Wednesday Jun 04, 2014

Getting Started with Puppet on Oracle Solaris 11

One of the exciting enhancements with Oracle Solaris 11.2 has been the introduction of Puppet. While upstream Puppet did have some rudimentary support for Oracle Solaris 11, Drew Fisher and Ginnie Wray worked tirelessly to add enhance the Oracle Solaris Puppet offering. We've talked to customers over the past few years and asked them what their problems were and what technologies they were using, particularly for configuration management. Puppet came up time and time again, and it made a huge amount of sense bringing it as a 1st class citizen in the Oracle Solaris platform.

So what is Puppet, and why is it useful? To quote from PuppetLabs, the guys who are responsible for creating Puppet:

Puppet is a declarative, model-based approach to IT automation, helping you manage infrastructure throughout its lifecycle, from provisioning and configuration to orchestration and reporting. Using Puppet, you can easily automate repetitive tasks, quickly deploy critical applications, and proactively manage change, scaling from 10s of servers to 1000s, on-premise or in the cloud.

What's more, with Puppet support for Oracle Solaris, administrators can now manage a completely heterogeneous data center from a single or series of Puppet masters. Better still, it's an excellent tool when combined with our new compliance framework to ensure you're meeting your compliance regulations. We're not stopping there of course, and we'll enhance our offerings over time, and work with PuppetLabs to get some of this support upstream (or into the Puppet Forge). So if you've heard some of the buzz around Puppet and never quite got started, and have some Oracle Solaris real estate that you'd love to manage, check out the Getting Started with Puppet on Oracle Solaris 11 guide.

Monday May 26, 2014

Oracle Solaris at the OpenStack Summit in Atlanta

I had the fortune of attending my 2nd OpenStack summit in Atlanta a few weeks ago and it turned out to be a really excellent event. Oracle had many folks there this time around across a variety of different engineering teams - Oracle Solaris, Oracle ZFSSA, Oracle Linux, Oracle VM and more. Really great to see continuing momentum behind the project and we're very happy to be involved.

Here's a list of the highlights that I had during the summit:

  • The operators track was a really excellent addition, with a chance for users/administrators to voice their opinions based on experiences. Really good to hear how OpenStack is making businesses more agile, but also equally good to hear about some of the continuing frustrations they have (fortunately many of them are new and being addressed). Seeing this discussion morph into a "Win the enterprise" working group is also very pleasing.
  • Enjoyed Troy Toman's keynote (Rackspace) about designing a planet scale cloud OS and the interoperability challenges ahead of us. I've been following some of the discussion around DefCore for a bit and while I have some concerns, I think it's mostly heading in the right direction. Certainly seems like there's a balance to strike to ensure that this effects the OpenStack vendors in such a way as to avoid negatively impacting our end users.
  • Also enjoyed Toby Ford's keynote (AT&T) about his desire for a NVF (Network Function Virtualization) architecture. What really resonated was also his desire for OpenStack to start addressing the typical enterprise workload, being less like cattle and more like pets.
  • The design summit was, as per usual, pretty intense for - definitely would get more value from these if I knew the code base a little better. Nevertheless, attended some really great sessions and got a better feeling of the roadmap for Juno.
  • Markus Flierl gave a great presentation (see below) at the demo theatre for what we're doing with OpenStack on Oracle Solaris (and more widely at Oracle across different products). Based on the discussions that we had at the Oracle booth, there's a huge amount of interest there and we talked to some great customers during the week about their thoughts and directions in this respect.
  • Undoubtedly Atlanta had some really good food. Highlights were the smoked ribs and brisket and the SweetWater brewing company. That said, I also loved the fried chicken, fried green tomatoes and collared greens, and wonderful hosting of "big momma" at Pitty Pat's Porch. Couldn't quite bring myself to eat biscuits and gravy in the morning though.
  • Visiting the World of Coca-Cola just before flying out. A total brain washing exercise, but very enjoyable. And very much liked Beverly (contrary to many other opinions on the internet) - but then again, I'd happily drink tonic water every day of the year...

Looking forward to Paris in November!

