Thursday Feb 02, 2012

You've Come a Long Way, Desktop

I wouldn't last more than ten minutes teaching in an American high school. Not because the little monsters would frighten me, but because it would take about five minutes for me to grab one of them by the throat and slam them up against the chalkboard. And another five minutes for the principal to walk me out the front gate.

I went to a Catholic High School in Peru. Our Freshman class had 120 students, 40 to a classroom. Only 96 graduated. I don't know what happened to those who flunked out, but those of us who graduated got a phenomenal education. I didn't have a challenging class again until my junior year at Berkeley. Unfortunately, America doesn't value education much and, according to I, Cringely, that disdain has now spread our universities.

Oddly enough, we are really good with desktops. Or rather, with virtual desktops. Walk away from your desktop without even entering a decimal point into the cell you were adding to a spreadsheet, hop on a jet plane to Prague, walk into a friend's office, log in to his desktop, and there's your spreadsheet with the cell that's missing the decimal point.

Desktop virtualization rocks. It not only improves the user experience, it makes life much easier for the sysadmin. You get to manage huge groups of desktops as if they were one. And to totally cool things, as you'll see below. Some of you probably remember the days of walking around with a floppy disk from office to office, updating an application one user at a time. Desktop virtualization is about as diametrically opposed from that as you can get.

If you want to know how far it has come, and what it takes to implement, check out some of these resources:

How to Design a Desktop Infrastructure for Windows Systems

Show this one to your boss. All the factors you need to consider when designing a virtual desktop infrastructure that can deliver a Windows 7 desktop standard operating environment to either 500, 1,000, or 1,500 users. Covers architecture, capacity planning, network configuration, and availability.

Video Interview: Big Energy and Money Savings With SunRay 3 Clients

Michael Dan describes the incredible energy and cost savings you can get with Oracle's SunRay Servers, and demonstrates the product features and production chain innovations that qualify the SunRay 3 thin client for its EnergyStar rating and the 2011 Good Design Award.

Video Interview: How Virtual Desktop Infrastructure is Better for Users and Easier for Sysadmins

You can set up Oracle's Virtual Desktop Infrastructure so that users can switch between OS's on their desktops as easily as selecting a different tab. Or access their desktop environment not only from their laptop, but also from the PC at Ray's Custom Bike Shop (provided Ray had the VDI client installed). Craig Bender and Brad Lackey, who were Microsoft Professionals before they worked on Oracle's Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, describe the components of the VDI 3.2 system, and the features that make it easier, cheaper, and safer for sysadmins to manage. Plus how it works with a global cloud.

Recent Awards

In fact, we do desktop virtualization so well, that we've won several awards. Most recently:

For More Info

- Rick
Website
Newsletter
Facebook
Twitter

Wednesday Jan 25, 2012

Does Your Weekend Workload Look Like This?

We have a couple of resources to help you dive under.

Article: How Dell Migrated From SUSE Linux to Oracle Linux

In June of 2010, Dell made the decision to migrate 1,700 systems from SUSE Linux to Oracle Linux, while leaving the hardware and application layers unchanged. Suzanne Zorn worked with Jon Senger and Aik Zu Shyong, from Dell, to understand exactly how Dell did it. In this article, they describe Dell's server environment, the migration process, and what they learned. The article covers:

  • Preparation, including the use of a "scratch" area
  • Archiving configuration files
  • Conversion of MPIO to PowerPath with a custom script
  • Re-imaging the new OS and installing with kickstart
  • Restoring the configuration files
  • Adjusting profiles
  • Restarting database and applications, and verifying correct operation.

More about Oracle Linux here.

Demo: Update the Oracle Linux Kernel with Ksplice

Waseem Daher uses the command line to demonstrate how you can use Ksplice to install kernel updates to Oracle Linux without rebooting, even while your applications are still running. He also shows you how to use the Uptrack utility in Ksplice to manage your Linux packages more easily. It's only 18 minutes long, and well worth your time.

Why big wave surfers do it.

