Monday Nov 15, 2010

Oracle Solaris 11 Express Resources for Sysadmins

Solaris 11 Express is now available for download. Free for development, evaluation, and testing purposes. Look for resources on the System Admin and Developer Community of OTN over the coming days, or see this summary of sysadmin resources on the OTN Garage Blog.

- Rick

Monday Nov 01, 2010

Solaris Sysadmin Training Now Available on Apple iPad

Get educated in the comfort of your own natural habitat and take Part I of the Oracle Solaris System Administration course on the Apple iPad with the new Oracle University e-kit application. Details on the OTN Garage Blog.

- Rick

Wednesday Sep 08, 2010

New in Solaris 10 9/10 (Update 9)

Go to OTN Garage Blog
- Rick

Thursday Aug 19, 2010

Updates to the Oracle Technology Network (Systems)

A summary of the latest updates to the System Admin and Developer Community of OTN, plus posts to the OTN Garage on Facebook.

- Rick

Thursday Jul 01, 2010

BigAdmin Content Migrating - How to Stay Informed

BigAdmin content is migrating.

Site is frozen (except for HCL updates).

How to stay informed.

This BigAdmin Blog will be discontinued soon.

It has been replaced by the OTN Garage Blog.

Let me know what I can do to make this transition easier for you.

Use the comments box.

- Rick

Monday Jun 28, 2010

Flops and GigaFlops

Please go to the OTN Garage Blog to find out about the benefits of running Solaris on SPARC, plus a few choice opinions about flopping in the World Cup.

- Rick

Monday Jun 07, 2010

Solaris 10 System Administration Essentials

Find out more at The OTN Garage Blog

- Rick

Friday Apr 16, 2010

A Boatload of New Scripts

In America it's almost a national pastime to make fun of Rednecks.

But I love 'em.

On some days I swear I'm becoming one.

Shoot, one of my best friends is named JimBob.

Craig Morgan has a song called The Redneck Yacht Club.

I was listening to it this morning while sitting in my sweats, sneakers, and Ferrari cap behind the school bus. It was stopped, lights-a-blinkin', waiting for the kids to climb on. Once they all got in and sat down I would be able to drop off my daughter at the Country Market, where she meets her ride to school, another 20 minutes up the road.

I got to thinking that there ought to be rules about some things.

Like what you wear outside of the house, for instance.

I know, I know, when you get right down to it, there's really not a lot of difference between a cheap tuxedo and a pair of overalls. They are, after all, both made of cotton.

Except that there is.

And dropping off your little girl at the bus in pajama bottoms and bedroom slippers, a Marlboro hanging off your bottom lip, is simply not acceptable attire for any Momma. Redneck or not.

Even if the pajamas are a fashionable cerulian blue with tastefully spaced red and yellow 'possum prints that set off the faux fur on your bedroom slippers to best advantage.

After the bus left, she shuffled across the railroad tracks, waved at her friend standing in the window behind the rusty pontoon boat that's been parked in the front yard since 1982, bigger than the damn house, and headed home.

She lives next door to the RV storage and consignment lot. Each morning, she steps over the broken picket fence gate and goes back inside to finish her daily chores. Or last night's bottle of Jim Beam. Who knows. When you wear your pajama bottoms to the bus stop, anything is possible.

Even a proud people who value their freedom need standards.

For you, today, BigAdmin has a fine set of scripts by Prashant Pilankar.

Scripts to Manage Oracle ZFS and UFS Filesystems

This tech tip by Prashant Pilankar's includes a main script and several subscripts that automate the administration of ZFS and UFS filesystems in Oracle Solaris 10. Contents:

  • Creating an Oracle Solaris ZFS storage pool
  • Adding a device to a storage pool
  • Creating a filesystem in a storage pool
  • Setting quota on an Oracle Solaris ZFS filesystem
  • Creating a mirrored storage pool
  • Adding devices to a mirrored storage pool
  • Creating a RAID-Z (Enhanced RAID5) storage pool
  • Adding devices to a RAID-Z storage pool
  • Destroying a storage pool
  • Determining if problems exist in a storage pool
  • Creating a UFS filesystem and mounting it

This is just the first of several scripts by Prashant. There is more on the way.

- Rick

Wednesday Apr 07, 2010

Where'd the Solaris 10 Applications Library Go?

