CommunityOne, distro constructor and laptop migration

I'm on the road again, actually this is my second trip since the one I wrote in China a few weeks ago, since then I've done a week in California, a couple of weeks @ home and I'm now back on the VS19, this time for CommunityOne and JavaOne and the launch of OpenSolaris 2009.06 on Monday at CommunityOne.

I've spent the last couple of weeks writing slides (off and on) and setting a laptop up for a demo at CommunityOne I'm planning to give on Tuesday, the talk is entitled "Deploying OpenSolaris in your DataCentre" as part of that I'm planning to demo at least one of the features that makes OpenSolaris so effective in a datacentre environment.

The distro constructor, put simply it allows you to build a custom image (very much like the OpenSolaris livecd) as either an iso or a usb and then with OpenSolaris 2009.06 you the automated installer technology, which is new, you can then take that iso image and "jumpstart" (for those of you familiar with earlier versions of Solaris) and apply that to machines across your enterprise. Knowing that each one of them is installed absolutely the same.

Its a really easy process, in fact it is so easy an executive can do it...the example below is one I ran on my workstation on Friday.

cove(5.11-64i)$ pfexec pkg install SUNWdistro-const
DOWNLOAD                                    PKGS       FILES     XFER (MB)
Completed                                    1/1       75/75     0.19/0.19

PHASE                                        ACTIONS
Install Phase                                104/104
PHASE                                          ITEMS
Reading Existing Index                           8/8
Indexing Packages                                1/1
cove(5.11-64i)$ cd /usr/share/distro_const/slim_cd
cove(5.11-64i)$ distro_const build ./slim_cd_x86.xml
cove(5.11-64i)$ pfexec distro_const build ./slim_cd_x86.xml
/usr/share/distro_const/DC-manifest.defval.xml validates
/tmp/slim_cd_x86_temp_6104.xml validates
Simple Log: /rpool/dc/logs/simple-log-2009-05-29-14-41-39
Detail Log: /rpool/dc/logs/detail-log-2009-05-29-14-41-39
Build started Fri May 29 14:41:39 2009

Two hours later

==== usb: USB image creation
/dev/rlofi/2:    1723200 sectors in 2872 cylinders of 1 tracks, 600 sectors
  841.4MB in 180 cyl groups (16 c/g, 4.69MB/g, 2240 i/g)
super-block backups (for fsck -F ufs -o b=#) at:
32, 9632, 19232, 28832, 38432, 48032, 57632, 67232, 76832, 86432,
1632032, 1641632, 1651232, 1660832, 1670432, 1680032, 1689632, 1699232,
1708832, 1718432
1435680 blocks
Build completed Fri May 29 17:04:47 2009
Build is successful.

Other stuff to know about...

This will result in two image files:


The manifest is an XML file that describes what to build and comes with two examples:


Now auto-installing it is something I'm still coming to terms with, I have a recipe, but ran out of time to set it up before I boarded the plane, so that'll be one I'll have to try when I get to San Francisco later today. Assuming all goes well you can come and see me demo autoinstalling from one VirtualBox guest to another on my Toshiba R600 running OpenSolaris 2009.06, if not it'll be just the distro constructor. Either way as soon as I crack auto install I'll post a blog about it.

Of course VirtualBox 2.2.4 is also now available, just released over this weekend, something else I need to do, upgrade my 2.2.2 image before Tuesday (whilst putting this blog into the editing tool and loading up the pictures I let the upgrade run in the background, 16 minutes inc. a 74MB download, the wonders of IPS).

Just to top it all this last week I managed to "break" my R600 :-( well I bent the power socket on the laptop so that when I plugged the mains supply in it wobbled and it was only a matter of time before the connector itself came off the motherboard so I also had to migrate from one R600 to another.

Laptop migration particularly when you were running multiple guests used to be a hugely painful experience, well in an OpenSolaris 2009.06 world it got a lot simpler (OK with a bit of help from VirtualBox as well :-) .

Firstly just copying your home environment off to something and then back, well USB sticks are slow and Solaris interop to something link a dlink NAS box also used to be difficult, well now anymore. At home I have a number NAS boxes, primarily for backup off the computers in the house which my family use, but also to serve out DVD iso images, music, video and recorded tv and using those in now just got a whole lot easier.

For those of you with OpenSolaris goto Places -> Computer -> Network, it'll then highlight a Windows network (which is how these commodity NAS boxes appear) and you can then simply connect to the appropriate volume and "bingo" you have a store to copy your home environment onto.

So just for my home environment (without any virtual machines) I was looking at at least 8G of data, well a copy off one laptop to the dlink box and back to my new laptop, took under 20 minutes, I'm sure having a gig network helped, but even so it was really "drag and drop" style simple.

Then onto VirtualBox, 2.2.2 has a great feature, File -> Export Appliance and File -> Import Appliance, which basically allows you to save off a virtual machine and import it somewhere else. The great part is it takes care of all the config file stuff which used to make this painful and of course copying them between machines, which effectively backs them up at the same time, is simple as well.

All in all a painless experience and so simple my kids can do it as well.


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Chris is the Senior Director of Solaris Revenue Product Engineering


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