Thursday May 21, 2015

Help Us Find OTN's New Systems Community Manager!

After 5 years of managing BigAdmin (under the watchful eye of Robert Weeks) and almost as much time managing the Systems Communities of OTN, I'm getting back with my ex. No, not her. I'm not that crazy. I'm returning to writing. A coupla novels, a little technical writing, maybe a blog or two.

I asked for a parade in honor of my departure, but my boss's response was unequivocal:

"Um. No."
Parade or no parade, this means you get a chance to select the new head honcho (or honchess) of OTN's Systems Communities. There are several of them, and they will eventually encompass these topics and technologies:

  • Application Development in C, C++, and Fortran
  • Systems Management Tools
  • Oracle Solaris
  • Linux
  • Virtualization
  • OpenStack
  • Systems Configuration Support
  • Engineered Systems
  • Optimized Solutions
  • Servers
  • Storage
  • Networking

If you know someone who is comfortable with these technologies, loves to hang out with system admins and developers, and is comfortable writing about, interviewing technical experts about, and generally horsing around with these technologies and the technical trends surrounding them, point them to:

Most Excellent Job Posting for Manager of Systems Communities

Our system admins and developers in the community, and our Oracle technical experts, are a fun and fascinating bunch of people. The best part of the job is rubbing elbows with them. Give the job a try. Or tell a friend about it. If you do nothing, you might end up with someone who doesn't know how to use grep.

- Rick

P.S. My last day at Oracle will be May 31. If you'd like to stay in touch, use the links on the left, below:

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Tuesday May 19, 2015

Tech Article: How to Start Using Docker on Oracle Linux

As Ginny Henningsen puts it, "Docker is an open source virtualization technology that creates lightweight Linux application containers." What I think is particularly cool about Docker is the portability it derives from its open-source genes. As Ginny explains:

"Docker containers can define an application and its dependencies using a small text file (a Dockerfile) that can be moved to different Linux releases and quickly rebuilt, simplifying application portability. In this way, "Dockerized" applications are easily migrated to different Linux servers where they can execute on bare metal, in a virtual machine, or on Linux instances in the cloud."

Here's her article, plus a few additional resources to help you include Docker in your Linux deployments:

Tech Article: Getting Started with Docker on Oracle Linux

by Ginny Henningsen

How to customize a Docker container image and use it to instantiate application instances across different Linux servers. This article describes how to create a Dockerfile, how to allocate runtime resources to containers, and how to establish a communication channel between two containers (for example, between web server and database containers).

Docker Resources

About the Photograph

I took the picture of that wagon in Stovepipe Wells, Death Valley, on my ride to the Sun Reunion.

- Rick

P.S. My last day at Oracle will be May 31. If you'd like to stay in touch, use the links on the left, below:

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Wednesday May 13, 2015

A Brief Chat with the Linux Foundation

I recently got to chat with Jim Zemlin, Executive Director of the Linux Foundation. In case you were just rescued from a buried time capsule as part of a fraternity pledge, you probably already know that the Linux Foundation is a non-profit trade association that fosters the growth of Linux. It supports the Linux kernel development community, provides services to help companies adopt Linux, and hosts collaborative projects to solve problems in an increasing range of fields. It is supported by leading Linux and open source companies, including IBM, Intel, and Oracle.

More about the Linux Foundation

Every year the Linux Foundation surveys large-scale enterprises to find out how they are using, and planning to continue using, Linux. Jim was kind enough to take a few minutes to walk me through the results of this year's survey. You can listen to our conversation here:

Podcast: How Large Enterprises are Using Linux - mp3

Here's Jim's blog, his Twitter handle, and a recent Ted talk discovered by Dan Lynch.

About the Photograph

I took that photograph of Lower Yellowstone Falls from Uncle Tom's Trail while on a DOG Run in 2014.

- Rick

P.S. My last day at Oracle will be May 31. If you'd like to stay in touch, use the links below:

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Thursday Apr 30, 2015

Migration and Provisioning Strategies, Plus SWiS for Developers

OTN's next Virtual Technology Summit (VTS) is being held on these dates:

Here's some information about the sessions:

Overview

The main benefits of deploying Oracle Linux are its optimizations for the Oracle stack and the newer capabilities such as Docker that you can access long before they are released in the major Red Hat distributions. Did you know, however, that you can also optimize your applications to run better on the Oracle stack using Oracle Solaris Studio? In spite of the name, it is designed to help your Oracle Linux applications take advantage of performance, security, and reliability advances across the entire Oracle stack, particularly Oracle Database. Our first two sessions for VTS4 will show you how to migrate from Red Hat Linux to Oracle Linux and give you an overview of the capabilities of the Oracle Solaris Studio IDE. And just in case you'd like to practice a little, our third session will show you some advanced techniques for deploying applications through Oracle Virtual Box.

Session 1 - How to Migrate from RHEL to Oracle Linux

by Erik Benner

Oracle Linux has been around since 2006, and for years it has offered several advantages over the Red hat distribution which it tracks. These advantages include lower support costs, improved performance in many key areas, like SSD I/O, the ability to use Ksplice for zero downtime patching and support for emerging technologies like Docker and Openstack. Migrating your existing RHEL servers to Oracle Linux is not as challenging as many admins would expect. This VTS session will show admins how to migrate an existing RHEL 6.x system to Oracle Linux. A process that takes minutes to perform! To prepare for this lab, please have an RHEL 6.x installed, with network connectivity to the internet.

