Thursday Apr 30, 2015

Migration and Provisioning Strategies, Plus SWiS for Developers

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

Here's some information about the sessions:

Overview

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

Session 1 - How to Migrate from RHEL to Oracle Linux

by Erik Benner

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

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

by Ikroop Dilhon

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

Advanced Provisioning Techniques for VirtualBox

by Oracle ACE Seth Miller

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

- Rick

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Friday Mar 06, 2015

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

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

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

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

by Ginny Henningsen and Glynn Foster

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

About the Photograph

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

- Rick

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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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Friday Dec 19, 2014

Three New Dev Tips for C++ Developers

How to Find Out What Resources Your Application Has Used

by Darry Gove

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

How To Rapidly Identify Performance Opportunities

by Darry Gove

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

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

by Ivan Soleimanipour

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

About the Photograph

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

- Rick

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Monday Dec 08, 2014

Brian Bream, USA's first ACE for Systems Technologies











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









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

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

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

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

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

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

You fan follow Brian Bream on the newfangled social media:

About the Photograph

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

- Rick

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Monday Dec 01, 2014

Update to My Personal Crib Sheet for the ZFS Storage Appliance

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

Recent White Papers About the ZS4

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

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

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

    For a high level overview, see this Data Sheet

    Updated Examples of Practical Applications

    For More Information

    About the Photograph

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

    Note

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

    - Rick

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    Friday 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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    Thursday Jan 23, 2014

    Hands-On Lab Setup Instructions Now Available for Next Virtual Sysadmin Day

    As you may already know, OTN's next Virtual Sysadmin Day is on January 28 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm PT. This sysadmin day is going to be very cool because its hands-on labs focus on solving real-world problems with Oracle technologies.

    You'll definitely want to do the prep work before the day of the event. The prep work consists of configuring your laptop and uploading the images. Don't be that guy. The one who, the day of, asks where the instructions are. Him. Don't be him.

    Pre-Event Checklist

    The checklist provides:

    • Virtual Conference hardware requirements
    • Virtual Conference software requirements
    • Setup instructions for Oracle Solaris labs
    • Setup instructions for Oracle Linux labs
    • Setup instructions for Oracle VM labs

    If You Must Tweet

    If you can't keep your hands off your danged phone while working on the labs, at least use this hashtag:

    #OTNVSAD

    Questions for Ed

    Oracle ACE extraordinaire Ed Whalen and I will be hanging out at the Sysadmin Lounge during the last 30-45 minutes of the event. Ed knows his stuff, so if you have any questions about Linux, such as how to optimize it for the database or other applications, ask Ed. If you have questions about Harleys or Ducatis, ask me.

    See you next week.

    photograph of Harleys in Wisconsin by Rick Ramsey

    - 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

    Follow me on:
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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:

    Tuesday Dec 03, 2013

    Life Could Be A Dream (Hadoop Hadoop)

    Hey nonny ding dong, alang alang alang
    Boom ba-doh, ba-doo ba-doodle-ay

    Oh, life could be a dream (hadoop)
    If I could take you up in paradise up above (hadoop)
    If you would tell me I'm the only one that you love
    Life could be a dream, sweetheart
    (Hello, hello again, hadoop and hopin' we'll meet again)

    Tech Article: How to Set Up a Hadoop Cluster Using Oracle Solaris Zones

    by Orgad Kimchi

    Apache Hadoop helps you process large amounts of data on multiple computers that are clustered together. Oracle Solaris zones are easy to clone and manage as a cluster. Oracle Solaris 11 has great network virtualization capabilities. Orgad walks you through all the steps required to combine these three technologies into an easy to manage big data cluster.

    Blog: How to Host a Hadoop Cluster on a SPARC T4-2 Server

    by Jeff Taylor

    After reading Orgad's paper (see above), Jeff Taylor decided to give Orgad's suggestion a try. He had to configure an Oracle SPARC T4-2 server to store and process two types of data. One type was critical and sensitive data that required ACID transactions and had to be stored in an Oracle Database. The other was high-volume/low-risk data that had to be processed using Apache Hadoop and stored in HDFS. In this blog post he details how he used Oracle Solaris zones.

