Friday May 01, 2009

WOWW - Womens Opening Walleye Weekend

Well its that time of year. Fishing season officially opens in Wisconsin this weekend.  I'm getting ready to head north with a friend where we'll gather with more girl friends from across the country in Cable, wisconsin for an annual event that we now call WOWW - Womens Opening Walleye Weekend.

We don't really fish...well there was a time when some of us did fish, but its more about getting away from our lives in the city and heading north to a cabin on a lake where we can sit around a camp fire, laugh until it hurts, share our stories and of course, eat great food and drink lots of gin....

Oh, and of course we'll take a pontoon ride on the lake and who knows one of us might even drop and line or two to see what we can catch besides a hangover. 

Monday Apr 27, 2009

Sock knitting is magic

Who would have thought that after only a few short weeks I would be knitting socks on a magic loop. Not I. Being left-handed, I believed knitting was another right handed conspiracy designed to keep lefties out. I imagined having to learn to knit the opposite way from right handed people. I imagined having to find specialized needles and patterns. Why did I wait so long to try? There is no conspiracy. I can knit. I'm good at it. Now, mind you I've only made mittens and socks and well I have made a few hats too. But I'm truly intrigued with making socks. 

I knitted for the first time on an airplane a few weeks ago. I was attempting my first pair of socks on double point needles. The B-Man next to me on the plane commented that it would be cheaper to just buy the socks. I told him he was missing the point, but I didn't explain it to him because I knew he still wouldn't understand. How do you explain the brain shift that knitting ignites. The calm. The focus. Its every bit as challenging as a cross word puzzle or sudoko or painting or some other skill that keeps your mind sharp and your hands busy, plus you get a bonus...socks you can wear, give as a gift or simply donate back to the community. I've got quite a collection started for the Church Holiday Boutique next year.  Well, I have to have something to do with the stock pile of yarn I've been gathering.....but that's a story for next time.

The best kept secret at Sun just got even better - SAM and QFS Version 5.0 is finally here!

Version 5.0 of the Sun Storage Archive Manager (SAM) and Sun QFS is now available for purchase and download. 

This is GOOD NEWS for Sun customers already familiar with this software and for new users looking to deploy storage solutions with better ways to share, manage,  protect and preserve the sheer volume of data generated by organizations and businesses today and for the future. Managing data growth is a real problem.  I'm keeping it real when I say that no single file system or technology can solve all the problems associated with managing this growth.  

I think users will be pleased with the significant new features delivered in version 5.0 making it easier to administer and improve shared file services and archive management. This software is designed to solve the specific problems users face when sharing, managing, protecting and preserving file data in distributed environments and across different storage tiers based on business value over time.

New Feature Highlights include:

Easier Administration Features 

\*Online Grow & Shrink
FEATURE: The ability to resize a file system online.
BENEFIT: You no longer have to unmount a file system before you grow or shrink the file system.

\*Rolling Upgrades
FEATURE: The ability to upgrade software in shared environments with multiple shared clients without taking down the rest of the file system.
BENEFIT: Easily upgrade software deployed in shared environments with no downtime

\*Browser-based Management Interface Enhancements
FEATURE: New Browser-based Management interface enhancements include:
BENEFIT: Simplify your experience when configuring, managing and monitoring these file systems

Solaris Feature integration & Support 

\*Solaris Zones partitioning software support
FEATURE: Shared File system and archiving file system support for the Solaris Zones partitioning software included in Solaris Containers
BENEFIT: Shared file systems and archiving file systems can now be used in virtualized environments with Solaris Zones support.

\*Solaris SMF support
FEATURE: SMF can now be used to manage error conditions that are unique to shared and archiving file systems during initializations.
BENEFIT: This management ability enables normal system operations to continue. SMF management includes such tasks as stopping or restarting SAM-QFS daemons as needed. Error messages are written to the appropriate SMF services logs.

\*Solaris Project ID support
FEATURE: The ability to associate standard Solaris projects with these file systems.
BENEFIT : Find all the files or directories associated with a Solaris project name or project id within a given file hierarchy

Performance & Scalability Features & Enhancements 

\*Sideband MySQL Database Support
FEATURE: Improve archive performance when you search and restore files with a sideband database.
BENEFIT : Improve samfsdump performance for retrieving and restoring archive data faster than previous version of the software

More supported storage 

\*New Devices are now supported
FEATURE: The following devices are now qualified to work with Sun QFS and SAM-QFS.

--Sony CSM-20 library
--IBM and HP LT04 tape drives
--Quantum DLT-S4 tape drive
--ACSLS 7.2 and ACSLS 7.3
--Sony Super AIT tape drive
--HP SL24 and SL48 libraries
--Sun VTL and VTL 2.0 with the following drives:
--HP LT03
--IBM LT03
--STK 9940B
--STK 9840B
--STK 9840 tape drive, standard and VOLSAFE
--SL3000 library, including partitioning
--Fujitsu NML270 and NML250 libraries
--IBM 3592 700 GB tape
--STK T10KB tape drive, standard and VOLSAFE
--IBM and HP LT04 WORM
--Spectra Logic Python Series libraries (T950/380/200/120/T50/T50e) creating Archive Volume Pools.