Software in Silicon and What's New in Oracle Solaris Studio

by Ikroop Dilhon

Learn about Software in Silicon Application Data Integrity and how developers can use this revolutionary technology to quickly and easily increase application reliability. Also learn about what's new in Oracle Solaris Studio, including redesigned performance analysis tools, powerful memory leak protection tools, and remote development support that enables you to develop applications for Oracle systems from virtually any desktop environment.

Advanced Provisioning Techniques for VirtualBox

by Oracle ACE Seth Miller

This presentation will demonstrate advanced techniques to accelerate the provisioning of virtual machines in VirtualBox using the VirtualBox command-line tools. The first half of the presentation focuses on the VBoxManage command-line tool itself, showing how it can do everything the GUI can with much greater efficiency and speed. The second half will take those same commands and run them in PowerShell while at the same time demonstrating PowerShell's robust scripting capabilities.

- Rick

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Tuesday Mar 31, 2015

Get Your OVM Server On

As I was reading through the Oracle Virtualization Blog, I noticed some information about Oracle University courses. I dug a little bit, and found this cool curriculum. Look into it if you really want to know your Oracle VM Server for x86.

OU Class: Unix and Linux Essentials

Designed for users and administrators who are new to the Oracle Solaris 11 and Oracle Linux operating systems. It will help you develop the basic UNIX skills needed to interact comfortably and confidently with the operating system. Learn To

  • Effectively administer the Oracle VM environment by using the appropriate management tool.
  • Automate the provisioning of virtual machines.
  • Redeploy cloud resources to meet requirements.
  • Track and solve issues at each operational layer.
  • Protect Oracle VM resources.
  • Incorporate key components into your D/R strategy.

OU Class: Oracle Linux 7: System Administration Ed 1 NEW

Develop a range of skills, including installation, using the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel, configuring Linux services, preparing the system for the Oracle Database, monitoring and troubleshooting. Learn To:

  • Enable kernel features.
  • Set up users and groups.
  • Configure system logging, the boot process, the network and storage.
  • Install additional software packages.
  • Keep the kernel up to date by using Ksplice.
  • Understand how implementing Ksplice gives you zero down time kernel updates.
  • Configure services such as NTP, NFS, FTP, OpenSSH, firewalls and iptables.

OU Class: Oracle VM Server for x86: Administration Ed 1

Explore building the infrastructure for cloud computing. Learn how to support enterprise applications by deploying pooled server resources to create virtual machines, and how to:

  • Plan a virtual solution.
  • Install the Oracle VM Server and the Oracle VM Manager software.
  • Configure network resources to provide isolation and redundancy.
  • Add SAN and NFS to provision storage for the virtual environment.
  • Create server pools and repositories to support application workloads.
  • Speed up virtual machine deployment with templates and assemblies.
  • Use virtual machine high availability.
  • Use server pool policies to maximize the performance of your server workloads.

OU Class: Oracle VM Server for x86: Implementation Ed 1

How to enhance cloud effectiveness with rapid deployment of cloud resources and applications. You will learn how to administer, redistribute, troubleshoot and protect Oracle VM resources to ensure seamless and continuous access of your applications.

Oracle VM offers a dynamic architecture which allows you to effectively deploy server virtualization to consolidate application workloads and ensure uninterrupted cloud services. Using extensive hands-on practices, this course prepares you to respond quickly to changing business conditions. Learn to:

  • Effectively administer the Oracle VM environment by using the appropriate management tool.
  • Automate the provisioning of virtual machines.
  • Redeploy cloud resources to meet requirements.
  • Track and solve issues at each operational layer.
  • Protect Oracle VM resources.
  • Incorporate key components into your D/R strategy.

If you want to stay on top of all things Virtual, check out the Virtualization blog.

About the Photograph

My biker buddy Rock took this picture of what I think is a 1968 or 1969 Corvette in Florida and sent it to me during a Colorado blizzard because he enjoys torturing me.

- Rick

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Friday Mar 06, 2015

5 Steps for Installing Oracle Database 12c on Oracle Solaris 11

You can install and run Oracle Database 12c on different platforms, but if you install it on an Oracle Solaris 11 zone, you can take advantage of these capabilities:

  • Isolation - Database processes that execute in one zone have no access to database processes running in another zone. This isolation simplifies database consolidation, allowing multiple instances and versions to coexist safely on a single physical machine.
  • Independently Managed and Autonomous Environments - A non-global zone can be booted, patched, and shut down independently. A failure or reboot of one zone has no impact on other zones (unless, of course, a failure is due to a shared component). A zone reboot is faster than a full server reboot (seconds versus minutes), so a database in a rebooted zone is available more quickly.
  • Distinctive Identity - You can define virtual network interfaces for a zone, so you can give the database instance installed on that zone its own independent host name and IP address. You can also apply networking resource controls to zones, aligning network bandwidth consumption with service level targets.
  • Easy Database Instance Migration - If a database needs more CPU power, you can add CPUs to an Oracle Solaris Zone and reboot the zone. If a database needs more compute capacity than what's available in the physical server, you can migrate the zone to a larger server.
  • Hard Partitioning - Assigning a resource pool or capping CPU cores can configure Oracle Solaris Zones as hard partitions for Oracle Database licensing purposes. This can potentially lower database licensing costs.