    Video Interview: Why Run Hadoop on Oracle Solaris?

    with Orgad Kimchi

    Orgad Kimchi provides three technical reasons why you should run Hadoop on Oracle Solaris. Taped at Oracle OpenWorld.

    Lyrics to Hadoop Hadoop

    by the Crew Cuts

    Hey nonny ding dong, alang alang alang
    Boom ba-doh, ba-doo ba-doodle-ay

    Oh, life could be a dream (ha-doop)
    If I could take you up in paradise up above (ha-doop)
    If you would tell me I'm the only one that you love
    Life could be a dream, sweetheart
    (Hello, hello again, ha-doop and hopin' we'll meet again)

    Oh, life could be a dream (ha-doop)
    If only all my precious plans would come true (ha-doop)
    If you would let me spend my whole life lovin' you
    Life could be a dream, sweetheart

    Now every time I look at you
    Something is on my mind (dat-dat-dat-dat-dat-duh)
    If you do what I want you to
    Baby, we'd be so fine!

    Oh, life could be a dream (ha-doop)
    If I could take you up in paradise up above (ha-doop)
    If you would tell me I'm the only one that you love
    Life could be a dream, sweetheart

    Ha-doop ha-doop Ya-da-da Da-da-da Da-da-da Da
    Ha-doop ha-doop Ya-da-da Da-da-da Da-da-da Da
    Ha-doop ha-doop Ya-da-da Da-da-da Da-da-da Da, ha-doop!

    Ha-doop ha-doop Ya-da-da Da-da-da Da-da-da Da
    Ha-doop ha-doop Ya-da-da Da-da-da Da-da-da Da
    Ha-doop ha-doop Ya-da-da Da-da-da Da-da-da Da, ha-doop!

    Every time I look at you
    Somethin' is on my mind
    If you do what I want you to
    Baby, we'd be so fine!

    Life could be a dream
    If I could take you up in paradise up above
    If you would tell me I'm the only one that you love
    Life could be a dream, sweetheart
    (Hello hello again, ha-doop and hopin' we'll meet again) doop ha-doop

    Hey nonny ding dong, alang alang alang (ha-doop)
    Ba-doh, ba-doo ba-doodle-ay
    Life could be a dream
    Life could be a dream, sweetheart!

    Life could be a dream
    If only all my precious plans would come true
    If you would let me spend my whole life loving you
    Life could be a dream, sweetheart

    (dee-oody-ooh, ha-doop, ha-doop)
    (dee-oody-ooh, ha-doop, ha-doop)
    (dee-oody-ooh, ha-doop, ha-doop)
    Sweetheart!!

    See the Crew Cuts on YouTube

    - Rick

    Follow me on:
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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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    Tuesday Nov 19, 2013

    Extending Your Use of DTrace on Oracle Linux





    We just published a new article about using DTrace on Oracle Linux (see below). If you're not already familiar with DTrace on Oracle Linux, you might want to start with these two blogs.



    Blog: Trying Out DTrace

    by Wim Coekaerts

    In October of 2011 Wim Coekaerts described the steps required to use the preview of DTrace on Oracle Linux, and provided a simple example of how to use it.



    Blog: How to Get Started Using DTrace on Oracle Linux

    by Rick Ramsey

    In January of 2013 I described some of the resources that had recently become available to help you start using DTrace on Oracle Linux. They included a video interview with Brendan Gregg, a way to find out which DTrace probes are available on Oracle Linux, a technical article, a book, and more.

    New Article: How to Set Up DTrace to Detect PHP Scripting Problems on Oracle Linux

    by Christopher Jones

    Christopher Jones has just published an OTN tech article that explains how to set up DTrace to detect PHP scripting problems on Oracle Linux. He shows you how to download and install the right version of Oracle Linux, how to install PHP and the OIC18 extensions for Oracle Database, how to verify which PHP probes you have, and how to begin using them.

    photograph of Colorado sunset by Beth Ramsey

    -Rick

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    Monday Nov 11, 2013

    Why Move My Oracle Database to New SPARC Hardware?