Tuesday May 06, 2014

Improved SMF Docs in Oracle Solaris 11.2

While there has been a ton of blogs posted about some of the new features of Oracle Solaris 11.2, one of those blogs in particular pleases me more than many others is the improved SMF documentation. While documentation doesn't exactly sound particularly exciting, it's absolutely crucial given the increasing importance that SMF is playing as a foundation for Oracle Solaris. Alta Estad has done a phenomenal job at improving the SMF documentation and accurately represents the hard work the SMF engineering team have been doing here.

One of the really exciting enhancements in SMF is actually a feature, unbeknownst to many, that has been available in the ZFS storage appliance for some time - SMF Stencils. Stencils are a way of taking advantage of the SMF configuration repository without having to rewrite your application to use libscf. Essentially by using a stencil you can manage your application configuration within SMF and have it automatically mirrored out to the traditional configuration file using svcio. This gives us a much improved way of managing configuration in a more structured sense, and ultimately a much better upgrade and auditing experience. In fact we've taken advantage of SMF stencils while integrating the Puppet into Oracle Solaris 11.2 (as detailed here).

So without further ado, check out Introduction to the Service Management Facility.

Wednesday Apr 30, 2014

Oracle Solaris 11.2 Announced

This morning in New York City, we announced Oracle Solaris 11.2 with Mark Hurd, John Fowler and Markus Flierl all taking the stage. I think many will probably completely fail to appreciate the amount of work that's gone into this release and some of the ground breaking technologies that have been included. They've been trying to bury us for years with the 'Solaris is dead' moniker. But here we still are, continuously engineering and steadily delivering - much like our SPARC processor and system roadmap.

If you had to sum up this release, I think the tagline for the release is pretty true to form. Engineered for cloud. It's the one driving force that's always been there since the start of Solaris development - our engineers always deliver a truly engineered system that's been architected from really solid foundations. Oracle Solaris 11 brings a number of new features that I think will be really game changing:

  • Unified Archives - Unified Archives are a replacement for Solaris Flash Archives that were available in Oracle Solaris 10. It's essentially a new archive format that's built on the OVF compliant format, but taking advantage of ZFS streams. Unified Archives provide you with the ability to capture environments of a running system either for cloning within a cloud environment or for backup and disaster recovery purposes. Unlike your standard golden image that you've been used to, Unified Archives provide an ability to capture both bare-metal and virtualized environments (or a combination of both) and deploy to either bare metal or virtual with powerful image transforms. This is especially useful in a typical development, test and product lifecycle where you want to be able to capture and quickly deploy a golden image as you go through that process. But how many developers have access to a SPARC M6 system? With Unified Archives you don't need to, and developers can capture a SPARC T5 system but deploy to a larger system when it really matters.
  • Kernel Zones - Kernel Zones are a feature of Oracle Solaris Zones to allow you to have a completely independent and isolated virtual environment with a standalone kernel. Our customers have been asking for this for a while, and with the rise of highly tenanted cloud environments, the ability to run different kernel versions side by side is crucially important. This allows administrators to easily migrate workloads for system maintenance or re-balance them completely unconstrained by the version of the global zone.
  • Compliance - We've been hearing this from our customer base for a while. Compliance requirements aren't going away anytime soon, and in fact they're getting harder and harder with multiple different software versions to manage in a virtualized, cloud computing world. With Oracle Solaris 11.1 we integrated support for the industry standard SCAP. Now we're taking this a step further by providing a set of tools to automatically monitor and report compliance with a number of built-in policies to help our customers through that pain.
  • Software Defined Networking - Oracle Solaris 11 has included a number of network virtualization capabilities for quite some time. The addition of virtual network interfaces (VNICs) has led to an unprecedented level of flexibility in network topology construction, and resource management them seamlessly within software. With Oracle Solaris 11.2 we're continuing to expand, and deliver, on Software Defined Networking (SDN) with the introduction of Elastic Virtual Switch. Elastic Virtual Switch provides administrators with the ability to seamlessly manage a series of virtual switches across multiple nodes in cloud from a single source. A new socket level API provides developers the ability to write purpose built application level flows to resource manage network traffic from the VM directly through to the network hardware and backend storage.
  • OpenStack - And finally, but not least, we've adopted the industry standard cloud computing infrastructure software, OpenStack. Oracle Solaris 11.2 is a full OpenStack distribution, and we've integrated the foundations of Oracle Solaris into the various OpenStack services - Nova compute virtualization, Neutron networking, Cinder and Swift block and object level storage, Glance image management, Keystone identity management, and of course that unified management interface Horizon that provides our customers with the ability to manage a heterogenous set of data center resources. We've been hearing from more and more customers interested in deploying OpenStack in their enterprise and we're very excited at being interoperable in this space and providing infrastructure such as a OpenStack Unified Archive to really help our customers get started in shifting their business to cloud computing.