BigAdmin's Solaris 10 Applications Library, which used to let you search through Sun's partner database to find the applications that ran on Solaris 10, will not make the transition to the Oracle Technology Network. As of today, April 7, it is no longer available.

From today forward, to find out which applications run on Solaris 10, use Oracle's Partner Solutions Catalog:

Oracle Partner Network Solutions Catalog

It works a bit differently than BigAdmin's Library, but you can rely on it to be available for a very long time.

To find out more about the artist who drew our charming librarian, go to the Strangers In Paradise Website

- Rick

Thursday Apr 01, 2010

Oracle Space Shuttle Wins Milky Way Cup

Larry Ellison piloted the space shuttle "11g" to victory in the first running of the Milky Way Cup.

"It was a team effort," Ellison quipped into his space suit while orbiting Saturn's moon Hyperion.

"Lots of work went..." he added before the transmission was interrupted by an unidentified celestial body.

"That's not fair" said an IBM spokesperson from somewhere in New York state.

"Winners win, losers whine," Ellison responded before we lost the signal again.

"It's not a real race if you don't tell the people you're supposed to be racing against," added a clearly irritated spokesperson from SAP.

The transmission from Hyperion was breaking up badly, but we thought we could make out something that sounded like "Nya-nya-nyaaa" before we lost it completely. We'll hear the rest of Ellison's statement whenever the unpredictable Hyperion re-emerges from its orbit around Saturn.

In other news, The Onion reports that an Americans spend 14 trillion dollars annually just trying to look cool.

It's always April Fools at The Onion.

- Rick

Tuesday Mar 30, 2010

How to Optimize Oracle Solaris Applications for Intel Platforms

Back in the day Sun was all about SunOS on SPARC.


The OS was optimized for the hardware and the hardware was designed to take advantage of the OS. If you wanted something else, you went somewhere else.

After a stuttering start, things changed, and the partnership between Intel and Solaris has been riding the updrafts for several years, now.

Here's the latest...

How to Optimize Oracle Solaris Applications for Intel Platforms

by Mike Mulkey

A technical guide for developers and sysadmins that explains how to use the capabilities of Solaris to optimize the scalability, performance, reliability, security, power efficiency, and virtualization of applications running on Intel's Xeon processor family (5600 and 7500 series).

A lot of work went into this paper, and it shows. It takes each major Solaris capability and describes how it has been optimized. For example ...

  • How Solaris enhances Intel multicore processor capabilities—up to 8 processor sockets, each with up to 8 cores and 2 threads per core—as well as Intel Hyper-Threading, QuickPath, and Turbo Boost technologies.
  • How Solaris Fault Management Architecture (FMA) integrates with the Intel Machine Check Architecture (MCA) Recovery features, enabling systems to automatically monitor, report, and recover from hardware errors to maintain data integrity and keep missioncritical applications and services online.
  • How Solaris takes advantage of the dynamic power management capabilities of the Intel processors.
  • How Solaris takes advantage of the latest Intel Virtualization Technology (Intel VT) features and enables the highest consolidation ratios.


  1. Introduction
    • The Oracle Solaris Ecosystem
    • Intel Xeon Processor 5600 and 7500 series
    • Oracle Integration
  2. Intelligent Performance
    • Memory Placement Optimization (MPO)
    • Intel Turbo Boost
  3. Automated Energy Efficiency
    • Power Aware Dispatcher
    • PowerTOP
    • Power Budgets and Power Capping
    • Always Running APIC Timer
  4. Reliability
    • Oracle Solaris FMA for Intel Xeon Processors
  5. Security
  6. Oracle Virtualization
    • Intel Virtualization Technology (Intel VT)
    • Oracle Solaris Virtualization Capabilities
    • Oracle VM VirtualBox
  7. Developer Tools Optimizations
  8. Oracle Solaris Studio
  9. Conclusion
  10. Resources
  11. Appendices

It's a great read.

- Rick

Monday Mar 29, 2010

LDOMS is Now Called....

(drumroll photo courtesy of E-How).

...Oracle VM Server for SPARC

BigAdmin will be publishing new content on Oracle VM Server for SPARC (LDOMS) soon, including an update of our Virtualization Hub.

In the meantime, if you want to use some cool graphics tools to analyze the performance of Zones, Containers, and Oracle VM Server for SPARC (LDOMS), check out....

