Thursday Feb 18, 2010

High Availability for Virtualized Environments

Used to be availability was a big deal.

The product formerly known as Solaris Cluster (then called Sun cluster and now called Solaris Cluster again) was the answer to many a midnight prayer because it did such a great job of keeping your Solaris operating environment available even across geographical boundaries.

(BigAdmin's resource center for Sun Cluster administrators is in serious need of updating, but you can still find some useful links about Solaris Cluster there.)

Over the last few years virtualization eclipsed availability. Everyone's focus was on hardware consolidation. Solaris server? Linux server? Windows server? Who cares. We can run all the software we want on whichever server we like the most. And hardware salesmen can pound sand.

Well, guess what? If in the past you were running Need for Speed on one server and that server went down, you only lost one business critical application. But with Need for Speed running on Windows, Quake 4 running on Linux, and DOOM hosted on Solaris (with voodoo and black magic the way Sun engineers at Rocky Mountain Technology Center used to do it after hours), all part of a virtualized environment created on a Sun Oracle Database Machine without the IT manager's knowledge, you're talking serious unrest in the corner office if anything goes wrong.

So availability is a big deal again. In fact, an even bigger deal than it used to be.

We're working on an update to BigAdmin's virtualization resources for admins that will point you to resources that will help you figure out not only the best virtualization solution, but the best way to make that solution highly available.

In the meantime, you can take a look at how to solve one small part of the availability puzzle by reading this BigAdmin Feature Article by J. Randriam:

Configuring Sun Cluster Software With Oracle RAC/CRS and Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage Systems

It describes how to configure a 3-node Solaris Cluster to run Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC) / Cluster Ready Services (CRS) on a Sun Storage 7210 Unified Storage System. What you get with that is high availability for the database, the OS, and the storage system. Main sections include:

  • How to configure an NFS filesystem from the Storage System GUI.
  • How to mount the new filesystem from the cluster nodes.
  • How to create an iSCSI LUN for each node.
  • How to connect each node to its LUN.
  • How to disable fencing.
  • How to create a quorum device.
  • How to configure the Oracle RAC/CRS device to run on the storage system while taking advantage of the high availability services provided by Sun Cluster.

BigAdmin has some basic publication support, now, so we'll start to publish more content in the next few days.

Thanks for hanging in there with us.

- Rick

Thursday Jan 14, 2010

My New Video Game Racing Seat

This blog is about a new Sun BluePrint, Best Practices For Moving to the Solaris 10 Operating System. If you want to be that way, you can skip straight to the BluePrint.

And not read the part about the wicked cool video game racing seat.

And the Ferraris.

(Read a review of this racing seat at

OK, so the racing chair is not mine yet, but I have my eye on it.

I need it so I can beat my 17-year old daughter at Need for Speed.

When we first started playing, we were using this kind of controller:

She kicked my ass.

So I bought this steering wheel:

It came with brake and throttle pedals. I also bought a TV dinner table (remember those?) and mounted the wheel on it. Now we're pretty much even.

But the TV-table/steering wheel combo still wobbles, and Need for Speed requires precise steering. Or you go off the road at 150 mph. Or smack into a pile of tires because some dirty bastard coming up from behind spun you. Stuck inside a pile of tires and road debris, you get to listen to the spectators jeer while you while you try to find Reverse with the stupid paddle shifters.

Unfortunately, the only steering wheel I could afford comes with paddle shifters. I hate paddle shifters. Paddle shifters are for posers. Unless you actually race your Ferrari. If you don't race your Ferrari and it has a paddle shifter, guess what? You're a poser.

That's right, a Poser.

Poser, poser, poser.

OK, if you eat a lot of smelly cheese, the correct term is poseur. If you'd like a real definition of poseur, go to this site, but be advised that its content may be considered offensive by people who take offense at things:

Urban Dictionary's definition of "poseur".

Poseur, poseur, poseur.

I'd much rather continue talking about video games and the fascinating definitions in Urban Dictionary, but I have a job to do. So I'm gonna tell you about this new BluePrint written by the fine folks in Sun's BluePrints organization. It's called...

Best Practices For Moving to the Solaris 10 Operating System

Sun wants you to read the BluePrint in case you are:

  1. Thinking about upgrading to Solaris 10, but
  2. Aren't exactly sure what's involved in the upgrade process

The BluePrint covers....

  • Why upgrading to Solaris 10 makes fiscal sense in this economy (it's not about the cool features)
  • How to plan your upgrade so you get the benefits you want
  • How to implement your plan so you get the results you intended
  • The tangible benefits you get from Solaris 10 (resource utilization, performance, availability, etc.)

What makes Sun BluePrints so good is that they're written by experts in the field under the guidance of Kemer Thomson, who has been running Sun's BluePrint program since back in 01. That's almost in the other millennium. (I bet I can kick his ass in Need for Speed.)

Check it out. (While you're at it, also see the Solaris 10 Upgrade Resources for System Administrators.)

And tell me where to find that racing seat for cheap. I want enough money left over to buy the helmet. Swear to God I'll wear it around the house.

- Rick

(Photo courtesy of


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