Friday Nov 23, 2012

A simple deployment example using Oracle Solaris 11

Last week I was over in Melbourne and Sydney to present at an Oracle Technology Network System Administration Day. During a set of morning sessions, I presented on some of the new things that we've done in Oracle Solaris 11 and our focus for the future. One of the sessions I presented was giving a quick technical overview of what a typical application deployment scenario would look like using technologies like the Image Packaging System (IPS), Service Management Facility (SMF), Oracle Solaris Zones, and network virtualization. While it's just a simple example, it provides the basic building blocks for a more advanced configuration that a data center would typically deploy. Given these would likely be of general interest, I thought I'd upload the slides for others to view - enjoy!

You can download the original source PPTX without some of the formatting errors in the above.

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.

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.

Tuesday Jul 17, 2012

First steps with the Service Management Facility (SMF)

The Oracle Solaris Service Management Facility (SMF) was one of the major features added with Oracle Solaris 10. In essence, it's a system that replaces the legacy init mechanism common on many UNIX operating systems, to manage both system and application services. The main advantage of SMF is that it provides continuous availability for these services, and should any hardware or software failures occur, SMF will automatically restart the service, and any dependent services.

While many administrators didn't really interact much with SMF on Oracle Solaris 10 outside simply enabling and disabling services, changes introduced in Oracle Solaris 11 will mean that SMF will become more visible. I'll talk about these changes in a future blog entry, but if you want to get a 101 on the basics of service administration with SMF, consider taking a look at the following screencast.

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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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