- Rick
Website
Newsletter
Facebook
Twitter

Monday Jan 23, 2012

How to Survive the End of the World - Part II

In Part I of our Survival Guide for Civilization, I explained how to save civilization by identifying four distant planets that had the essential building blocks of civilization and combining them into a 5-node cluster with Earth:

Building BlockDistant Planet
--------------------------------------
footballDitka
cheerleadersDallas
beerBud
bratsMilwaukee
--------------------------------------
civilizationbackup civilization

As mentioned in Part I, the resulting five-node cluster was actually more than what we wanted. Five distant planets! We'd rather not deal with the overhead of managing five distant planets. We prefer to keep managing just one planet, but make sure that can keep civilization humming. Turns out that we can accomplish that through the magic of virtualization. As you might expect, it's called a virtual cluster. (Really techie people call it a failover zone cluster.)

First, we create one zone on Earth for each building block:

Building BlockZone on Earth
--------------------------------------
footballfootball-zone
cheerleaderscheerleader-zone
beerbeer-zone
bratsbrats-zone
--------------------------------------
civilizationcivilization zones

Then we create one failover zone on each distant planet for each zone on Earth:

Zone on EarthFailover ZoneDistant Planet
---------------------------------------------------------
football-zonefootball-failover-zoneDitka
cheerleaderscheerleaders-failover-zoneDallas
beerbeer-failover-zoneBud
bratsbrats-failover-zoneMilwaukee
---------------------------------------------------------
zone civilizationfailover zone civilization

In this way, each failover zone on its distant planet backs up one original zone on Earth. It's a great way to save civilization with much less overhead.

As it turns out, not only do we have an article that shows you how to create a cluster with Solaris Cluster 4.0, but we have one that shows you how to create a failover cluster, too:

How to Create A Failover Zone Cluster

Give it a try. It never hurts to be prepared.

- Rick
Website
Newsletter
Facebook
Twitter

Tuesday Jan 10, 2012

Big Data is Cool

Do you like to screw around with Facebook's ad machinery by posting creative entries just to see what ads Facebook will post immediately afterwards? Try it sometime ... post an entry with "Alzheimers" or "lactose intolerance" in it and watch how the ads change. Beats late-nite television.

We take it for granted, now, but advertisements used to really miss their mark. I will read anything about motorcycles, but I'm bored to tears by Tommy Hilfiger's latest twist on torn jeans. Back in the day, retailers knew precious little about their customers, so Tommy would waste a lot of money sending me pictures of skinny teenagers in torn jeans. That's all changed. In today's living out loud society, Harley Davidson knows more about me than the FBI, CIA, and Homeland Security combined.

That's because of Big Data. Instead of storing only transactions in relational databases, companies are now storing and mining the content in blogs, social media, photographs, and all kinds of non-traditional data to find out who their customers are likely to be, and what they're likely to want. In principle it sounds kinda creepy, but in practice it keeps Tommy Hilfiger outta my face, so I don't mind.

If you're a sysadmin, you may want to know Big Data works. Since Oracle just launched its Big Data Appliance, we have plenty of content to get you started. Here are three:

You can find these and more content about Oracle's BigData Appliance on OTN:

OTN's Big Data Appliance Page

White papers, blogs, videos,
data sheets, and links to
related technologies.

- Rick
Website
Newsletter
Facebook
Twitter

Monday Jan 09, 2012

New Documentation for Common Sysadmin Tasks

The Oracle Solaris 10 documentation covers the most common sysadmin tasks in two main guides:

Oracle Solaris 11 uses one:

Oracle Solaris 11 Common Tasks Guide

The Common Tasks Guide covers:

  • Using Oracle Solaris man pages
  • Setting up and managing user accounts
  • Booting and shutting down Oracle Solaris 11
  • Working with the Oracle Configuration Manager
  • Managing services through SMF
  • Using the Fault Manager
  • Managing software packages
  • Managing disk use
  • Displaying and managing system processes
  • Managing system resources and configuration
  • Managing printing
  • Troubleshooting system and software problems, and managing core files

The rest of the Oracle Solaris 11 documentation is here:

Oracle Solaris 11 Documentation Library

By the way, there is no printing guide in the Oracle Solaris 11 library. That information appears in this part of the Common Tasks Book:

Setting Up and Administering Printers Using CUPS

- Juanita Heieck
Website
Newsletter
Facebook
Twitter

Tuesday Jan 03, 2012

Next OTN Sysadmin Day is on January 18

Our next OTN Sysadmin Day will be held on January 18 in Salt Lake City, Utah. As usual, we will have two tracks of hands-on-labs:

Time Session
8:00 am System Shakedown
9:00 am Oracle's Dual OS Strategy / Overview of OTN
 

