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

Follow me on:
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Personal Twitter | YouTube | The Great Peruvian Novel

Wednesday May 22, 2013

Just Add Water

When it comes to web browsing, I have little patience with amateurish sites and won’t hesitate to point out problems and flaws to the webmaster—if I can find a link to them, that is. Have you ever had this experience: you are on a web site trying to buy something and it is so slow and unresponsive that you decide to forget it: it isn’t worth the trouble or you just don’t have time? Chalk that up as one lost sale! This is—or at least should be—the web team’s nightmare.

Sure, the Web is the ultimate source of free information. But, ultimately something needs to pay the bills. Since the Web has become the universal marketplace, you would think every business would want to maximize their return by optimizing their web commerce infrastructure…

Do you remember Sea Monkeys? Just add water and soon you would have your own little amusing zoo. “Sea Monkeys” (actually dried brine shrimp) have been around since I was a kid. Advertisements were a staple of comic books. I see their purveyor, Transcience Corporation, is still in existence and taking orders!

Where is this leading? I would like to think of Oracle ATG Web Commerce as the sea monkeys of web commerce: just add Oracle’s SPARC SuperCluster. “Sure,” you are thinking to yourself, “he is paid to say that.” I can’t deny that, but my entire career in the computer industry has swirled around the dream of reusable components. We now have them: software and hardware. My enthusiasm is both justified and sincere.

A proof is in one of the best articles to cross my screen in some time: “How to Optimize Your Web Commerce Infrastructure By Tuning Oracle ATG Web Commerce Applications on SPARC SuperCluster”. This dissertation is surprisingly compact for the amount of information behind it. As the authors put it:

The objective of deploying an internet storefront or what is commonly called an e-commerce Website is to produce revenue through product offerings and subsequent purchases at the Website while at the same time “learning” about customers and their preferences. Ultimately, the goal is to make it easy for customers to research and purchase items on the site while encouraging customers to purchase related products and services. … Delivering a positive user experience also requires fast response time.

The article discussed the architecture used for testing. To get there, they had to figure out what an optimal test workload would look like and then how to simulate it. They then ask the really important question, “can this workload scale on a bigger system?”

In this study the authors developed a number of best practices, tweaks to make things run better, which they share:

  • Configuring Oracle SPARC SuperCluster with Oracle VM Server for SPARC
  • Setting Up the Oracle WebLogic Server Zone
  • Setting Up the Oracle ATG Web Commerce Zone
  • Modifying the General Purpose Domain
  • Modifying the Oracle ATG Web Commerce Environment
  • Modifying the Oracle WebLogic Server Environment
  • Modifying the Database Server

For example, because the Web server will generate a lot of concurrent processes, all accessing the database, you will want increase these in the database configuration. If you think about it, this is a meager list of tweaks for such a complex system.

Response time metrics as Oracle ATG Web Commerce workload was incrementally increased
Response time metrics as Oracle ATG Web Commerce workload was incrementally increased

This article is a great read. At the very least, it gives you an approach and methodology to testing. More importantly, it demonstrates how easy it is to create a stable and scalable solution today. Just add water.

—Kemer

Follow us on:
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

Thursday Jul 12, 2012

Smaller/faster: what's not to like?

200 MB DiskpacksOne might think that things like disk space and even computer speed had become irrelevant. After all, our cell phones have more computing power and storage than million dollar computers of fifteen years ago. (Stop me if I’ve told this story too many times: 25 years ago we sold a terabyte of disk using the big 200 MB disk platters. So, that was a total of over 4,000 disks. Since this is ancient history, the details are hazy, but I do remember that it involved a sizable facility for the storage alone and an even more sizeable commission for the sales rep. Those were the good ol’ days!)

The truth is, there is always an opportunity to take advantage of more resources. Indeed, we are in the era of big data and it would seem that our big limitation now is the speed of light. Rather than brute force, clever engineers continually come up with better ways of doing things. The RDBMS world has tended to think in terms of rows, but there is a new trend to organize it in columns instead. Wikipedia has a great summary of the pros and cons worth taking a look at, if this is new to you. In a nutshell, columnar databases can provide real performance advantages for data warehouses.

Oracle’s Hybrid Columnar Compression technology is nicely described in this paper. Long time storage specialist Art Licht has written a paper about a study he did, explaining How We Improved SAN and NAS Performance with Hybrid Columnar Compression with some remarkable results: 19x reduction in required storage space and an average 6x increase in database query performance.

Art provides specifics on how to do this using the Pillar Axiom Storage System and Sun ZFS Storage Appliance, with detailed test results. This is an article you don’t want to miss: a real hands-on description that quickly brings you up to speed with the technology and its application in the real world. Cache Accesses

–Kemer

Wednesday Sep 07, 2011

Oracle OpenWorld for 50 Bucks - Really?

If you're an OTN Member, you can get a Discover Pass to Oracle OpenWorld for $50.00. The Discover Pass won't let you into the technical sessions and hands-on labs, but it will let you into the keynote and executive sessions, the user group meetings, the exhibition halls and Demo Grounds and, of course, the OTN Lounge. And that's not all. Find out how it compares to full registration here:

Discover Pass vs Full Registration

Be sure to use this priority code: DOTN11.

Here's how:

  • First, become an OTN member:
    1. Go to the OTN Membership Page
    2. Select the "join today!" link (underlined, in the middle of a paragraph)
    3. Go to "My Community Memberships"
    4. Select "Oracle Technology Network"
    5. Identify yourself as a "sysadmin."
  • Register for Oracle Open World and use priority code DOTN11

By the way, that's my nephew Anthony on the right. Coolest kid ever.

