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

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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 Nov 04, 2013

Understanding Process Scheduling in Oracle Solaris

The process scheduler in the Oracle Solaris kernel allocates CPU resources to processes. By default, the scheduler tries to give every process relatively equal access to the available CPUs. However, you might want to specify that certain processes be given more resources than others. That's where classes come in. A process class defines a scheduling policy for a set of processes. These three resources will help you understand and manage it process classes:

Blog: Overview of Process Scheduling Classes in the Oracle Solaris Kernel

by Brian Bream

Timesharing, interactive, fair-share scheduler, fixed priority, system, and real time. What are these? Scheduling classes in the Solaris kernel. Brian Bream describes them and how the kernel manages them through context switching.

Blog: Process Scheduling at the Thread Level

by Brian Bream

The Fair Share Scheduler allows you to dispatch processes not just to a particular CPU, but to CPU threads. Brian Bream explains how to use and provides examples.

Docs: Overview of the Fair Share Scheduler

by Oracle Solaris Documentation Team

This official Oracle Solaris documentation set provides the nitty-gritty details for setting up classes and managing your processes. Covers:

  • Introduction to the Scheduler
  • CPU Share Definition
  • CPU Shares and Process State
  • CPU Share Versus Utilization
  • CPU Share Examples
  • FSS Configuration
  • FSS and Processor Sets
  • Combining FSS With Other Scheduling Classes
  • Setting the Scheduling Class for the System
  • Scheduling Class on a System with Zones Installed
  • Commands Used With FSS

-Rick

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Thursday Oct 10, 2013

Who Is Right - the Hardware or the Software?

Michael Palmeter and Renato Ribeiro enjoy a good duel. Michael represents Oracle Solaris. Renato represents SPARC servers. Watch and listen as they argue their case on two questions of interest to sysadmins. Taped at Oracle OpenWorld 2013.

What Determines Performance - The Hardware or the Software?

Michael Palmeter vs Renato Ribeiro

Is the hardware or the software more important to the performance of a system? Oracle Solaris product director Michael Palmeter goes mic-to-mic with Renato Ribeiro, Oracle SPARC Director. Taped at Oracle OpenWorld 2013.

What Kind of Scalability is Better - Horizontal or Vertical?

Renato Ribeiro vs Michael Palmeter

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

photo of 2005 Fat Boy taken at Little Big Horn National Monument by Rick Ramsey

- Rick

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Monday Sep 16, 2013

Cloud Building with Oracle Solaris 11

Three resources to help you build clouds with Oracle Solaris 11

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

by Oracle University

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

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

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

by Suk Kim

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

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

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

Bonus! - Oracle VM Templates with Oracle Solaris 11

picture of cloud taken in Colorado, copyright Rick Ramsey

- Rick

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Tuesday Jul 09, 2013

The Case for Running Oracle Database 12c on Oracle Solaris

You may have already seen some of these individually, but here are several resources that explain why Oracle Database 12c runs so well on Oracle Solaris and SPARC.

Oracle Solaris 11 + SPARC

Interviews with experts, videos, architectural papers, technical articles, and other resources to help you understand the optimizations between the OS and hardware layers that make Oracle Solaris and SPARC such a winning combination. link

Oracle Solaris 11 + Oracle Database 12c

A deeper dive into the optimizations and capabilities of Oracle Solaris that make it such a good platform for Oracle database 12c. link

Oracle Solaris 11 + Oracle Stack

A high-level overview of the optimizations in Oracle Solaris 11 that make it an excellent platform for the entire Oracle stack. link

Article: How Oracle Solaris 11 Makes Oracle Database So Fast

A technical explanation of the optimizations that make Oracle Database run so fast on Oracle Solaris 11. Memory, critical threads, kernel acceleration, virtualization and resource management, and much more. By Ginny Henningsen. link

Screencast: Outliers

In this screencast, Jon Haslam describes how the Oracle Database and Oracle Solaris engineering teams worked together to integrate DTrace and V$ Views to provide a top-to-bottom picture of a database transaction I/O -- from storage devices, through the Oracle Solaris kernel, up to Oracle Database 12c itself. With this end-to-end view, you can easily identify I/O outliers -- transactions that are taking an unusually long time to complete -- and use this comprehensive data to identify and mitigate storage system problems that were previously extremely hard to debug. link

And Don't Forget ...

