Tuesday Mar 31, 2015

Get Your OVM Server On

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

OU Class: Unix and Linux Essentials

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the Photograph

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

- Rick

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Thursday Jan 08, 2015

The Importance of Hardware

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

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

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


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

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

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

Bookmark this

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

About the Photograph

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

- Rick

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Monday Dec 08, 2014

Brian Bream, USA's first ACE for Systems Technologies











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









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

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

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

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

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

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

You fan follow Brian Bream on the newfangled social media:

About the Photograph

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

- Rick

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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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Friday May 16, 2014

Orgad Strikes Again

"And while you're at it, use the Unified Archive to deploy a cloud in a box."

Orgad is too smart. Or maybe, he does what Einstein claims to do:

"It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer."
- Albert Einstein

How to Set Up a Hadoop 2.2 Cluster on Oracle Solaris 11.2

Technical Article by Orgad Kimchi

Figuring out how to set up a Hadoop 2.2 Cluster helps keep Orgad challenged on those late nights when, after a few too many shots of Joov, he strikes up a casual game of chess with Deep Blue. As he explains,

"Setting up a Hadoop cluster on Oracle Solaris 11.2 gives you fast provisioning via zone cloning, best I/O performance from ZFS compression, and rapid provisioning with the Unified Archive."

But setting up a Hadoop cluster and configuring its failover capabilities (yawn) is just not enough to keep Orgad interested. Nope. To stay awake he has to toss in a neat little trick at the end of his article: how to use the Unified Archive in Oracle Solaris 11.2 to create a cloud-in-a-box that you can deploy in a variety of environments.

I don't know what Orgad does between midnight and 2:00 am, but in case you want to take a guess, here are more gems from Orgad:

About the Photograph

Photograph of plant killed by Mrs. Ramsey taken by Rick Ramsey in Colorado

- Rick
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Tuesday Apr 29, 2014

How Easy Is It To Run OpenStack on Oracle Solaris 11.2?

Three resources to help you see how easy it is to create, provision, and manage an internal cloud using OpenStack on Oracle Solaris 11.2.

Sofia, Where's My Cloud?

An OTN Home Movie

7-year old Sofia installs a cloud using OpenStack running on Oracle Solaris 11.2 and shows her clueless Daddy how to manage it using the OpenStack Dashboard.

OpenStack Dashboard Walkthrough - The Admin Panel

An OTN Tech Demo

David Comay, Solaris engineer, shows you how to use the Admin panel in the OpenStack Dashboard, including how to define the types of virtual machines and software images a user can create, and how to give them networking capabilities.

OpenStack Dashboard Walkthrough - The Project Panel

An OTN Tech Demo

David Comay, Solaris engineer, shows you how to use the Project panel in the OpenStack dashboard, including how to create an instance of a virtual compute and storage resource, how to associate it with a network, how to view its topology, and more.

Stay tuned in the coming days for more video interviews of the Solaris engineers that developed this and other technologies in Oracle Solaris 11.

About the Photograph

Photograph of fountain at Oracle's Santa Clara campus taken by Rick Ramsey, April 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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Friday Apr 11, 2014

New Oracle Solaris/SPARC SIG Launched by IOUG







What happens in Vegas ...










... stays in Vegas.










Well, most of it does, anyway.

Collaborate 2014, put on by the Independent Oracle User Group (IOUG), the Oracle Applications User Group (OAUG), and the Quest International User Group was terrific. Great content, great people, great event. And lots of sysadmins!

One of the most interesting things to come out of Collaborate is a new Special Interest Group (SIG) for Oracle Systems technologies, sponsored by Independent Oracle User Group (IOUG). It's called the Solaris/SPARC SIG, but the first meeting covered a lot of ground that included the other technologies in Oracle's Systems portfolio, including engineered systems, storage, networking, and optimized solutions. This perspective on Oracle Solaris is significant because the value of Oracle Solaris becomes increasingly evident when viewed from the perspective of the database, engineered systems like Oracle SuperCluster, and cloud strategies.

