Saturday Oct 13, 2007

Grrrr Muffett

Only Alec could get me to write another CEC20007 entry after I had said that was that.

I've just finished attending his CEC presentation, via the web and two things are obvious:

  1. More people will attend his presentation than attended any of the presentations at CEC as it is now out there forever.

  2. The presentation was interesting and thought provoking I recommend it to everyone, even those who are not geeks.

Wednesday Oct 10, 2007

Vegas round up

This will be the last entry for CEC2007. It's been great, better than last year, I look forward to seeing the feedback from the talk Clive and I gave. It think it went well. At least I enjoyed it.

The closing day we had All hands for all the teams so I was in the one for GCS (Global Customer Services) and was even briefly on stage, sporting the yellow Tour de France Tee shirt. Then the Q&A of the executives which I think went well. I will be getting the rest of the questions that were asked and not answered due to time and posting them on cepedia somewhere so that we can get the answers.

My final thoughts on things that could make CEC2008 even better:

  • More deep technical presentations for those of us who are that way inclined.

  • We should have had a meeting for all the different TSC orgs so that we could all be in one room and put names to faces. Next year perhaps.

  • It would be good if the content builder did not give times for the presentations. Simply allows users to choose the top 20 presentations that they wish to attend numbering them 1 to 20. Then get the computer to work out the room allocations such that we get the best allocation of slots.

  • Use Sun Ray 2s with the vpn firmware installed so that they can be punched into Sun.

  • Put the Sun Rays into a FOG so that if a Sun Ray server goes down the individual Sun Rays are still usable.

  • Have some Sun Rays in Paris near the main conference room.

  • Have the party somewhere that can easily cope with the numbers rather than somewhere that can't.

They was robbed. (ZFS under the hood)

I managed to get along to hear Jason Banham and Jarod Nash doing their “ZFS under the hood bonnet presentation as the last break out before the CEC party. This was as expected a “deep dive” not for the faint hearted but they covered the material so clearly and concisely I can say this was the best break out at a CEC I have ever attended. A must for any aspiring kernel engineer.

I understand why they did not get the prize for the best presentation, some people even left before the end, but to those who already have an idea as to how a file system works and are really interested in the internals of ZFS this is a brilliant talk.

One thing to be careful of though. They gave you a chocolate if you asked a question so sit a the front, that why if anyone around you asks a question you are less likely to be hit by the chocolate as Jarod would tend to through them across the room.

Tuesday Oct 09, 2007

Speed Geeking

Monday ended with speed geeking. Like speed dating but different. 9 tables each with a geek presenting for 5 minutes. Then after the five minutes were up every one moved to a table that they had not yet been to. Brilliant way to hear some great ideas. We had:

  1. Why people who think DRM is a good idea are dumb.

  2. How to sell Black Box. You can build a really big grid with them.

  3. One that required an NDA, sorry.

  4. Why people, customers and engineers in Sun, need to understand performance and utilization better and what the implications are.

  5. CE2.0

  6. Do we really understand Red Shift.

  7. Dtrace for the bourne shell

  8. Mr Benchmarkings excellent benchmarking suit called iGen.

  9. Rational trouble shooting for geeks.

Due to time constraints we only actually went round 8 times so I missed the CE2.0 pitch. However all the talks were excellent, certainly not a time to leave your brain at home.

I'm going to be at the speed geeking session next year.

Monday Oct 08, 2007

Complier Tools For CMT

Now this was a great presentation, somethings I knew somethings I did not. Specifically the ability of the new compilers to include the intermediate code in the object files allowing you to recompile and hence change the compiler flags used to build a binary, without the source.

That combined with the spot tool for analyzing the running application and advise on what complier flags to use to optimize the binary. This will allow users and ISVs to have their applications learn the best optimization to use based on the previous runs of that application in the environment where they actually run. This offers the potential for the same application to be tuned differently on different systems, even different customers based on the previous runs off the applications.

CEC top tip

When you are in a presentation, put your phone on silent.

I've been certified

You can take various certification exams while at CEC, so I thought I would put myself on the line and take the “Sun Certified System Administrator for Solaris 10” exam. You get 1 hour 30 minutes to answer 59 questions. I took 49 minutes and scored 81% which was slightly disappointing if not really that surprising. I some how doubt I scored well about printing or for that matter the install sections.

One bit I just don't understand why they ask the questions was around using rsh and for that matter doing remote dumps, where there was at least one ambiguous question;

If you want to do a remote dump which file do you edit had both: /etc/hosts.equiv and /.rhosts well I would choose $HOME/.rhosts as I would never use rsh in anyform to allow remote root access but that was not an option.

Overall I thought the test was good and therefore the certification is a good thing to have. It could be better though.

Saturday Oct 06, 2007

Nightmare in Vegas

It would seem that there is nowhere in Vagas where you can watch the England – Australia match live. Also the BBC can't do a live commentary to IP addresses that are not in the UK.

So instead I can enjoy the view from the window.

Note to self. Set up a proxy server on my home machine for future use.

We are down 6 – 10 at halftime and from what it says on the web we don't look like scoring a try.

It will make the second half come back better for those who can watch it.

Wednesday Oct 03, 2007

On my way to CEC

I'm currently in California at a meeting prior to flying out to Las Vagas for the Customer Engineering Conference 2007. I've never been to Vagas and I'm looking forward to it. I would not choose to go to Vagas but it should be interesting.

While I'm there I'll be the warm up act for Clive King who is giving a presentation called "Full Contact Debugging with the Solaris Dynamic Linker" which gives all the tricks and tips you can use to debug problems using the dynamic linker. Not really new but very useful.

If you are going to be there go to the Deep Dive sessions that are running this year. They should be very interesting two way conversations.


This is the old blog of Chris Gerhard. It has mostly moved to


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