WebCast: Introducing Oracle Database 12c

Oracle prez Mark Hurd and friends will be talking about the pluggable databases capability in Oracle Database 12c’s new multitenant architecture. No, they do not let you pause a running database with a cork, unfortunately, but they do make it easy to consolidate onto the cloud. Topics covered:

  • Simplify database consolidation
  • Automatically compress and tier data
  • Improve database and application continuity
  • Redact sensitive data
  • And as an added bonus, hear Tom Kyte’s “Top 12 Features of Oracle Database 12c.”

It's on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 at 9 a.m. PT / 12 p.m. ET. link .

Blogs with Solaris-related Content

- Rick

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Friday Jun 21, 2013

How Oracle Solaris Makes the Database Scream

Few things are as satisfying as a screaming burnout (image removed from blog). When Oracle Database engineers team up with Oracle Solaris engineers, they do a lot of them. Here are a few of the reasons why.

Article: How the OS Makes the Database Fast - Oracle Solaris

For applications that rely on Oracle Database, a high-performance operating system translates into faster transactions, better scalability to support more users, and the ability to support larger capacity databases. When deployed in virtualized environments, multiple Oracle Database servers can be consolidated on the same physical server. Ginny Henningsen describes what Oracle Solaris does to make the Oracle database run faster.

Video Interview: Why Is The OS Still Relevant?

In a world of increasing virtualization and growing interest in cloud services, why is the OS still relevant? Michael Palmeter, senior director of Oracle Solaris, explains why it's not only relevant, but essential for data centers that care about performance.

Interview: An Engineer's Perspective: Why the OS Is Still Relevant

Sysadmins are handling hundreds or perhaps thousands of VM's. What is it about Solaris that makes it such a good platform for managing those VM's? Liane Praza, senior engineer in the Solaris core engineering group provides an engineer's perspective.

Interview in the Lab: How to Get the Performance Promised by Oracle's T5 SPARC Chips

If you want your applications to run on the new SPARC T5/M5 chips, how do you make sure they use all that new performance? Don Kretsch, Senior Director of Engineering, explains.

Interview: Why Oracle Database Engineering Uses Oracle Solaris Studio

The design priorities for Oracle Solaris Studio are performance, observability, and productivity. Why this is good for ISV's and developers, and why it's so important to the Oracle database engineering team. Taped in Oct 2012.

- 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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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

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Tuesday Apr 23, 2013

The Sysadmin as CEO

Bjoern Rost began his professional life as a sysadmin, and no doubt through the clever use of scripts became the CEO of his own consulting company (image removed from blog). Oracle recently announced his appointment to Oracle ACE Director. Here's some background information about Bjoern and his company, a video interview, and links to his most recent blog posts.

About Bjoern Rost, Oracle ACE Director

Bjoern is the co-founder of Portrix Systems, a service provider and consulting company focused on Oracle technologies including servers, storage, Solaris, Real Application Cluster databases, and desktop virtualization. He enjoys working with software developers to tightly integrate with existing Oracle features, is passionate about sharing knowledge, and has enjoyed speaking at several conferences and user group meetings including OpenWorld, UKOUG, COLLABORATE and DOAG. He also serves as the European Chair of IOUG's RAC special interest group.

Interview with Bjoern at Oracle Open World 2012

Before I knew that Bjoern was even being considered for Oracle ACE Director, I had the good fortune of chatting with him at Oracle Open World 2012. He's an excerpt from our conversation:

A Sysadmin CEO's Favorite Technologies in Oracle Solaris 11
Bjoern Rost, Orace ACE Director, was a sysadmin before he co-founded a consulting company, Portrix Systems. He describes how that happened, which Oracle technologies he used, what he used them for, and what his favorite parts of Oracle Solaris 11 are. Bonus: how engineered systems are leading to a confluence of the system admin and the database admin.

Bjoern's Blog

Bjoern's Blog is actually a team blog with contributions from three Euro-techies named Florian, Markus, and Ole. Recent topics are:

About Portrix Systems

Portrix Systems, an Oracle Gold Partner, is a full service provider helping customers run and operate complex IT systems by integrating infrastructure and services. From their home page:

"We started as the internal system administration division of the PORTRIX group. Duties involved setting up test and development systems for software developers and consulting about their optimal use. This soon evolved into services we provided for our customers who leveraged the potential to receive ISV software products bundled with integration and operation services by the same people who were already involved in development.

