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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    Tuesday Nov 11, 2014

    Posted: Lab Instructions for November Virtual Tech Summit

    Instructions for the six Systems labs that will be presented at November's Virtual Technology Summit are now available on the OTN Community Platform.

    Prepare Your Laptops Before the Event

    You need to set up your laptop with the correct VM and configure it before the event begins. If you wait until the event, you'll be too far behind and won't be able to ask questions or join in the discussions.The Oracle VM labs, in particular, require extensive prep work.

    Important Links

    Registration

    A few thousand have already registered, but slackers can still register in their preferred time zone:

    About the Photograph

    I took the picture of the vertical cylinder from an 01 Ducati 748S on my workbench, while replacing the rings, which I busted while trying to re-install the cylinder without a ring compressor.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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    Wednesday Jun 25, 2014

    Helping Your Compiler Handle the Size of Your Constants

    by Darryl Gove

    When I use a constant in the following code, I get a warning:

    On the other hand if I wrote:

    Then then compiler will quite happily handle the constant.

    The problem with the first bit of code is that it treats the value as a signed integer, and a signed integer can only hold 31 bits of precision plus a sign bit.

    So how does the compiler decide how to represent a constant? The answer is interesting.

    The compiler will attempt to fit a constant into the smallest value that it can. So it will try to fit the value into these types, in order: into an int, a long int, and then a long long int.

    In the above code sample, the compiler will find that 1 and 31 both fit very nicely into signed ints. There's a shift left operation (<<) in the expression that produces a result of the same type as the left operand. So the whole expression (1<<31) has type signed int, which leads to the the warning.

    To avoid the warning we can tell the compiler that this is an unsigned value. Either by typecasting the 1 to be unsigned in this manner:

    or by declaring it as an unsigned value, like this:

    More About Oracle Solaris Studio

    Oracle Solaris Studio is a C, C++ and Fortran development tool suite, with compiler optimizations, multithread performance, and analysis tools for application development on Oracle Solaris, Oracle Linux, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating systems. Find out more about the Oracle Solaris Studio 12.4 Beta program here.

    About the Photograph

    Photograph of Zion National Park, Utah taken by Rick Ramsey in May 2014 on The Ride to the Sun Reunion.

    - Darryl

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    Tuesday May 06, 2014

    Replay of Solaris Labs From OTN Virtual Sysadmin Day

    Missed OTN's last Virtual Sysadmin Day? That's OK, so did the majority of Earth's 7 billion inhabitants. A stalwart 400 did manage to pull themselves away from The Daily Grind and attend in person. To accommodate the remaining 7 billion slackers, I published videos of the Solaris hands-on labs. I'll do the same for the Oracle Linux and Virtualization sessions over the next few days.

    Lab Intro - How Oracle Solaris 11 Simplifies the Life of a Sysadmin

    Typical tasks and challenges in a sysadmin's work and how Oracle Solaris 11 simplifies them. Managing software packages, updating systems, managing users, monitoring system performance and diagnosing problems, assessing, assigning and redistributing system resources according to workload patterns. Which Oracle Solaris 11 features can help. Examples and best practices. Exercises that model everyday situations.

    Lab 1: Managing the Software Lifecycle with Oracle Solaris 11

    Tricks to help you to manage software packages installed on your systems. Most organizations have separate environments for development, test, QA and production applications. How can you make sure the right versions of software packages are installed in each of them, and avoid inconsistencies? How can you configure your production systems to avoid accidental updates? How should you integrate your software packages with SMF services? These and many other questions will be answered by using practical hands-on examples.

    Lab 2: Managing Your Data with ZFS in Oracle Solaris 11

    ZFS has been a round a long time, but it has so many new capabilities to explore that you might still have a lot of questions. For instance, how do I create a ZFS file system that will have a guaranteed amount of available space, instead of sharing it with other file systems in a pool? What are the best practices for backing up ZFS file systems? How can I use ZFS encryption? Can I create a raw block device on ZFS and why do I need it? These and many other questions will be answered by using practical hands-on examples.

    Lab 3: Managing Virtual Environments in Oracle Solaris 11

    What are the best ways to create and manage zones? How should I use Solaris virtual networking to separate traffic from different applications? How can I monitor and manage system resources assigned to zones? How should I protect my zones from malicious users? How can I migrate zones between hosts? These and many other questions will be answered with practical hands-on examples.