Tech Article: 5 Steps to Installing Oracle Database 12c on Oracle Solaris 11

by Ginny Henningsen and Glynn Foster

Ginny Henningsen and Glynn Foster from the Oracle Solaris product management team wrote down the simplest instructions for installing Oracle Database 12c in an Oracle Solaris 11 non-global zone, including how to implement hard partitioning.

About the Photograph

That's a closeup of one section of the Cedar Breaks National Monument, in Utah. I snapped the picture from a lookout located at an altitude of over 10,000 feet.

- Rick

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Friday Feb 13, 2015

How to Build a Software Defined Network with Oracle Solaris 11





Before software engineers got so freakin' smart, we used to pay a special type of sysadmin to fiddle with the cables and switches at the back of our racks. They were mean, they were hunch-backed, and their fingers were stained with nicotine.

Those were the good old days. Today, network administrators wash their clothes and and sit at desks. And they use something called "software defined networking." I looked it up in the Urban Dictionary, but there was no listing for it. Which is just as well because if you ask me ...

Software Defined Networking = voodoo magic






A Little Bit About Software Defined Networking

Software Defined Networking is the equivalent of doing your homework the week before it's due. I mean, who does that? Well, the Solaris engineers at Oracle do, for starters. Talk about annoying! They started this trend back in the early days of Oracle Solaris 11. Instead of visiting Rufus in the basement server room, they designed this infrastructure that makes it possible for them to put dibs on networking resources from the comfort of the local Starbucks.

In other words, instead of Rufus yanking cables out of one box and hooking them up to another, you can simply change the cable routing by keyboard, so to speak. And assign them to virtual compute nodes. And configure all kinds of aspects about each network, including Service Level Agreements, an implement of Trotskyist-Leninist Totalitarianism if there ever was one. All without waking Rufus.

Orgad Kimchi, our fearless explorer of real-world Solaris, horsed around with not only the software defined networking capabilities of Oracle Solaris 11, but its latest features, which, in his words provide "greater application agility without the added overhead of expensive network hardware." The SDN features in Oracle Solaris 11.2 now:

  • Enable application-driven, multitenant cloud virtual networking across a completely distributed set of systems
  • Allow network service-level agreements (SLAs) at the application level
  • Provide cloud-readiness, thanks to the OpenStack distribution include in Oracle Solaris 11
  • Integrate tightly with Oracle Solaris Zones.

Tech Article: How to Build a Software Defined Network Using Elastic Virtual Switches

In Oracle Solaris 11.2

Orgad starts by walking you through the steps to set up SSH authentication and the Elastic Virtual Switch controller. Then he shows you how to configure both compute nodes, the four Solaris zones, and their virtual networks. He wraps up by showing you how to test the entire configuration to make sure it's working the way you want. Orgad writes from real-world experience, so you can trust his recommendations.



About the Photographs

I snapped the picture of the lamp at Stovepipe Wells, and the picture of Linda Lu, my 2008 Harley Davidson Softail Custom, while riding through Death Valley, California in the Spring of 2014. To get a better feel for the strange vastness of Death Valley, click on the image below to go to Wordpress, then click on the Wordpress image to enlarge it.



- Rick

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Thursday Feb 05, 2015

VBox Image and Instructions for Hands-On Labs Now Available

The instructions for the hands-on labs that will be proctored in OTN's upcoming Virtual Technology Summit are now available on OTN's Community Platform. To register:

As described in a previous blog, the Systems track will feature two 90-minute hands-on labs. The instructions for the labs, including links to the download, are available here:

Although you can work the labs on your own, the Virtual Tech Day will have the engineers from the Oracle Solaris Studio Team available to answer questions.

About the Photograph

I took a photograph of the beach at San Simeon California, during my ride home from the Sun Reunion.

- Rick

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Wednesday Jan 21, 2015

Hands On Labs for C, C++, Fortran (and Java) Developers

I've always been a fan of Oracle Solaris Studio because it's the tool of choice for bad.ass developers. Java developers are ubiquitous, Database developers get more attention here at Oracle, and marketing apps generate a lot of buzz nowadays. But Fortran, C, and C++ developers bend big iron to their will. So I'm pumped that OTN's upcoming Virtual Tech Summit (VTS) will feature two 90-minute hands-on labs proctored by members of the Oracle Solaris Studio engineering team.

Lab: How to Use the Code Analyzer in Oracle Solaris Studio

moderated by Joseph Raja
Note:Instructions will be posted here before the end of January.

The Code Analyzer is a suite of tools designed to work with the Studio C/C++ compiler to identify issues in source code. The tools in this suite are

  • Previse, for compile-time checking of errors e.g. exceeding array bounds, infinite loops, etc.
  • Discover, to identify memory leak and memory corruption issues at run time, etc.
  • Uncover, to verify test coverage and identify sections of code not being tested
  • Codean, allows comparative analysis of error report across large projects
  • Code-analyzer, an intuitive GUI that allows analyzing and fixing the errors.

This lab will show you how to identify and rectify errors with these tools.

Lab: How to Use the Performance Analyzer in Oracle Solaris Studio

moderated by Eugene Loh
Note:Instructions will be posted here before the end of January.