Congratulations, Bjoern! We're very glad to have you with us.

- Rick

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Thursday Apr 18, 2013

Why Solaris Loves Python

It's not well known that Oracle Solaris 11 includes a healthy dose of Python code, and that Solaris engineering uses Python tools. These four videos provide more of the story.

How Oracle Solaris 11 Uses Python

Oracle Solaris 11 installation tools use Python to access C libraries more quickly and easily than if they were coded in C. Drew Fisher explains why the Solaris engineering team chose Python for this purpose, what he personally likes about it, and what it implies for the future of Solaris development.

Why Is Oracle Solaris Engineering Looking for Python Developers?

Martin Widjaja, engineering manager for Oracle Solaris, describes the development environment for Oracle Solaris and why Oracle wants to hire more Python developers to work on Solaris.

Why I Started Developing In Python

David Beazly was working on supercomputing systems at Los Alamos National Laboratory when he began to use Python. First, he used it as a productivity tool, then as a control language for C code. Good insights into Python development for both systems developers and sysadmins from the respected author.

How RAD Interfaces In Oracle Solaris 11 Simplify Your Scripts

Every time a new release of Oracle Solaris changes the syntax or output of its administrative commands, you need to update any scripts that interact with those commands. Until now. Karen Tung describes the RAD (Remote Administration Daemon) interfaces that Solaris 11 now provides to reduce the need for script maintenance.

- Rick

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Tuesday Apr 16, 2013

Evaluating Oracle Solaris and Oracle Linux From Your Laptop

Evaluating Oracle Linux From Inside VirtualBox

After importing your Oracle Linux virtual image, you can use the yum install command to download additional packages into your Linux environment. Yuli explains how.

But what's really cool about evaluating an OS from inside VirtualBox is that you can assign each virtual image a unique IP address, and have it communicate with the outside world as if it were its own physical machine on the network. Yuli describes how to do this, and also how to install guest additions to, for instance, share files between the guest and host systems.

Evaluating Oracle Solaris 11 From Inside VirtualBox

In this article Yuli shows you how to create and manage user accounts with either the GUI or the CLI, how to set up networking, and how to use the Service Management Facility (SMF) to, for instance, control SSH connections to the outside world.

Both article cover the basics to get you started, but also very valuable are the links that Yuli provides to help you move further along in your evaluation.

- 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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Thursday Apr 11, 2013

How Oracle Solaris Engineering Thinks: Liane Praza

It's not often you get a glimpse into how the brightest minds at Oracle think (image removed from blog). And Liane is certainly one of the brightest minds at Oracle. In these two short videos (about 2 minutes each), taken at the recent Oracle Solaris Innovations Workshop, she explains:

Video Interview: Why We Build Virtualization Into the OS

Liane Praza explains why Oracle Solaris engineering continues to build virtualization capabilities into the OS instead of adding more features and better management to the hypervisor.

Why The OS Is Still Relevant

Sysadmins are handling hundreds or perhaps thousands of VM's. What is it about Solaris that makes it such a good platform for managing those VM's? Liane Praza, senior engineer in the Solaris core engineering group provides an engineer's perspective.

- Rick

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Thursday Apr 04, 2013

The Screaming Men of Finland and Oracle SPARC Chips

source

In response to the release of Oracle's SPARC T5 and M5 chips, which are dramatically faster than those of IBM, IBM responded by saying that speed was not as important as other qualities. Forbes begged to differ:

Forbes Article: For Big Data Customers, Top Performance Means High Speed And Low Cost

Assuming you agree, you'll be interested in some dyno runs of not only our SPARC chips, but also our applications running on them. Did I say dyno runs? I'm sorry, I meant benchmarks.

World's Fastest Database Server

Oracle’s new SPARC mid-range server running Oracle Solaris is the fastest single server for Oracle Database:

  • Oracle’s SPARC T5-8 is the fastest single server for Oracle Database
  • Oracle's SPARC T5-8 server has a 7x price advantage over a similar IBM Power 780 configuration for database on a server-to-server basis.
See Benchmarks Results Here
Why Oracle Database runs best on Solaris

World's Fastest Server for Java

As you might expect, Java runs fastest on Oracle servers.