Halcyon's Neuron Agent

What We've Been Working On

That's a picture of my boxer, Penny, after she finished raising Buster, my other boxer.

Buster, pictured below, is much younger.

After last week I felt more like Penny than like Buster.

Lots of work going on inside Oracle to design the section of the Oracle Technology Network that our BigAdmin content will migrate to.

In fact, content from these three sites will be combined into one section on OTN:

That way developers, students, and admins can find general content about Solaris and related technologies in one place, plus how-to articles and resources specific to their roles.

I'm also sifting through BigAdmin's 3500+ content resources (not counting the HCL, which has over 10,000 entries) to see what migrates to the Oracle Technology Network and what doesn't. I'm making that decision both by the popularity of the content and the relevance to Oracle's technology offerings. Naturally most of our Solaris 10-related content will migrate, but most of our Solaris 9 and Solaris 8 content will migrate, as well.

Wicked sorry that I'm not keeping the MOTD as updated as Robert used to, or the MOTD Archive populated. Things will settle down a bit once we complete the migration to the Oracle Technology Network.

- Rick

Tuesday Mar 23, 2010

Don't Piss Off Your IT Customers

Did you just bring down the entire executive staff on your head because while you were eating a hot pastrami on rye your cell phone played Ina Gada Da Vida, the ring tone you reserved for that exotic DBA with the naughty look you met at the Thailand Oracle User Group last week while you were 'sposed to be talking to potential clients, you slacker, and in your haste to grab the call, you gripped the rye bread too hard, squeezing out a giant glob of mustard that landed square in your lap just as you were trying to say "Hey" all cool and smooth like you knew how to handle that kinda woman, so while she purred something innocuous but not, you lodged the cell phone between your shoulder and ear so you could reach for the only piece of paper on your desk, the copy of the presentation you have to deliver in 8 minutes, so you could try to clean off the mustard spot because IT guys tend to make a better impression on customers when they don't show up with a giant mustard stain in the middle of their dress slacks, but while reaching for the presentation you wound up smacking the Esc key with your elbow and canceling the installation of the software that takes 28 minutes to install that you were going to demo with the presentation you are going to make in what, 7 minutes now?

You need to read this article.

Ten Best Practices for a Successful Customer Solution Engagement

Edward Clay, the author, has distilled a career's worth of sound advice into one white paper. He begins by listing the typical errors that are repeated by unsuccessful customer engagements, such as:

  • Confusion about tactical sales versus strategic sales
  • Poor communication about the final deployed solution
  • Scope creep
  • Confusion about when to use a time-and-materials versus fixed-pricing engagement
  • Regulatory or fiduciary requirements and security requirements not addressed or addressed late in the architecture design or deployment process
  • Current internal IT practices (that is, IT maturity level) not addressed during the development of the solution nor for the final state
  • And more

He then goes on to provides ways to avoid these problems in your customer engagements, with wisdom and techniques born of experience. I found the section on the risks and benefits of tactical vs strategic sales wicked interesting. And the section on the maturity level of a site's security infrastructure was terrific.

Complete contents are:

  1. The Sales Process: Product Sales Versus Solution Sales
  2. The Scope of the Project
  3. Communication During the Delivery and the Handoff
  4. Time-and-Material Versus Fixed-Price Delivery
  5. IT Maturity Level
  6. Security Maturity Level
  7. Pre-sales and Delivery Architecture
  8. The Role of Security Architecture
  9. The Pros and Cons of Using Partners
  10. Documentation and Customer Training for Products

This is a great read, whether you deal directly with customer's IT problems or not.

By the way, you should have dropped the sandwich, Mister Smooth.

- Rick

Wednesday Mar 17, 2010

A Gentle Note to Annoying Spammers

First, something useful...we have published two new tech tips submitted by the community (affectionately known as "Commie Tech Tips"):

Tech Tip #1: Upgrading NetApp DFM to Run on Solaris 10

If you're running NetApp's DataFabric Manager (DFM) 3.2R1, you probably know that in spite of having a version number almost as cool as a Porsche's, it does not run on Solaris 10.

If you'd like to run NetApp's DFM on Solaris 10, you'll need version 3.7.1. (Not as cool as a Porsche.) This article by Balasubramanian C explains how to upgrade from version 3.2R1 to 3.71, using Live Upgrade.