    If you didn't manage to catch all the news during the proverbial Firehose Down the Throat that is Oracle OpenWorld, you'll enjoy these short recaps from Brad Carlile. He makes things clear in just a couple of minutes. photograph copyright by Edge of Day Photography, with permission

    Video: Latest Improvements to Oracle SPARC Processors

    with Brad Carlile

    T5, M5, and M6. Three wicked fast processors that Oracle announced over the last year. Brad Carlile explains how much faster they are, and why they are better than previous versions.

    Video: Why Move Your Oracle Database to SPARC Servers

    with Brad Carlile

    If I'm happy with how my Oracle Database 11g is performing, why should I deploy it on the new Oracle SPARC hardware? For the same reasons that you would want to buy a sports car that goes twice as fast AND gets better gas mileage, Brad Carlile explains. Well, if there are such dramatic performance improvements and cost savings, then why should I move up to Oracle Database 12c?

    -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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    Friday Apr 26, 2013

    Three Goodies About the ZFS Storage Appliance

    Today we have three goodies about the ZFS Storage Appliance to share (image removed from blog):

    Video Interview: The Top Capabilities of ZFS Storage Appliance Explained

    Nancy Hart describes her favorite capabilities about the ZFS Storage Appliance, and Jeff Wright explains how each of them works. They cover Hybrid Columnar Compression, Direct NFS (makes data transfer more efficient), Remote Direct Memory Access, Oracle Intelligent Storage Protocol (database aware of the storage and vice versa), DTrace Analytics to optimize deployments, and more.

    Blog: My Personal ZFS Storage Appliance Crib Sheet

    We recently published some articles about really cool ways to use the ZFS Storage Appliance, so I spent a little time looking into the darned thing. It's easy to find out what the ZFS Storage Appliance does, but more difficult to find out what its components are. What can I yank out and replace? What can I connect it to? And what buttons and levers can I push? Or pull. So I put together this crib sheet. If you didn't grow up in The Bronx, see wikipedia's definition of crib sheet.

    3D Demo

    Pop the doors open, pull out the disk shelves, find out what's inside each one. Great demo, and you're at the controls.

    Additional Resources

    For more technical resources about the ZFS Storage appliance, use any of the four tabs on OTN's Technical Resources Center. And, to see other blogs about Oracle's storage products, select the "Storage" tab under Categories in the right margin, or click here.

    - Rick

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    Monday Apr 15, 2013

    Eight Cylinders of Virtualization

    source made freely available by desktop machine

    I've been on the lookout for a quick techie overview of Oracle's virtualization offerings. Detlef Drewanz, Matthias Pfützner, and Elke Freymann had strung together a series of articles doing just that. Lenz Grimmer jumped in with some context on Linux, and the result was this 8-part series for OTN.

    1 - The Role of Oracle VM Server for SPARC in a Virtualization Strategy

    by Matthias Pfützner

    Overview of hardware and software virtualization basics, including a breakdown of different types and styles of virtualization, and where Oracle VM Server for SPARC fits into a virtualization strategy.

    2- The Role of Oracle VM Server for x86 in a Virtualization Strategy

    by Matthias Pfützner

    Oracle VM Server for x86 is an Oracle technology that existed before Oracle acquired Sun. It is a virtualization product based on the Xen hypervisor and like its SPARC counterpart, Oracle VM Server for SPARC, it is a thin Type 1 hypervisor that performs hardware virtualization and uses paravirtualization.

    3 - The Role of Oracle Solaris Zones and Linux Containers in a Virtualization Strategy

    by Detlef Drewanz and Lenz Grimmer

    Oracle Solaris zones are referred to as lightweight virtualization because they impose no overhead on the virtualization layer and the applications running in the non-global zones. As a result, they are a perfect choice for high performance applications. Instead of retrofitting efficiency onto full isolation, Linux Containers started out with an efficient mechanism and added isolation, resulting in a system virtualization mechanism as scalable and portable as chroot.

    4 - Resource Management As an Enabling Technology for Virtualization

    by Detlef Drewanz

    When you have one person in one phone booth, life is simple. But when you fit 25 college students into one phone booth, you have resource management challenges. Not to mention security risks. Same goes for virtualization. Detlef explains how resource management can help.