SPECjEnterprise2010 Benchmark World Record Performance
SPECjbb2013 Benchmark World Record Result
Why Solaris is the best platform for Enterprise Java

Optimizations to Oracle Solaris Studio COmpilers

The latest release of Oracle Solaris Studio includes optimizations for the new SPARC chips in its compilers. Larry Wake has more:

Blog: Oracle Solaris and SPARC Performance - Part I

I'll Optimize Yours If You Optimize Mine

Since the Solaris and SPARC engineers get along so well, they have each optimized their technologies for each other:

SPARC Optimizations for Oracle Solaris
Oracle Solaris Optimizations for SPARC

Happy Burnouts.

- Rick

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Wednesday Apr 03, 2013

Miss MoneyPenny and the Oracle Solaris 11 Provisioning Assistant

source

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

Note:
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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Wednesday Mar 27, 2013

Why Become a Solaris Sysadmin?

On the one hand Oracle is telling you that Solaris is the key component of the Oracle stack, that we've been investing heavily in it, and that it provides the best platform for managing the stack. Watch these videos:

On the other hand, we are telling your boss to buy our engineered systems because they'll not only reduce the complexity of managing the data center, but they'll need fewer sysadmins to run them.

So, which is it?

Video Interview: Why Become a Solaris Sysadmin?

I asked Larry Wake, Solaris old-timer. Tell me what you think of his answer.

Video Interview: Why Become A Solaris Sysadmin?.

A year or two ago, Justin asked Marshall Choy a similar question. Watch that video here:

Video Interview: Impact of Engineered Systems on the Sysadmin

- Rick

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Thursday Mar 21, 2013

How to Protect Your Oracle Solaris Zone Cluster

source

We just published an article by Subarna Ganguly that describes how to build a secure zone cluster. In other words, a zone cluster with trusted extensions. If you want to go straight to the article, scroll down to the bottom of this blog. If you're new to zones, clustering, or trusted extensions, I'll try to explain what's interesting about this article.

Vanilla Solaris

In the beginning there was root and user. Root could do anything anywhere, user could do very little. We improved that with the notion of roles. Access rights (permissions) were assigned to roles instead of users. And individual users were assigned to one or more roles. Access Control Lists (ACL) improved this even more.

Oracle Solaris has about 80 different roles. You can see the privileges each one has by looking at the /etc/user_attr.d directory

Trusted Extensions

Trusted extensions add "sensitivity" labels. These labels are similar to a security clearance in the military: confidential, secret, top secret, etc. With trusted extensions, you first label users, data, processes, peripherals, and pretty much everything that a user or process can access. Then you give uses and processes their own label. A user or process can only access something that has a label with the same or greater access.

"Trusted extensions ... is not something that can be just 'turned on' like a firewall. Trusted extensions fits into a framework where there's a formal security policy, possibly an LDAP server where users and their clearances are defined, as well as network access points that are labeled."
- Book: Oracle Solaris 11 System Administration, Chapter 18

Solaris Zones

Zones are virtual instances of the Solaris environment launched and controlled from the base OS environment, known as the non-global zone.

"Oracle Solaris Zones let you isolate one application from others on the same OS, allowing users to log in and do what they want from inside one zone without affecting anything outside that zone. In addition, Oracle Solaris Zones are secure from external attacks and internal malicious programs. Each Oracle Solaris Zone contains a complete resource-controlled environment that allows you to allocate resources such as CPU, memory, networking, and storage."
- OTN Article: How to Get Started Creating Zones in Oracle Solaris 11

Solaris Cluster

Oracle Solaris Cluster lets you deploy the Oracle Solaris operating system across different servers. If the server in your Barbados data center gets washed away by a hurricane that hates you and dropped off in West Africa, the other servers pick up the load, and the operating system continues to operate without interruption.

"Oracle Solaris Cluster delivers the high availability and disaster recovery capabilities of Oracle Solaris 11 and extends, with version 4.1, its built-in support for the Oracle software and hardware stack, to protect business critical application deployments in virtualized and traditional environments."
- White Paper: Oracle Solaris and Oracle Solaris Cluster

Zone Clusters

A zone cluster is a cluster created from Solaris zones that are physically located on different servers. That's similar to a regular cluster, but it uses zones instead of entire OS instances.

