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 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.

TitleAbstract
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!

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.

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!

Thursday Jan 24, 2013

OTN Virtual Sys Admin Day (Part 2)

After a very successful event last week with the Oracle Technology Network Sys Admin Day, we're doing it again next week on January 29th at 9am GMT. This virtual event will take the same format with the same content, but at a better timezone for the folks in Europe. As per usual we'll have a set of great Oracle Solaris 11 Hands on Labs for which administrators can step through in their own virtual environments and ask questions live to a panel of experts on anything related to Oracle Solaris.

Register now!

Wednesday Jan 09, 2013

Oracle Solaris Virtual System Administration Day

Over the last year we've been running a number of successful hands on labs around the world for Oracle Solaris 11, including a number of sessions at last year's Oracle Open World conference. These have been a great opportunity for administrators to come along and learn about some of our new technologies with pre-installed, pre-configured virtual machines. While these have been extremely useful for those who were fortunate enough to attend, it doesn't scale too well for the rest of the world.

And that's where the Oracle Virtual System Administration Day comes in....

On Tuesday Jan 15th 9:00am PT and Tuesday Jan 29th 9:00am GMT we're hosting an opportunity for everyone to get involved through a set of virtual hands on labs. They are FREE to register and attend, and contain parallel tracks for Oracle Solaris, Oracle Linux and Oracle VM. On the Oracle Solaris side we'll step through ZFS, Image Packaging System, Boot Environments, Zones and Networking. We'll have a number of people available, including me, to help answer any questions that come up while you step through your lab. For those interested in attending, register here, and make sure to carry out the pre-event checklist to install your virtual machines.

All brought to you thanks to the Oracle Technology Network. Look forward to seeing you there!

Wednesday Dec 05, 2012

Top 10 Oracle Solaris How To Articles

While generating new technical content for Oracle Solaris 11 is one of our higher priorities here at Oracle, it's always fun to have a look at some web stats to see what existing published content is popular among our audience. So here's the top ten as voted by your browsers. Interestingly it's a great mix of technologies. What's your favourite? Let us know!

RankHow To Articles
1.Taking your first steps with Oracle Solaris 11
2.How to get started creating Zones on Oracle Solaris 11
3.How to script Oracle Solaris 11 Zone creation for a network in a box configuration
4.How to configure Oracle Solaris 11 using the sysconfig command
5.How to update Oracle Solaris 11 systems using Support Repository Updates
6.How to perform system archival and recovery with Oracle Solaris 11
7.Introducing the basics of IPS on Oracle Solaris 11
8.How to update to Oracle Solaris 11.1 using IPS
9.How to set up Automated Installer services on Oracle Solaris 11
10.How to live install from Oracle Solaris 10 to Oracle Solaris 11 11/11

Tuesday Nov 06, 2012

Celebrating 20 years of Solaris Innovation

It's incredible to think that Oracle Solaris has been around for 20 years - fueled with unmatched innovation for powering the data center. We've come a long way from pretty humble beginnings. Take a look at the video below, and the timeline for our 20 year anniversary.

Of course, not to be missed is the excellent 25th Anniversary SPARC page, including its very own timeline.

Friday Oct 26, 2012

svcbundle for easier SMF manifest creation

One of the new features we've introduced in Oracle Solaris 11.1 is a new utility called svcbundle. This utility allows for the easy creation of Service Management Facility (SMF) manifests and profiles, allowing you to take advantage of the benefits of automatic application restart without requiring you to have full knowledge of the XML file format that is used when integrating with the SMF.

Integrating into SMF is one of the easiest and most obvious ways to take advantage of some of the mission critical aspects of the operating system, but many customers were often finding the initial learning curve of creating an XML manifest to be too hard. With the release of Oracle Solaris 11 11/11, SMF had a more integral part to play as more and more system configuration was starting to use the SMF configuration repository for the backend storage. This provides a number of aspects, including the ability to carefully manage customized administrative configuration, site specific configuration, and vendor provided configuration at different layers, helping to preserve them during system update.

