Wednesday Apr 03, 2013

Miss MoneyPenny and the Oracle Solaris 11 Provisioning Assistant


In the following video, Bart Smaalders, from the Oracle Solaris core engineering team, explains why they decided not to provide a direct upgrade path from Oracle Solaris 10 to Oracle Solaris 11, and the best way for a data center to perform an indirect upgrade.

VIDEO INTERVIEW: Why Engineering Did Not Provide a Direct Upgrade Path to Oracle Solaris 11

Miss MoneyPenny to the Rescue

If you saw Skyfall, you probably noticed two things. First, that the latest Miss Moneypenny is a lot more interesting than past Miss Moneypennies. Second, that she's always there when 007 needs her.

Just like Oracle Solaris 10.

Note: The following information is no longer valid. Instead, please install a standalone Oracle Solaris 11 client, configure an Automated Installer (AI) server and and Image Packaging System repository on it. See support note 1559827.2

This information is no longer valid. The provisioning assistant is no longer available for download.

Oracle Solaris 10 has just released a nifty tool called Oracle Solaris 11 Provisioning Assistant. It lets you run the automated installer from Oracle Solaris 11 on a Solaris 10 system. That means you can set up an IPS (Image Packaging System) repository on your Solaris 10 system, and use it to provision one or more Solaris 11 systems.

In fact, if you have already set up a JumpStart server on your Solaris 10 system, you can use it to provision the Solaris 11 systems. Kristina Tripp and Isaac Rozenfeld have written an article that explains how:

TECH ARTICLE: How to Use an Existing Oracle Solaris 10 JumpStart Server to Provision Oracle Solaris 11 11/11

The Provisioning Assistant only provisions Solaris 11 11/11 systems. It does not provision Solaris 11.1, and there are no plans to extend its functionality to provision future releases of Oracle Solaris 11. Once you have set up your Solaris 11 system, use its automated installer to provision systems with the Solaris 11.1 or future releases. For more info, see the Upgrading to Oracle Solaris 11.1 documentation.

- Rick

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Monday Feb 11, 2013

Oracle Solaris 10 Still Rocks


When it was launched back in 05, Oracle Solaris 10 rocked the IT world. I heard a rumor that Scott tried to launch it at a Rolling Stones concert, but apparently Mick Jagger didn't think operating systems were sexy.

Operating systems not sexy? Since when?

Well, Mick, when was the last time you released a new album? Oracle Solaris 10 released one last Friday, pal.

Oracle Solaris 10 1/13 Release

The new release is integrated with My Oracle Support. As a result, you can view the system configuration, asset inventory, and change history of your Solaris systems on the support portal, along with the results of the health checks that Oracle Support performs. (Kinda like letting a pregnant woman have access to continuous ultrasound via her cell phone, huh?)

This support will be available for Oracle Solaris 10 through 2018. After that, it will be supported through Oracle's Lifetime Support Policy.

There's plenty more:

Technical Resources

Monday Nov 21, 2011

Is Oracle Solaris 11 Really Better Than Oracle Solaris 10?

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

How Solaris 11 Compares to Solaris 10

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

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

- Rick


Monday Nov 07, 2011

5 Commands That Make Solaris Administration Easier

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

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

In fact, SMF only has five commands:

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

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

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

Easier System Administration with the Solaris Service Management Facility

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

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

    - Rick Ramsey and Cindy Swearingen

    Thursday Nov 03, 2011

    Solaris Security Resources on OTN

    image courtesy of Faisal's photo stream on Flikr

    An Overview of Oracle Solaris 10 Security Controls

    Glenn Brunette describes how to more easily secure ZFS file systems compared to UFS file systems in this white paper, along the following lines:

    UFS file systems have the following characteristics:

    • UFS file systems are directly tied to disk slices
    • Disk slice space is not easily expanded to increase capacity for UFS file systems because the disk generally contains other disk slices for active file systems
    • In some cases, you have to reinstall the OS to increase the size of the UFS root file system
    • UFS file system space is controlled by using UFS quotas

    ZFS file systems have the following advantages:

    • ZFS uses a pooled storage model where all the file systems in pool use available pool space.
    • No relationship exists between ZFS file systems and disk slices except for the ZFS root file system.
    • A long-standing boot limitation is that a ZFS root file system must be created on a disk slice.
    • During installation, you define the size of the root pool disk slice or mirrored slices that contain the root file system.
    • The root file system contains separate directories of system-related components, such as etc, usr, and var, unless you specify that var is separate file system.
    • You can put a reservation and a quota on the /var file system to determine how much disk space is reserved for /var and how disk space it can consume.

    For example, you might consider configuring a separate /var file system when installing a system that will be used as a mail server. This way, you can control the size of var with a quota so that root pool's space capacity is not exceeded.

    In addition, if the ZFS root file system and the /var file system begin to exceed the pool's capacity, you can easily replace the root pool disk with a larger disk without having to unmount, restore a backup, or reinstall the root file system.

    How should you configure your ZFS data sets for optimum security? Read Glenn's paper to find out. He not only provides security-based recommendations for ZFS, but also for:

    • Software installation clusters
    • Minimization
    • Non-executable stacks
    • Filesystems
    • USB Support
    • Plugable Authentication Modules
    • Service Management Facility
    • Cryptographic services management
    • Zones
    • And lots more

    If you're inclined to read more about security, try these other two papers we published recently, plus OTN's security collection.

    Oracle Solaris 11 Security: What's New for Developers

    Recommendations for Creating Reduced or Minimal Solaris Configurations

    OTN's Security Collection

    - Rick Ramsey and Cindy Swearingen

    Friday Sep 16, 2011

    The Confederate Hellcat and Other Minimal Configurations

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

    Here's another minimal configuration:

    Recommendations for Creating Reduced or Minimal Oracle Solaris Configurations

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

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

    How I Simplified the Installation of Oracle Database on Oracle Linux

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

    - Rick

    Thursday Jun 02, 2011

    Hardware Compatibility List Now on OTN

    The Hardware Compability List (HCL), which was previously created for BigAdmin by Robert Weeks, has been re-created on the Oracle Technology Network.

    OTN's Hardware Compability List for Oracle Solaris

    The HCL lists all the hardware, including servers, desktops, laptops, and peripheral devices, that are compatible with Oracle Solaris 10 and Oracle Solaris 11 Express.

    The HCL includes :

    Jack is pleased.

    - Rick System Admin and Developer Community of OTN

    Thursday Mar 10, 2011

    Compatibility Checker Now Available for Oracle Solaris 11 Express

    Most applications currently running on Oracle Solaris 10 will continue to run unmodified on Oracle Solaris 11 Express, but you wanna be sure. Some applications could have incompatibilities.

    Oracle Solaris 11 Express Compatibility Checker allows developers to zero in on incompatibilities and fix 'em. The Checker includes:

    • Source code analysis
    • Static binary analysis
    • Runtime analysis (coming soon)

    Checkers are available for SPARC and x86 versions of Solaris. Get the README here.

    If you have questions or comments about the tool, send them to the friendly folks at

    - Rick

    Logan Rosenstein
    and members of the OTN community


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