"Such large amounts of idle processing capacity present an almost irresistible opportunity for better system utilization. Organizations seek ways to reclaim this unused capacity, and thus are moving to host multiple applications on a single cluster. However, concerns about interactions between applications, especially in the areas of security and resource management, make people wary. Virtualization technologies address these security concerns and provide safe ways to host multiple applications in different clusters on a single hardware configuration.
- White Paper: How to Deploy Virtual Clusters and Why

Trusted Zone Clusters and Saburna's How To Article

Oracle Solaris Trusted Zone clusters became available in Oracle Solaris Cluster 4.1. They are zone clusters with the security capabilities (mandatory access control or MAC) provided by Trusted Extensions. The zones in the cluster are labeled in the same way that other objects are labeled, so that only other objects with the same (or higher) sensitivity label can access them. Saburna Ganguli walks you through the steps required to set one up:

OTN Article: How to Build a Trusted Zone Cluster with Oracle Solaris Cluster 4.1

More Cluster Resources

Note: Get big discounts on Safari Books online by subscribing to the OTN Systems Community Newsletter

- Rick

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Monday Feb 11, 2013

Oracle Solaris 10 Still Rocks

source

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

Friday Jan 18, 2013

Once Upon a Time in the Kingdom of Serv

If you're the type of person who has no time to read fairy tales, scroll to the very bottom for a link to the article.

Once upon a time there was a very happy Kingdom called Serv. It was ruled by inventors called engineers. Most of the engineers were clever, kind, and handsome. They had beautiful wives who cooked them tasty and nutritious meals.

A few of the engineers, however, had wives with big, hairy, purple moles, who sat around all day watching reruns of Bridezilla while chomping loudly on pork rinds. They never served their engineer husbands any meals and instead, screamed at them to get them another bag of pork rinds. And they hated sysadmins.

Sysadmins were the workers of the Kingdom. They were very playful, and they had big strong hands. They spent their days tossing servers back and forth to each other, or playing hacky sack.

The Kingdom was a happy place because the clever, kind, and handsome engineers had long ago invented a wonderful contraption called, as you would expect, a "server." Servers were loved throughout the Serv kingdom and all the surrounding kingdoms. They came in shiny metal boxes and had blinking lights. Best of all, they had straight edges so that sysadmins could toss them back and forth to each other. Sysadmins loved tossing servers back and forth to each other, and at lunch time it was not uncommon for several servers to be in the air at once. But when a sysadmin dropped a server, it usually broke. And when a server broke, it was called a "failure." And a failure always woke up The Boss.

The Boss was a hairy ugly giant with one eye. He did only two things. He slept. And he fired sysadmins for waking him up. Naturally, everybody preferred to keep the boss asleep. Especially sysadmins.

Polite people in the Kingdom never mentioned the word "failure" at dinner parties, not even in a whisper, lest they unwittingly awaken The Boss. But everybody knew that if sysadmins began to appear on their sofas in the middle of the night, somewhere in the Kingdom a failure had occurred.

The wives of the clever, kind, and handsome engineers begged their husbands to do something about the plight of the playful sysadmins. And so the clever, kind, and handsome engineers invented the cluster. A cluster was an enchanted cable that connected groups of servers in a magical way. When one server was dropped by a sysadmin, the cable moved that server's applications to another server so fast that nobody had time to even think of saying "failure," much less say it loud enough to wake The Boss. When the dropped server was fixed, the enchanted cable moved that server's applications back.

And so the Kingdom was full of happy sysadmins tossing servers back and forth during lunch, and sleeping in their very own beds at night.

This turn of events, of course, made the pork rind and Bridezilla wives jealous. During the commercials they screeched at their browbeaten husbands until they invented a curse to get the sysadmins fired again and back on the sofas of the beautiful wives who cooked their engineer husbands tasty and nutritious food.

It was an unspeakable curse, and polite people at dinner parties didn't dare to even whisper its name. When this curse was unleashed upon the Kingdom, all the beautiful metal servers disappeared. Except one. And inside that one server were trapped the spirits of all the other servers. The sysadmins stood around staring at it, wondering of what use their big strong hands were when the servers no longer had bodies.