So keep an eye on the SIG and join us in future activities. I'll be sure to promote them here, but also keep an eye on the SIG Calendar.

Seth Miller and Ed Whalen, Oracle ACES, were kind enough to tape a couple of video interviews for the OTN Garage. I'll be posting them there soon.

About the Photograph

Photograph of your Systems Community Manager and friends taken by Laura Ramsey in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, in April 2014.

- Rick

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Wednesday Mar 26, 2014

More Tips for Remote Access with Oracle Linux

In a previous blog, Oracle Linux Tips and Tricks, I covered alternative ways to use SSH. In this article, I will cover some additional tips and tricks for using SSH for remote access, as well as some other ways to connect remotely to a server.

SSH's primary use is for remote access to hosts. SSH is not only able to provide us a terminal interface to a server, it's also able to provide us a transport for a graphical interface. In order to utilize this functionality, we must have an X server running on our local workstation. On a Linux workstation with a graphical environment, this functionality is built in. On other systems, such as a Windows machine or a Mac, this functionality is not built in. Both XQuartz on the Mac and MobaXTerm are X servers for these platforms. There are also a number of other open source and paid products available for both platforms.

Once you have an acceptable X server installed on your local workstation, you can connect with SSH using the following ssh command. The -X enables X11 forwarding for the connection. Keep in mind that the X11 forwarding is based on the user who originally connected. Logging in with one user and then using sudo often will not work, depending on the permissions and ownership needed to complete a task.

[user@laptop ~]$ ssh -X 10.0.0.12

Once you authenticate, you drop directly to a standard prompt. If you look closely, though, and examine the environment variables in your terminal, you will find an additional environment variable that has the IP address of your workstation. You can examine your environment variables using the env command.

DISPLAY=localhost:10.0

Now you can launch an application that has a graphical interface, and the interface will be displayed on your local workstation. The following example will launch gedit. The ampersand symbol is useful for forking the process in the background so we can retain the use of our terminal.

[user@remotehost ~]$ gedit &

Using X11 connections over SSH can be quite useful for using application installers that are graphical, such as the Oracle Universal Installer for Oracle Database.

The screen application is a great compliment to SSH and is quite useful for sharing an SSH session with another user. Because of the way screen preserves sessions for the user, it is also great for high-latency network connections that have frequent disconnects and for maintaining sessions that time out due to security policies. With a regular SSH connection, if you are disconnected, any processes that were running are not preserved. Unlike SSH, the screen application keeps the session alive so it can be connected to again later.

One of the simplest things you can do with screen is share a session. You can launch screen on the terminal you wish to share by issuing the screen command. Once you do this, a new shell is running inside of screen. Another user can log in to the same machine and use the command screen -x to be immediately connected to your shell. They see everything you type. Even if you disconnect from the machine on either terminal, the shell will continue to run. This can be quite useful for sharing a terminal for a demonstration in a remote office or for running a terminal-based console that is shared between many users.

To see all of the active screen sessions, you can use screen -list, which will show active and detached sessions. To connect to a detached session, you can use screen -r and the pid.session name listed in the screen -list output. In the following example, there are five screen sessions running. One of them is detached.

[user@server ~]$ screen -list
There are screens on:
        24565.pts-1.server     (Attached)
        24581.pts-2.server     (Attached)
        24597.pts-3.server     (Attached)
        24549.pts-0.server     (Attached)
        24613.pts-4.server     (Detached)
5 Sockets in /var/run/screen/S-user.

The command screen -x can be used to connect to a currently attached session. In the following example, a connection to session 24565 is made:

[user@server ~]$ screen -x 24565

If you need access to a full graphical desktop environment remotely, there are a number of packages that can accomplish this. The package tigervnc-server is useful for connections to a remote machine providing a full Linux desktop experience. To set up and install the package, perform the following steps.