    5 - Network Virtualization and Network Resource Management

    by Detlef Drewanz

    Using hypervisor-based virtualization and Oracle Solaris Zones with network virtualization plus network resource management enables a whole range of network-based architectures. This article describes what's involved in using network resource management in conjunction with hypervisors, containers, and zones in an internal virtual network.

    6 - Oracle VM VirtualBox: Personal Desktop Virtualization

    by Detlef Drewanz

    Oracle VM VirtualBox consists of a base software package that is available for each supported host OS; guest additions that add support for shared folders, seamless window integration, and 3D; and extension packs.

    7 - The Role of Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure in a Virtualization Strategy

    by Matthias Pfützner

    This technology is no longer available.

    Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is the practice of hosting a desktop operating system within a virtual machine (VM) running on a hosted, centralized or remote server. Matthias Pfützner explains.

    8 - Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center as a Management Tool for Virtualization

    by Elke Freymann

    Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center offers complete infrastructure management with a focus on Oracle hardware (servers, switches, storage appliances) and Oracle operating systems, plus non-Oracle Linux variants that are supported on Oracle servers. Although Oracle VM VirtualBox and Oracle VDI include management capabilities, Ops Center has the best overall toolset for central virtualization management.

    - Rick

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    Tuesday Feb 05, 2013

    Do YOU Know Where Your Data Has Been?

    When you get change at the grocery store, you just don’t know where it’s been. (Image removed from blog.) And frankly, I don’t want to know, but wherever it’s been, it’s been in different environments with different wear-and-tear. If you try to re-use those dollar bills in a vending machine, you might get your candy bar. Or you might not, if the vending machine says your money is unreadable.

    You get a less icky feeling about where your transportable storage has been, that is, until data you were expecting is as unreadable as that old dollar bill. Unfortunately, there is no native data integrity checking as data moves across storage landscapes. However the Oracle T10000C Data Integrity Validation (DIV) feature uses hardware-assisted CRC checks to not only help ensure the data is written correctly the first time, but also does so much more efficiently.

    Data at rest is generally not an issue for any storage platform. In tape drives, data is protected with read after write verification as it is written, and Error Correction Code (ECC) is added to ensure data recovery once it is on the medium. In addition, a typical tape drive adds Cyclic Redundancy Code (CRC) protection, as soon as a record is received. This ensures the record does not get corrupted while moving between internal memories. Checking the CRC, though, is a time-consuming process that moves through the following steps:

    1. File pulled from disk to be stored on tape
    2. 256-bit CRC generated and stored in a catalog on a server
    3. File sent to tape drive without the CRC and written to a tape cartridge
    4. Upon recall, the file is called from a tape and sent to a server via the tape drive
    5. 256-bit CRC recreated and compared to catalog in the server

    This process takes a minimum of 25 seconds to check the CRC on a 4 GB file, assuming a 2:1 compression ratio and a reasonable server workload. If the tape drives were allowed to assist in some of this workload, the processing time could be dramatically reduced. That’s the premise of the Oracle T10000C DIV feature’s hardware-assisted CRC check. The amount of reduction is simply dependent on the amount of trust the user places in the tape drive itself. While a basic model produces a slightly quicker process, the Oracle T10000C DIV process guarantees it will be done efficiently as shown in the table below.

    Steps CRC Verification Model #1 Oracle T10000C Verification Model
    1 File pulled from disk to be stored on tape File system sends SCSI Verify Command from server
    2 32 bit CRC generated and stored with each record on server Tape drive receives command
    3 file sent to tape drive - drive checks CRC File and CRC written to tape
    4 File and CRC written to tape Upon recall, file and CRC called from tape to be read
    5 Upon recall, file and CRC called from tape to be read Tape drive checks the 32-bit CRC
    6 File and CRC checked in tape drive SCSI Verify command and status returned to server
    7 32 bit CRC re-created and checked in hardware (Intel)  
    Time MINIMUM 14 seconds to check the CRC on 4 GB file (2:1 compression ration) MAXIMUM 9 seconds to verify the CRC on 4 GB file (2:1 compression ratio) independent of server workload

    Obviously, built-in-the-drive, end-to-end integrity checking can be much less resource intensive than having to read an entire file to verify that it is still good. Any 32-bit CRC check can be done as specified in ANSI X3.139. This is the same CRC used in the Fibre Channel Protocol and the Fiber Distributed Data Interface (FDDI) for optical transmissions. As a result, the generation polynomial is readily available. While this is a standard interface CRC, it is important to note that this check can be performed outside the interface protocol. In addition, the drive also can generate and use a CRC in the Intel CRC32c format.