One by one the sysadmins grew sad and left, and in no time at all, almost all the clever, kind, and handsome engineers had sysadmins sleeping on their sofas again.

The Kingdom was not a happy place.

Until one day, it occurred to the cleverest, kindest, and most handsome of the clever, kind, and handsome engineers to put a spell on the enchanted cable so that it could do the same thing for the spirit servers that it once did for the physical servers.

It was a wonderful invention, and the sysadmins jumped off their sofas to learn how to use it. And to keep the pork rind-chomping, Bridezilla-watching wives of the browbeaten engineers guessing, the enchanted cable could be used in two different ways:

Two Ways to Create a Cluster from Logical Domains

  • Configure logical domains within Oracle Solaris Cluster
  • Configure Oracle Solaris Cluster within Oracle VM Server for SPARC

The first approach is fairly obvious. You can put one or more applications inside each domain and create a cluster from all the domains. When a particular domain goes down, the applications running inside it get moved to a working domain. The domains are controlled individually through Oracle VM Server for SPARC, and the cluster is controlled by Oracle Solaris Cluster.

The second approach is more involved, but it provides significant benefits. It consists of setting up Oracle Solaris Cluster inside the control domain of Oracle VM Server for SPARC. When deployed this way, Oracle Solaris cluster can manage guest domains as "black boxes," which allows a site to isolate the administration of guest domains from each other. With this approach, from within Oracle Solaris Cluster you can:

  • Create guest domains
  • Live- and warm-migrate the guest domains
  • And manage individual applications like you can with the first approach

The second approach is well documented. In fact, Venkat Chennuru, a sysadmin with big strong hands who was elevated to the rank of clever, kind, and handsome engineer, took the trouble to write it down for us. You can find his article on OTN:

How to Configure a Failover Guest Domain in an Oracle Solaris Cluster

Read it, learn how to do it. Because as you know, evil never rests.

- Rick

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Tuesday Oct 23, 2012

You Don't Want to Meet Orgad Kimchi in a Dark Alley

source

Do you remember what those bad guys in the old Charles Bronson films looked like? They looked like Orgad Kimchi, that's what they looked like. When I met him at Oracle OpenWorld 2012, I realized I didn't want to meet him in the wrong alleyway of Budapest after dark.

Neither do old versions of Oracle Solaris, which Orgad bends to his will with as much ease as he probably bends stray tourists to his will in Budapest, Kandahar, or Dagestan.

How Orgad Made Oracle Database Migrate from Oracle Solaris 8 to Oracle Solaris 11

In this article, which we liked so much we reprinted it from his blog (please don't tell him!), Orgad explains how he head-butted an Oracle Database into submission. The database thought it was safe running in Oracle Solaris 8, but Orgad dragged its whimpering carcas into Oracle Solaris 11. How'd he do that? Well, if you had met Orgad in person, you wouldn't ask that question. Because you'd know he could have simply stared at it, and the database would have migrated on its own.

But Orgad didn't do that. Instead, he stuffed an Oracle Solaris 8 Physical-to-Virtual (P2V) Archiver Tool into his leather trench coat, the one with the special pockets sown in by the East German Secret Police for several Uzis and their ammo, and walked into his data center in a way that reminded the survivors of this clip from Matrix Reloaded.

The end result? The Oracle Database 10.2 that was running on Oracle Solaris 8 is now running inside a Solaris 10 branded zone in Oracle Solaris 11. With no complaints.

Don't make Orgad angry. Read his article.

- Rick

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Tuesday Aug 21, 2012

Worth the Money?

source

Learning a new technology really is the modern equivalent of doing the Ulysees thing in Homer's Odyssey. If you're the person who has to actually deploy the darned thing. And keep it running.

First, you have to wade through the marketing designed to mesmerize your boss ...

The eData Cloud-Optimized Storage Environment solution increases the adaptability of scalable business continuity while protecting infrastructure integrity optimized for the demands of reliability, availability, and security expressly designed for the unique requirements of the data center while enhanced for today's particular, unique, and demanding enterprise challenges. In a heterogenous computing environment.

So you shake your head vigorously in the hope that most of those words will fall out your ears, and go to the documentation, which is wicked, wicked useful. Once once you have a good idea of what you want to do. But frustrating as hell when you're not sure what you're supposed to be doing. Or why.