    About the Photograph

    Photo of Las Vegas skyline taken by Rick Ramsey at Collaborate 2014

    - Rick
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    Monday Apr 14, 2014

    Which Type of Virtualization Should I Use?

    I routinely ask techies which type of virtualization they'd recommend for which type of job. I seldom get an answer as crystal clear as Brian Bream's.

    Video Interview: Which Type of Virtualization Should I Use?

    with Brian Bream, CTO Collier IT

    Oracle's portfolio of virtualization technologies includes Oracle VM Server for x86, Oracle VM Server for SPARC (previously known as LDOMS), and Oracle Solaris Zones, among others. Brian Bream provides a crystal clear technical overview of their differences and examples of what you would use them to do to. After you listen to the recording, which is about 5 minutes long, you'll understand why Brian was selected Instructor of the Year for both Oracle University and Sun Microsystems University before that.

    More Resources About Virtualization

    Here's an 8-part series about Oracle virtualization products written by Detlef Drewanz and Lenz Grimmer that might also be helpful:

    About the Photograph

    Photograph of Vaillancourt Fountain in San Francisco taken by Rick Ramsey, April 2014.

    - Rick

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    Monday Mar 24, 2014

    Four High Performance Configurations for SuperCluster and SPARC Servers

    When a surfing buddy of mine asked me to look at a banking application that runs on Solaris, I thought he'd been hit on the head by his board one too many times. Solaris is cool. Banking is not. But I looked into it, anyway, and to my surprise, I found the banking app had a certain amount of geek appeal.

    If geek appeal is not enough to hold your interest, Mister Hair-on-Fire, the other reason for talking about this banking application is that it helped identify four high performance configurations for Oracle's SuperCluster and SPARC servers that might be useful for other types of applications. So keep reading. Or ...

    Go directly to white paper (pdf) that describes the configurations.

    What first caught my interest was the idea of a bank operating system. A traditional computer OS manages hardware devices and provides services for application software. A bank headquarters does something very similar. It manages the branches (hardware) and provides services for its operations (applications). Turns out, that's the idea behind Finacle's Core Banking Solution.

    Core banking sounds dull as hell, but it's a big deal for banks. It replaces cumbersome end-of-day consolidation between branch banks and HQ. (I almost feel asleep just writing that.) In fact, centralized banks worldwide now mandate the implementation of core banking technology to prevent fraud and meet regulatory requirements.

    As a result, Finacle's Core Banking Solution is designed as configurable modules with layered Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), straight-through processing (STP) capabilities, web-enabled technology, and support for 24 x 7 operations.

    But no matter how sophisticated the application, the underlying architecture can limit its performance. Not a problem! Since Finacle 10 is now available on Oracle Solaris, it can be run on the screaming fast Oracle SuperCluster or Oracle’s SPARC T-Series servers. As you might expect, Finacle tested this combination for both batch and OLTP processing and found:

    • Batch results that processed 15% more accounts and 3.2 to 3.7 times the required minimum records per second, all achieved within one third of the specified time, with plenty of CPU resources available to handle further load.
    • OLTP results that exceeded Finacle acceptance criteria with more users and more transactions per second, all with sub-second response times and with considerable CPU resources remaining available.

    White Paper: Infosys Finacle Core Banking Solution on Oracle SuperCluster and Oracle’s SPARC T-Series Servers

    Roger Bitar provides technical details about the software and hardware layers in this solution, and describes the configurations that obtained the best performance:

    • Configuration for Fastest OLTP Processing on SuperCluster T4-4
    • Configuration for Fastest Batch Processing on SuperCluster T4-4
    • Configuration for Fastest OLTP Processing on SPARC T4-4 Server
    • Configuration for Fastest Batch Processing on SPARC T4-4 Server

    About the Photograph

    I took this picture of bike race taken in Durango, Colorado, in the Fall of 2012.

    - Rick

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    Tuesday Mar 18, 2014

    Configuring COMSTAR to Provide Local iSCSI Storage

    Oracle Solaris 11 introduced two storage capabilities that I wasn't aware of until Oracle ACE Alexandre Borges brought them to my attention.

