Saturday Oct 17, 2009

Drupal-on-a-Stick: now in easy-to-take download form!

At Bay Area DrupalCamp today, Sun is handing out USB Flash sticks that boot any USB-bootable X86/X64 box into OpenSolaris with a running Drupal 6 instance. For those of you not at BADCamp this weekend, we've also made the USB image available for download here. It's a little less than 1GB, and fits on 1GB flash drives.

To burn the image to your own USB flash drive:

  • From a Windows box: see here
  • From an OpenSolaris box: install and use /usr/bin/usbcopy from SUNWdistro-const package

For those who'd rather try this from a "Live DVD", the .iso image is here.

Update 19 October: thanks to alert readers who spotted my ill-formed DVD link above. It's fixed now.druplicon

Tuesday Jun 02, 2009

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  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.

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!
  • 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


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).

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)

Greetings from DrupalCon DC!

We're on the ground at DrupalCon DC in Washington, D.C.... five of us from Sun:

  • Eric Reid, Open Source Communities Engineering
  • Scott Mattoon, Western Region Sales
  • George Drapeau, Open Source Communities Engineering
  • Angelo Rajadurai, Startup Essentional Evangelist
  • Steve Quan, Systems Marketing

Well, Scott should be here today if he's recovered from food poisoning (eep!)...

Washington D.C. is cold and clear today, and the Convention Center is packed with 1400 Drupalistas. Many old friends, many friendly people coming up to talk with us. Creamy goodness, to be sure.

This week, my goals are to:

  1. Get a sense for what Sun can do for the Community this year
  2. Learn more about Drupal 7
  3. Get out the word on Sun's Cool Things (including tomorrow's Sun presentation)
  4. Huddle with Acquia to help tighten up the partnership

Are you here in D.C. at Drupalcon? Come by and say Hi! If you come by with coffee, even better - if you come with beers, even better still!!

Monday Feb 09, 2009

Join us at DrupalCon!



Come see us at DrupalCon DC March 4-7!

Sun is a Gold Sponsor, is presenting a session,and will have its hands in 1-2 BOF sessions.



Friday Jan 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Drupal!


Eight years ago today, Drupal 1.0.0 was released. How far it's come!


Check out what we're doing with Drupal at



Tuesday Nov 18, 2008

Drupal Along the Amber Road...

Last week Sun announced the Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage Systems (codenamed Amber Road). Because I was able to play with one of these puppies before its release, I thought I might useful to share my takeaways.

Um, what are these things really?  They're NAS-type storage appliances comprised of Sun server/storage hardware and Sun Open Source software stacks.

Why should I care? Aside from the incredible cool engineering inside (see here), these boxes impress me with:

  1)  OpenSolaris-based, which, among many other cool things, means ZFS top to bottom; reliable, scalable... it just works...

  2) Some very cool on-board analytics to tell you what's going on and what/how to tune it...

  3) Some pretty intuitive administration capabilities... again, it just works...

  4) Very good performance, thanks to ZFS and Flash drives... it just works fast...

What was that about Drupal? I tried it with Drupal 6, plus the Sun Coolstack (note: apps run on a server, not on the Amber Road box itself). You configure the thing as an NFS appliance or as an iSCSI target, tell MySQL to talk to it, then set up Drupal normally. While tuning takes place on the device itself or in MySQL, performance is good out of the box.

Again, it just works... are you detecting a theme here?

So, yes, this a very good start to Sun's OpenStorage line, and you can certainly read all the promo and marketing foo around it. I normally don't blog at Sun announcements, but given my very positive experience with, and appreciation of, these products, I felt a mention was in order.


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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