Friday Aug 10, 2012

Oracle Solaris at Oracle Open World

I've just been booking flights for this years Oracle Open World which is happening just over a month away on the 30th September through to the 4th October. For anyone who's been to the conference before, it's a pretty overwhelming experience which so much happening at the Moscone center and other locations across the city.

Oracle Solaris will have another strong presence at the conference once again with some really great content lined up. Here's some of my picks:

TitleDescription
General Session: Oracle Solaris 11 Strategy, Engineering Insights, and RoadmapThis 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 will be joined by special guests from the core Oracle Solaris team and customers deploying Oracle Solaris 11.
Oracle Solaris 11 Panel: Insights and Directions from Oracle Solaris Core EngineeringThis 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.
Cloud Formation: Implementing IaaS in Practice with Oracle SolarisBe it public or private, IaaS or PaaS, using a cloud infrastructure has become the way to build out not only tomorrow’s but also today’s data center. Although there are many parts to a cloud solution, you are going to be left with a whole bunch of problems to solve if you don’t have an effective OS built for the cloud. In this session, learn how Oracle Solaris, the first cloud OS, provides the features you need built-in—no effort required. Be it elastic infrastructure, unrivaled security, superfast installation and deployment, nonstop availability, or crystal-clear observability, you will learn how Oracle Solaris provides it. Besides the “what,” also learn the “how” from a customer study on how Oracle Solaris is used in the cloud today to implement the Oracle stack.
Oracle Solaris 11 Serviceability Best PracticesOracle Solaris 11 provides many facilities that can help identify when a problem has occurred, provide information about it, and make it easier to collect the information required to solve it. This session provides insight into the the best way to install, configure, and update your Oracle Solaris systems. The focus is on optimizing the lifecycle of your Oracle Solaris infrastructure to make it easier to maintain.
Customer Insight: Oracle Solaris on Oracle Exadata, Oracle Exalogic, and SPARC SuperClusterIn this session, you’ll hear from existing customers what benefits they have realized from using the Oracle stack on Oracle Exadata and Oracle’s SPARC SuperCluster and from using Oracle Solaris on those engineered systems. Oracle Solaris brings lightweight OS virtualization (the Oracle Solaris Zones feature), enterprise reliability and scale, and many other key features of engineered systems for rapid ROI. Learn how Oracle Solaris and Oracle engineered systems can bring value to your organization.
Oracle Solaris 11 Security and Data Management: Reduce Risk and Deliver Secure ServicesOracle Solaris 11 ZFS and Oracle Solaris security features provide a comprehensive, secure data management environment for the data center and the cloud, combining guaranteed data integrity from disk platter to application and cryptographic data security. This session details the technologies that keep your data safe, using real-world examples. The discussion includes data integrity from application to disk, zones and application action whitelisting, and ZFS encryption. It also covers Oracle Key Manager integration and discusses best practices included in Oracle Optimized Solutions.
Large-Scale Installation and Deployment of Oracle Solaris 11 Hands on LabThis hands-on lab builds awareness of and instills confidence for deploying Oracle Solaris 11 in large installations. It addresses challenges associated with rolling out, and subsequently maintaining, traditional Oracle Solaris installations across the enterprise. And it subsequently provides an overview of installation and package management innovations that address these specific challenges. Further, it reviews the built-in tools provided for transitioning to Oracle Solaris 11 as well as specific technical projects in Oracle Solaris development that have become the foundation for solidifying Oracle Solaris 11 installation and lifecycle management capabilities.
Virtualizing Your Oracle Solaris 11 Environment (Hands on Lab)The cloud and virtualization are core to Oracle Solaris 11. Come to this hands-on lab to see what that means. Learn all about the Oracle Solaris Zones feature of Oracle Solaris, about the new network virtualization technology, and how they both integrate.

The times and locations are still to be announced so check back to the Oracle Open World 2012 page frequently. There's a bunch of other pretty exciting events also - the Oracle Open World Music Festival, the Oracle Appreciation Event and Oktoberfest by the Bay!. All in all, should be a great week!

Thursday Aug 09, 2012

Configuring services with the Service Management Facility

One of the bigger changes with Oracle Solaris 11 has been the move of a lot of system configuration into the Service Management Facility (SMF) configuration repository and away from configuration files stored in /etc. This not only gives us a much more structured storage approach, but also provides a much better experience of what happens to administrative customization during a system upgrade. With the introduction of repository layering, configuration can now be more seamlessly managed across the system - both customizations made directly to a system, customizations as part of a wider site profile, and the default configuration that's provided by Oracle or any other 3rd party vendor who are integrating into Oracle Solaris 11. This does mean, however, that administrators will need to get a lot more familiar with SMF.