I've written a new article, Using svcbundle to Create SMF Manifests and Profiles in Oracle Solaris 11, to give you a feel for the help we can provide in converting your applications over to SMF, or doing some site wide configuration using profiles. This is the first pass at creating such a tool, so we'd love to hear feedback of your experiences using it.

Friday Oct 19, 2012

Oracle Solaris 11.1 Announced at Oracle OpenWorld

One of the highlights for me at Oracle OpenWorld was our announcement of the next update version to Oracle Solaris 11, named Oracle Solaris 11.1. Since November 2011, we've done a lot of work not only to polish existing features and fix literally hundreds of bugs, but also add many new features that give yet more reasons for using Oracle Solaris as the deployment platform for Oracle workloads - particularly the Oracle database. Over the last few years since the Sun Microsystems acquisition, we've had our developers sitting in Redwood Shores with the Oracle database team figuring out how to best optimize that combination and provide a level of integration that no other vendor (or solution) can match.

Oracle Solaris 11.1 is often the first release many customers will adopt due to perceived instability of '.0' releases. In reality, however, we've seen incredible adoption already and all our existing customers are loving the new technologies like Image Packaging System (IPS), Automated Installer and ZFS Boot Environments, consolidated network management and network virtualization, and of course the existing features that are so critical to creating private, hybrid or public cloud environments like the Oracle Solaris ZFS file system and Oracle Solaris Zones server virtualization.

If you haven't already gotten on board, there's plenty chance to catch up. More importantly, Oracle Solaris 11.1 really provides a platform that is significantly easier to manage than any previous Solaris releases - to the extent that it should be relatively straightforward for any experienced Linux administrator to get up to speed (if they're struggling, we have ways to help). So take a look at what's new in Oracle Solaris 11.1 and start planning your deployment now!

If you missed the announcement, you can see the full video of John Fowler's keynote at Oracle OpenWorld here:

Wednesday Sep 19, 2012

New Oracle Solaris 11 Administration book

During the development of Oracle Solaris 11, one of the main goals was to modernize the operating system and remove some of the existing frustrations that our administrative audience had in deploying and using the platform within data centers around the world. That meant a comprehensive clean out of some existing technologies to provision the operating system (replacing Jumpstart with Automated Installer) and manage system software (replacing SVR4 with IPS packaging), consolidate the vast spectrum of networking configuration, and enhance the user environment to provide familiarity for those who were used to administering Linux environments among many other things. While some considered the changes to Oracle Solaris 11 as a negative change, most will be impressed at how far we've come - the deeper integration of key technologies, presented in a consolidated and consistent form. It is easier to administer the Oracle Solaris platform that ever before, and I have no doubt that administrators coming from other platforms will be hugely impressed with what they see, especially if they're judging based on past experiences of Solaris 8 and Solaris 9. In fact I'd go further to say that Oracle Solaris 11 is a more powerful, integrated and usable platform that most Linux platforms I've seen.

But as with anything, there's always an initial learning curve to get through. We've provided a significant selection of learning materials out on the Oracle Solaris 11 pages on Oracle Technology Network and some great training and certification options.

One more option is now available in the form of a book, the Oracle Solaris 11 System Administration The Complete Reference. This provides an exceptional reference to help administrators learn about Oracle Solaris 11, especially those who have come from the Linux platform. As is quoted in the first chapter of the guide:

Linux users and developers will find in Oracle Solaris 11 a familiar and quickly productive working environment; we point out similarities and differences between the Linux and Solaris kernels and system administration tools, and describe how typical open source Web development tasks are accomplished in this OS.

So I would encourage you to take a read of it and start seriously considering Oracle Solaris 11 to be a platform choice for your data center. Oracle Solaris 11 System Administration The Complete Reference - yours for only $32.50 (if you successfully use the promotion code - otherwise worth shopping around to pick up a good deal).