The technical articles that OTN publishes help a lot, but they don't give you the complete picture, do they? You wind up knowing how to do some really cool things, but not having a clue how to do others. Or worse: not knowing if there are other things you need to know.

So you go to the forums. And ask a question. OTN's forums are pretty good, but even in our forums you might not get an answer. And you might develop a lasting relationship with somebody born in San Quentin Prison who dedicates himself to stalking you for the rest of his life for wasting 18 seconds of his precious time.

We're all used to this, and repeat it hundreds of times throughout the year.

But wouldn't it be nice to learn something the easy way? Just once? Have somebody who really knows what they're talking about give us the complete picture? First at the high level so we get to see all the pieces and finally understand what it is we're dealing with. That alone is almost priceless. But also in full detail, so we know how to actually install, deploy, manage, and update a technology. From end to end. Because we've done it ourselves. More than once.

For me, that would be Christmas in August. The catch for most sysadmins nowadays is that there just isn't enough time to take a class. You can't get away from the office long enough without the place burning down. Which is why Oracle University came up with its on-demand format. Here's one example:

On Demand Training: Transition to Oracle Solaris 11

Like the average sysadmin, I have little to no free time during my work week. So I can't sign up for a week-long class. And even if I did, I wouldn't pay attention half the time because I'd be answering emails, IM's, and phone calls. So this on-demand format really works for me. Plus, the content is really good. An example of how the instructor sets the context for the new installation tools in Oracle Solaris 11, with just a few words:

"Now, speaking of Solaris installations, we have essentially three different ways that we can install this. We have the automated installer. Now, the automated installer is the replacement for JumpStart. The idea here is we're installing across the network. We have a manifest that lists what component should get installed. We have client profiles that say OK, these are the clients that should get the software.

"Then we have a couple of different interactive installation options. We have a LiveCD. Now, LiveCD is designed for the desktop environment. It has a GUI environment. So for those of you that are dealing with installations that are going to happen on a desktop or notebook computers, generally, you're going to do a LiveCD installation of that. Then we have the text installer. That's typically what you're probably used to in server deployments where it's a text-based interface where you're answering the questions to install the operating system so that you're not having to worry about the resources of a graphical environment."

If you're wondering why I'm blogging about this course on OTN Garage (again), it's simple: I'm taking the course right now, in between my other work, and I'm freakin' loving it! In my case, Oracle is paying for it. But after decades of trying to learn this technology on my own --with access to Oracle's engineers, mind you-- even if Oracle didn't pay for it, I'd be awfully tempted to stop buying motorcycles and pay for it myself. Just for the peace of mind. For the relief of being certain that I know what I'm talking about.

If the link above doesn't work for you, try this one.

- Rick

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Friday Aug 17, 2012

How to Create More Oracle Solaris 11 Zones With Less Effort

If you are familiar with zones in Oracle Solaris 11, you already know how to create them using a procedure like the one described in this article:

How to Get Started Creating Zones in Oracle Solaris 11
Duncan Hardie demonstrates how to perform basic operations with zones: first, how create a single zone using the command line, then how to add an application to a zone, and finally how to clone a zone.

And you may be aware that you can configure your zones so that they are easier to clone, as described in this article:

How to Configure Zones in Oracle Solaris 11 for Easy Cloning
Jeff McMeekin describes how to create a network topology of servers, routers, switches, and firewalls that you can clone right along with Oracle Solaris 11 zones.

However, if you are going to create several zones and perhaps configure them differently, why not make things easier on yourself? Why not prepare a few zone configuration plans? And when you're ready to create one, just push a button to execute one of the plans? This article by Laura Hartman describes how to do just that:

New!
How to Create Oracle Solaris 11 Zones with Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c

Here's an overview of the process, lifted from the article:

"First, create an Oracle Solaris 11 zone profile and plan. The profile captures the zone configuration, including defining the storage and network details. The plan executes the configuration on selected targets. You can use and reuse the profile and plan to create zones with a consistent configuration.

"Then deploy the plan to create a new zone. When you deploy a plan, you identify the target operating systems and the number of zones to create. Before you submit the job to deploy the plan, you can modify some of the configuration details."

More info about Oracle Solaris 11 zones here:

- Rick

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Friday Aug 03, 2012

My Oracle RAC and Oracle Solaris Cluster Cheet Sheet

This gets complicated, so stop watching motoGP crash compilation videos for a sec.