Oracle Solaris Track

Oracle Linux Track

10:00 am HOL: ZFS HOL: managing packages, configuring services
11:30 am HOL: Exploring OS, network, and storage virtualization HOL on Storage Part I: managing storage and file systems
1:00 pm Lunch Break
2:00 pm HOL: Managing software with IPS HOL on Storage Part II: Device Mapper, BTRFS
3:00 pm Presentation: Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 11g
4:00 pm Discussion: What are the most pressing issues for sysadmins today?
5:00 pm We all go home

Participants of previous OTN Sysadmin Days found the hands-on labs particularly valuable. You get to learn by doing. And what you get to do is install, configure, and manage the technologies of Oracle Solaris 11 and Oracle Linux in the same way as you would in the real world.

OTN Sysadmin Day in Salt Lake City is free, but you must register. Please stay for the feedback session at the end. They tend to be pretty spirited, and you might win a neat prize. Address:

Salt Lake City Marriott City Center
220 South State Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84111

If you'd like to see some pictures from the Sacramento event, go to the "OTN Sysadmin Day Sacramento" photo folder on the OTN Garage on Facebook.

To find out what there is to do is Salt Lake City and Utah, click on the ski page above. It will take you to National Geographic's Guide to Utah.

- Rick
Website
Newsletter
Facebook
Twitter

Friday Dec 23, 2011

Santa in the OTN Garage

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

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

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

- Rick

Website
Newsletter
Facebook
Twitter

Friday Dec 16, 2011

Two Sysadmin Articles Make OTN's Top 20

In the OTN blog, Justin reports that two sysadmin-related articles made OTN's top 20 list for 2011:

Number 2
Taking Your First Steps with Oracle Solaris 11
- by Brian Leonard and Glenn Brunette

Number 11
How I Simplified the Installation of Oracle Database on Oracle Linux
- by Ginny Henningsen

Boo-yah!

The good work of Brian, Glenn, and Ginny makes those of us in the Systems Community of OTN particularly proud because the number of OTN readers who are system admins and developers is dwarfed by the number who are Java developers. Even making the top 20 is notable. To Brian, Glenn, and Ginny, a heartfelt:

- Rick

Website
Newsletter
Facebook
Twitter

Thursday Dec 15, 2011

How to Survive the End of the World - Part I

If you've been paying attention you'll probably agree that Earth will be destroyed any day, now.

That used to concern me.

But the more I understand clustering, the more I realize we can simply reconstitute civilization from individual slices of other planets in the Universe. The first thing we need to do is identify the building blocks of an advanced civilization. That should be relatively simple:

football
+cheerleaders
+beer
+brats
-------------------
civilization

Next, find planets that had excellent examples of each building block:

Building BlockBackup Planet
-------------------
footballDitka
cheerleadersDallas
beerBud
bratsMilwaukee
--------------------------------------
civilizationbackup civilization

Those four planets plus Earth would be easy enough to arrange into a high-availability cluster if we downloaded and installed Oracle Solaris 11 and Oracle Solaris Cluster 4.0 on each planet, including Earth.

With Solaris Cluster 4.0, we could create a nice five-node cluster. Not only would the cluster provide the disaster recovery we're looking for, but it would actually help us create an elastic cloud of sorts, in which we could, for instance, tap into the beer of planet Bud during the Super Bowl or other times of dire need. See What's New to read about other cool things you can do with Solaris Cluster 4.0.

Creating a five-node cluster can get a bit tricky, but you can build up your skills by creating a smaller one, using the instructions in this OTN article:

How to Install and Configure a Two Node Cluster

Once you have the two-node setup figured out, you can move to the five-node setup. But the resulting five-node cluster is actually more than what we want, isn't it? It's a cluster of five entire planets, when what we're looking for is a slice of each planet. In an upcoming blog I'll summarize how to create a cluster from the slices of those individual planets. That's called a virtual cluster or a zone cluster, and it's very cool.

- Rick

Website
Newsletter
Facebook
Twitter

Tuesday Nov 22, 2011

Screwed Up Again, Did Ya?

Your turn to wear the Cantaloupe Cap of Shame? Here's how to keep it from happening again:

  1. Figure out what data you need to archive
  2. Create a solid archive someplace safer than your iphone
  3. Get wicked fast at recovering your system.

Jesse Butler explains how to do all three for a system running Oracle Solaris 11:

How to Recover an Oracle Solaris 11 System

- Rick

Website
Newsletter
Facebook
Twitter

Monday Nov 21, 2011

Is Oracle Solaris 11 Really Better Than Oracle Solaris 10?