First, run the following command to install the package:

[root@server ~]# yum install tigervnc-server

Once the package is installed, you need to edit the file /etc/sysconfig/vncservers. The VNCSERVERS line establishes the user accounts that you want to enable the VNC server for and their display number. In the example below, the user bob is configured for display 2 and the user sue is configured for display 3. The VNCSERVERARGS[#] section allows you to specify options for each display. In this example, we are specifying a 1280 x 1024 resolution for display 2 and a 1024 x 768 resolution for display 3:

VNCSERVERS="2:bob 3:sue"
VNCSERVERARGS[2]="-geometry 1280x1024 "
VNCSERVERARGS[3]="-geometry 1024x768"

Once the /etc/sysconfig/vncservers file has been edited, you need to set passwords for each user account. This is accomplished with the vncpasswd command. In the following example, the user bob sets a password using the vncpasswd command.

[bob@server ~]$ vncpasswd
Password:
Verify:

Once the package is installed, the configuration file is edited, and passwords are set, you are ready to turn on the vncserver service. The following two commands start the service and set the service to start automatically at the next boot:

chkconfig vncserver on
service vncserver start

Once configured and running, you can connect to your Linux system using a standard VNC client. When connecting, be sure to specify the display and password credentials that are needed in order to connect.

Comments?

I hope these tips and tricks have been useful and that you will take advantage of some of them in the course of your day. We will be publishing more of these tips-and-tricks articles in the future. Feel free to leave a comment for further topics that you would like to see in this series.

See Also

Oracle Linux blog

About the Author

Robert Chase is a member of the Oracle Linux product management team. He has been involved with Linux and open source software since 1996. He has worked with systems as small as embedded devices and with large supercomputer-class hardware.

About the Photograph

Photograph taken by Rick Ramsey in Durango in the Fall of 2012

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If You Have to Ask, You Wouldn't Understand

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

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

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

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

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

Oracle Solaris (and Linux) Studio 12.4 Beta Program

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

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

Interviews with Don Kretch

About the Photograph

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

- Rick

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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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Wednesday Feb 26, 2014

Oracle Solaris 11 Resources for the AIX Sysadmin

Start buttons belong on Tiger Wood's golf cart. Give me car keys that jangle when I insert them into a 1968 Dodge Charger. The music that engine makes ... it enters your body through your soul before your ear drums even register the vibration. And give me Save buttons on browser-based interfaces, too. This amorphous invisible background save that I'm supposed to trust is happening is the brainchild of developers who put posters of Joseph Stalin on their walls.

In spite of my Luddite tendencies, I do like new technologies. I also like a variety of them. If you ask my personal opinion, the more operating systems, the better. More jobs for sysadmins. More jobs for developers. More arm-wrestling matches in the server room. And more interesting problems. That's my idea of fun.

Unfortunately, it's not The Man's idea of fun. Forces I can't possibly understand and would never take for a joy ride in a stolen Dodge Charger push for consolidation and cost-cutting with the frenzy of a four barrel carburetor sucking air at wide open throttle (WOT). Even if, like me, you prefer a more genteel IT environment, you have to adapt. And so, we sometimes wave good-bye to our friends.

If you're facing a migration away from AIX, consider Oracle Solaris. Yeah, it's designed to handle the competitive pressures of today's IT environments...

  • Cloud-ready provisioning, security, and virtualization
  • Quick to reallocate compute, storage, and network resources
  • Zones, ZFS, Dynamic Tracing, Predictive Self Healing and Trusted Extensions reduce downtime and simplify the application deployment
  • Optimized to run on Oracle hardware, and to run Oracle applications
  • Automated migration tools plus assistance and education for DBAs and Power/AIX administrators migrating to Oracle Solaris.

... and yeah, because the Oracle stack is optimized to run best on Oracle Solaris (and Oracle Linux), it gives you some crazy good numbers compared to AIX ...

