Wednesday Feb 25, 2015

New Solaris articles on Oracle Technology Network

I haven't had much time to do a bunch of writing for OTN, but here's a few articles that have been published over the last few weeks that I've had a hand in. The first is a set of hands on labs that we organised for last year's Oracle Open World. We walked participants through how to create a complete OpenStack environment on top of Oracle Solaris 11.2 and a SPARC T5 based system with attached ZFS Storage Appliance. Once created, we got them to create a golden image environment with the Oracle DB to upload to the Glance image repository for fast provisioning out to VMs hosted on Nova nodes.

The second article I teamed up with Ginny Henningsen to write. We decided to write an easy installation guide for Oracle Database 12c running on Oracle Solaris 11, covering some of the tips and tricks, along with some ideas for what additional things you could do. This is a great complement to the existing white paper, which I consider an absolute must read for anyone deploying the Oracle Database on Oracle Solaris.

Enjoy!

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!

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 Dec 11, 2013

Oracle joins OpenStack Foundation

Oracle is now joining the OpenStack Foundation and planning on using the OpenStack technology in a wide variety of its products, including Oracle Solaris. This is pretty exciting generally and I think that OpenStack shows a huge amount of promise and ties together functionality that customers have been looking to have for quite some time. While we've had the concept of a unified compute, storage and networking layer for a while now when you provision Oracle Solaris Zones, being able to do this at scale across multiple nodes with both a management interface, and set of CLI and RESTful APIs is very appealing - and having Oracle Solaris as a rock solid OS foundation we're looking forward to adding a lot of value there. We're looking forward to contributing upstream (on Nova, Cinder and Neutron drivers initially, and then in other areas where we can help out).

I was fortunate enough to attend the OpenStack Summit in Hong Kong. It was an eye opening summit in many ways, mostly from the sheer volume of different technical projects and approach to solving problems in the data center. Not only that, it was also great to be able to catch up with friends of communities past.

Update: Already some folks are asking 'where's the code?' Oracle, as many can imagine, has policies and procedures around open source community contribution - especially when they involve contributor agreements. Needless to say, it's taken a bit of time to get this approved internally. Hopefully we'll see some Oracle folks more involved in the community at some stage in the short term.

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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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