- Rick
Website
Newsletter
Facebook
Twitter

Thursday Aug 18, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

- Rick
Website
Newsletter
Facebook
Twitter

Wednesday Jul 13, 2011

Suicide by C++ And How to Avoid It

photo courtesy of To Be A Pilgrim blog.

You may have seen The Onion's story about some recent ground-breaking research ...

New Study Shows People With Panic Disorders Respond Poorly To Being Locked In Underwater Elevators

If you get the same reaction every time you realize your C++ code is hopelessly tangled up with your C++ libraries, you may find some relief in this series by Darryl Gove and Stephen Clamage.

  • Introduction to Libraries and Linking - How to make sure that your Oracle Solaris application links to the libraries it needs correctly and in the right order.
  • Part II - Resolving Symbols in Libraries - How to use the -z defs flag in your code to make sure the runtime linker links your application to the correct C++ libraries.
  • Part III - What Happens When An Application Starts - How investigate run-time application linking problems by using the LD_DEBUG environment variable.
  • Part IV - Avoiding Linking Problems - How to identify duplicate symbols and circular dependencies in your C++ code that would lead to linking problems between your application and its libraries.
  • Part V - Libraries in C++ - A detailed demonstration of how your C++ compiler can bind to a symbol from the incorrect library at compile time, and how to use the -g compiler flag to detect it.
  • Part VI - Resolving the Initialization Order Problem - Using link *order* to resolve C/C++ library dependencies is quick, but not optimal. Better to use either -instlib to keep the compiler from generating multiple templates, or use the -Bdirect linker flag to record dependencies at run time. This article explains how.
  • Part VII - Using Symbol Scoping to Avoid Linking Issues - By default, a symbol defined in a library is visible to other libraries and executables. You can limit a symbol's scope in a number of ways, including symbolic binding, hidden scope, and interposing. How to and examples described here.
  • Part VIII - Concluding Remarks and Summary of Best Practices - Building an application as a combination of executables and library calls has many advantages but potential problems with the links between the executable and its libraries. By using the techniques described in this series of articles, you can identify problems and make the risks manageable.

- Rick
System Admin and Developer Community of OTN
OTN Garage Blog
OTN Garage on Facebook
OTN Garage on Twitter

Monday Jun 06, 2011

Feed Me!

Photo courtesy of William Lee.

At the bottom of every Oracle's web page there's a corporate RSS Feed button. It takes you to a page that has some useful high-level feeds. But, unlike high-level corporate planners, we are privy to the fact that Systems admins and developers constitute a higher life form. So we created a set of highly refined feeds just for you.

The OTN System Admin and Developer Community Feeds are grouped into these categories:

By Technology

  • Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 11g
  • Solaris Studio
  • Oracle Linux
  • Solaris 11 Express
  • Storage
  • Servers
  • Desktops
  • Peripherals

By Topic

  • Availability
  • Backup and Restore
  • Containers and Zones
  • Filesystems
  • Installation
  • Interoperability
  • Networking
  • Performance
  • Security
  • Tools

By Type

  • Blogs
  • Videos
  • Technical Articles

All OTN Systems Content

  • All Developer
  • All Sysadmin
  • All
  • Let me know if you'd like any more.

    - Rick System Admin and Developer Community of OTN

    Thursday Aug 19, 2010

    Updates to the Oracle Technology Network (Systems)




















    picture courtesy of a Peruvian compadre of mine.

    Here's a summary of the latest updates to the System Admin and Developer Community of OTN, plus posts to the OTN Garage on Facebook. Give me a shout if you have any other news to share.

    New Technical Articles

    Using Oracle Solaris 10 to Overcome Security Challenges

    How to use the security features of Solaris to combat intrusion and meet requirements for security, privacy, and worldwide internal auditing standards. Privileges, hardening, networking, virtualized environments, certifications, and more.

    Increasing Application Availability with Oracle VM Server for SPARC: An Oracle Database Example

    How to use the warm migration feature of the technology previously known as LDOMS to increase the availability of an Oracle Database 10g Release 2 single-instance database.

    Deploying Web 2.0 Applications on Oracle Servers

    Best way to deploy Web 2.0 applications on Oracle Sun Servers and Open Source software. How to use the Olio web 2.0 toolkit to measure the performance and scalability of different deployment configurations so you can choose the best one before you deploy.

    New Product Pages

    Jimmy Huang, Kemer Thomson, and Vicky Hardman added four new server pages to the Product area.

    New From The Community

    New Headlines

    VirtualBox 3.2.8 Available for Solaris, Linux, Windows, MacOS

    Get the latest maintenance release of VirtualBox software, version 3.2.8. VirtualBox lets your system run several OS's simultaneously. Great for testing new features before implementing. See this list of 3.2.8 enhancements.

    Download the Oracle Solaris 10 10/09 Virtualbox Appliance Image

    The Virtualbox Appliance image of Solaris 10 (10/09 release) is a great way to become familiar with the Solaris 10 OS inside the Virtualbox environment. The appliance image is free, and available in Open Virtual Format. Requires VirtualBox 3.0 and 5 GB free space.

    Get 35% Off System Administration Training CD

    For a limited time you can save 35% when you purchase the Sun System Administrator Library Self-Study CD course. Study for the certification exam on your own schedule. No travel required. To get the discount, contact your Oracle University Sales Rep and mention promotion code SSCD Promo 2.
    - Rick
    About

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

    Search

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