But this list is just the start. Take a read of the Oracle Solaris 11.2 What's New Guide and see the vast array of other new integrations including extended Oracle Solaris support for Puppet, read-only root environments Immutable Global Zones, 3rd party configuration management with SMF stencils, seamless IPS repository mirroring, and secure end-to-end deployment using Automated Installer.

If you're one of the people who has dismissed Oracle Solaris, do take a look at Oracle Solaris 11.2. We've come a long, long way. These are enterprise ready technologies that you won't have seen before, and we really can do a lot better to manage your business IT needs.

Wednesday Apr 09, 2014

Join us for the Oracle Solaris 11.2 Launch Event

Over the last year, the Oracle Solaris engineering organization has been tirelessly slaving away getting Oracle Solaris 11.2 ready for release, packed with a huge number of new features and capabilities. We've done a huge amount of work across all facets of the operating system to make it the best possible platform for cloud deployments - Oracle Solaris 11.2 is indeed, engineered for cloud.

On April 29th 11:30am-4:30pm ET, we're hosting a launch event in New York City, a live event to kick off the global launch of Oracle Solaris 11.2. For those that can be there in person, register here. John Fowler, Mark Hurd, and Markus Flierl, VP of Oracle Solaris Engineering will be our hosts. We'll also have registration for live streaming available soon.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday Apr 02, 2014

Oracle Solaris 12 and IBM/AIX Migrations

We've pushed out a new version of the Oracle SPARC processor roadmap lately. In case you've missed it, we've also indicated that Oracle Solaris 12 will be released in 2016 - continued investment in the #1 enterprise UNIX operating system.

While you're waiting, you should consider attending the Modernizing IBM AIX/Power to Oracle Solaris/SPARC webcast this Wednesday 2nd April at 10am PT. This will be a great opportunity to learn why you should move away from IBM to a line of enterprise products with a concrete roadmap that is delivering on its promises.

Thursday Jan 09, 2014

Next OTN Virtual Sys Admin Day

On Tuesday Jan 28th at 9am PT we'll be hosting another OTN Virtual Sys Admin Day event. We've run a few of these in the past. Once again, we'll have new content in the Oracle Solaris 11 track where we'll be focusing on some tips and tricks, and best practices for packaging, virtualization and data management.

Just before Christmas (Happy New Year btw), I worked on some content related to packaging. I'll show some tips and tricks for how to manage software and software updates on your Oracle Solaris 11 systems, including best practices around repository management and how to constrain your systems using incorporation packages. So come join us on what will be 4 hours of great content, and get your questions answered in a live Q&A forum.

Wednesday Oct 09, 2013

Session content from Oracle OpenWorld 2013

Oracle OpenWorld 2013 has wrapped up for another year. This year was very successful for Oracle Solaris, with a number of really important announcements. In case you haven't already, take a look at Markus Flierl's blog, VP of Oracle Solaris engineering, who nicely summarizes the conference. We also have a great set of videos to have a watch of that summarize some of the key announcements and a few interviews with the team.

From a personal perspective, I was pretty happy with the session I did with Bart, and you can download the slides from the content catalog (along with the other sessions up until March 2014) or below.

I also ran a couple of successful Hands on Labs - "Oracle Solaris 11 for Red Hat Enterprise Linux Users" and "Oracle Solaris 11 Packaging for Administrators". We'll be making those labs available on our Oracle Solaris 11 OTN page in the next couple of weeks - stayed tuned!

Friday Aug 23, 2013

Top Oracle Solaris Picks at Oracle Open World 2013

With a few weeks to go until Oracle Open World, I thought it would be good to provide my top Oracle Solaris picks at the event once again. These are the sessions that you wouldn't want to miss! This year all the Oracle Solaris sessions are over in the Westin hotel, a few blocks away from Moscone (it's our turn!).

