Monday Jun 07, 2010

Solaris 10 System Administration Essentials

Find out more at The OTN Garage Blog

- 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

Monday Jun 15, 2009

The Lamborghini Murcielago vs The BigAdmin Newsletter

I've had a platonic love affair with the Bugatti Veyron since my younger daughter first showed it to me on the cover of Automobile Magazine a few years ago. But I mentioned it in a recent BigAdmin blog, so I had to use a different car this time. Don't want to bore you by talking about the same old $1.6 million dollar super car over and over.

Photo courtesy of

The Lamborghini Murcielago is a great antidote for an overload of drag and drop graphical sysadmin tools. Particularly the Murcielago LP670-4 SuperVeloce or, "SV" for the sysadmin cognocenti. According to the recent review by Automobile Magazine...

"Despite its space-age looks, this is actually an old-fashioned car with an old-fashioned engine."

And at only $450,000.00 US, it is well within reach of a well-staffed IT department willing to pool its resources for 1/40th share of this magnificent machine.

At the top-secret BigAdmin track facility we recently had the opportunity to pit the SV against the BigAdmin Newsletter. In spite of our appreciation of the Lambo's mostly manual interface, we are long-time hard-core fans of the BigAdmin Newsletter. So we donned our BigAdmin caps, painted ourselves in Blue and Black (with White shadows), tatooed awk scripts up and down our arms, korn-shell around or necks, and carried these placards in hex:


It was no contest. The Lambo blew the doors off the BigAdmin Newsletter by going from 0-60 in 3.2 seconds, and to 200 mph shortly thereafter, while the BigAdmin newsletter won't even get off the line until later this month.

But when it does, it'll accelerate from zero to something shy of 186,000 miles per second with a few nano-pauses at switches and servers along the way. And it accomplishes this incredible feat with zero fluff. That's right. Our newsletter simply gives you a quick summary (with links) of all the new resources we published over the last 30 days, plus some events and outside resources we think you'd find useful.

And it arrives in ASCII text! Here's an example:

Three New Articles on Patching:
o Analyzing a patchadd or patchrm Failure in the Solaris OS
o How to Split a Root Mirrored With Solaris Volume Manager
o How to Remove a Solaris Patch While Booted From a Network
We only publish it about once a month, and as much as we'd like to deliver it by hand in the Lambo, we can't afford the gas. But you can subscribe for free:

It's Free. Subscribe Here!

Clearly the face-off was was just bad timing for the BigAdmin Newsletter. Unfortunately, we were unable to schedule the Lambo again due to the inability of our newsletter editor, Constance, to curb her enthusiasm for Lambo-donuts in parking lot. We are doing our best to convince Lamborghini to let us keep the SV, shredded tires and all, so we can use it as part of our BigAdmin Bucks program. We even offered to change the name to the BigAdmin Lambo Program, but we haven't received a definitive answer yet.

We'll keep you posted. Or you can ...

Subscribe to the BigAdmin Newsletter!

... and find out for yourself.


Thursday Apr 23, 2009

Who's Your Daddy, Now?

It's going to be interesting to combine a company that knows how to make great products with a company that knows how to make a great deal of money.

While that's going on, the BigAdmin Crew wants you to know that we're going to keep publishing and aggregating great content and resources. We are convinced that the great products coming out of the hands and minds of our feisty engineers are just as important to you as they ever were.

In fact, they may be even more important. If you search BigAdmin today for Oracle content, you'll get 204 hits (carefully go around Angelina's elbow):

Oracle Content On BigAdmin

Once inside the search results page, use the pull-down menu in the light blue box to sort the results into these categories:

To find out what content we'll be adding in the future, subscribe to...

The BigAdmin Newsletter!

It's loaded with how-to content and resources.

Starting in May we're switching to a text-only version to save money. We're trying to get a feel for how that whole profit-loss thing works.

If you prefer to use your RSS reader, check out...

BigAdmin's RSS Feeds!

Thursday Apr 02, 2009

How to Greet An Englishman

I do email in Mozilla Thunderbird . Its spellchecker (version is wicked smaht. When I type "BigAdmin" it suggests "goldmine." And we didn't even have to pay for the privilege!

Truth is, it's getting that way. In fact, BigAdmin has so many resources for sysadmins that we've got a bit of a navigation problem.

To help find what you're looking for, we created different "entry points" to the content on BigAdmin. You can get to them from the tabs beside the Message of the Day tab:

They are:

Each tab gives you an easier entry point into its respective content on BigAdmin. It's not a complete solution, but it's a start. Check it out and let me know what you think.