    Supporting hardware-assisted CRC checking can be as simple as sending a specified SCSI mode select command to turn on the checking. When the Oracle T10000C drive is in its DIV mode, the last 32 bits of any record are treated as a CRC and used to check the integrity of each record. If the CRC check fails, a write error is reported to allow the application to resend the record. A bad record will never be written to tape. If the CRC is correct, that CRC is stored with the record on tape and checked every time the record is read. All of this is done with zero performance loss on the tape drive. If a deferred write error has been reported to the application, the application can determine which record was in error using multiple methods. The recovery is completed when the application resends the previously failed record and the remainder of the data records.

    If the drive is being utilized with CRC checks during a subsequent read operation, the CRC will be appended to the record. Verification of the file’s data integrity then is completed with a read verification. In other words, when a drive reads data having a CRC stored along with a record, it will output the CRC appended to the record. This allows the application or driver to perform its own data integrity checks to ensure, months or even years after recording, that the data has not been corrupted. The Intel CRC32c format allows very fast CRC processing and checking by the application. The user application, or driver, can use hardware-assisted CRC checks as follows:

    • Write with hardware-assisted CRC checks and read with hardware-assisted CRC checks
    • Write with hardware-assisted CRC checks and read in normal mode
    • Write in normal mode and read in hardware-assisted CRC checks mode (Note: In this case, the read CRC, which is generated by the drive on the fly, was not stored on tape.)

    Another advantage of writing a tape in hardware-assisted CRC mode is the ability of the tape drive to use the Verify command to check an individual record, one file, multiple files, or the entire tape, without having to send all the data to the application to verify the validity of that data. This can be done because the hardware-assisted CRC is recorded on the tape with each record, and the tape drive has the ability to verify each record with that CRC. Because it is only 32 bits, checking only the CRC saves valuable processing resources and time. Ultimately, hardware-assisted CRC checking can have the following options:

    • Verify any record (up to 2MB)
    • Verify entire file (collection of 2MB records)
    • Verify N number of files
    • Verify N number of files of variable record size
    • Verify entire tape with one command
    • Verify mixed mode tape (hardware-assisted CRC check records and non-hardware-assisted CRC check records)
      • A hardware-assisted CRC check check is not made on non-hardware-assisted CRC check records
      • The drive must be in the correct DIV mode for the records it is verifying

    - Brian Zents

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    Friday Jan 11, 2013

    How to Install Oracle Linux from a USB Stick

    source

    If you want to install Oracle Linux from a USB drive, keep in mind that not all hardware supports USB device booting. Also, during the boot process you may have to instruct your BIOS to boot from that specific USB device. Finally, keep in mind that this method of installation is not officially sanctioned by Oracle support. You'll need an Oracle Linux 6.0 or higher system to produce the key. Earlier versions may work, but additional prerequisites may be required. The examples in this article assume a USB key device name of /dev/sdb1. Be sure to verify the device name of your USB key to avoid accident data loss.

    Prerequisites

    1. The first thing you will need is an ISO image of Oracle Linux. The quickest way to obtain an ISO image is from the Oracle Software Delivery Cloud
    2. You will need a desktop or server system running Oracle Linux in order to prepare your USB drive.
    3. You will also need to download this script to create the bootable USB drive.
    4. Your Oracle Linux system will also need the package syslinux installed. You can install syslinux using yum with the following command:
    5. yum install syslinux

    Marking Partition One as Bootable

    Once your prerequisites are in order, you need to designate partition one as bootable. Use the parted application, as in this example:

    [root@host]# parted /dev/sdb 
    GNU Parted 2.1 Using /dev/sdb Welcome to GNU Parted! Type 'help' to view a list of commands.
    (parted) toggle 1 boot
    (parted) quit
    Information: You may need to update /etc/fstab.
    