If you want to be well armed for that debate, study this comparison of the commands and capabilities of each OS before the spittle starts flying:

How Solaris 11 Compares to Solaris 10

For instance, did you know that the command to configure your wireless network in Solaris 11 is not wificonfig, but dladm and ipadm for manual configuration, and netcfg for automatic configuration? Personally, I think the change was made to correct the grievous offense of spelling out "config" in the wificonfig command, instead of sticking to the widely accepted "cfg" convention, but loathe as I am to admit it, there may have been additional reasons for the change.

This doc was written by the Solaris Documentation Team, and it not only compares the major features and command sequences in Solaris 11 to those in Solaris 10, but it links you to the sections of the documentation that explain them in detail.

- Rick

Website
Newsletter
Facebook
Twitter

Friday Nov 18, 2011

New Shell In Oracle Solaris 11

In Oracle Solaris 11, Korn Shell 93 (/usr/bin/ksh/ or usr/bin/ksh93) replaces both the Bourne Shell (/usr/bin/sh or /sbin/sh) and Korn Shell 88 (/usr/bin/ksh).

There are some incompatibilities between the shells. They are described in:

/usr/share/doc/ksh/COMPATIBILITY

If a script has compatibility problems you can use the legacy shell by changing the she-bang line:

If this doesn't work

Use This

#!/bin/ksh #!/usr/sunos/bin/ksh
#!/usr/bin/ksh #!/usr/sunos/bin/ksh
   
#!/bin/sh #!/usr/sunos/bin/sh
#!/usr/bin/sh #!/usr/sunos/bin/sh
#!/sbin/sh #!/usr/sunos/bin/sh

- Mike Gerdts http://blogs.oracle.com/zoneszone/

Website
Newsletter
Facebook
Twitter

Wednesday Nov 16, 2011

Silly Developers, VirtualBox Is For Sysadmins!

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

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

My New Favorite Sysadmin Tool: Oracle VM VirtualBox

Here are some of Ginny's other articles:

- Rick Ramsey
Website
Newsletter
Facebook
Twitter

Friday Nov 11, 2011

How to Find Out Which Devices Are Supported By Solaris 11
















Image of monks gathering on the steps of the main hall in the Tashilhunpo Monastery is courtesy of Alison Whitear Travel Photography.















In his update of Brian Leonard's original Taking Your First Steps With Oracle Solaris, Glynn Foster walks you through the most basic steps required to get a version of Oracle Solaris 11 operational:

  • Installing Solaris (VirtualBox, bare metal, or multi-boot)
  • Managing users (root role, sudo command)
  • Managing services with SMF (svcs and svcadm)
  • Connecting to the network (with SMF or manually via dladm and ipadm)
  • Figuring out the directory structure
  • Updating software (with the IPS GUI or the pkg command)
  • Managing package repositories
  • Creating and managing additional boot environments

One of the things you'll have to consider as you install Solaris 11 on an x86 system is whether Solaris has the proper drivers for the devices on your system. In the section titled "Installing On Bare Metal as a Standalone System," Glynn shows you how to use the Device Driver utility that's included with the Graphical Installer.

However, if you want to get that information before you start installing Solaris 11 on your x86 system, you can consult the x86 Device List that's part of the Oracle Solaris Hardware Compatibility List (HCL). Here's how:

  1. Open the Device List.
  2. Scroll down to the table.
  3. Open the "Select Release" pull-down menu and pick "Solaris 11 11/11."
  4. Move over to the "Select Device Type" pull-down menu, and pick the device type. Or "All."

The table will list all the devices of that type that are supported by Solaris 11, including PCI ID and vendor.

In the coming days the Solaris Hardware Compatibility List will be updated with more Solaris 11 content. Stay tuned.

- Rick Ramsey
Website
Newsletter
Facebook
Twitter

Monday Nov 07, 2011

5 Commands That Make Solaris Administration Easier

Face it. Not all of us have got it figured out.

If the Service Management Facility in Oracle Solaris 10 happens to be one of those areas that you didn't quite understand as well as you had intended, you may be interested to know that it's not as complicated as, say, the interplay between geopolitics and energy policy.

