Tuesday Jun 02, 2009

Dear JavaOne Organizers...

Just what \*is\* the deal with the wireless coverage @ Moscone Center? My Tecra M2 with brand new OpenSolaris 2009.06 kept the up-down-up-down-up-down all day... never a consistent connection. Anyone have any tips or clues?

Community One West 2009

Pulling into San Francisco this weekend with a beefed-up laptop (all the OpenSolaris virtualization goodness requires lots-o-memory - I'm up to 4GB now on my Tecra M2) and a mysterious case of poison ivy (I blame my cat), I set my sights on the Community One West and Java One conferences. Perhaps the last time the 'Sun Microsystems' name is attached to these conferences, and as such a mixture of excitement, trepidation and sadness.

First impression: just as many developer attendings as ever, as just as much energy as ever. Community One is a one-day developer frenzy before JavaOne itself starts tomorrow. Open Source developers. OpenSolaris mavens. Java afficienados. PHP and Perl and Python and Apache and MySQL and Postgres. Something for everyone.

Some notes from the talks I attended Monday:

  • Keynote address (Dave Douglas and John Fowler)
    • OpenSolaris 2009.06 is out!
    • Crossbow 'virtual networking' in Solaris/OpenSolaris - the entire networking stack was done from the bottom up
    • The coming Computing Cloud offering from Sun - impressive!
    • Open Storage (which includes the Open Archive effort I blogged about a couple weeks back)

  • Becoming a ZFS Ninja
    • It's amazing that after four years how many folks still don't know about ZFS
    • It's still easy as pie, performant and bulletproof (my observation, not his)

  • DTrace for Applications

    • Delivered by my ISV-E peer Angelo Rajadurai
    • Great demonstration of using basic and PHP DTrace probes to instrument Drupal (watch this space for his scripts later this week)

  • Source Juicer for Open Solaris
    • Has come a long way in just a few months, to provide packages into OpenSolaris's /pending and /contrib packages repos
    • Coolest new feature: repositories and Source Juicer mechanism itself now have 'install' one-click package install buttons


Tuesday May 26, 2009

Freshly Squeezed Packages!

I work with Open Source Communities. Part of that involves the quest to make Community offerings more accessible, easier to install, and easier to integrate with our platforms.

OpenSolaris comes with the notion of software repositories (much like its Linux cousins) which facilitate easy install of Sun, Community and other software. While popular F/OSS software is available straight from the Communities themselves, often times having it also available (even if we don't add anything appreciable to it) in an OpenSolaris Repository can make for an easier install experience.

That's what I hope to do very soon with Drupal, Joomla!, and several other F/OSS offerings. To that end, the OpenSolaris Community recently announced the availability of Source Juicer, a web-based, automated mechanism to build and deploy IPS packages into the /pending, and ultimately, the /contrib Repositories.

At this moment, and thanks to helping with the Beta testing,  I've gotten the following packages into the temporary /pending repository (eventually, Source Juicer will send things directly into the 'real' /pending, but this gets us on our way to /contrib):

  • Drupal 5
  • Drupal 6
  • Acquia Drupal

So, I say to you, and to the OpenSolaris Community, and the Drupal Community - do you run OpenSolaris? Wanna try these out? If so:

  • Make sure you're running OpenSolaris 2008.11 or a later /dev snapshot
  • Point 'pkg' or Package Manager at the temporary /pending repository as follows:
% pfexec pkg authority -O http://jucr.opensolaris.org/pending  JuicerPending
  • Install the package of your choice (in this case, the Apache Web Server requirement will pull in the Apache Web Server if not already installed0:
% pfexec pkg install drupal6
  • In this case, Drupal 6.x will be installed in /var/apache2/2.2/htdocs/drupal6
Try these and other packages that will appear in /pending. This will help us vet the packages, and get them promoted to /contrib sooner.

Digital Repositories and Archives - One Solution

Last week, at OpenRepositories09, Sun announced a new, open approach to digital archival and preservation. It leverages:

  • Commodity Sun x64-based servers
  • Sun OpenStorage, including the new 7000-series Unified Storage Systems
  • OpenSolaris, including ZFS
  • Fedora Commons, Drupal and Islandora open source offerings

The result is a totally-open hardware and software stack - scalable, robust, and made for long-term archival (\*and\* retrieval) of massive amounts of data.

In the days to come, we'll be publishing the results of initial functional and performance testing with portions of this stack, and the results are quite exciting. For now, take a look at the "glossy" and the "one-pager" Sun was circulating at OR09 last week. Good useful stuff - intuitively obvious solutions to substantial needs.

Thursday May 21, 2009

Sun @ OR09

Yep, we actually are working down here in the ATL...

Gail Truman, Minute Madness Queen

Art Pasquinelli, Patriarch, Lead Deep Diver

Sun: Studious keepers of the Silver Traffic Cones

Wednesday May 20, 2009

Repositories!!

Open Repositories 2009

Greetings from Open Repositories 2009, the premier Open Source Archival and Repositories conference. Sun has a strong presence here, with lots of good interactions, and an exciting rollout of our Open Archive solution....

Oh. Wait. You say you don't know what a Repository is? You say it sounds like an embarrassing, unmentionable over-the-counter medication. Well, soothe thyself, gentle reader, it's nothing like that. Think of a repository as an online Library. A huge collection of digital data or documents. As human beings continue to create petabytes (1PB = 1 million GB) of data each and every day, it not only has to live somewhere, but almost always requires long-term storage. Forever. For the ages. A Real Long Time.