  • Up to 2.4x greater database performance
  • Up to 3.4x faster Java application server performance
  • Increased Oracle application performance : 1.9x faster for Siebel CRM (4) and 3x faster for JD Edwards

... but it's also got soul. And it doesn't have a dumb Start button.

Below is a link to a hands-on lab and some other resources to help you understand what's involved in migrating from AIX to Oracle Solaris.

Hands-On Lab: Oracle Solaris Administration for AIX Sysadmins

by Glynn Foster

Walks an AIX sysadmin through the basic administration of Oracle Solaris 11 and how it compares to IBM AIX Enterprise in areas including installation, software packaging, file systems, user management, services, networking, and virtualization. Even makes helps you navigate your way through documentation, man pages, and online how-to articles.

More Resources

About the Photograph

Photograph of '68 Dodge Charger courtesy of Kobac via Wikipedia Commons Creative Commons License 2.0

- Rick

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Friday Jan 10, 2014

It's Friday, Ask Your Boss to Dance

Happy Friday, OTN Garage!

- Rick

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Tuesday Jan 07, 2014

Tips for Using Linux Huge Pages

Ed Whalen is the Chief Technologist at Performance Tuning Corp. He knows an awful lot about making databases run faster, including the use of Linux Huge Pages. Here are two of his very helpful resources.

Tech Article: How to Configure x86 Memory Performance for Large Databases

by Ed Whalen, Oracle ACE

Performance issues in large databases are not easy to detect using normal analysis methods such as AWR reports and OS tools such as sar, top, and iostat. And yet, if you configure your memory appropriately in x86 environments, your database can run significantly faster. This article describes you can use Linux Huge Pages to do just that.

Ed covers x86 virtual memory architecture, Linux memory management, and enabling Linux Huge Pages. See the article here.

Video Interview: What Are Linux Huge Pages?

with Ed Whalen, Oracle ACE

Ed Whalen, Oracle ACE, explains Linux huge pages, the huge performance increase they provide, and how sysadmins and DBA's need to work together to use them properly. Taped at Oracle Open World 2013.

photograph of cliff face in Perry Park, Colorado, copyright Rick Ramsey

- Rick

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Tuesday 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 Dec 19, 2013

Next Virtual Sysadmin Day Is On Jan 28

OTN's next virtual sysadmin day is on January 28. It's four hours long, from 9:00 am - 1:00 pm PT. (Time converter here.) This time we have a whole new set of hands-on labs for Oracle Solaris, Oracle Linux, and Oracle VM. Proctored, of course, which means you can ask questions. The labs in our previous virtual sysadmin day focused on the basics. These focus on using these technologies in real-world scenarios. Click on the Agenda tab in the registration page to see the labs.

The event is free, but you do need to register. And there's a little homework involved. Nothing too complicated. We just expect you to have VirtualBox installed and the proper images already imported before we begin class. Click on the the Instructions tab for more info.

Register here.

Picture is of Mosquito Pass, in Colorado, taken from Mosquito Gulch. You need a 4x4 with good ground clearance to get up and over the top, and the rocks on the road will slice up your tires unless they're good and thick. A great place to catch your breath after you finish the hands-on labs.

- Rick

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Thursday Nov 21, 2013

How to Limit Upgrades Beyond a Prescribed Version of Oracle Solaris

by Bart Smaalders and Alta Elstad

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

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

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

Create a Custom Incorporation Package

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

$ pkgrepo create myrepo

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

$ pkgrepo -s myrepo set publisher/prefix=site

Publish the upgradectrl package to the development repository.

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

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

Examine the repository to confirm that the package was published.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Set the origin for the site publisher.