    The example above uses a USB key labelled /dev/sdb. The parted application will only accept device files without partition numbers. So, if we had selected /dev/sdb1 instead, we would have gotten an error message when we tried to write the changes to disk.

    Creating the USB Key

    Now you can start creating USB key via the script that you downloaded earlier. The script accepts two paths: first the source ISO file and then the USB key:

    [root@host]# sh Install_OL_fromUSBStick_Script --reset-mbr /home/user/OL6.3.iso /dev/sdb1 
    Verifying image...
    livecd-iso-to-disk.sh: line 527: checkisomd5: command not found Are you SURE you want to continue?
    Press Enter to continue or ctrl-c to abort
    Size of DVD image: 2957
    Size of images/install.img: 132
    Available space: 31186
    Copying DVD image to USB stick
    install.img
        137834496 100%   10.87MB/s    0:00:12 (xfer#1, to-check=0/1)
    sent 137851396 bytes  received 31 bytes  11028114.16 bytes/sec total size is 137834496  speedup is 1.00
    sent 37 bytes  received 12 bytes  98.00 bytes/sec total size is 3100217344  speedup is 63269741.71 Updating boot config file Installing boot loader USB stick set up as live image!
    

    Once the script is finished running you have a bootable USB drive that can install Oracle Linux. While booting, pay attention to your BIOS boot screens as they will often provide direction on how to select a specific boot device other than the ones in the standard boot sequence. For some older systems you may need to go directly into the BIOS setup utility to specify the USB device in your boot sequence. Once you have booted successfully off of your USB device and the installer starts installation will proceed just like an installation from regular DVD media.

    - Robert Chase

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    Thursday Jan 10, 2013

    Recent How-To Articles About Oracle Solaris Zones

    LEGO Clone Army Collection

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

    by Jeff Victor

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

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

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

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

    by Laura Hartman

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

    - Rick

    Website Newsletter Facebook Twitter My Personal Blog

    Wednesday Jan 09, 2013

    How to Treat an NFS File As a Block Storage Device

    source

    Wim actually beat me in blogging about this feature while I was on vacation, but I'd like to add a little more background about dm-nfs, which I gathered from our kernel developers:

    What is dm-nfs?

    The dm-nfs kernel module provides a device-mapper target that allows you to treat an NFS file as a block device. It provides loopback-style emulation of a block device using a regular file as backing storage. The backing file resides on a remote system and is accessed via the NFS protocol.

    The general idea is to have a more-efficient-than-loop access to files on NFS. The device mapper module directly converts requests to the dm device into NFS RPC calls.

    dm-nfs is used transparently by Oracle VM's Dom0 when mounting NFS-backed virtual disks. It essentially allows for asynchronous and direct I/O to an NFS-backed block device, which is a lot faster than normal NFS for virtual disks. The Xen block hotplug script has been modified on OVM to look for files which are on NFS filesystems. If the file is on NFS, OVM uses dm-nfs automatically, otherwise it falls back to using the regular (but slower) loop mount method.

    The original dm-nfs module was written by Chuck Lever. It has been supported and used by Oracle VM since version 2.2 and is also included in the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel for Oracle Linux.

    Why this feature matters

    This feature creates virtual disk devices (LUNs) where the data is stored in an NFS file instead of on local storage. Managed networked storage has many benefits over keeping virtual devices on a disk local to the physical host.

    A sample use case is the fast migration of guest VMs for load balancing or if a physical host requires maintenance. This functionality is also possible using iSCSI LUNs, but the advantage of dm-nfs is that you can manage new virtual drives on a local host system, rather than requiring a storage administrator to initialize new LUNs on the storage subsystem. Host administrators can handle their own virtual disk provisioning.

    For durability and performance, dm-nfs uses asynchronous and direct I/O so all I/O operations are performed efficiently and coherently. Guest disk data is not double cached on the underlying host. If the underlying host crashes, there's a lower probability of data corruption. If the guest is frozen, a clean backup can be taken of the virtual disk, as you can be certain that its data has been fully written out.

    How to use it

    You use dm-nfs by first loading the kernel module, then using dmsetup to create a device mapper device on your file. The syntax is very similar to the dm-linear module.