In fact, SMF only has five commands:

svcs Get detailed views of the service state of all service instances in the service configuration repository
svcadm Perform common service management tasks, such as enabling, disabling, or restarting service instances
svcfg Display and manipulate the contents of the service configuration repository
svcprop Retrieves property values from the service configuration repository with an output format appropriate for use in shell scripts
inetadm Observe or control services controlled by inetd

The svcfg and svcprop commands deal with the service repository (maintains configuration info and run-time data for services). The inetadm command focuses on inetd-controlled services. You can get more information about these three commands in the Oracle Solaris 10 Basic System Administration Guide, available from The Solaris 10 System Administration Documentation Collection. Or, if it hasn't moved, use this link.

If you want to learn about the many things that you can do with the first two commands, svcs and svcadm, read this technical white paper:

Easier System Administration with the Solaris Service Management Facility

It describes how you can use the svcs and svcadm commands to:

  • Display all the services currently running
  • Display information about individual services
  • Display dependencies between services
  • List the individual processes that constitute a service
  • Perform common administrative tasks such as starting a service and then monitoring it
  • Investigate system faults
  • It's a good way to become familiar with real-world uses of the SMF. And, perhaps, put you in the practice of fully developing your perspective before you are moved to unleash it upon the world.

    - Rick Ramsey and Cindy Swearingen
    Website
    Newsletter
    Facebook
    Twitter

    Tuesday Oct 18, 2011

    Solving the Tape Storage Space Problem

    Because I came of age professionally in the shorts-and-tshirt smarter-than-you culture of Silicon Valley, I always assumed tape storage was used only by retired British spies with names such as Baratheon and Brewster and Cameron who lived in dank mansions on the rocky coast of Scotland and still dressed in tweed jackets for dinner. They spent their days engrossed in the struggle to keep their Dunhill pipes lit and their hair piece in place against fury of the North Wind. Every few months a carrier pigeon would arrive from MI5, and Baratheon or Brewster or Cameron would slowly descend the stairs to a back room. A week later he would return with a name written in code, and hand it to a man in a dripping wetsuit and spear gun who would jump off the cliff without looking and swim it back to a submarine waiting off the coast.

    Turns out I was behind the times. In fact, tape for archiving has several advantages that make it economically feasible in today's digital pack-rat economy. Such as durability. And much, much lower power consumption. You can read about them in this paper by Horison information strategies:

    Tape: The Digital Curator of the Information Age (registration required)

    If you're a storage admin or IT manager considering tape, there's another paper that may interest you more. Published on OTN in July, it describes very clearly the limitations of data that is written in a stream to tape, and how Oracle technologies overcome them. For instance, once you write a block of data to a stream of tape, that particular bit of data not only becomes inefficient to target for access, but updates to the data become clumsy and cumbersome. And as tape cartridges grow to store a terabyte of data, the problem becomes even more pronounced.

    Oracle's StorageTek In-Drive Reclaim Accelerator avoids this problem by simply breaking up the serial data on a tape into smaller, more manageable chunks that are grouped together and managed as logical volumes. Find out how in this well-written white paper:

    How it Works: StorageTek Reclaim Accelerator

    For more information about Oracle tape drive products, visit OTN's Tape Storage product page.

    - Rick
    Website
    Newsletter
    Facebook
    Twitter

    Monday Oct 17, 2011

    Networking Services You Can Run Inside a Oracle Solaris 11 Express Zone

    Oracle Solaris 11 Express introduced a new network stack architecture previously known as “Crossbow”. It lets you combine virtual NICs into flexible virtual networks that are tightly integrated with zones. In addition, the new architecture introduces the ability to manage your network resources by controlling bandwidth and flow.

    As a result, you can now run these services inside a Solaris 11 Express zone:

    • DHCP client
    • DHCP server
    • Routing daemon
    • IPsec
    • IPfilter
    • IP Multipathing (IPMP)
    • ndd commands
    • ifconfig with set or modify capabilities (usage of dladm and ipadm is recommended

    This is just one of the changes between Oracle Solaris 11 Express and previous versions. For more info, see the Oracle Solaris 11 ISV Adoption Guide.

    - Rick
    Website
    Newsletter
    Facebook
    Twitter

    Friday Sep 16, 2011

    The Confederate Hellcat and Other Minimal Configurations

    I've been looking for a reason to use this picture of the Confederate HellCat for a while, now. A souped-up Harley engine in a radical sportbike chassis. Makes you want to run into the garage and roll around in dirty oil rags, doesn't it?