    A Solaris 11 system can serve as an iSCSI target that offers storage to other machines, or as an iSCSI initiator to access the storage offered by another iSCSI target. This capability is a real advantage, because any storage offered through the iSCSI protocol is available to an iSCSI initiator as local storage, without the need to use expensive technologies such as Fibre Channel (FC).

    Solaris provides this service through a framework named Common Multiprotocol SCSI TARget (COMSTAR). Alexandre Borges shows you how to use it:

    Tech Article: Using COMSTAR and ZFS to Configure a Virtualized Storage Environment

    How to use COMSTAR to provide local iSCSI storage for any service that runs in Windows, Linux, or Mac OS. It also shows you how to configure authentication using the Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol (CHAP) to secure the iSCSI storage against forbidden access. Part 1 of a series about ZFS.

    About Alexandre Borges

    Alexandre Borges is an Oracle ACE who worked as an employee and contracted instructor at Sun Microsystems from 2001 to 2010 teaching Oracle Solaris, Oracle Solaris Cluster, Oracle Solaris security, Java EE, Sun hardware, and MySQL courses. Nowadays, he teaches classes for Symantec, Oracle partners, and EC-Council, and he teaches several very specialized classes about information security. In addition, he is a regular writer and columnist at Linux Magazine Brazil.

    More content from Alexandre:

    Exploring Installation Options and User Roles in Oracle Solaris 11

    Part 1 of a two-part series that describes how Alexandre installed Oracle Solaris 11 and explored its new packaging system and the way it handles roles, networking, and services. This article focuses first on exploring Oracle Solaris 11 without the need to install it, and then actually installing it on your system.

    Exploring Networking, Services, and the New Image Packaging System in Oracle Solaris 11

    Alexandre walks you through the new way Oracle Solaris 11 manages networking, services, and packages, compared to the way it managed them in Solaris 10.

    Articles in Linux Brazil Magazine (Portuguese)

    Columns in Linux Brazil Magazine (Portuguese)

    More About ZFS and COMSTAR

    About the Photograph

    Photograph of San Rafael Swell taken in Utah by Rick Ramsey on the way to Java One.

    - Rick

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    Tuesday Feb 11, 2014

    Understanding The New Economics of Server Performance

    See below for image license.

    Garage nuts like me always enjoy a truce in the perennial Class War because it lets us enjoy the impressive automobiles the super rich get to drive. Or perhaps their chauffeurs get to drive. When the original Bugatti Veyron was launched in 2006, it had 1001 horses. The base model of the 2006 Honda Accord had 166 horses and cost around $20,000. If the cost of increasing horsepower were linear, going from 166 horses to 1001 horses would only increase the price by a multiple of 6. So, looking only at power, the Bugatti Veyron would cost only cost $120,000.

    According to the Jalopnki blog, it costs $1.7 million dollars. Some of that is due to its luxury appointments, but most of it is due to the non-linear increase in cost that invariably accompanies a linear increase in power.

    Lucky for us geeks, that's not true of hardware. Well, it was for a while, but that's changed. As these three video interviews explain.

    Revolutionizing Server Economics

    Interview with Renato Ribeiro

    Deploying clusters of small systems used to be the most economical way to get compute power because you had to pay a premium to get all that power on a single system. That's no longer true. Renato explains why that's no longer true. And he has charts.

    Horizontal vs Vertical Scalability

    Video Smackdown: Michael Palmeter v Renato Ribeiro

    Is Oracle's approach to large vertically scaled servers at odds with today's trend of combining lots and lots of small, low-cost servers systems with networking to build a cloud, or is it a better approach? Michael Palmeter, Director of Solaris Product Management, and Renato Ribeiro, Director Product Management for SPARC Servers, discuss.

    Like Getting a Ferrari for the Price of a Toyota

    Interview with David Lawler

    Is buying hardware today like getting a Ferrari for the price of a Toyota? Yes, says Senior Vice President David Lawler, because Oracle has re-engineered the way we develop systems from the hardware side and the software side. You get tremendous performance AND low cost. David, who knows his numbers, explains how Oracle does it, and why our competitors aren't doing the same thing. Sound quality is poor, but content is worth it.