    The following sample code demonstrates how to use dmsetup to create a mapped device (/dev/mapper/$dm_nfsdev) for the file $filename that is accessible on a mounted NFS file system:

    nblks=`stat -c '%s' $filename`
    echo -n "0 $nblks nfs $filename 0" | dmsetup create $dm_nfsdev
    

    Now you can mount /dev/mapper/$dm_nfsdev like any other filesystem image.

    - Lenz Grimmer (Oracle Linux Blog)

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    Tuesday Jan 08, 2013

    How to Upgrade an Oracle Solaris 11 Repository with 11.1 Packages

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

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

    Using pkgrecv

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

    Using a Repository Image File

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

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

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

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

    Step 1. Download Oracle Solaris 11 from OTN.

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

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

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

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

    Verify the checksum like this:

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

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

    Verify the checksum.

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

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

    Verify the checksum.

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

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

    Verify the checksum of the resulting image file.

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

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

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

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

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

    Step 10. Catalog new packages.

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

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

    Step 11. Snapshot your updated repository.

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

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

    - Alta Elstad

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    Thursday Jan 03, 2013

    Extreme Sports and the SPARC T5 Chip

    In my day, you were extreme if you surfed. Nobody had a leash. If a wave ripped the board out of your hands, you had to swim all the way back to the beach. In big surf, that could take 15 minutes. And then you had to paddle out again.

    Today, if you're not juggling rusty chainsaws while riding a BMX bike off the top of the Eiffel Tower with half a dozen angry chimpanzees trying to rip off your helmet and goggles, you're not considered extreme.

    Which is exactly why the SPARC T5 chip has 1024 functional CPUs. None of Oracle's SPARC engineers wanted to find himself at a cocktail party having to confess in an embarrassed chortle to a salon full of top hats and sequins that he had designed a mere 512 CPU chip. Imagine the chagrin!

    Interview: Deep Dive into the SPARC T5 Chip

    So Oracle's SPARC engineers worked wicked hard to scale the T5 to eight sockets. Since each socket has 16 cores, that gives you 128 cores, total. Since each core can support eight individual threads (or strands, if you're not the sartorial type), you wind up with a total of 1024 functional CPUs.

    As you know, processing power without bandwidth is kinda like a mega motor with a nano fuel tank. Doesn't get you too far. So the T5 also has memory bandwidth to match its processing power. And lots of other capabilities that you an read about in this:

    Interview: Deep Dive into the SPARC T5 Chip

    - Rick

    P.S., If you want to read about surfing in the old days, check out Chapter 1 of Tocayos, a novel I've been writing and posting online in my spare time.
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    Tuesday Dec 18, 2012

    Would You Swim Laps in Lake Baikal?

    source

    This is the lake where Yuli Vasiliev's countrymen swim laps.

    Yuli is one of my favorite OTN writers not just because he really knows his stuff. Not just because his writing is clear and accurate. And not just because his English is better than the English of most native speakers. Yo, those are all good reasons. But it's the Lake Baikal thing.

    Yuli recently wrote two wicked good how-to's about Oracle VM Templates. You should read them. You might gain a gram of Yuli's respect. Two grams, if you can head butt icebergs while you swim.

    How to Use Oracle VM Templates

    How to prepare an Oracle VM environment to use Oracle VM Templates, how to obtain a template, and how to deploy the template to your Oracle VM environment. Also how to create a virtual machine based on that template and how you can clone the template and change the clone's configuration.

    How to Use Oracle VM VirtualBox Templates

    How to use Oracle VM VirtualBox Templates in Oracle VM VirtualBox. Similar to the article above, but it describes how to download, install, and configure the templates within Oracle VM VirtualBox, instead of on bare metal.

    Other OTN Technical Articles by Yuli Vasiliev

    - Rick

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    Monday Dec 03, 2012

    December 3 is Stephanie Choyer Day

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

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

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

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

    Oracle Solaris 11 Resources for Sysadmins and Developers

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

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

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

    How-To Technical Articles for System Admins and Developers

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

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

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

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

    Thank you, Stephanie.

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

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

    - Rick

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

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