Over the last few weeks I've been working on writing more content to help administrators with their understanding of SMF. We've added a new SMF Technology Page on OTN with a ton of content - whitepapers, technical articles, cheat sheets and screencasts. Here's a screencast about how to configure services with SMF, enjoy!

Tuesday Aug 07, 2012

Basic administration using the Service Management Facility (SMF)

The Service Management Facility (SMF), first introduced in Oracle Solaris 10, is a feature of the operating system for managing system and application services, replacing the legacy init scripting start-up mechanism common to prior releases of Oracle Solaris and other UNIX operating systems. SMF improves the availability of a system by ensuring that essential system and application services run continuously even in the event of hardware or software failures. SMF is one of the components of the wider Oracle Solaris Predictive Self Healing capability, improving application resiliency in a typical data center environment.

An Overview of SMF

SMF is the software framework that is responsible for managing services on a system—whether they are critical system services essential to the working operation of the system or application services, such as a database or Web server.

Each service has a well-defined state (enabled, disabled, offline, maintenance) and usually a relationship to other dependent services that are required to be running on the system first. This provides a key benefit in that services can be started in parallel during system start up, resulting in a much faster boot when compared to the legacy init framework, which is only able to start processes in sequence and must wait until they complete. Each service is usually started by the SMF master restarter daemon, svc.startd, though this task can be delegated to an alternative restarter, as is the case for internet services delegated to inetd.

Behind the scenes of each service is a service manifest that describes some basic information about the service, what service dependencies are required, any required service configuration, and how SMF should start and stop the service. A service, once started, can start several different processes that are tied together as part of a service contract. This means that an administrator needs to manage only the higher-level service, rather than worrying about a series of individual processes and what start order might be required by those processes. If a service fails for any reason, whether during a hardware or software fault, SMF will automatically detect the failure and restart the service and any dependent services.

For the rest of the article, head on over to OTN and read Introducing the Introducing the basics of the Service Management Facility (SMF) on Oracle Solaris 11.

Monday Aug 06, 2012

Time to move to Oracle Solaris 11

Adopting a new version of the operating system is often a pretty tough task. History tells us that many enterprise customers will wait until the first or second update release before even considering a move. This usually revolves around the perception that this initial release would be unstable or lacking polish on some of the new features that were introduced, or simply that critical 3rd party applications just aren't available and certified yet. I've certainly been in that situation with my Apple laptop, so it's not unreasonable to appreciate it's the same (if not harder) in the enterprise.

But Oracle Solaris 11 is a little different.

The maturity of the codebase

From the moment Oracle Solaris 10 was released in 2005, engineers were already working on Oracle Solaris 11 - solving the hard problems and areas of frustration for our customers, innovating in all areas of the operating system. While many new features were introduced such as the IPS, Boot Environments, Automated Installer, and a complete overhaul of the networking stack including network virtualization, other areas such as Oracle Solaris Zones, ZFS, SMF and DTrace that were introduced in Oracle Solaris 10 were being polished and matured. Well before Oracle Solaris 11 was released in November 2011 we already had the codebase used in a variety of production ready releases - from the ZFS Storage Appliance, the many OpenSolaris releases, and Oracle Solaris 11 Express. With huge numbers of consumers through our customer base, internal deployments and beta programs, Oracle Solaris 11 has been refined and stabilized through years of hard work.

Compatibility guaranteed

Oracle Solaris has had a long history of preserving application source and binary compatibility with careful engineering at the core. Application written on previous releases of the operating system can expect to be run on newer releases. Oracle Solaris 11 is no different in this respect. However, the introduction of Oracle Solaris 10 Zones provides administrators with the ability to run an existing application as is in an Oracle Solaris 10 environment running on top of Oracle Solaris 11. Most 3rd party applications that are certified for Oracle Solaris 10 are ideal candidates for deployment in Oracle Solaris 10 Zones, meaning that you don't have to wait for your 3rd party vendor to certify on a new release and you get to deploy Oracle Solaris 11 quicker.

Some useful guides to help you

But with all new releases, there's a little bit of a learning curve to get over and that can lead to some frustration. For Oracle Solaris 11, we've produced two guides to help you understand some of the differences, and how you can base take advantage of some of these new features. Take a look at the following guides and kickstart your Oracle Solaris 11 experience today!

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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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