conversations with partners who have deployed Oracle Solaris 11. Migrating to Oracle Database with SQL Developer. The whole database cloud thing. Oracle VM and, of course, Oracle Linux.

So even if you can't be part of the fun, keep an eye out for the videos on our YouTube channel.

- Rick

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Friday Aug 17, 2012

How to Create More Oracle Solaris 11 Zones With Less Effort

If you are familiar with zones in Oracle Solaris 11, you already know how to create them using a procedure like the one described in this article:

How to Get Started Creating Zones in Oracle Solaris 11
Duncan Hardie demonstrates how to perform basic operations with zones: first, how create a single zone using the command line, then how to add an application to a zone, and finally how to clone a zone.

And you may be aware that you can configure your zones so that they are easier to clone, as described in this article:

How to Configure Zones in Oracle Solaris 11 for Easy Cloning
Jeff McMeekin describes how to create a network topology of servers, routers, switches, and firewalls that you can clone right along with Oracle Solaris 11 zones.

However, if you are going to create several zones and perhaps configure them differently, why not make things easier on yourself? Why not prepare a few zone configuration plans? And when you're ready to create one, just push a button to execute one of the plans? This article by Laura Hartman describes how to do just that:

New!
How to Create Oracle Solaris 11 Zones with Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c

Here's an overview of the process, lifted from the article:

"First, create an Oracle Solaris 11 zone profile and plan. The profile captures the zone configuration, including defining the storage and network details. The plan executes the configuration on selected targets. You can use and reuse the profile and plan to create zones with a consistent configuration.

"Then deploy the plan to create a new zone. When you deploy a plan, you identify the target operating systems and the number of zones to create. Before you submit the job to deploy the plan, you can modify some of the configuration details."

More info about Oracle Solaris 11 zones here:

- Rick

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Monday Jul 23, 2012

My First Impression of Oracle University's On Demand Training

Source

I live in abject fear of lectures. I spent 12 years in and old fashioned Catholic School, complete with full uniform and wooden paddles. The first 8 years were a futile attempt to civilize me. During the remaining four years, the main thing I learned was how to sleep with my eyes open. And college wasn't much better. I don't know how I finished. I'm not even sure I finished. Instead, give me a few scraps of metal, a blow torch, and let me figure it out.

So when the folks from Oracle University offered to let me take one of their On-Demand online courses, I raised an eyebrow. Me? Are you sure? Maybe you should talk to Sister Mary Shackles, my high school principal.

But I decided to give it a try. After all, I am now a contributing member of society. I can probably pay attention for a few minutes without screaming. Holy Moly was I surprised. Hold still whilst I elucidate ...

Oracle University's Transition to Oracle Solaris 11 On-Demand Training - Course Format

Eric Siglin, the instructor, looked like he could head-butt me into the next building. If he'd been my high school principal I might have done better. Mister Siglin, which is how I'll refer to him so I remain in his good graces, has a background in Oracle Database, Solaris, Linux, and Oracle's Database Machine. Not bad.

Once you register for the course, you land in a dashboard of sorts that has three parts:

Selectable course outline

This one's pretty straightfoward ... a list of the course segments, and you can jump back and forth between them.

High-def video screen

Mister Siglin has a wicked black Fu-Manchu/white beard combo. And in full screen mode the resolution is good enough to verify that it's not a fake. When he needs to show you a screen, Mister Siglin simply replaces the video with a shot of the screen, and sometimes shows up live in the right corner of the screen.

As with those superbike crash compilations videos that I enjoy watching so much on YouTube, you can expand the window to full screen.

Scrolling Text Window

Below the screen is a scrolling text window that highlights the words as Mr Siglin speaks them. Reminds me of the Sing-Along-With-Mitch programs on American TV. You can turn off this feature with the little red lock icon a the top right of the text box, though I can't imagine why.

This is too cool: if you want to go back and review a portion of the lecture, you can click on the text below the window, and the video rewinds to the part where the instructor, Mister Siglin, spoke that word. And it advances normally from there.

But wait! There's more. Enter a word into the search window, and the progress bar indicates where in the recording Mister Siglin has said that word. Click on the indicator, and the video rewinds to that spot. Along with the scrolling text, of course. Unless you're the kind of guy who turns off the cool scrolling text. You probably pay for your fast food with small coins, don't you?

Course Content

As cool as all those bells and whistles are, the best part is the content. Here's an example of Mister Siglin's introductory comments.

"We are assuming that you have some prior Solaris experience coming in here, because we're going to address what's new with Solaris. We're going to talk about the image packaging system. Now, the image packaging system reminds me an awful lot of what we have in the Linux environment. The automated installer, which is a replacement for Jumpstart...

"Plus, we're also going to come up with some ideas to help it make it easier for you to transition from Solaris 10 to Solaris 11...

"So we're going to look at managing the software packages in Solaris 11. And that's going to continue perhaps until tomorrow. That's one of the nice things about having a small group like this one, that makes our schedule a little more flexible. So then we're going to talk about enhancements to the installation process. We have a couple of different ways of looking at that, because the installer's been improved. We have several options. And then we're going to get into Solaris Zones. We're going to take a look at what is new with the Solaris Zones, new with networking, especially since we're dealing with a lot more virtualization. And then on the last day, we're going to get into storage enhancements. There are some major enhancements with ZFS, for example. We're going to address those. And then the security enhancements that are in this version of Solaris.

If you get a minute ...

In a couple of weeks I'll tell you what I think about what I've been learning. Till then, here's another motorcycle crash video. And, for those of you who have not surrendered the romance in your soul to the rigors of keeping an IT shop humming, here's another enthusiastic sing-a-long from Mitch.

- Rick

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Tuesday Apr 03, 2012

Is This How the Execs React to Your Recommendations?

Well then, do your homework next time!

The friendly folks on the Solaris team have made that a little easier. They have put together a list of resources to help you evaluate Oracle Solaris 11.

Evaluating Oracle Solaris 11

The've got demos. They've got podcasts. They have content to find out what's involved in upgrading from Oracle Solaris 10. Content to find out how to migrate from a different OS. Plus a link to the Pre-flight checker and the Solaris 11 Cheat Sheet. And more. All in one place.

So if you decide Solaris 11 is not for you, you'll be able to explain why. And if you decide that Solaris 11 is right for you, you'll have the facts to back up your decision.

Nobody likes to be laughed at by a stupid camel.

- Rick

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Tuesday Dec 21, 2010

Faster than SAP in January

Sap

Oracle engineers are always testing and experimenting to see how you might get the most performance bang for your buck. We've known for a long time that Oracle Solaris Containers can provide a real opportunity for performance and efficiency improvements – but your mileage may vary, depending on the application and overall architecture. So, they decided to take a look to see if users of SAP NetWeaver Master Data Management could consolidate the SAP NetWeaver Master Data Management server and database server, or multiple SAP NetWeaver Master Data Management servers on a same physical server and to document the associated best practices. This is documented in detail in Deploying SAP NetWeaver Master Data Management on Oracle Solaris Containers.

This paper provides a lot of background information, including the essentials of Oracle Solaris Resource Management, an overview of the SAP NetWeaver Master Data Management Architecture, testing setup details, and (of course) test results. This is an essential paper for those responsible for setting up or tuning similar application environments. Don't miss it!

Kemer

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Contributors:
Rick Ramsey
Kemer Thomson
and members of the OTN community

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