We have Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC). RAC lets you deploy a single Oracle Database across different servers. If the server in your Des Moines data center gets picked up by a tornado that hates you and dropped off in East Texas, the other servers pick up the load, and the database continues to operate without interruption. That's easy to understand.

We also have Oracle Solaris Cluster. It lets you deploy the Oracle Solaris operating system across different servers. If the server in your Barbados data center gets washed away by a hurricane that hates you and dropped off in West Africa, the other servers pick up the load, and the operating system continues to operate without interruption. A good quote:

White Paper: Extending Oracle Solaris for Business Continuity
"Oracle Solaris Cluster offers comprehensive and robust capabilities for keeping your business IT, including those running Oracle Database and Applications, up and running in the face of nearly every conceivable situation."

That's easy to understand, as well.

So why would somebody complicate our sysadmin lives by suggesting we install Oracle RAC on Oracle Solaris Cluster? What would that be, highly-available high availability?

Turns out that's not what they're suggesting. They're suggesting we install Oracle RAC not on Solaris Clusters, but on zone clusters. What's a zone cluster, you ask?

A zone cluster is a cluster created from Solaris zones that are physically located on different servers. That's similar to a regular cluster, but it uses zones instead of entire OS instances. Don't confuse a zone cluster with a failover cluster. Instead, read this white paper:

White Paper: Zone Clusters: How to Deploy Virtual Clusters and Why
This paper introduces the zone cluster, a virtual cluster in which an Oracle Solaris Zone is configured as a virtual node. The zone cluster supports the consolidation of multiple cluster applications on a single cluster.

That's all very interesting, but what about our original question:

Why would someone want to complicate our sysadmin lives by suggesting we install Oracle RAC on a zone cluster?

Turns out there two good reasons:

  • It's a better high-availability solution for a multi-tier application environment
  • It lets you isolate your database development, test, and deployment environments from each other.

How the Oracle RAC/Zone Cluster Combo Is Better For Multi-Tier Applications

Let's say that you are using your Oracle database as one tier in two different application environments. The first one is an HR application, the one second is an e-business suite. Both access the same database. Well, Oracle RAC would give you the high-availability for that database. But the applications would not be highly available. However, if you installed the database with Oracle RAC inside one zone cluster, and each application inside its own zone cluster, you'd make both application environments highly avaiable. And, if you limit the administrative privileges for each zone cluster, you'd get administrative isolation, as well.

How the Oracle RAC/Zone Cluster Combo Is Safer for Deployment

You've probably heard by now about Knight Capital Group's trading glitch that dropped the company's value by 50% in one day. I don't know exactly what happened, but I wonder if they didn't deploy either their development or their test environment instead of the one that was ready for prime time.

I suppose it's a sysadmin's duty to learn from another sysadmin's misfortune. So, if you divide your zone clusters into development, test, and deployment environments, you might have a better shot at avoiding a similar catastrophe. For example, install Oracle RAC with an Oracle DB into your development zone cluster, and keep it isolated from your test and deployment zone clusters. One sysadmin controls the development cluster. Another the test cluster. And the biggest, baddest sysadmin controls the deployment cluster. When the development environment is ready for testing, the test admin must OK the migration. That goes double for the deployment environment. And all the while, each environment remains highly available.

Resources

Turns out that Oracle and the portion of Oracle that was once Sun Microsystems have been collaborating on Oracle RAC/Solaris Cluster solutions for a long time. Customers like this approach so much that we just published three articles explaining how to do it. Each article covers a different version of the software:

Article RAC Version Solaris Version Cluster Version
How to Deploy Oracle RAC 11.2.0.2 on Oracle Solaris Zone Clusters 11.2.0.2 10 3.3
How to Deploy Oracle RAC 11.2.0.3 on Oracle Solaris Zone Clusters 11.2.0.3 10 3.3
How to Deploy Oracle RAC 11.2.0.3 on Oracle Solaris 11 Zone Clusters 11.2.0.3 11 4.0

And if you want more, we also have a page full of links to all our Solaris Cluster how-to articles and background white papers:

Where to find everything Solaris Cluster-related

Don't be the sysadmin who bankrupts your company in one day. Get educated.

- Rick

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

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