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

Install the Upgrade Control Package

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

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

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

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

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

Update the Upgrade Control Package

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

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

The following commands republish and redeliver the upgrade control package:

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

Upgrade the Image

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

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

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

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

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

See Also

Bart Smaalders’ blog

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

Copying and Creating Package Repositories in Oracle Solaris 11.2

About the Authors

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

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

photograph of strange plants copyright Beth Ramsey

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Monday Jul 29, 2013

How to Bend Bare Metal to Your Will

photo copyright 2013 by Rick Ramsey

The fins on this 1957 DeSoto were shaped during a time when Americans weren't afraid of offending anyone with their opinions, right or wrong. We have, perhaps, grown a little more introspective, a little more considerate, but our cars have paid the price. They all look alike. Their edges have been worn away by focus groups. They have no personality. They cringe at the sight of their own shadows.

I weep for my adopted country.

Well, if you like classic American cars as much as I do, you may on occasion feel the need to bend bare metal to your will. Here's your chance.

Tech Article: How to Get Best Performance From the ZFS Storage Appliance

Disk storage. Clustering. CPU and L1/L2 caching size. Networking. And file systems. Just some of the components of Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance that you can shape for optimum performance. Anderson Souza shows you how. Go ahead. Give your appliance a pair of tail fins. (Link is in the title.)

Psst:
You can see more unique cars from the Golden Age of American Automobile at the Gateway Automobile Museum. If you can't get to the border between Utah and Colorado to appreciate them in person, like I was fortunate enough to do, you can enjoy them through your browser at http://www.gatewayautomuseum.com/cars-and-galleries/.

- Rick

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Monday Jul 15, 2013

Migrating from SUSE Linux to Oracle Linux - System Initialization

The iptables service defines rules for handling packets on a Linux system. It's usually a good idea to disable this service during installation of a Linux update to prevent malicious code from being installed by angry cats (image removed from blog). Once the update is installed securely, you can define the iptables rules and once again enable the service.

To find out, before you install an update to Oracle Linux, whether the iptables service is enabled, use the list option to the chkconfig command. It displays the status of Linux services at boot time. For example:

# chkconfig -- list
abrtd 0:off 1:off 2:off 3:on 4:off 5:on 6:off
acpid 0:off 1:off 2:off 3:off 4:off 5:off 6:off
atd 0:off 1:off 2:off 3:on 4:on 5:on 6:off
...
...
iptables 0:off 1:off 2:off 3:off 4:off 5:off 6:off
...
...
SUSE Linux to Oracle Linux: Guide for System Administrators
17
...
...

To check the status of only the iptables service, pipe in a little grep:

chkconfig -- list | grep iptables

This is just one of the tips provided by Manik Ahuja and Kamal Dodeja in their OTN technical article, ....

Tech Article: How to Initialize an Oracle Linux System

This is the first in a series of articles that outline the major steps in migrating from SUSE Linux to Oracle Linux. It focuses on registering your system, downloading the latest version of Oracle Linux, and performing some basic initialization steps. Stay tuned for more articles.

Tech Article: How to Initialize an Oracle Linux System

- Rick

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Thursday Jun 20, 2013

Hands-On Labs + Proctors = Genius

If Albert Einstein (image removed from blog) had attended OTN's virtual sysadmin days, he wouldn't have gotten so old figuring out his Theory of Relativity. Thanks to the relentless advance of technology, you can outsmart Einstein from the comfort of your own office. See below.

OTN Virtual Sysadmin Day - July 2013

It's free - register here

We held our first ever virtual sysadmin day for North America on January 15 of this year. Almost 600 sysadmins attended and over 80% of them remained online for the duration of the event. Which means they found it a good use of their time. If you missed that one, we're doing another one in July. Oddly enough, we chose the same date and time: the 15th at 9:00 am PT. Which is at exact same spot of the Earth's rotation, but on the other side of the sun and closer to our upcoming collision with Adromeda.

That galactic fender-bender aside, we have updated some of the hands-on labs about Oracle Solaris and Oracle Linux that we presented at our in-person sysadmin days, and we added three new labs about Oracle VM:

  • Deploying Infrastructure as a Service
  • How to Virtualize and Deploy Oracle Applications Using Oracle VM Templates
  • Creating an x86 Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure

Details here.