The Performance Analyzer is a GUI and CLI tool for examining the performance of Java, C, C++, and Fortran applications and relating it back to constructs in the source code (functions, call stacks, source code lines, data structures, etc.) so that application performance can be understood and improved. The tool can examine time spent, Solaris microstates, hardware counters (cache and TLB misses, branch mispredicts,and so on), I/O operations, heap memory usage, synchronization locks, etc. Data collection is typically statistical, giving representative results with minimal invasiveness, even on highly optimized code. It is possible to profile the Solaris kernel. A timeline display shows load imbalances, synchronization, and different phases of execution.

This lab will help you become familiar with the basic operations of the Performance Analyzer.

Registration

About the Photograph

That's a picture of my daughter and two of her friends preparing for their next hand-to-hand combat session during Basic Training, affectionately referred to as "Beast" at the US Air Force Academy. If they were developers, they'd be Systems developers.

- Rick

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Thursday Jan 08, 2015

The Importance of Hardware

Not long ago I had a brief conversation with an "expert" in the Oracle Stack. The expert had provided a comprehensive overview of Oracle technologies, from the top of the stack all the way to the database. I asked where the second part of the overview was, the part that covered virtualization, the OS, hardware, networking, storage, engineered systems, and optimized solutions. The expert shrugged and said those were "commodities."

I can tell you from experience that deep breathing and long walks do wonders for apoplexy. It's not that I don't appreciate the software. Of course I appreciate the software. Without it, what's the point of the hardware! It's just that I don't understand how people who love the software can fail to respect the hardware.

Oracle has been broadcasting for quite a while, now, the benefits you can gain from its advances in hardware, but the reaction I usually get from the unwashed masses is "yeah, well, you've invested in it, so of course you're going to hock it."


Thank goodness there is still some common sense left in the world.

In this TechTarget editorial, Rich Castagna explains, in very simple terms, that advances in software are helplessly dependent on advances in hardware. If you rub elbows with a software zealot, show them the article.

While you're at it, make sure to take a look at Oracle's latest advances in Software in Silicon, including the Software in Silicon Cloud, which allows you to test and optimize your applications on Oracle's latest hardware before you buy it. Here are three links to get you started:

Bookmark this

Software on Silicon Landing Page
so you can keep up with the latest developments

About the Photograph

I took the picture of Black Betty, a 2007 Harley Davidson Softail Custom (FXSTC), in my driveway in Lunenburg, Massachusetts, in the Spring of 2008.

- Rick

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Monday Dec 29, 2014

Top 10 Systems Articles of 2014

Glynn Foster was on fire in 2014. Not only did he create several hands-on labs for OTN's Virtual Tech Summit, but he wrote three of OTN's top 10 articles for the year. Thank you Glynn, and Thank You to all the other writers who did the hard work of filling OTN with excellent Systems content. Don Bastardo finds you worthy of note.

0. How I Simplified Oracle Database 12c and 11g Installations on Oracle Linux 6

by Ginny Henningsen, updated by Michele Casey

Updated for Oracle database 12c and Oracle Linux 6. Ginny simplifies the installation of Oracle Database 11g by automatically pre-configuring Oracle Linux with the required software packages and correct kernel parameters.

1. How to Configure the Linux Out-of-Memory Killer

by Robert Chase

What the Linux out-of-memory (OOM) killer is and how to find out why it killed a particular process. Methods for configuring the OOM killer to better suit the needs of many different environments.

2. How to Create a Local Unbreakable Linux Network Mirror

by Jared Greenwald and Avi Miller

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

3. Taking Your First Steps with Oracle Solaris 11

by Glynn Foster

How to install Solaris 11 using the Automated Graphical Installer, one of three installation tools provided in Solaris 11. Glynn Foster and Brian Leonard show you how to install it either on VirtualBox, on bare metal as a standalone OS, or alongside another OS in a multi-boot environment on bare metal

4. How to Get Started Configuring Your Network in Oracle Solaris 11

by Andrew Walton

dladm and ipadm in Oracle Solaris 11 supersede ifconfig. Unlike ifconfig, changes made by dladm and ipadm are persistent across reboots. Andrew Walton explains these and other changes to networking in Solaris 11, and shows you how to work with them.

5. Introducing the Basics of Service Management Facility (SMF) on Oracle Solaris 11

by Glynn Foster

The Service Management Facility in Oracle Solaris 11 makes sure that essential system and application services run continuously even in the event of hardware or software failures. This article provides a few simple examples of administering services on Oracle Solaris 11.

6. Mixing C and C++ Code in the Same Program

by Stephen Clamage

This article shows how to solve common problems that arise when you mix C and C++ code, and highlights the areas where you might run into portability issues.

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. How to Get Started Creating Oracle Solaris Zones in Oracle Solaris 11

by Duncan Hardie

Zones are more tightly integrated with other OS features in Oracle Solaris 11 than they were in Oracle Solaris 10. As a result, you can do more with zones than you could before. Plus, it's easier. But you still need to learn the new commands and procedures. This article by Duncan Hardie is a great start: it shows you how to create a zone using the command line, how to add an application to a zone, and how to clone a zone. All in Solaris 11.

9. 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.

About the Photograph

Don Bastardo (Jellicle name Pippon Kitton) manages to survive the coyotes and mountain lions that prey on less wary house pets in my part of Colorado, and he has made lasting friendships with the local foxes. I took this picture of him while he was perched on our deck.