    The image used in this blog is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany license. Attribution: M 93

    - Rick

    Follow me on:
    Blog | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | The Great Peruvian Novel

    Wednesday Jan 29, 2014

    Man Vs. Machine

    Man vs machine. Command Line vs GUI. It's not a new debate. In fact, when I was a little boy I watched this Paul Bunyan cartoon with the dismay of a sysadmin watching the increasing popularity of GUIs:

    Cartoon: Paul Bunyan's Ax vs The Chain Saw

    What Skills Do Sysadmins Need to Manage a Modern Data Center?

    Video Interview with Brian Bream

    When I wrote technical manuals for Oracle Solaris back in the day, I had the luxury of my very own lab. For instance, while writing the NIS+ books, I was able to discover my own procedures on a small network and, when I needed something larger, I could ask the sysadmins in Sun's bigger labs to try some experiments for me. Little did I know those were the Golden Years of technical writing.

    They were also the Command Line Years. We used the command line for everything, including email, product testing and, of course, managing Solaris. The command line put the operator in control. You had a mental map of what you were doing, you were completely engaged, and if something became repetitive, you could always write a script for it. The shell was the interface, and emacs was the only tool you needed.

    When GUI's first came out, we hated them on principle. They were slower than the command line, and they didn't really add any value. Plus, they weakened your skills.

    Since then it's been a tossup. GUI's have gotten steadily better, but they didn't add enough value to overcome our attachment to the command line. In fact, we kinda resented them because they were used as a pretext to hire less experienced and cheaper sysadmins.

    However, with the advent of vertically-integrated systems such as Oracle's Exadata and SuperCluster, the GUI may have finally come into its own. Listen to Brian Bream explain why.

    Watch video interview here

    Photograph of bicycle in Durango taken by Rick Ramsey in Oct 2012

    - Rick

    Follow me on:
    Blog | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | The Great Peruvian Novel

    Monday Jan 13, 2014

    Lab - How to Deploy Oracle Software in Minutes Using Oracle VM Templates

    In my first 12 years of school I had a natural ability in Math and Science, but had to work hard at English and History.

    When I went to college, I didn't do well in Math and Science, so I transferred into Liberal Arts, where strangely enough, I did well. After all these years I just realized why. I never had to study for Math and Science. I just understood the material. If I did any homework, I did it during class. Which means I never listened to lectures. As a result, I never learned how to learn what I didn't know. So, when college presented me with more advanced topics that I couldn't just grok, I didn't know what to do. I fell behind. I assumed I wasn't any good. The opposite was true with Liberal Arts. Literature, History, Economics, it all confused me. So I listened in class. And I studied after class. SoI did well.

    And that's why I'm not an engineer.

    If you're a hands-on learner like me and Joel Schallhorn, the guy doing bicycle tricks in the picture, you'll appreciate our latest hands-on lab.

    Lab: How to Deploy a Four-Node Oracle RAC 12c Cluster in Minutes, Using Oracle VM Templates

    Hands-On Lab by Olivier Canonge with contributions from Christophe Pauliat, Simon Coter, Saar Maoz, Doan Nguyen, Ludovic Sorriaux, Cecile Naud, and Robbie De Meyer

    This lab demonstrates how easy it is to deploy software environments with Oracle VM Templates. It uses a single-instance, Oracle Restart (Single-Instance High Availability [SIHA]), and Oracle Real Application Clusters (Oracle RAC) for Oracle Database as an example. During this lab, you are going to deploy a four-node Flex Cluster (three hubs and one leaf) with a dedicated network for Oracle Flex ASM traffic.

    See more of Joel Schallhorn on Instagram | Facebook | YouTube

    - Rick

    Follow me on:
    Blog | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | The Great Peruvian Novel

    Friday Jan 10, 2014

    It's Friday, Ask Your Boss to Dance

    Happy Friday, OTN Garage!

    - Rick

    Follow me on:
    Blog | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | The Great Peruvian Novel

    Thursday Jan 09, 2014

    Why Are So Many People Smarter Than Me?







    When Tim said "Heisenbug," I pictured a large dirigible exploding and heard a radio reporter cry, "Oh the Humanity!"