General Session: Oracle Solaris Strategy, Engineering Insights, and Roadmap - Markus Flierl, Michael Montemorano (Verizon)This general session, hosted by Markus Flierl, head of Oracle Solaris Core Engineering, goes through the strategy and roadmap for Oracle Solaris. It covers how Oracle Solaris 11 is being deployed in cloud computing and the unique optimizations in Oracle Solaris 11 for the Oracle stack. The session also offers a sneak peak at the latest technology under development in Oracle Solaris and what customers can expect to see in the coming updates. Flierl is joined by a key customer executive who shares the benefits and value experienced with Oracle Solaris and the business challenges solved.
Oracle Solaris Panel: Insights and Directions from Oracle Solaris Engineering - Darren Moffat, Liane Praza, Nicolas Droux, Bart SmaaldersThis session, featuring a panel of core engineers responsible for a wide range of key Oracle Solaris technologies, covers the current state of Oracle Solaris 11 and gives insights into the future direction of Oracle Solaris technologies and products. Come learn how Oracle Solaris can benefit your environment today and what will continue to make Oracle Solaris the best platform for deploying enterprise applications going forward, with even more features for performance, serviceability, cloud computing, deep Oracle stack optimizations, and ease of administration. The session also provides insights from customers deploying Oracle Solaris 11 in a range of data center environments.
Why Oracle Software Runs Best on Oracle’s SPARC Hardware - Brad CarlileLearn proven best practices for running high-performance, secure, mission-critical databases and applications on Oracle’s new SPARC T5 and SPARC M5 servers running Oracle Solaris. This session displays techniques for increasing system availability, server utilization, virtualization efficiency, and security for both online and batch processing for a wide variety of applications.
Ten Key Solaris Zones Differentiators Enhancing Cloud Platforms - Duncan Hardie, Karoly Vegh, Adrian Saul (AAPT)Oracle Solaris 11 is the first cloud OS. Its Oracle Solaris Zones feature—no-cost, zero-overhead virtualization technology built in to Oracle Solaris 11—has been serving customers for nearly a decade now. Customers value its manageability, lack of performance overhead, and network separation. Oracle Solaris Zones comes with a rich set of additional features that are key differentiators for cloud platforms too. In this session, you’ll learn about availability options, advanced manageability features, performance-guaranteeing possibilities, and delegated configurations of Oracle Solaris Zones.
Why Oracle Solaris Is the Best UNIX for Oracle Database and Oracle WebLogic - Isaac RozenfeldCome learn why IBM and HP customers are moving to Oracle Solaris on SPARC for running Oracle Database and Oracle WebLogic. This session discusses the unique optimizations in Oracle Solaris 11 for the Oracle stack that have led to 18 world records on real-world benchmarks for Oracle’s SPARC T5 processor and Oracle Solaris. Learn about the most-efficient and most cost-effective way to virtualize Oracle Database or Oracle WebLogic. See how easy it is to update and manage multitenant environments. The session also discusses how Oracle Solaris simplifies private cloud deployments of your software.
Oracle Solaris 11 Best Practices for Software Lifecycle Management - Bart Smaalders, Glynn FosterLearn how improvements to software lifecycle management in Oracle Solaris 11 provide administrators with a significant reduction in complexity and system downtime while they are patching systems. This session provides an overview of the new packaging technology and covers best practices for updating systems by using Oracle Solaris’ new network-based package management system, Image Packaging System. It discusses how to create and manage local software repository mirrors, deploy custom applications through the packaging system, and troubleshoot system updates.
Compliance and Security: Least Complexity, Lowest Risk with Oracle Solaris - Alex Barclay, Kavitha MariappanLearn how Oracle Solaris 11 security and compliance features work together to protect data, centrally manage and restrict users, and apply fine-grained security policies to applications, users, and virtual machines. This session provides an overview of key Oracle Solaris security technologies, with a focus on how to combine them to reduce and report on risks.