    Here's another minimal configuration:

    Recommendations for Creating Reduced or Minimal Oracle Solaris Configurations

    Some sites use OS minimization to reduce the security footprint of their Oracle Solaris installations. Others do it to reduce the administrative burden of patching and updating software. But minimization has both risks and benefits. Glenn Brunette provides his recommendations for mitigating the risks and reaping the benefits. Covers initial installation, package removal, patching, and what to watch out for. Applies to Oracle Solaris 10 and prior releases.

    And since we're talking about simplification, this article might also be apropos (that's French for "I like American beer"):

    How I Simplified the Installation of Oracle Database on Oracle Linux

    Ginny Henningsen describes how she simplified the installation of Oracle Database 11g by automatically pre-configuring Oracle Linux with the required software packages and correct kernel parameters. Hint: using the "oracle-validated " RPM package.

    - Rick
    Website
    Newsletter
    Facebook
    Twitter

    Thursday Sep 15, 2011

    How Content Management Makes Tape Drives More Efficient

    Guest blog by Steve Aaker and Jamie Giovanetto

    Oracle StorageTek's Enterprise Library Software (ELS) is the storage management software available for these Oracle StorageTek Tape Storage mainframe products:

    In addition to its hardware enablement functions, ELS provides a rules-based content manager that can significantly increase the efficiency of your tape drives and systems. It's called the Library Content Manager or LCM for short, and it is described in the documentation for the ELS software.

    For physical tapes, which can be native data or scratch cartridges, Multiple Volume Cartridges (MVCs), or cleaning cartridges and empty (free) storage cells, LCM places the tapes in the best location to:

    • Maximize the efficiency of the enabling software selections
    • Minimize the robotics activity at job mount time.

    In the virtual tape environment, LCM controls whether a volume is in Oracle's StorageTek Virtual Storage Manager System buffer or only on an MVC at the appropriate time.

    This content management capability can dramatically increase the efficiency of your tape storage.

    An Example

    Let's take the case where a StorageTek SL8500 modular library system from Oracle is totally full of cartridges and has no content management. All mounts and dismounts for the tapes in the library occur when required, but the question is whether that is sufficient. It is the minimum expected action, to be sure, but is it being accomplished in an efficient manner? If the cartridge to be mounted is in Library Storage Module (LSM) 03 and the drive where it is to be mounted is in LSM 00 (because that is the only location for that type of drive), the mount will take five major robotics actions. At dismount time, because there are no free cells, it will take another five major robotics actions to return the cartridge back to its source cell. In both directions, at least one of these robotic actions will be a move through the entire length of the library. When complete, the cartridge is back in LSM 03 and the drives it can be mounted on are still in LSM 00. Each time the volume is mounted, this scenario is repeated.

    Now, let's look at what the same mount would look like in a content-managed StorageTek SL8500 modular library system. First, the cartridge to be mounted would have been placed in LSM 00 by a prior management run, which would have placed it in the LSM where the drives on which it could be mounted are located. Because of this management activity, the mount would require only two robotics actions, and the dismount would require the same. The reduction of three robotics actions, including that move through the entire length of the library, significantly reduces overall robotics time and results in much faster mount time. The cumulative mount times directly affect overall production time, so proper placement of volumes has a significant impact on production performance.

    However, you might ask, "Didn't the cartridge have to be moved to the right place at some time? Didn't that take robotics activity?" Of course, it did. The difference is that content management activity would have been done outside the production job's execution time. In addition, the cartridge would have been placed where it can be mounted many times without requiring the many robotics actions required in the unmanaged example.

    Note that this is just one of many examples where significant performance improvements can be obtained by active, rules-based content management. At its fullest implementation level, StorageTek LCM can bring scheduled production mounts down to sub-second levels in the virtual environment and, in some cases, to an average mount time that is approximately half the average mount time for an Oracle StorageTek SL8500 modular library system in the physical environment. Combined with its other capabilities and the underlying hardware and enabling software environment, Oracle's StorageTek Library Content Manager offers great enhancements to the automated tape environment.