The trick, you see, is not just in storing the stuff. We can do that. We can stream data to disk and tape and optical media and eventually holographic cubes (oh, wait, I'm getting ahead of myself). The real Interesting Thing is not just storing it, but being able to intelligently access this data days, months or decades later. Intelligently. Quickly.

That's why we're here, along with developers, archivists and software architects. Sun is working closely with the Fedora (Commons) community, as well as University of Prince Edward Island. Look for more postings this week on this in greater detail. Until then, the gracious hospitality of downtown Atlanta awaits...



Wednesday Mar 11, 2009

DrupalCon DC Rewind

Amazingly, it was my very first DrupalCon, but that made it even more memorable! What an amazing, dynamic, welcoming, sharp, productive Community the Drupal bunch are. It was really a pleasure to attend, participate, soak it up and interact.

Others, including my colleagues Scott Mattoon and George Drapeau have done a good job at covering what happened, so I'll just mention what struck me in D.C. last week.

  • The Drupal Community is still very interested in, and welcoming of, what Sun can bring to the table. I suppose that means we're being Good Community Citizens. The most common question at the Sun Table in the Exhibit Hall was 'so, what is Sun's role in the Community'. Because of that, Scott covered all this goodness in the Sponsor Interview of Sun conducted by DrupalCon organizers this year.
  • Angelo gave a compelling BOF, mostly on DTrace -- too few people know about DTrace, ZFS, etc., and when they find out, they're excited!
  • When I arrived Tuesday to set up, a fellow was squatting at our table. I politely asked him if we could have the table, and at that time I recognized him as Victor Kane, author of the book I'd just purchased (and is just available), Leveraging Drupal - Getting Your Site Done Right. I do have to recommend this book as one of the best 'hands on'/practicum books for Drupal, and that honestly has nothing to do with the fact that I now have my very own autographed copy!
  • washingtonpost.com has two live Drupal sites on Postgres/Solaris/SPARC, and possibly two more on the way!

My biggest lasting impression: Sun remains a welcomed and productive member of the Drupal Community because we Listen to it, rather than Sell into it. Though we must constantly resist the corporate urge to treat Community as Potential Customer, there are significant benefits to be had.

P.S. 12 March: One big lasting thing: The Powers That Be in the Drupal Community are very serious about their assertion that the Drupal Core shouldn't be touched (and for good reason). The reason I personally will always remember this henceforth comes from the enduring line of the week:

"Every time someone hacks the core of Drupal, God kills a kitten."



Drupal In A Flash

druplicon

Flash at Sun

No, really, this isn't a Marketing or Sales FluffPiece! I promise!

Today, Sun announces SSD drives for our servers. One of the proof points we used in support of this was the Drupal CMS. While Drupal 6 doesn't always stress the I/O subsystems themselves (or maybe because of it!), we went ahead to test some pseudo-real-world workloads against Drupal/PHP/Apache/MySQL/Solaris/ZFS. The results are posted today here in the Drupal-on-Sun Wiki site.

What did we find?

  1. As predicted, more performance benefits were observed with Read-only or Read-Write loads than Write-only (we populated a Drupal MySQL database from script)
  2. Up to 50% performance improvement was seen in complex Drupal workloads when using SSDs compared to traditional hard disks
  3. A most cost-effective ZFS Hybrid Storage Pool (utilizing both technologies) provides more modest performance gains for less money

Hybrid Storage PoolExpected, yes, but still good when it proves out!

Intelligent site and database architectures will be able to take advantage of this technology in ways we've not yet envisioned, especially in a tiered approach that localized most-accessed data in the faster tiers (main memory, Flash/SSD, hard disk).

Thursday Mar 05, 2009

Birdwatching --- errrrrrr, Laptop-watching...

Shhh.... be vewwy, vewwy quiet... we-yah hunting laptops! Hehhehhhehehehehehehhhhhh...

As I strolled up and down the Drupal Sponsor table promenade this morning here at DrupalCon DC, it occurred to me to make note of the various Personal Computing Fauna about. Kinda like the Audubon Society bird counts. But not really.

A ten-minute walk was enough to capture the following variants in their natural habitat:

  • Macintoshus Numerous - 70.5%
  • Laptopus Win and Laptopus Lin - 26.5% (Subspecies Netbookulus - 3%)
  • OpenSolaris Rex - 3%
I am struck by the ubiquity of Apple -- as well the paucity of Netbooks -- in this vibrant, grass-roots community. Take this for what it's worth (or not worth, as the case may be).

Wednesday Mar 04, 2009

Acquia @ DrupalCon DC

Sitting in the Acquia update presentation this afternoon. What are they up to?

  • Announced a new CEO today (Tom Erickson) 
  • 40 customer and 50 partners so far
  • The Acquia Drupal Stack Installer ("DAMP)" (Note to Acquia: when is this available for OpenSolaris?)
  • New Acquia Themes
  • Acquia Search (based on Apache Solr)
About

Main Sequence: 1) an astronomy term denoting the lifecycle of a majority of known stars. 2) err @ Sun/Oracle: long-time (since 1988) Sun/Oracle veteran, still shining in an ever-changing high-tech universe

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