We also have a great line up of Hands on Lab sessions over at the Mariott hotel, another short walk from the Moscone. This year we've opted for slightly longer 2 hour sessions to give participants a better chance at completing the labs - check them out:

Oracle Solaris for RedHat Linux usersIn this Hands-on-Lab we will introduce the basics of administration of Oracle Solaris for administrators experienced with RedHat Linux. We will walk through system configuration including users and roles, automatic and manual networking, managing storage with the ZFS file system, creating virtualized application isolation with Oracle Solaris Zones and management of services with the Service Management Framework (SMF). We will also cover the software lifecycle and how administrators can install and update software using the Image Packaging System (IPS) with failsafe update using ZFS boot environments. We will draw comparisons to how things are done in Red Hat Enterprise Linux and identify the unique differentiators of Oracle Solaris 11.
Oracle Solaris in the cloudIn this Hands-on-Lab we'll deploy a cloud infrastructure, leveraging the intrinsic features of Oracle Solaris. We'll use the Oracle Solaris ZFS file system to set up storage for our application and introduce participants to Oracle Solaris Zones as our primary virtualization environment for our cloud layers. We will also use network virtualization to create virtualized network interfaces and switches to communicate between our virtualized environments. We will show how to rapidly deploy the environment and how our application can easily be secured and protected using the built-in features of Oracle Solaris Zones.
Oracle Solaris Packaging for AdministratorsIn this Hands-on-Lab we'll learn to take advantage of the new network based package management to integrate your application and show the unique benefits to the application lifecycle management. We'll first learn how to use the Image Packaging System (IPS) to search, install and update packages and create your own local package repository. Next we'll create a package for your application and publish it to your repository. We will also show how to better integrate your application into the Oracle Solaris operating system, helping to improve application resiliency with service management and use access control technologies to restrict administrative user behavior.

Of course there are a lot of other Oracle Solaris related sessions. Check them out on the content builder and start planning your trip to Oracle Open World today!

Wednesday Jun 12, 2013

OTN Virtual Sys Admin Day Respin

Over the last couple of weeks, a few of us have been working on some new hands on lab content for Oracle Solaris 11, and we've delighted to announce the return of the OTN Virtual Sys Admin day, on July 15th at 9am PT.

This time we're taking the approach of a 3 part lab in which we build up a nice example of a typical deployment using Wordpress, MySQL, Oracle Solaris Zones and ZFS for a multi-tiered application. We'll also look at how we can monitor this application at a very basic level. We will also look briefly at packaging for Oracle Solaris 11 using IPS. Links to the recorded content are below.

Oracle Solaris 11 Feature Map and Lab AgendaIn the opening Oracle Solaris hands-on-lab session we will discuss the most important Oracle Solaris 11 features and how they work together to enable modern virtualization and cloud computing capabilities. This lab will be divided into 3 parts where we will build a secure, multi-level application deployed using virtualization capabilities included in the operating system. We will also demonstrate how to monitor this application and manage system resources appropriately. This lab will look at deploying Wordpress using Apache as the web server and MySQL as the database, and the Oracle Solaris ZFS file system as the underlying storage layer. We recommend that participants attend all parts to this lab in order.
Part I: Storage and Web LayersIn the first Oracle Solaris hands-on-lab-session, we will use the ZFS file system to set up storage for our application and introduce participants to Oracle Solaris Zones as our primary virtualization environment for our web, database and application layers. We will also cover network virtualization to create virtualized network interfaces and switches to communicate between our virtualized environments.
Part II: Database and Application LayersIn the second Oracle Solaris hands-on-lab session, we will take advantage of Oracle Solaris Zone cloning to rapidly provision new virtualized environments for our database and application layers, and demonstrate how our application can easily be secured and protected using the Immutable Zones feature of Oracle Solaris Zones providing a read-only environment.
Part III: Resource Monitoring and PackagingIn the final Oracle Solaris hands-on-lab session, we will demonstrate how to monitor and manage virtualized resources using various integrated system commands available on the system. We will also create and publish a new software package for a simple monitoring script using the Image Packaging System (IPS).

If you've attended any of the previous virtual hands on lab events and been bored by the same content, there's a simple bit of pre-work involved (but that's really just about installing Oracle Solaris 11 on your system using Oracle VM VirtualBox, or any other means). So go register now!