Friday Sep 14, 2012

Oracle Solaris 11 How To Guides

Over the past year or so I've been writing a lot of How To Guides for different technologies. While we have really excellent product documentation (including the best set of manual pages available on any UNIX or Linux platform), the various How To Guides we have help to complement some of that learning, giving administrators a chance to learn the motivations for different technologies with a simple set of examples. Not only are they fun to research and write, they're also one of the more popular items on our Oracle Solaris 11 technology pages on OTN.

So here's a link to bookmark and come back to on a regular basis: Oracle Solaris 11 How To Guides. We've got an excellent line up of articles there, and below is a list of the ones I've been involved in writing. Let us know if there are technologies that you think a How To Guide would help with and we'd be happy to get them onto our list!

TitleLink
Taking your First Steps with Oracle Solaris 11An introduction to installing Oracle Solaris 11, including the steps for installing new software and administering other system configuration.
Introducing the basics of IPS on Oracle Solaris 11How to administer an Oracle Solaris 11 system using IPS, including how to deal with software package repositories, install and uninstall packages, and update systems.
Advanced administration with IPS on Oracle Solaris 11Take a deeper look at advanced IPS to learn how to determine package dependencies, explore manifests, perform advanced searches, and analyze the state of your system.
How to create and publish packages with IPS on Oracle Solaris 11How to create new software packages for Oracle Solaris 11 and publish them to a network package repository.
How to update your Oracle Solaris 11 systems using Support Repository UpdatesThe steps for updating an Oracle Solaris 11 system with software packages provided by an active Oracle support agreement, plus how to ensure the update is successful and safe.
Introducing the basics of SMF on Oracle Solaris 11Simple examples of administering services on Oracle Solaris 11 with the Service Management Facility.
Advanced administration with SMF on Oracle Solaris 11Advanced administrative tasks with SMF, including an introduction to service manifests, understanding layering within the SMF configuration repository, and how best to apply configuration to a system.
Using svcbundle to create SMF manifests and profiles in Oracle Solaris 11 This articles covers a new utility introduced in Oracle Solaris 11.1, svcbundle, and shows how developers and administrators can use it to integrate their applications with SMF more quickly.

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!

Monday Jul 16, 2012

The basics of administration using the Image Packaging System

One of the major new changes that was introduced in Oracle Solaris 11 is a new package management system, replacing the legacy SVR4 packaging that we've been using in Oracle Solaris for many years. Image Packaging System (IPS) modernizes the software lifecycle with an easy to use, network based packaging system built on the foundations of the Oracle Solaris ZFS filesystem. I've been working with the IPS engineering team to produce some content that will help administrators understand the basics of IPS and how best to take advantage of it updating systems in the data center.

An overview of IPS

In previous releases of the Oracle Solaris platform, administrators used SVR4 packaging to install software onto a system, and then they used a different set of commands to install patches to update the system. As Oracle Solaris evolved to include new technologies, such as Oracle Solaris zones, Oracle Solaris ZFS, and Solaris Service Management Facility (SMF), previously used processes for managing system updates and upgrades became more complex. With thousands of operating system instances installed in some of today's large virtualized data centers, manual methods of tracking and installing patches can result in errors that negatively affect application availability and security.

IPS is an integrated solution that helps automate and ease the complexity of managing system software on Oracle Solaris 11 by integrating patching with package updates. It relies on a network-centric and efficient approach with automatic software dependency checking and validation, and it builds on the foundation of ZFS as the default root file system. Using IPS, administrators can easily and reliably install or replicate an exact set of software package versions across many different client machines, and get a much clearer understanding of any differences between software versions installed on a system.

With ZFS's ability to snapshot and clone a given file system with little or no overhead, IPS establishes a much safer system update by applying changes to a clone or alternate boot environment so that updates can be done while a system is running services in a production environment. When a planned maintenance window can be scheduled, administrators can simply reboot the system into the new boot environment to get up and running faster with much lower system downtime. If administrators experience any problems with a new environment, they can simply bring the system down and back into the older boot environment.

Additionally, administration across any zones created on the system is much improved because the system automatically ensures that software package versions within a non-global zone are consistent with the global zone.

For the rest of the article, head on over to OTN and read Introducing the Basics of the Image Packaging System on Oracle Solaris 11.

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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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