    As Tim started talking, I realized he'd said "Heisenbug," not Hindenbug. So I pictured my favorite chemistry teacher. Here is a link to his likeness:

    Picture of Heisenberg

    It was only when I heard my deceased physicist father-in-law's voice growling his favorite endearment "Rick, you dumbass," that I finally realized Tim was talking about Werner Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle.

    Although I wasn't completely sure.






    Video Interview: How Ksplice Crushes the Heisenbug

    As it turns out, Tim was talking about that phenomenon that happens to all of us when we call in a sysadmin to fix a problem with our system. When the sysadmin shows up, the problem disappears. I know you guys write scripts to make that happen on purpose, but Tim doesn't. And neither does the Ksplice team. So they developed some very cool technology to diagnose these heisenbugs and get our systems running properly again. Don't worry, your secret is safe with me. And everyone who reads this blog.

    In any case, you can find out how Ksplice crushes the Heisenbug in this short video:

    Video Interview: How Ksplice Crushes the Heisenbug

    Here's a video of the Hinderburg crash

    - Rick

    Follow me on:
    Blog | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | The Great Peruvian Novel

    Tuesday Dec 31, 2013

    Is it Over, Already?

    That was a helluva year. Here's hoping 2014 is just as wild and crazy.

    You can find the articles we posted during 2013 here:

    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 Sep 16, 2013

    Cloud Building with Oracle Solaris 11

    Three resources to help you build clouds with Oracle Solaris 11

    Training Class - How to Build a Private Cloud with Oracle Solaris 11

    by Oracle University

    This training class combines multiple enterprise level technologies to demonstrate a full cloud infrastructure deployment using SPARC technology. Learn To:

    • Plan for and deploy a private Infrastructure as a Service cloud
    • Combine various Oracle technologies into a robust cloud infrastructure
    • Practice cloud component creation and configuration tasks by performing a series of guided hands-on labs
    • Perform the critical steps associated with the configuration of cloud and related facilities.

    Tech Article - How to Build a Web-Based Storage Solution Using Oracle Solaris 11.1

    by Suk Kim

    Have you ever wanted to build a cloud just to see if you can? Turns out it's not that difficult. Install Oracle Solaris 11.1 on your laptop via VirtualBox, set up a little ZFS storage, a little access control, and configure AjaXplorer so you and your friends can manage your files. Don't neglect to drop phrases like "Download that from the cloud I just built" into casual conversation.

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

    We liked this blog so much when Jeff Victor first posted it, that we turned it into a bonafide OTN tech article. You might recognize it. It's about ZOSS: zones on shared storage. Why? When you configure a zone on shared storage, you can quickly clone it on any server that uses that storage. Jeff explains how.

    Bonus! - Oracle VM Templates with Oracle Solaris 11

    picture of cloud taken in Colorado, copyright Rick Ramsey

    - Rick

    Follow me on:
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    Friday Sep 13, 2013

    About LTFS - Library Edition

    Oracle just launched the T10000D tape drive with its incredible 8.5 TB of native capacity and LTFS-Library Edition (LTFS-LE), which expands the LTFS concept to an entire library. The Oracle T10000D has some neat features that I would like to address in the future, but today I’d like to talk about LTFS-LE since it really is a new concept.

    About LFTS-LE

    LTFS is an open source specification for writing data to tape on single tape drives. It is supported by Oracle and other tape vendors. The version you can download from Oracle is called StorageTek LTFS, Open Edition (LTFS-OE).

    When an LTFS-compatible T10000 or LTO tape is formatted for LTFS, it is split into two partitions. The first partition holds the metadata that tells the user which files are on the tape and where they are located. The second partition holds the files themselves.

    Benefits of Using LTFS-LE

    There are a few nice benefits for those who utilize LTFS. Most important is the peace of mind that you will always be able to recover your data regardless of your backup application or any other proprietary software because it’s based on an open source specification. It also improves the portability of tape because two parties don’t both need the same application to read a tape. In fact, LTFS has seen tremendous adoption in industries that require the ability to transport large amounts of data.