    - Steve Aaker and Jamie Giovanetto

    Wednesday Sep 14, 2011

    OTN Sysadmin Day - Seattle

    OTN Sysadmin Day held in Sacramento on Sep 8 was the first time we presented two tracks of hands-on labs:

    Time Session
    8:00 am System Shakedown
    9:00 am Oracle's Dual OS Strategy / Overview of OTN
     

    Oracle Solaris Track

    Oracle Linux Track

    10:00 am HOL: ZFS HOL: managing packages, configuring services
    11:30 am HOL: Exploring OS, network, and storage virtualization HOL on Storage Part I: managing storage and file systems
    1:00 pm Lunch Break
    2:00 pm HOL: Managing software with IPS HOL on Storage Part II: Device Mapper, BTRFS
    3:00 pm Presentation: Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 11g
    4:00 pm Discussion: What are the most pressing issues for sysadmins today?
    5:00 pm We all go home

    Participants found the hands-on labs particularly valuable. You get to learn by doing. And what you get to do is install, configure, and manage the technologies of Oracle Solaris 11 and Oracle Linux in the same way as you would in the real world.

    Next Sysadmin Day

    We are doing another one in Seattle, on September 22nd. From 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. It's free, but you must register. Please stay for the feedback session at the end. They tend to be pretty spirited, and you might win a neat prize. I'll tell you more if you make it to Seattle.

    Our next Sysadmin Day won't happen till January 18 (Salt Lake City), so do what you can to make it to Seattle. It's being held at the Seattle Westin Hotel, 1900 5th Avenue.

    If you'd like to see some pictures from the Sacramento event, go to the "OTN Sysadmin Day Sacramento" photo folder on the OTN Garage on Facebook.

    - Rick
    Website
    Newsletter
    Facebook
    Twitter

    Thursday Aug 25, 2011

    Next OTN Sysadmin Day is in Sacramento

    Bottom Line: next OTN Sysadmin Day is September 8 in Sacramento.
    Free, but registration is required.

    One of the most subtle yet powerful skills I learned from The Missus is how to tell the difference between what was better and what I preferred.

    Motorcycle magazines, for instance, spend an awful lot of time telling us why one motorcycle is better than another. They do this by employing their best interpretation of objective criteria: acceleration, braking, cornering, carrying capacity, conveniences, ergonomics, and sometimes even the personal riding experience of the reviewer.

    There's nothing wrong with that. Very useful stuff. And fascinating to read. Except that it gets me all confused. Or confuzzled, as my daughter calls it. The objective criteria makes me think one bike is better than the other. But when I buy it, why am I less than fulfilled?

    Because features and capabilities don't often match personal preference.

    Although we don't usually put personal preference at the top of the list when choosing an operating system, we shouldn't ignore it. Personal preference is not just whim. It takes into account the job we're trying to accomplish, the way we have to handle it, and the tools we prefer to use. In fact, ignoring our personal preference has an impact on productivity: if we hate "our ride," we're not going to get very good at using it, are we?

    OTN's second Sysadmin Day (read about the first) will begin with an overview of Oracle's dual OS strategy. Then we'll split off into two tracks, one with hands-on labs for Oracle Linux, one for Oracle Solaris.

    Time Session
    8:00 am System Shakedown
    9:00 am Oracle's Dual OS Strategy
     

    Oracle Solaris Track

    Oracle Linux Track

    9:30 am Overview of Oracle Solaris Overview of Oracle Linux
    10:00 am HOL: ZFS HOL: managing packages, configuring services
    11:30 am HOL: Exploring OS, network, and storage virtualization HOL on Storage Part I: managing storage and file systems
    1:00 pm Lunch Break
    2:00 pm HOL: Managing software with IPS HOL on Storage Part II: Device Mapper, BTRFS
    3:00 pm Presentation: Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 11g
    4:00 pm Discussion: What are the most pressing issues for sysadmins today?
    5:00 pm We all go home

    Consider it an Oracle Demo Day, if you will. It's free, but you must register to attend.

    As for me, after spending a couple of years riding the canyons on a 2005 Ducati 800SS, a 2003 Ducati ST4 with a 4-valve 996 engine, Ohlins shocks, and Marchesini wheels, a 2005 BMW K1200S, and the bikes of a few friends, I went back to a 2006 Harley Davidson Fat Boy. Even though the other bikes performed much better, I prefer the Fat Boy. And my wicked smaht Missus.

    - Rick
    Website
    Newsletter
    Facebook
    Twitter

    Friday Aug 19, 2011

    Friday Relapse - Maradona and The Hand of God

    Three minutes after Diego Maradona scored a goal against England in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico City with a move so blatantly illegal that even an NBA official would have called him for palming the ball, he scores a solo goal so magnificent it became the Goal of the Century (video).