Photo courtesy of

(That's the Porsche 918 Spyder Concept, by the way.)

Tech Tip #2: How to Avoid Patch Problems When Moving a Local Zone

This tech tip by Victor Feng describes how to avoid problems with incompatible patch levels when moving a local zone from one host to another.

More info about Solaris zones and containers in BigAdmin's Zones and Containers hub.

A Gentle Note to Annoying Spammers

You know who you are.

Do you really think that BigAdmin is interested in posting your ads for cheap drugs, the latest gossip about Tiger Woods, and steroids to grow different parts of my anatomy?

Do your homework, you marketing genius, you.

If you're too lazy to do your homework, then go ahead and continue to fill in those BigAdmin forms with all your drivel. You know how many mouse clicks it takes me to delete all that stuff you just filled in? Two: one to delete, and one to confirm.

And I enjoy it. I actually look forward to that moment in my day when I can stop what I'm doing, turn on Tchaikovski's 1812 Overture, and enjoy the music. I put my feet up, close my eyes, and when that glorious finale arrives, I happily plink away at the Delete button.

You? You just suck.

- Rick

Tuesday Mar 16, 2010

Why BigAdmin Is Running Slow

Just a quick note....BigAdmin is running slow right now because the BigAdmin pages are still making calls to ad servers that have been decommissioned.

Support staff is working on the problem. It should be fixed in a couple of days.

- Rick

Friday Mar 12, 2010

Spring Forward?

It's that time again when the working and schooling population of the northern half of the planet begins a mass migration toward the rising sun.

Daylight Savings Time.

The time of year when schoolchildren fall asleep on their marmalade, office workers fall asleep on their desks, and stay at home Moms mutter "make your own damn breakfast" from under the covers.

But it's also the time of year when you still have a personal life after you get home from work. When there's enough daylight and, in some places, heat, to work in the yard or putter in the garage before going inside to answer phone calls from unfriendly people who want to know why you haven't paid them this month.

Spring Forward and Fall Back

It's also the time when about 80% of the American population feels like an idiot.

"Do I get up ealier or later?"

"'Spring forrrrrr....ward.' Right."

"So does that mean I move the clock forward? Or do I move forward against the clock?"

"Does moving the clock forward mean advancing it?"

"But if I advance the clock, doesn't that make me get up later? Shouldn't it be 'Fall Back?'"

"Ahh, 'Fall' refers to, like, October. Leaves turning and all that. Got it."

"Right. November. That's what I meant."

"So what do they do, like, on the other side of the world? You know, like in Peru? Do they, like, 'Fall Forward?'"

"Oh, so it's different because they speak Spanish. Yeah. That makes sense. I guess."

"But I still don't understand how getting up any earlier saves any actual daylight."

Here's how I keep it straight. When Daylight Savings Time begins, I get to leave work an hour earlier. I don't change my watch because it's one of those super complicated electronic ones with an altimeter, barometer, compass, GPS, and calculator. Only my daughter can figure it out.

If that doesn't work for you, try this:

On Sunday morning, when your watch says 8:00 am, change it so it says 9:00 am. Then go back to bed. And stay out of Arizona for the next 8 months.

BigAdmin's Daylight Savings Time Hub

If you want to find out which countries start DST at which time of year and how that affects your systems and software, get the latest news in our DST hub. I didn't realize Mongolia had any interest in DST. The way I figured it, if you live in Mongolia, you get up with the dawn and go to bed with the moon, and if somebody shoves a watch in your face, you cut them in half. My kinda place.

Bill Petro's Blog

Bill Petro's blog, always entertaining, provides some background info about DST. And other cultural topics. If you're the curious type, you'll get a kick out of it.

Good luck.

- Rick

Thursday Mar 11, 2010

Master Your Sysadmin One-Liners

For those too young to remember him, Bob Hope was America's favorite comic during the more innocent time in America's history when you couldn't include profanity in the jokes you delivered over the airwaves.

He was particularly popular with US troops stationed overseas or in remote bases.

upon being introduced to a group of amputees...
"Please don't stand up on my account."

At least he could still be politically incorrect.

Thanks to Maxime Corbeau, who sent us the link below, you can be master of your own one-liners.

