FCS Quality All the Time
By Barbara Corwin on Sep 26, 2008
The ON organization talks a lot about "FCS Quality All the Time". That focus is the reason for much of its software development process and is mentioned often in discussions, advice to new developers and ON documentation such as "The Quality Death Spiral".
This focus is also a reason nightly ON builds are run on at least one internal engineering server. This sometimes causes internal pain when something goes wrong, but the production testing exposes problems that will not be encountered at customer sites. And it's a terrific learning experience if your putback causes a problem :-).
So what does this have to do with my team? We run Nevada builds on the machines that support the opensolaris.org website.
Yes, development builds on external-facing production machines. I get interesting responses when people hear about this or figure it out for the first time. Some responses are simply dropped jaws and looks of incredulity. Some are comments such as 'are you crazy?' or 'why in the world would you do that?'.
When we investigated self-hosting before the initial launch, we knew we wanted to run Solaris on the machines that supported the OpenSolaris program. Doing anything else just didn't make sense.
But then we decided it would be better to run Nevada builds because we wanted to make use of new functionality not in Solaris releases at the time (e.g., ZFS) and new features related to existing technologies like Zones and SMF.
And it's worked. From August 2006 until around March of this year, we ran Build 45 on the infrastructure machines (note that the current build in progress is Build 100). We finally hit some system problems this Spring that were fixed in later ON builds, so we started upgrading. And in general, we want to set up a regular rolling upgrade plan to keep more recent builds on these machines.
But a development build worked for more than a year and a half. Without system problems. On external-facing production machines that support a public website. Perhaps I'm easily amused, but that's amazing to me.
And, I think, a tribute to the focus on "FCS quality all the time". So thanks to the ON organization for its diligence about this focus. It clearly makes a difference.
P.S. Yes, we plan to move to OpenSolaris builds at some point in the future. But at the moment, our list is long and the product is new, so planning for that transition is not in the works yet.