The event is free, but you do need to register. And there's a little homework involved. Nothing too complicated. We just expect you to have VirtualBox installed and the proper images already imported before we begin class. You'll see the instructions after you register.

When was that again?

Monday, July 15 at 9:00 am Pacific Time. (Time converter here.)

Register here

- Rick

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Tuesday May 28, 2013

What If I Want to Update Just Java?

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

What can you do?

How to Update Only Java in Your Oracle Solaris Environment

by Peter Dennis and Alta Elstad

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

More Information About Oracle Solaris Packaging

- Rick

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Thursday May 16, 2013

Draw, Partner!

Well, I’ve already made one reference reference to Clint Eastwood (image removed from blog), I might as well make another, if only indirectly. So, here goes: the topic today is drawing. That is, making drawings with Oracle hardware components.

For those of you who like to (or need to) create architectural drawings with reasonable renditions of components and all the requisite connections, you are probably already aware of Microsoft Visio, or for those of you who prefer Macs (such as myself), Omnigraffle Pro. Did you know that we have an open repository with a growing selection of components on VisioCafe? We just updated this Tuesday night, adding stencils of Oracle’s new SPARC T5 and SPARC M5 servers. You will find them in the zip bundle Oracle-Servers.

We have also added Visio templates for Oracle's Exadata Database Machines. In case you didn’t know the difference between stencils and templates, templates provide a more powerful (and efficient) representation that allows you to reorganize the racks to match your actual configuration.

For those of us who use OmniGraffle Pro, you will be pleased to note that we are now getting greater, but not always perfect, compatibility. So, your mileage may vary: our official target is Microsoft Visio.

So, what can I say? "Make my day! Draw, Partner!"

—Kemer

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Tuesday Apr 30, 2013

How to Build A Cloud for Family and Friends Using Oracle Solaris 11

image copyright 2013 by Rick Ramsey

When we talk about cloud, we tend to focus on The Cloud. Enterprise. Government. Scalable. Fast. Big. Bigger. Fastest. That's all wicked impressive, but it's not something I can do on a rainy Saturday afternoon. Now, I like and use Dropbox. There are other easy-to-use cloud services out there similar to Dropbox. But my Inner Geek wants his own cloud. Something modest and unassuming. Itty bitty, even. Just for fun. Kinda like putting a race cam on my Ducati 748: I don't need one, but I want to see if I can do it. Turns out it's nowhere near as involved as installing a race cam on a Ducati. And you don't need to get your hands greasy. Suk Kim, Oracle ACE Director, shows how.

How to Build a Web-Based Storage Solution Using Oracle Solaris 11

by Suk Kim, Oracle ACE Director

Combine AjaXplorer, Oracle Solaris 11.1, and Apache Web server to build a cloud-based storage service that is similar to Dropbox. These are the main tasks ... Install Oracle Solaris 11.1. Configure ZFS storage. Install the Apache and PHP packages. Set up Security. Connect to the client. Check ZFS compression and deduplication. That's all it takes. Suk Kim provides the instructions.

(In case it's not clear that the link is in the heading, Laura, you can also click here)

Suk Kim is an Oracle Ace Director for Oracle Solaris in South Korea. He is also chairman of the Korea Oracle Solaris User Network, manager of Oracle Solaris TechNet, manager of the Solaris School community, an adjunct professor at Ansan University, and a senior system and security consultant at NoBreak Co., LTD.

Follow Suk Kim here:

About the Cloud Picture

I took it from my house in Colorado in the summer of 2011 with a cheap Sony camera. 2013 has brought a snowy Spring to Colorado (next storm, on May 1, will drop 6 inches of snow on us), so it's likely we'll see a lot more of these storms in May, June, and July. I need to spring for a better camera so you can see how spectacular these storms are in the high country.

- Rick

Follow me on:
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Kemer Thomson
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