Monday Jun 07, 2010

Solaris 10 System Administration Essentials

Find out more at The OTN Garage Blog

- 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

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

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

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

Wednesday Jan 27, 2010

The Nation of Burundi Approves Oracle-Sun Deal

The people of Burundi have overwhelmingly approved the Oracle-Sun deal.

"We approved the deal because we think BigAdmin's Device Detection Tool is very nice. We use it always."

"And also because the name Solaris is very pretty. In the Batwa language it means 'capacious jug.'"

The men of Burundi agreed.

"We invite all the people of the nation of Oracle to come and play the Burundi drum!"

"They make Version 2.3 of the Device Detection Tool excellent! It now supports new platforms including SPARC Solaris, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, and FreeBSD 6.0, 6.4, 7., 7.1 and 7.2. And it collects more system configuration information!"

"This gives us more time to beat the Burundi drum."

"And drink Burundi beer!"

When asked if they knew how to find the improved Device Detection Tool they said "Who doesn't! It's part of the BigAdmin HCL!"

To commemorate the event, the nation of Burundi has declared a national holiday.

"For our great friends, the people of Oracle and Sun!"

- Rick

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