BENEFIT: More storage devices can be supported by these file systems

Call to Action 

- Download 5.0 software today 

- Join the SAM-QFS Interest alias

- See for yourself how easy it is to set up an archiving file system 

Wednesday Mar 18, 2009

What is it about St. Patrick's day that lights a fire under me to write here

It begins to feel like spring in Minnesota on St. Patrick's day. Last Sunday was the Day of Irish Dancing at the Landmark Center in St. Paul. Our Katie is becoming a great Irish Step Dancer. I'm so proud of her.

Katie's Irish Dance Group 

On St. Patty's day we stopped by Keegan's for a pub lunch and a pint. We captured Gregor sharing a tale about his first adventure in Ireland. 

Gregor's Irish Memories 

Enjoy and Happy St. Patty's day until next year! 



Time flies when your having fun or ZFS takes storage world by storm

Wow. I can't believe a whole year has passed since my last entry. Who has time to blog? When there is so much going on. A little re-cap may be in order since my last blog about Sun's its plan to open source all of its storage software IP.

All I can say is Open Storage has taken the storage world and Sun by storm. Why all the fuss? The attention given to ZFS inside and outside Sun has been astounding. Without even trying, ZFS has catapulted from hype factor to 'must have' in Sun products in record time.

So what is it about ZFS that is better than other file systems? "Them's fighten" words to many folks that have file system expertise with other Sun file system technologies. And yet, despite its detractors and behind all the hype (it can't solve every problem users face and it's performance isn't ideal in some workloads), for most general purpose applications where you need a local file system, ZFS data integrity,  integrated volume management and FREE snapshot services outshine all the areas that will get better with time. After all ZFS is a baby in file system years.

In my view there are three fundamental things that make ZFS an ideal local file system for most users.

1. Its tightly integrated into the Solaris ecosystem

ZFS can now be the root file system choice when booting from the the Solaris OS. It is the default file system in OpenSolaris today.

2. Its dead simple to administer.

Anyone can be up and running in less than 5 minutes. This fact often gets overlooked because we'd spend alot of time talking about ZFS internals rather than the things that motivate people to change how they do things today and how file systems could be better deployed today.  The "simple factor has helped to drive ZFS adoption, new users and the largest open storage project community on record as evidenced by the growing attendance at the open storage summit held last February in San Francisco.

3. Free snapshots.

No cost to users for additional data services. This fact alone has people motivated to give ZFS and Sun storage another look whether they are considering a Sun appliance based on OpenSolaris with ZFS embedded data services or they are deploying a general purpose server for file sharing. 


Tuesday May 20, 2008

The Blue Cabin

Ahh the blue cabin. Nothing makes the week go by more quickly then when we're looking forward to a weekend at the blue cabin.  A collective sigh of relief as we cross the river into Wisconsin. Work stress drips off my shoulders as Minnesota fades from view and we begin to weave across Wisconsin on our way to the blue cabin. Campfires, smores, gin and tonics, pontoon rides, northern lights - I think I'm in heaven. Ahhh the blue cabin.  Thanks Deb and Greg!



Tuesday Apr 29, 2008

It takes a community to lead a revolution

Open Storage is a revolution gaining momentum in the community

[Read More]

Monday Mar 17, 2008

Move over St. Patrick, March 17th is officially SAM's day.

Its hard to believe it was just about a year ago when Sun announced it would open source all Storage Software IP. Since then significant contributions have been made to the OpenSolaris storage community. These include a CIFS server, Comstar, and others can be found here:

No single contribution has been so eagerly anticipated or misunderstood as the effort to open source SAM and QFS. So for me this is a major milestone for all those involved in making this a reality. Thanks to the dedicated persistence of the SAMQFS engineering team as this was a significant drain on resources that could have been deployed developing new features .

Unlike other OpenSolaris projects, SAM and QFS are software products marketed and sold by Sun and its partners since 2001. The software has many commercial users in medical, media & entertainment, government, manufacturing, financial services, education that benefit from the services this software provides.

SAM or the Storage Archive Manager software is key to Sun's archive strategy today. A few weeks ago, Sun made some noise about new archive systems including a customer ready system that embeds this SAM and QFS in a tiered storage architecture. Way ahead of its time in the mid 90's, SAM still provides users with an innovative way to transparently or virtually manage data across different tiers of storage including tape differentiating it from 'disk' only tiered solutions.

QFS provides users with a shared file system that's ideal for intensive environments. Commercial users with high performance computing requirements will benefit from the seamless transfer between the compute and storage nodes and long term data retention with SAM.

Together this dynamic duo are used to deliver an amazing number of storage solutions that leverage commodity server and storage hardware and help drive Solaris adoption in the data center.