- Rick

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Friday Dec 19, 2014

Three New Dev Tips for C++ Developers

How to Find Out What Resources Your Application Has Used

by Darry Gove

If you want to know how much CPU, memory, or other resources your application has used, you can pre-load a library and define a .fini method that prints out the results. You can also take advantage of the getusage call, which provides some information about CPU time and processes. But more information is available. Darryl provides examples of how to use these two components plus others that fill in the details.

How To Rapidly Identify Performance Opportunities

by Darry Gove

Profiling is critical to improving application performance. Without profiling, it is very easy to guess where the application is spending cycles, and then expend effort optimizing code that has little effect on overall performance. Oracle Solaris Studio 12.4 provides an overview screen designed to focus you on the metrics with the most promise. Darryl Gove walks you through the overview screen and explains what it indicates about your application.

Dev Tip: How to Get Finer Grained Control of Debugging Information

by Ivan Soleimanipour

The new options in Oracle Solaris Studio 12.4 provide much finer-grained control over debug information, which allows you to choose how much information is provided and reduce the amount of disk space needed for the executable. Ivan enumerates the options and provides examples of how to use them.

About the Photograph

I took the picture of the 01 Ducati 748S this summer, in Colorado. It currently has about 1300 miles on the odometer.

- 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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Monday Dec 01, 2014

Update to My Personal Crib Sheet for the ZFS Storage Appliance

In March of 2012 I posted a blog with some resources to help a sysadmin understand the ZFS Storage Appliance. A lot has changed since then, so this is an addendum to that blog. It reflects the latest information in preparation for the release of the ZS4-4.

Recent White Papers About the ZS4

  • Migrating a Database Stored on Fibre Channel (PDF White Paper)
  • Working with the RESTful Management API (PDF White Paper)
  • Deploying 10,000+ VM's on a Single ZFS Appliance (PDF White Paper)
  • Configurations

    It now comes in two variations, instead of the three highlighted in the original blog:

    • ZS3-2 - mid-range storage for the enterprise - cluster option - up to 1.5 PB raw capacity - Hybrid Storage Pools with up to 1 TB DRAM and 12.8 TB of optimized flash cache
    • ZS3-4 - For virtualized environments requiring multiple data services and heterogeneous file sharing - single or cluster - up to 3.5 PB of raw capacity and up to 3 TB DRAM and 12.8 TB of optimized flash cache

    For a high level overview, see this Data Sheet

    Updated Examples of Practical Applications

    For More Information

    About the Photograph

    Winter sunrises can be dramatic in Colorado, but you have to snap pictures quickly, because it happens fast. I took this shot on the last day of November, 2014.

    Note

    This post also appears on the Wonders of ZFS Storage blog.

    - Rick

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    Friday Oct 24, 2014

    Learn How to Use OpenStack on Oracle Solaris From the Comfort of Your ...

    You're probably heard by now that Oracle Solaris provides a complete implementation of the OpenStack platform. Here's a quick view of the integration, courtesy of Glynn Foster:

    Horizon Cloud Management Dashboard
    OpenStack Component Nova Compute Node Neutron Cloud Networking Cinder/Swift Cloud Storage Glance Image Deployment
    Solaris Component Zones and Kernel Zones Elastic Virtual Switch ZFS Filesystem Unified Archives

    Glynn has prepared two labs showing you how to get OpenStack running on Oracle Solaris. OTN is making them available virtually, with moderators to help you, in November's Virtual Technology Summit. Because they're virtual, you get to decide whether you want to try them out in the crisp mountain air of your fairytale castle in Germany, the convenience of your Manhattan mansion (who dares to be away from Wall Street for very long these days), or even the regal splendor of Windsor Castle, provided you convince the Queen to let you update her internet.

    Lab 1 - How to Deploy OpenStack in 20 Minutes

    Use Unified Archives to quickly provision an OpenStack private cloud on a single node and deploy VM instances based on Oracle Solaris Kernel Zones. The basics of cloud administration through the Horizon web interface, and how to quickly provision both Cinder block and Swift object storage using the ZFS file system. Also how the network virtualization features in Oracle Solaris 11 provide the necessary infrastructure to Neutron networking.

    Lab 2 - Deploy a Secure Enterprise Private Cloud with OpenStack

    Picks up where the first lab left off. Create a golden image environment for an Oracle Database installation using Unified Archives, upload this image to the Glance image repository in OpenStack, and deploy it using Nova compute to a VM instance. How to secure that application in a sandboxed environment using Immutable Zones, and check them for compliance using the integrated framework included in Oracle Solaris 11.

    Register Here

    The Virtual Technology Summit is a lot of fun, but you need to register. It's free. It lasts 4 hours. And it's all technology.

    We'll also have labs for Oracle Linux and Oracle VM. I'll tell you more about those in an upcoming blog.

    More Resources About OpenStack

    If you'd like to do a little background reading before the event, watch:

    About the Photograph

    I don't hang with the Queen, so my digs are a little more modest. I took a picture of that cabin on Route 14 on the way down from Cedar Breaks National Monument, in Utah.

    Follow Rick on:
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    Thursday Oct 16, 2014

    New Cookbook: Oracle Solaris 11 Advanced Administration

    The articles written by Oracle ACE Alexandre Borges never fail to provide real-world insight into the use of Oracle technologies, particularly Oracle Solaris. They also explain concepts with the patience and care that only professional instructors demonstrate.

    Alexandre has just written a book with the same insights and real-world practicality as his articles.