By the way, if you use both Linux and Sun, remember that you can submit your favorite Linux-related links and content to BigAdmin right here:

Submit Link or Content to BigAdmin\\

Just tag it with the right selection and category, then check the "Linux" collection. Our Linux collection is right here:

BigAdmin Linux collection

About the Englishman....I was looking for a cartoon of an Englishman saying "We have a bit of a navigation problem," but I found this picture, instead (from

You gotta love soccer fans.

Wednesday Apr 01, 2009

BigAdmin Only Available by Command Line

In brotherhood and sisterhood with sysadmins across the world, as of April 1st, BigAdmin will only be available from the command line of a terminal window.Here is a partial summary of BigAdmin's CLI:

bigadmin -hm - BigAdmin Home Page
bigadmin -mtd - Message of the Day
bigadmin -hcl - Hardware Compatibility List
bigadmin -nwslttr - BigAdmin Newsletter
bigadmin -rtcls - Feature Articles
bigadmin -ttfq - Tech Tips and FAQ's
bigadmin -blprnts - Sun BluePrints
bigadmin -xprts - BigAdmin Experts
bigadmin -drvrs - Devices and Drivers
bigadmin -tpcs - Resources by Sysadmin Topics
For a complete list of BigAdmin terminal window commands, enter:
bigadmin -h

Through the technical wizardry of BigAdmin's engineering department, we have found a way to include BigAdmin content and resources into every build of every software environment on every computer. AND keep it updated.

You no longer need an internet connection. Nope. So you've got wireless? Big whup. We have the command line.

Even if you haven't downloaded a new version of software, your terminal window will display our latest content. And you thought Web 2.0 was cool.

If for some odd reason your particular terminal window doesn't display BigAdmin content, then someone has taken specific measures to disallow this functionality. Go directly to your manager, shake your fist, and shout "Why did you take BigAdmin out of my terminal window!"

If this does not have the intended effect, take advantage of the resume posting feature on our jobs board:

Sysadmin Jobs

Bill Petro's History of April Fools Day

Friday Dec 19, 2008

Web 2.0 Resources for System Administrators

As a sys admin, does Web 2.0 really affect you and the way you do your job? Find out more about Web 2.0 technologies and trends for sys admins. This new resource center has lots of good links, such as Sun customer case studies, or blogs like this one: "There is No Web 3.0, There is No Web 2.0 - There is Just the Web."

Wednesday Jun 18, 2008

Find Out How Much You Know

Think you know your stuff? OK.

Answer this:

Which command would search the man pages using a keyword?
  • man -d keyword
  • man -k keyword
  • man -s keyword
  • man -l keyword

You peeked, didn't you? Yes, it's man -k. Try this one:


fsck -y /dev/rdsk/c3t4d0s3
ls -l /export/home/lost+found

Which condition would place an entry in the lost+found directory of the filesystem being checked?

  • An inode that is allocated,but unreferenced or not linked to a directory.
  • A file that no longer has a valid user on the system.
  • An inode that has a value that exceeds the number of files a user is allowed.
  • The file contents are intact, but the inode is missing.

That question is from Part I of the Certified Solaris Sysadmin assessment. It has 48 questions. There's also a Part II. You wanna see one of the questions from Part II?

Are you sure?

OK. Here it is.

A mile long train is traveling toward a mile long tunnel with 3 Solaris sysadmins on board. If Haiduong the sysadmin has a bag with 74.6 apples, Matson the database admin is half way through his package of Oreos, and Rohit the IT manager is on page 12 of the first volume of Proust's 7-volume "In Search of Lost Time" in the original French, how long will the train take to get through the tunnel if Haiduong has spent 2/3 of her lunch money and Matson doesn't like Rohit's tie?

  • 17 minutes and 14 seconds
  • # coreadmin -e proce_setid prxreqset_t 'struct ssd array' | format
  • Matson doesn't like Oreos
  • Sun xVM Ops Center would let 6 trains get through the tunnel on the same set of rails

By the way, the first question was from the Unix Essentials assessment. It only has 42 questions.

You can take these assessments for free. And no, you don't have to register. There's a very short form to fill out, but if you are paranoid or just plain evil, you can enter your name and the email address of your girlfriend's new boyfriend. Or you can leave it empty. You'll still get to take the test. And get an immediate score. If you would like your score e-mailed to you, then enter your own email address. We are also happy to email your score to your girlfriend's new boyfriend.

What's cool about these assessments is that they'll give you an idea of which sysadmin class you might wanna take. Or whether you're ready to act like a man and just take the certification exam, already.

At this point Sun lets you test your Solaris 10 know-how at three different levels:

  • UNIX Essentials Featuring the Solaris 10 Operating System
  • Sun Certified System Administrator (SCSA) for the Solaris 10 OS (Part 1)
  • Sun Certified System Administrator (SCSA) for the Solaris 10 OS (Part 2)

For more info about Sun's training classes and certification exams for OS, software, database, and storage sysadmins, see:

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