So what exactly does this mean for Sun?
First it shows that we're committed to being open. It's a strategy that affects they way we work, think about, and market technologies and products we offer. As a result, Sun is changing the storage marketplace. Unlike other vendors, Sun's storage software stack is open and with these major source contributions, Solaris gets even more interesting as a storage OS on which to build storage systems or appliances.

What does this mean for the Storage Community?
Storage developers and deployers interested in these technologies will find more than access to the source code when they participate in the OpenSolaris storage community for this software. You can dialog directly with the SAM/QFS engineering team as they develop new features. As a member of the community you can influence the direction for this software only when you participate so join the OpenSolaris storage community today!

What does this mean for Sun customers?
Sun customers will benefit from more choice, value and innovation that comes from open software and open standards. For commercial users of this software, a binary version of the software is available with a Sun standard software license, RTUs and Sun services for a FEE.

Tuesday Feb 05, 2008

A beautiful night in St. Paul for a Parade

What is it about downtown St. Paul that it takes a parade in the dead of winter at night to get people into the city. This year's St. Paul Winter Carnival Torchlight Parade was no exception. This happens to be the second year that I've walked in the parade with my daughter, a St. Paul Irish Dancer. Last year it was minus 3 degrees below zero. The parade was shortened considerably because of the extreme cold, but we paraded three quarters of the way until my daughter's eyes were so teary from the cold that she couldn't see. We quickly ducked into the skyway system for relief from the cold.

This year, however it was a balmy twenty-nine degrees. We paraded up to the last two blocks when the sound of the King of the West Winds gunfire was so loud that my daughter stopped dancing and started crying. We found refuge as bystanders with some good friends that have been loyal to the torchlight parade for years.

I won't bore you with all the carnival lore, but its a crazy hedonistic mythology including characters called Vulcans that run around in red suits and capes and mark their victims (mostly women and children) with a black grease paint 'V' for Vulcan or Victory over snow and ice. And though their image over the years has become rather tainted (they're working on this with the same agency that is trying to change the Twin Cities image from two distinct cities with a healthy rivalry to something more friendly to encourage more tourism), there are folks lined up every year that are ready, willing and able to fork over the dollars and time to become one of these red devils. As a decendent of the Vulcan Crew, I can understand the appeal. The year before my mom and dad married In 1954, my dad disguised himself for two weeks to become Baron Hot Sparkus, commander of the Lancer's Legion and Stocker of Emotion. The 'SPARK PLUG' of the Vulcan Krewe. Hail Vulcan! Until next year.
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Open Source means freely distributed, not free.

Two years ago Sun open sourced the Solaris 10 operating system in order to build a developer community for the Solaris OS. At the same time Sun made a business decision to provide for free the enterprise distribution of the Solaris 10 binary right-to-use license (with registration) in order to drive Solaris 10 adoption. Fee-based Solaris services are also offered when deploying the software in production environments.

Now we're working hard to open source all Sun developed storage software. Many Solaris storage software technologies have all ready been put back into the community.


Sun StorageTek Availability Suite source is currently available for download.

Project pages for SAM/QFS are also available.

Recent contributions to the OpenSolaris community include a native integrated CIFS implementation that delivers greater Microsoft interoperability and supports our efforts to improve Solaris as a storage operating system.

This decision, announced last April, has created its share of confusion over free or fee-based licenses for the enterprise distributions of our storage software. Open source distributions are freely distributed under a CDDL license agreement that makes it easy for developers to get access to the source (in many cases as we're developing it) and lets them participant in the community and contribute in a variety of ways.

Commercial or enterprise versions of Solaris Storage software are distributed in the following ways:


ZFS is the perfect example of storage software that is delivered as part of the core Solaris OS, open source and OpenSolaris distributions with developer services offered.

ZFS is distributed with Solaris 10 Updates under Sun's standard software binary license agreement and Solaris 10 Services are offered for a fee.

ZFS is open sourced and can be downloaded under Sun's CDDL license agreement.

Open Solaris Distributions (SXDE) that include ZFS are offered with services targeting the developer community.


Software products like the Sun Storagetek Storage Archive Manager, the Sun StorageTek QFS, and the Sun StorageTek AVS offers fee-based RTUs and services.,

Solaris Cluster Solutions such as the Advanced Edition for Oracle RAC includes the RTU for QFS.

Solaris Storage software is delivered on storage systems that are offered by Sun and our partners.

The SunFire 4500 includes the Solaris Operating System with ZFS, differentiating our high capacity low cost storage offering.

Sun Partnerships that leverage Sun software and hardware innovation plus the partner's value-add come to market fast as evidenced by Greenplum. Early access to the Sun Fire[tm] X4500 platform as well as vital engineering and marketing assistance allowed Greenplum and Sun to collaborate to develop an Opteron-powered appliance based on the Solaris OS with ZFS.

The Sun StorageTek SAM and QFS is delivered today in a customer ready system called CIS. It uses SAM policy managmenet to automates data movement across tiered storage based on the business value and access requirements of your data and provide a cost effective way to manage data over time.

The combination of OpenSolaris software and open standards will allow us to deliver more value for our customers with Open Storage Systems going forward.




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