Photo courtesy of

One-Line Sysadmin Commands at

From their website:

"Welcome to, the one-liner specialist.

You will find here plenty of one-liner commands that we hope will be useful to you. We currently have one-liners for various utilities such as openssl, grep, sed, tcpdump, ssldump and more. We'll try to add more in the future. The website has been designed to make reading one-liners easier for you."

Thanks, Maxime, for sharing the link with us.

BigAdmin's ShellMe Section

You can also find a large repository of both Solaris and Linux sysadmin commands in BigAdmin's ShellMe Section. It includes both collections of commands and individual command sequences for topics such as:

  • Debugging
  • Disk Commands
  • Driver Parameters
  • Filesystems
  • Hardware
  • Networking
  • Process management
  • Search
  • and much more...

Submit Your Command (or Link) to BigAdmin!

If you have a favorite command sequence, tell us about it and we'll add it to the list.

If you'd like to read more of Bob Hope's innocent one-liners, you can find them at I got a special kick out of this one:

"A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don't need it."
Bob Hope's one-liners won't give you the gut-busting laughs that some of today's comics will give you, but they'll take you back to another time.

- Rick

Tuesday Mar 09, 2010

Take THAT, Tom Cruise!

It's about time sysadmins got their due:

Devotion to Duty

(Thank you, Josh Simons.)

- Rick

Monday Mar 08, 2010

ACE Program for Admins and Solaris Developers

No, not that kind of ace.


But the plane, piloted by Sean Tucker, is wicked cool.

The boat is pretty cool, too.

You know how all the ACE programs are always for Java developers? Java. Java. Java. Well, I spoke to Victoria Lira, who runs the Oracle ACE program for the Oracle Technology Network, and she is welcoming admins and Solaris developers with open arms.

(By the way, Oracle shortens "sysadmin" to "admin," and uses it to encompass application management, database, system, network, and storage administrators.)

Don't have an autographed poster of James Gosling on your wall? I don't, either. If you know your Solaris (or Linux), your development environments, your systems management tools, your Oracle Sun hardware, or your storage, step up and nominate yourself. Or tell a buddy you'll nominate her if she nominates you. Buy somebody a cheap lunch. Whatever works.

How to Get Nominated

Getting nominated is kinda like asking out Sandra Bullock. It doesn't guarantee results. To be accepted, you have to be strong in a few of these areas:

  • Technical proficiency
  • Oracle-related blog
  • Oracle discussion forum activity
  • Published white paper(s) and/or article(s)
  • Presentation experience
  • Beta program participant
  • Oracle user group member
  • Oracle certification

If you have published any content on BigAdmin or SDN, be sure to mention it. If you want to publish any content on BigAdmin or the Solaris Developer Hub of SDN, use this link:

How to Publish Content on BigAdmin or SDN (Solaris Developer)

We're still running a little slow, but we'll get to it.

Why Would An Oracle Admin Want to Become an Oracle ACE?

Because you get special treatment from Oracle. For instance, check out this list of presentations at Oracle events made by Oracle Aces:

Presentations made by Oracle ACES

And if you become an Oracle ACE Director, the relationship gets a lot more interesting. If you're interested, be sure to read the entire FAQ

Bonus for BigAdmin Fans

I explained to Victoria that the Solaris community has some pretty diverse talents, so I got special dispensation for you. If you can shake your tail feathers to Ray Charles like this bird (clearly a BigAdmin fan) can, you'll get bonus points:

(Thank you, Rich Brown)

If the embedded video doesn't work for you, you can find it on YouTube.

- Rick

Monday Feb 22, 2010

What's New In Oracle Solaris Development Tools

Why don't YOU tell US?.

Tell us what capabilities you'd like our future code analysis tools to have in the areas of:

  • Implementation
  • Integration
  • Testing and Debugging
  • Maintenance
  • Predicting the stock market

In particular, we would like to know your preferences for static and dynamic code analysis capabilities, plus user interface features.

Take the Survey

This survey is actually pretty specific. If you're an Oracle Solaris developer or you set up the development environments for Solaris developers, it should take you 5 minutes to complete.

If you spend most of your time BASE jumping into bottomless pits, it might take you longer.

For more information about Oracle Solaris Studio and Sun's C, C++, and Fortran development tools, go to:

Solaris Studio Page

- Rick

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