Friday Sep 11, 2009

Installing and running Joomla! in OpenSolaris

The OpenSolaris "/contrib" repository is a place where anybody can contribute open source software packages, which are then available for you to install on OpenSolaris.  Before a packages gets promoted to the contrib repo, you submit your package / application to a repository called "pending".  The idea is that people can test packages and get others to try them out before they get promoted so that the packages in "contrib" have been at least smoke-tested.

Recently I've noticed the number of packages and apps available growing pretty nicely, and I've been testing some of the apps that our own group (Sun's ISV Engineering organization) has been contributing.  Most of the packages I've tested have gone smoothly.  One gave me a little hiccup so I thought I'd describe what I did to get it working.

That package is the Joomla! content management system.

Installation was actually a snap; once you install the package with the OpenSolaris Package Manager, just fire up the web browser and go to http://localhost/joomla and you get the Joomla! installer.

Well, it's a little more complicated than that; you need to make sure you create a database for Joomla! to use, like this:

mysqladmin -u joomla -p create joomla

mysql -u joomla -p
mysql> grant all privileges on joomla.\* to 'joomla'@'localhost' identified by [password in single quotes here];

(assuming I created a MySQL database user called "joomla", I'm also creating a database called "joomla")

After a few web screens, I can login as the Joomla! admin just fine, but trying to go to the Joomla! front page as a regular non-admin person causes a long series of errors to spit out at me (and rather rudely, I might add); see the end of this post for the details.

Turns out it's a MySQL problem; you can see the discussion here.  The current workaround is to run MySQL in 64-bit mode, but in order to do that, you need to make sure you're running OpenSolaris in 64-bit mode.  If you type "isainfo -k" and it returns "x86", that's not good enough.

I am doing my testing in VirtualBox; to make sure I'm running OpenSolaris in 64-bit mode, I go to the VirtualBox main application panel where I can see the settings for my virtual machine.  Near the top, the section called "General", The "OS Type" field sais "OpenSolaris".  I change that to "OpenSolaris (64-bit)" and the next time I boot OpenSolaris, it's in 64-bit mode.

One more step; making sure to launch the 64-bit version of the MySQL service.  Do this:

svccfg -s mysql:version_51 setprop mysql/enable_64bit=true
svcadm refresh mysql:version_51
svcadm restart mysql:version_51

I did just this, and went back to http://localhost/joomla and everything worked perfectly well.  Joomla! works just fine in OpenSolaris, as you would expect.  Nice looking app, too.

P.S.:  (Joomla / MySQL error message below)



\* Error loading Modules:MySQL server has gone away SQL=SELECT
id, title, module, position, content, showtitle, control, params FROM
jos_modules AS m LEFT JOIN jos_modules_menu AS mm ON mm.moduleid =
m.id WHERE m.published = 1 AND m.access <= 0 AND m.client_id = 0 AND (
mm.menuid = 1 OR mm.menuid = 0 ) ORDER BY position, ordering
\* Error loading Modules:MySQL server has gone away SQL=SELECT
id, title, module, position, content, showtitle, control, params FROM
jos_modules AS m LEFT JOIN jos_modules_menu AS mm ON mm.moduleid =
m.id WHERE m.published = 1 AND m.access <= 0 AND m.client_id = 0 AND (
mm.menuid = 1 OR mm.menuid = 0 ) ORDER BY position, ordering
\* Error loading Modules:MySQL server has gone away SQL=SELECT
id, title, module, position, content, showtitle, control, params FROM
jos_modules AS m LEFT JOIN jos_modules_menu AS mm ON mm.moduleid =
m.id WHERE m.published = 1 AND m.access <= 0 AND m.client_id = 0 AND (
mm.menuid = 1 OR mm.menuid = 0 ) ORDER BY position, ordering
\* Error loading Modules:MySQL server has gone away SQL=SELECT
id, title, module, position, content, showtitle, control, params FROM
jos_modules AS m LEFT JOIN jos_modules_menu AS mm ON mm.moduleid =
m.id WHERE m.published = 1 AND m.access <= 0 AND m.client_id = 0 AND (
mm.menuid = 1 OR mm.menuid = 0 ) ORDER BY position, ordering
\* Error loading Modules:MySQL server has gone away SQL=SELECT
id, title, module, position, content, showtitle, control, params FROM
jos_modules AS m LEFT JOIN jos_modules_menu AS mm ON mm.moduleid =
m.id WHERE m.published = 1 AND m.access <= 0 AND m.client_id = 0 AND (
mm.menuid = 1 OR mm.menuid = 0 ) ORDER BY position, ordering
\* Error loading Modules:MySQL server has gone away SQL=SELECT
id, title, module, position, content, showtitle, control, params FROM
jos_modules AS m LEFT JOIN jos_modules_menu AS mm ON mm.moduleid =
m.id WHERE m.published = 1 AND m.access <= 0 AND m.client_id = 0 AND (
mm.menuid = 1 OR mm.menuid = 0 ) ORDER BY position, ordering
\* Error loading Modules:MySQL server has gone away SQL=SELECT
id, title, module, position, content, showtitle, control, params FROM
jos_modules AS m LEFT JOIN jos_modules_menu AS mm ON mm.moduleid =
m.id WHERE m.published = 1 AND m.access <= 0 AND m.client_id = 0 AND (
mm.menuid = 1 OR mm.menuid = 0 ) ORDER BY position, ordering
\* Error loading Modules:MySQL server has gone away SQL=SELECT
id, title, module, position, content, showtitle, control, params FROM
jos_modules AS m LEFT JOIN jos_modules_menu AS mm ON mm.moduleid =
m.id WHERE m.published = 1 AND m.access <= 0 AND m.client_id = 0 AND (
mm.menuid = 1 OR mm.menuid = 0 ) ORDER BY position, ordering
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Friday Aug 14, 2009