Thursday Apr 11, 2013

3 New Oracle Solaris 11 Technology Spotlights

We've been trying to flesh out our technology pages for Oracle Solaris 11 over on the Oracle Technology Network. Recently we've added 3 new technology spotlights:

Best Platform for Database
Oracle Database on Oracle Solaris helps customers lower IT costs and delivers a high quality of service by enabling consolidation onto database clouds and engineered systems.
Optimized for SPARC
Oracle Solaris 11 and the new T5 and M5 SPARC family combine to deliver the world's fastest servers. Use these SPARC Solaris systems to get the best performance and scalability for your most demanding enterprise environments including Oracle Database, Oracle Fusion Middleware and business applications such as Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, along with hundreds of business applications from partners such as SAP, SAS and Temenos.
DTrace Dynamic Tracing
Oracle Solaris DTrace is a comprehensive, advanced tracing tool for troubleshooting systematic problems in real time. Administrators, integrators and developers can use DTrace to dynamically and safely observe live production systems for performance issues, including both applications and the operating system itself.

I've personally worked on the DTrace spotlight, as a place to aggregate some great content that's already out there, including a new simple DTrace Cheatsheet. We'll be adding more to the page over time - enjoy!

Tuesday Apr 02, 2013

Chatting with Oracle

Over the past year, one of my many hats has been to manage some of the content over on our Oracle Solaris YouTube Channel. We're starting to build up a nice library of videos - everything from presentations, interviews and technical how tos.

A couple of weeks ago all the Oracle Solaris engineering talent got together for a workshop in Santa Clara to discuss some of the exciting developments that we're working on. Rick Ramsey took that opportunity to start chatting to some of the many folks involved and you can see the direct result on our Chatting with Oracle playlist. As a sneak preview, take a look at a quick chat with my new boss, Michael Palmeter, senior director of Oracle Solaris product management who talks about why the operating system is still relevant.

In case you missed it - our new SPARC servers

In case you missed last week's announcement, Larry Ellison and John Fowler got up on stage to announce the new range of SPARC T5 based mid-range servers and the new SPARC M5 based high-range servers, with an impressive 17 world record enterprise benchmarks. You can see the full replay of the live event below.

The new SPARC servers represent a huge amount of research and development on Oracle's behalf, essentially the first set of SPARC based products that can truly be considered 'Oracle'. With 100% performance increase in each generation of the chip (compared to 30-50% for IBM Power or Intel x86), we're no longer playing catch up. What's more exciting is that this is just a start of things to come as we start to move application features directly into silicon which should result in many future performance optimizations - Oracle runs best on SPARC Solaris. For more details of what was announced, see here: Announcing new SPARC servers with the world's fastest microprocessor.

Tuesday Mar 26, 2013

The Building Blocks of an Oracle Solaris 11 Application Deployment

A while back I blogged about a simple deployment example using some of the new and old technologies included in Oracle Solaris 11. Together they provide some of the basic building blocks that you can use for a more complex deployment in your data center. I've been meaning to put some audio to the presentation and got some time today to do just that. So if you haven't seen the original set of slides, watch the 30 min presentation below with voice over from yours truly. Enjoy!

Saturday Feb 09, 2013

Oracle Solaris 10 1/13 Available Now!

Today we released Oracle Solaris 10 1/13, the latest Oracle Solaris 10 update for the #1 UNIX enterprise operating system. It's now been nearly 8 years since the first announcement was made and Oracle Solaris 10 has gone from strength to strength. While there's a new kid on the block with significantly modernized technologies to make life easier in the data center, we have a huge number of customers betting their businesses on Oracle Solaris 10 and we provide best in class investment protection for this release. Customer's application environment investment is protected through the highest level of support from Oracle and by allowing easy consolidation of legacy application environments onto the latest SPARC and x86 based systems with the help of physical-to-virtual and virtual-to-virtual migration tools. Check out What's new in Oracle Solaris 10 1/13 and download now!.

Oracle Premier support for Oracle Solaris 10 will be available through 2018, after which the product will enter Oracle's standard 3 years extended and indefinite sustaining support as per the Oracle Lifetime Support Policy.

From a personal point of view, I've been working to revamp the Oracle Solaris 10 pages out on the Oracle Technology Network to be more consistent with what we're doing with Oracle Solaris 11. We've cleaned things up a little to make it easier to navigate and easier to find the things you want - let us know what you think!


To learn more about Oracle Solaris 11, check out an extensive list of resources including technical articles, cheat sheets and screencasts on Oracle Technology Network


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