    Oracle Solaris 11 Advanced Administration Cookbook

    by Alexandre Borges

    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. How to handle boot environments, configuring and managing ZFS frameworks, and ZFS shadowing. Implementing zones, creating SMF services, and reviewing SMF operations. How to configure an Automated Installer, which is part of the new software deployment architecture introduced in Oracle Solaris 11. Role-based access control (RBAC) and least privileges, how to configure and administer resource manager, and finally and introduction to performance tuning.

    Here is an excerpt, taken from the introduction to creating, activating, and destroying a boot environment:

    Let's imagine a scenario. We are requested to update Oracle Solaris 11, and to do this, we need to reboot the system, insert the Oracle Solaris 11 installation DVD, and during the boot, we have to choose the upgrade option. Is the upgrade complete? Is there no further problem? Unfortunately, this is not true because there are some potential tradeoffs:
    • We had to stop applications and reboot the operating system, and users had to stop work on their tasks.
    • If there was trouble upgrading the Oracle Solaris operating system, we'll lose all old installation because the upgrade process will have overwritten the previous version of Oracle Solaris; consequently, we won't be able to reboot the system and go back to the previous version.
    As you will have realized, this is a big threat to administrators because in the first case, we had a working (but outdated) system, and in the second case, we risked losing everything (and our valuable job) if anything went wrong. How can we improve this situation?

    In Oracle Solaris 11, when we are requested to upgrade a system, Oracle Solaris 11 takes a BE automatically to help us during the process. The boot environment is a kind of clone that makes it possible to save the previous installation, and if anything goes wrong during the upgrade, the boot environment of Oracle Solaris 11 lets us roll back the OS to the old state (installation). One of the biggest advantages of this procedure is that the administrator isn't obliged to execute any command to create a BE to protect and save the previous installation. Oracle Solaris 11 manages the whole process. This has two advantages: the upgrade process gets finished without rebooting the operating system, and the boot environment enables us to roll back the environment if we encounter a problem.

    Nowadays, professionals are making heavy use of the BE, and this is the true reason that creating, activating, and destroying BEs is most important when administering Oracle Solaris 11. You can be sure that this knowledge will be fundamental to your understanding of Oracle Solaris 11 Advanced Administration.

    About the Photograph

    I took the photo of some kind of flower (no clue what kind it is) on my hillside during a particularly wet summer in Colorado.

    - Rick
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    Friday Sep 19, 2014

    Latest Hands-On Lab by Orgad Kimchi: How to Set Up a Hadoop 2 Cluster with Oracle Solaris

    If you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair. Especially if it's for Oracle OpenWorld. And while you're there, don't miss Orgad Kimchi's latest hands-on lab.

    Lab: How to Set up a Hadoop 2 Cluster with Oracle Solaris

    In his own words ...

    "This hands-on lab presents exercises that demonstrate how to set up an Apache Hadoop 2 (YARN) cluster using Oracle Solaris 11 technologies such as Oracle Solaris Zones, Oracle Solaris ZFS, and Unified Archive. Key topics include the Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) and the Hadoop MapReduce programming model. It also covers the Hadoop installation process and the cluster building blocks: NameNode, Resource Manager, History Server, and DataNodes. In addition, you will see how you can combine the Oracle Solaris 11 technologies for better scalability and data security and will learn how to enable a HDFS high-availability cluster and run a MapReduce job."

    I'll try to convince Orgad to eventually make that lab available to those who of us who can't afford the tickets to Oracle OpenWorld.

    More Gems from Orgad

    Orgad regularly writers terrific articles that show you how to put Oracle Solaris technologies to use in the real world. Here are a few of them:

    About the Photograph

    I took the photograph of a streetcar in San Francisco while sneaking out of the Oracle Solaris reunion I was attending in April of 2014.

    Rick
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    Monday Sep 15, 2014

    Making Sure Your Exadata Is Running Right

    The service department of a local Harley Davidson dealer has a display that compares a chain driven cam to a gear driven cam. Each type of cam drive is attached to a cam support plate, and the service writer walks you up to the display and invites you to turn each of them. The chain drive is hard to turn, but the gear drive turns easily.

    The message is clear: replace the chain-driven cam in your Harley with a gear-driven cam, and you'll have more power. The display gets the message across brilliantly. Except that it's bogus.

    I've spun the chain drive taken out of a Harley Davidson, and it turns just as easily as the gear drive. Heck, why wouldn't it? In their zeal to convince us of the benefits of gear-driven cams, the boys at the dealership tightened down the chain drive in their display perhaps a bit too enthusiastically.

    Oracle makes some pretty big claims about its engineered systems, too. For instance, you've probably heard something along these lines for the Oracle Exadata Database Machine:

    "An engineered system with preconfigured, pretuned, and pretested hardware and software components that is designed to be the highest performing and most available platform for running Oracle Database."

    How can you know whether these claims are true? Because you have Brian Bream on your side, that's why. Brian is the Chief Technology Officer at Collier IT, and Instructor of the Year for both Oracle University and Sun Microsystems University. He knows his stuff. And he just wrote an article that will interest anyone who manages an Exadata Database Machine.

    Tech Article: Monitoring Oracle Exadata Storage Servers

    by Brian Bream

    The Oracle Exadata Database Machine gives sysadmins three monitoring technologies and two monitoring tools for its storage servers. Brian explains how they work, and how you can use them to monitor metrics, thresholds, and alerts (incidents), how to check the availability of your storage servers, and how to compare metrics for multiple storage servers.