    The limitation with the open source version of LTFS is that it’s limited to just a single drive. Users with even the smallest archives would like to have their entire environment to be LTFS-based. That’s the impetus for StorageTek LTFS, Library Edition (LTFS-LE), but it also serves as a backup application eliminator because of how it’s architected. With LTFS-OE, after you download the driver, a tape looks like a giant thumb drive. LTFS-LE makes the tape library look like a shared drive with each tape appearing as a sub-folder. It’s like having a bucket full of thumb drives that are all accessible simultaneously!

    Just as before, you don’t need any additional applications to access files. And end users are almost completely abstracted from the nuances of managing tape. All they need is a Samba or CIFS connection and they have access to the tape library. LTFS-LE is agnostic to corporate security architectures so a system administrator could make some folders (tapes) available to some users while restricting others based on corporate security guidelines.

    Security and Performance Considerations

    However, security is arguably one of the more straightforward considerations when deciding how to integrate an LTFS-LE implementation into your environment. An additional consideration is to ensure that LTFS-LE can meet your performance expectations. Tape drives are remarkably faster than they are given credit for (the Oracle T10000D can write at 252 MB/sec.), but sometimes networks aren’t designed to handle that much traffic so performance requirements need to be considered accordingly. In addition, it may take some time before a read operation actually starts as the library needs time to mount a tape. As a result, system administrators need to be cognizant of how end user applications will accept response times from any tape storage-based solution.

    A final performance consideration is to be aware of how many tape drives are in your library relative to how many users may be accessing files directly from tape. If you have a disproportionately large number of users you may want to consider a more traditional enterprise-level archiving solution such as StorageTek Archive Manager (SAM), which writes files based on the Tape Archive Record (TAR) open source standard.

    Ultimately, LTFS-LE provides exciting new opportunities for system administrators looking to preserve files with a format that isn’t dependent on proprietary solutions. It also makes it easy for users who need access to large amounts of storage without a lot of management difficulties. Support for LTFS continues to grow. Oracle is actually one of the co-chairs of the SNIA committee that’s working towards standardizing LTFS. And this is just the start for LTFS-LE as well, as Oracle will continue expanding its capabilities in the near future.

    picture of 2008 Harley Davidson FXSTC taken by Rick Ramsey
    - Brian Zents

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    Thursday Sep 12, 2013

    Should You Consolidate Your Servers Onto Oracle SuperCluster?

    "Are you planning to consolidate a server running a business-critical application that you want to update with future releases over upcoming years, or are you trying to get rid of an old server running a legacy application that will not be updated anymore?"

    This is just one of the questions Thierry asks in his article, which is a great resource for sysadmins, systems architects, and IT managers who are trying to decide whether to consolidate individual servers onto an Oracle SuperCluster. Your answer will determine whether you should put your application in native or non-native Oracle Solaris zone.

    Other questions Thierry and friends ask:

    • Is my server eligible for physical-to-virtual (P2V) migration?
    • Are you planning a long-term or short-term migration?
    • How critical are performance and manageability?

    Once he has helped you determine your general direction, he discusses these architectural considerations:

    • SuperCluster domains
    • Network setup
    • VLAN setup
    • Licensing considerations

    Finally, he provides a thorough step-by-step instructions for the migration itself, which consists of:

    • Performing a sanity check on the source server
    • Creating a FLAR image of the source system
    • Creating a ZFS pool for the zone
    • Creating and booting the zone
    • Performance tuning

    And just in case you're still not sure how it's done, he concludes with an example that shows you how to consolidate an Oracle Solaris 8 Server Running Oracle Database 10g. It's all here, give it a good read:

    Technical Article: If Virtualization Is Free, It Can't Be Good, Right?

    Article by Thierry Manfé, with contributions from Orgad Kimchi, Maria Frendberg, and Mike Gerdts

    Best practices and hands-on instructions for using Oracle Solaris Zones to consolidate existing physical servers and their applications onto Oracle SuperCluster using the P2V migration process, including a step-by-step example of how to consolidate an Oracle Solaris 8 server running Oracle Database 10g.

    Video Interview: Design and Uses of the Oracle SuperCluster

    Interview with Alan Packer

    Allan Packer, Lead Engineer of the Oracle SuperCluster architecture team, as explains how the design of this engineered system supports consolidation, multi-tenancy, and other objectives popular with customers.

    By the way, that's a picture of an 01 Ducati 748 that I took in the Fall of 2012.

    - Rick

    Follow me on:
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