    See you next week.

    Rick
    Website
    Newsletter
    Facebook
    Twitter

    Thursday Aug 18, 2011

    The Impact of Oracle Optimized Solutions on a Sysadmin's Job

    When Oracle acquired Sun we kept it simple. In doing so we came up with Oracle Optimized Solutions. Of course they're great for business because they are assembled from a pre-configured stack of Oracle products that we test and use ourselves, but are they be great for Sysadmins? I decided to ask.

    The best person to ask anything about Oracle Optimized Solutions is Marshall Choy. Not only is Marshal the director of the engineering group that selects and assembles these systems, but he began his high tech career as a sysadmin working on both Solaris and Linux systems. Marshall agreed to let us put him on the spot, so Justin interviewed him on OTN TechCast. In addition to talking about a sysadmin's job, Marshall explains the patching strategy for these types of stacks. Here are some of the questions we asked him.

    1. What's the difference between Oracle Optimized Solutions and Oracle Engineered Systems?
    2. What will this mean my job as a sysadmin - will my skills become obsolete? Will I be replaced by someone less skilled?
    3. I'm not sure I want to outsource my sysadmin skills to Oracle - how will these optimized solutions change what I spend my time doing?
    4. Aren't we just turning back the clock 20 years - why did you decide to build a proprietary vertical stack?
    5. What if I want to change something in the stack, how will it affect my support contract?
    6. How often do you update the components in the stack, and do I get those updates for free?
    7. How do I install updates and patches?

    It's a good show. It lasts 14 minutes. Don't miss it.

    - Rick
    Website
    Newsletter
    Facebook
    Twitter

    Tuesday Aug 16, 2011

    Ginny Had A Bright Idea

    image courtesy of Twenty Words

    In the Olden Days before most of us were born, if a woman got a bright idea she got an immediate spanking from John Wayne. Thank goodness John Wayne has stopped doing that, or we wouldn't get to reap the benefits of the research Ginny Henningsen did with Oracle Solaris 11.

    When Ginny read about all the different ways to download, install, patch, and manage updates in Solaris 11, she wasn't sure where to start. So she drew on her personal experience, the experience of other sysadmins and systems engineers, the documentation, and the related technical articles posted on OTN.

    The result? These three very practical articles.

    Article 1
    Best Way To Update Software Using IPS in Oracle Solaris 11

    The SVR4 packaging and patching systems in earlier versions of Solaris were designed by the Chosen for the Faithful. If you loved SunOS you could recite package nomenclature in your sleep and you always, always used the command line. Alas, nobody loves software for its own sake any more. At least, not enough of us do. And so, the latest version of Solaris does away with the mystery, the animal sacrifice, the practice of witchcraft, and the other requirements for mastery of earlier versions. Read how Ginny put away her potions and figured out the best way to use the new tools.

    Article 2
    Best Way to Automate ZFS Snapshots and Track Software Updates in Oracle Solaris 11

    Boot environments in Solaris 11 perform a function similar to Live Upgrade environments in Oracle Solaris 10. Except that they're implemented with ZFS. Which means you can generate snapshots of your boot environments at every point you'd like to record. And the beauty of that is, of course, that you can return to any snapshot of the boot environment that you want to use. In this article, Ginny introduces TimeSlider, shows you how to configure it to take automatic snapshots, and explains how to keep a record of the software updates that have been made to the current boot environment.

    Article 3
    Best Way to Update Software in Oracle Solaris 11 Zones

    Before the Zone there was the Container. And before the Container, the Zone. This is The Way of Software. In her third "Best Way" article, Ginny figures out the best way to manage software updates in Solaris 11 zones which, as you might expect, are different from Solaris 10 zones. After showing you those differences, she shows you how to create, configure, install, and clone a Solaris 11 zone, then how to upgrade both the global and non-global zones. As a bonus, you get to find out what to do if something goes wrong.

    We're expecting more "Best Way" articles from Ginny down the road. So read these, try out their recommendations yourself, and tell us what you think.

    And don't forget to save the lemur!

    - Rick
    Website
    Newsletter
    Facebook
    Twitter

    About

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

    Search

    Archives
    « April 2014
    SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
      
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5
    6
    7
    8
    9
    10
    12
    13
    15
    16
    17
    18
    19
    20
    21
    22
    23
    24
    25
    26
    27
    28
    29
    30
       
           
    Today
    Blogs We Like