    More From Brian Bream

    About the Photograph

    Photo of the cam chain tensioner on a 2005 Harley Davidson Road King taken by my good buddy Madera Doug.

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    Wednesday Sep 03, 2014

    New Articles for Oracle Solaris Developers

    Even though it was over 10 years ago, I still remember my side of the conversation with Jerry Jackson:

    "Tuple? WTF is a Tuple?"

    Jerry had just finished writing a language for building online insurance applications, and he was filling me in some of the gaps in my street urchin understanding of computer science. What I remember about Jerry's answer all these years later I can only paraphrase as:

    "A tuple is like a grocery list. Except when it's not."

    Although I've been focusing on content for sysadmins for the last few years, developers hold a special place in my heart. And Darryl Gove is one of the most generous with his knowledge. Not too long ago he teamed up with Steve Clamage to write several articles for OTN. Here are three of them:

    Using the New C++ Array and Tuple Containers

    by Darryl Gove and Steve Clamage

    An array is equivalent to a traditional fixed length array in C++, but is accessible through standard container methods. A tuple is an ordered set of related elements of different types, such as one person's name, age, height, and so on. Both are new container types introduced in the C++11 Standard. Darryl and Steve explain what they are and how to use them.

    How to Use Lambda Expressions in C++ 11

    by Steve Clamage and Darryl Gove

    Lambda expressions let you treat functions as objects, which means you can use them when you write a function that requires another function as one of its parameters. According to the authors, Lambdas are one of the defining features of the recent C++11 standard, and in this article they describe their syntax, how to pass them as pointers, and more.

    Understanding the New Set and Map Containers in the C++ 11 Standard Library

    by Darryl Gove and Steve Clamage

    Map and set templates have been part of the C++ Standard Library since C++03. The C++11 Standard Library now includes templates for unordered maps and unordered sets. In some situations, the unordered versions can provide faster lookups than their ordered counterparts. Darryl and Steve explain.

    About the Photograph

    That's JimBob and El Jefe, two of my close riding buddies catching a little warmth from the sun outside of El Paso, Texas, during the now famous Durango Blizzard Ride of 2006. Will have to blog about that some day. They are tuple if there ever was one.

    Follow Rick on:
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    Wednesday Aug 27, 2014

    Brendan Gregg's Quick Reference Page for Linux Performance

    You may know about Brendan Gregg because of his contributions to DTrace and other Oracle Solaris technologies. Here are two resources to refresh your memory.

    Recently, Brendan turned his high-performance spectacles on Linux:

    Linux Performance Quick Reference

    In his own words, "This page links to various Linux performance material I've created, including the tools maps on the right, which show: Linux observability tools, Linux benchmarking tools, Linux tuning tools, and Linux observability sar. For more diagrams, see my slide decks below."

    His diagram reminds me of Edward Tufte's work on elegant visual explanations. Give it a read, bookmark it, and show your friends. While you're at it, be sure to take a look at OTN's resources for Oracle Linux.

    About the Photograph

    I took a picture of that cove from somewhere in Highway 1 on the California Coast on my ride back from the Sun Reunion.

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    Monday Aug 18, 2014

    Why Wouldn't Root Be Able to Change a Zone's IP Address in Oracle Solaris 11?





    You might assume that if you have root access to an Oracle Solaris zone, you'd be able to change the root's IP address. If so, you'd proceed along these lines ...


    1. First, you'd log in:
    2. root@global_zone:~# zlogin user-zone
    3. Then you'd remove the IP interface:
    4. root@user-zone:~# ipadm delete-ip vnic0
    5. Next, you'd create a new IP interface:
    6. root@user-zone:~# ipadm create-ip vnic0
    7. Then you'd assign the IP interface a new IP address (10.0.0.10):
    8. root@user-zone:~# ipadm create-addr -a local=10.0.0.10/24 vnic0/v4
      ipadm: cannot create address: Permission denied




    Why would that happen? Here are some potential reasons:

    • You're in the wrong zone
    • Nobody bothered to tell you that you were fired last week.
    • The sysadmin for the global zone (probably your ex-girlfriend) enabled link protection mode on the zone with this sweet little command:
    • root@global_zone:~# dladm set-linkprop -p \ protection=mac-nospoof,restricted,ip-nospoof vnic0

    How'd your ex-girlfriend learn to do that? By reading this article:

    Securing a Cloud-Based Data Center with Oracle Solaris 11

    by Orgad Kimchi, Ron Larson, and Richard Friedman

    When you build a private cloud, you need to protect sensitive data not only while it's in storage, but also during transmission between servers and clients, and when it's being used by an application. When a project is completed, the cloud must securely delete sensitive data and make sure the original data is kept secure. These are just some of the many security precautions a sysadmin needs to take to secure data in a cloud infrastructure. Orgad, Ron, and Richard explain the rest and show you how to employ the security features in Oracle Solaris 11 to protect your cloud infrastructure. Part 2 of a three-part article on cloud deployments that use the Oracle Solaris Remote Lab as a case study.

    About the Photograph

    That's the fence separating a small group of tourist cabins from a pasture in the small town of Tropic, Utah.

    Follow Rick on:
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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 Jul 11, 2014

    What Can You Do With Data Link Multipathing (DLMP)?