Terracotta on Sun's CMT and x64 Solaris servers

In our ISV Engineering organization, we do some pretty cool work with a variety of software companies built around open source business models; here are just a few of our more strategic open source partners.  This week, we published some work we've been doing with Terracotta for the last few months to help them optimize their technology on Sun's products.  The 4-page document provides an overview of the business benefits of Terracotta for Java developers, plus some results of testing we did with Terracotta on both x64 and CMT servers.  We also ran their same tests on RedHat Enterprise Linux to see how we did.  We did great.

I really like what Terracotta's done; my overly-simplistic explanation of what they do is to hook into a Java Virtual Machine (JVM) and link it with other JVMs working together, so that a cluster of JVMs look like a single, big JVM to the Java developer.  The significance is this: if you're a Java developer and you want to easily scale up your application so it can take on more load, Terracotta makes it really easy for you to do that.



In the document that we published, we showed the results of tests we did with sample workloads that Terracotta created to demonstrate what it can do for some common Java application scenarios.  (one scenario models an online test-taking application where many people login concurrently to take their tests, maybe leave the test midway through, come back where they left off, etc.)  If you look at the results table, you'll see a couple of results that I find interesting:
  1. Performance of Terracotta on Solaris vs. RedHat.  Everything else was the same: same JVM, same physical hardware.  But Terracotta on Solaris performed much better, making more efficient use of the compute resources.  You leave less of your computing budget on the table with Terracotta on Solaris, is what this says to me.
  2. Terracotta performance on CMT.  On the T5240 CoolThreads server, we didn't get the top result, but we had plenty of headroom to go (using 9% of the CPU resource available), which means we could launch more copies of Terracotta, or the Java application itself.  Our tests with Terracotta show us we can use CMT to get massive scaling; the results table clearly reflects that.
Once we started scaling up with Terracotta on CMT, we started to notice that their persistence mechanism was becoming a bottleneck (if you read more about Terracotta, you find that they make your cluster of JVMs reliable because Terracotta keeps track of Java objects that change, and persists those changes to its local disk).  So we introduced Terracotta to our solid state disk (SSD) products and configured the Terracotta server to persist its data to the SSDs instead of spinning disk.  That essentially gave us reliability at in-memory speeds which means that you don't have to make the tradeoff of performance vs. reliability.  It's very cool.

We've had a blast working with Terracotta; they're sharp people, and they create a product that I think is hugely valuable to Java developers, especially those trying to write apps that work at large scales on the web.  If you're such a developer, you should check them out.  Their software is available as open source and it works.





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Friday Oct 17, 2008

For Linux Users: Why Solaris? Here's One View.

A funny coincidence happened to me this week: I was talking with one of my colleagues about Linux and Solaris, and why somebody would pick one over the other.  Personally, I use several operating systems on a regular basis: Solaris at work, Mac OS X when I'm mobile, Ubuntu Linux at home, and Windows XP (Service Pack 3) to track my spending with Quicken.  (I currently run that inside VMware Workstation on the Linux box, which I started using years before virtualization became the "it" term it is today).

(okay, I can't resist this side note: the first time I used Quicken virtualized, it was over ten years ago on my Sun system using WABI at first, and later the x86-based SunPC card.  Sun's been doing some kind of virtualization stuff for a long, long time.)

Anyway, the topic of "Why Solaris?" was on my mind...and then I saw this blog posting, entitled "Why I like Solaris".  It's written by a former Sun employee who tells of his experience learning Solaris after having been a Linux user for a few years.

The blog post makes some interesting points from a developer's point of view about what was missing from Solaris that put obstacles in his way, but were later fixed (the release of Solaris 10 a few years ago fixed a lot of inconveniences, for example).  But what I got out of the blog entry was the general feeling that if you develop for the platform, things are going to work for a long time to come.  Oh, also that ZFS as a development tool is pretty cool, because it takes the risk out of trying an experimental change: you just create an instant snapshot, make your changes and test them, and if you don't like the result, go back to the previous snapshot.  That's a nice debugging tool.

You can see more context by reading this blog entry on ZDNet, which addresses yet another article attacking the viability of Solaris.  It's interesting writing, worth taking a look.

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