    When I first learned about high availability, it was something you provided by creating one or more copies of the operating environment on separate servers. Sometimes on different continents. If the server in Canada failed, the server in Ireland would take over.

    Then I found out about Real Application Clusters. Wait, I asked myself, weren't applications invented for the sole purpose of field-testing the OS? Why do test programs need high availability? Haven't these people heard of Oracle Solaris Cluster?

    Well, to my great disappointment there are plenty of different approaches to high availability. Just like there are plenty of different approaches to virtualization. And, as you might imagine, you can combine the two.

    For instance, if you're going to build a cloud infrastructure using the virtualization capabilities in Oracle Solaris 11, you might as well allocate your network resources to the virtualized environment, as well. And so, you'd probably find yourself creating virtual switches, routers, cards, and what not. Well, what happens if all those virtual networks, which are really just one physical network, go down?

    Bjoern Rost, Oracle ACE, provides a nice explanation of a Solaris feature that didn't get a lot of attention when it was released: Data Link Multipathing (DLMP) and DLMP aggregation. DLMP aggregation allows you to combine virtual network interfaces from different physical network interfaces into high availability clusters. You can also use these clusters to improve load balancing, as Bjoern explains in his blog post.

    Orgad likes DLMP, too. So much, in fact, that he took a break from reconfiguring the International Space Station so his kids could control it from their XBox, and wrote an article explaining how to apply DLMP to a virtual network. Two articles, in fact.

    Tech Article: Using DLMP to Add High Availability to Your Network in Oracle Solaris 11.1

    by Orgad Kimchi

    How to combine virtual NICs from different physical NICS into a DLMP aggregation assigned to a zone, and configure the aggregation to provide failover for the zone, using Oracle Solaris 11.

    Tech Article: Doing More with DLMP

    by Orgad Kimchi

    You can give an Oracle Solaris 11 zone exclusive access to a physical NIC. Although that approach can ensure that particular zone has full access the entire bandwidth of the NIC, it does leave NIC and the entire network exposed to security breaches. Unless you use DLMP's Link Protection capability. Orgad explains how to do that, as well as enabling resource management for your Oracle Solaris 11 virtual network, improving the availability of an NFS server, and more.

    About the Photograph

    Lou Ordorica and I took off early a few weeks ago to get in some twisties before the crowds showed up. We stopped at The Last Shot on the Peak to Peak highway to grab a late breakfast/early lunch. While we were there a few more bikes showed up.

    - Rick
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    Friday Jun 13, 2014

    Insights into Swap Space on Oracle Solaris 11

    What I enjoy about the articles that Oracle ACE Alexandre Borges writes is the insights he provides. For example:

    swaplo indicates the minimum possible swap space size, which represents the memory page size (8 sectors x 512 bytes = 4K). To check it:
    root@solaris11-1:~# pagesize
    4096
    
    A value of 4K is typically found on Intel machines. However, with Oracle Solaris 11 on SPARC machines, the page size can vary from 16K to 2 GB (this upper limit also applies for Intel processors). The upper limit of swap space is mainly used as the page size for the System Global Area (SGA)—a dedicated shared-memory area for an instance of Oracle Database 11g. Additionally, it is worth noting that 2 GB pages are supported with Oracle Solaris 10 8/11 or later Oracle Solaris releases and Oracle's SPARC T4 processor, but this page size isn't enabled by default. If it's suitable for some applications, we have to enable it by inserting set max_uheap_lpsize=0x80000000 in the /etc/system file and then rebooting the system.

    Alexandre not only loves working with Oracle Solaris, he takes the trouble to explain its nuances. He's written a series of articles on his experience with Oracle Solaris. This is the second one:

    Tech Article: Playing with Swap Monitoring and Increasing Swap Space Using ZFS Volumes in Oracle Solaris 11

    by Alexandre Borges

    Alexandre walks through several commands and the insight they provide into a system's swap space, and explains how to use them to increase or decrease it.

    Stay tuned for more articles from Alexandre in the coming weeks.

    About the Photograph

    Photograph of 01 Ducati 748 vertical cylinder piston and rings taken by Rick Ramsey in Colorado

    - Rick

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    Wednesday Jun 11, 2014

    Troubleshooting Your Network with Oracle Linux

    Are you afraid of network problems? I was. Whenever somebody said "it's probably the network," I went to lunch. And hoped that it was fixed by the time I got back. Turns out it wasn't that hard to do a little basic troubleshooting

    Tech Article: Troubleshooting Your Network with Oracle Linux

    by Robert Chase

    You're no doubt already familiar with ping. Even I knew how to use ping. Turns out there's another command that can show you not just whether a system can respond over the network, but the path the packets to that system take. Our blogging platform won't allow me to write the name down, but I can tell you that if you replace the x in this word with an e, you'll have the right command:

    tracxroute

    Once you get used to those, you can venture into the realms of mtr, nmap, and netcap.

    Robert Chase explains how each one can help you troubleshoot the network, and provides examples for how to use them. Robert is not only a solid writer, he is also a brilliant motorcyclist and rides an MV Augusta F4 750.

    About the Photograph

    Photo of flowers in San Simeon, California, taken by Rick Ramsey on a ride home from the Sun Reunion in May 2014.

    - Rick
    Follow me on:
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    About

    Contributors:
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    and members of the OTN community

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