Tuesday Aug 11, 2009

Vodafone Mobile Broadband with a Huawei K3520/E169

Since I'll be even more remote from my office for a few days, due to acceptance of my talk about gatekeeping for SAGE-AU, I thought I should acquire one of those funky mobile broadband solutions so I could keep in contact with the gate.

It's been a bit of a pain to get working, but now it is I figure I should provide some details what I've done.

Firstly, a big thankyou to my mate Arjen who brought his Huawei E220 dongle over and let me muck around with it for a few hours.

The solution I chose was Vodafone's Mobile Prepaid Broadband, which comes with a Huawei E169, aka K3520 usb dongle. This has the increasingly popular "ZeroCD(tm)" feature - when you plug it in, it defaults to showing a storage device (usb device class 8) rather than as a communications device (usb device class 2). This storage device has the windows drivers and application on it, which then kicks the device into being a communications device. All good, or something, as long as you're running XP, Vista or Mac OS X.

Not so good, clearly, for yours truly.

A bunch of google hits came up with http://darkstar-solaris.blogspot.com/2008/10/huawei-e169-usb-umts-gprs-modem.html, http://www.opensolaris.org/jive/thread.jspa?messageID=272246, http://in.opensolaris.org/jive/thread.jspa?messageID=227212 and http://my2ndhead.blogspot.com/2008/11/opensolaris-huawei-e220-swisscom-and.html, which got me started - I need to use the usbsacm(7D) driver, so it was time to update_drv. Being a bit lazy, and suspecting that there'd be a few options that needed covering, I just hand-edited /etc/driver_aliases to add in all the possible compatible entries for the device (starting with usb12d1,1001.0). Still no joy - darn thing was still showing up as a storage device even after hotplugging.

On the off-chance that the attached-at-power-on state might be different I rebooted with it attached, ... lo and behold, it was different! No usb,class8, just compatible properties which allowed me to attach it to the usbsacm driver, and get 3 /dev/term entries. After a hotplug op, however, it was back to showing up as a storage device, which was most undesirable.

So I tried looking for what solutions the linux world has come up with to the problem, came across usb_modeswitch (which gave the clue that sending a "USB_REQ_SET_FEATURE, 00000001" would kick it properly), and also some Huawei forum posts.

One thread in particular caught my eye: Thread: K3520 (E169) microSD lost which featured a comment from a Huawei employee instructing the user to utter "at\^u2diag=255" in a hyperterm session in order to get back their microSD card slot.

So being inquisitive, and making a guess, when I had the dongle connected from boot, I ran

# tip /dev/term/0
and hotplugged the device. On re-insertion (after waiting 1 minute), I saw that there was no storage device found, just usbsacm instances. W0000t!

So now all I had to do was trawl my memories to recall how to do ppp (eeeek!) and would be connectable.

Therein lies a lot of pain, so I'll cut straight to the "this works for me" part:

The aliases I've got in /etc/driver_aliases are

usbsacm "usb12d1,1001.0"
usbsacm "usb12d1,1001"

The peers file that I'm using is

logfile /var/tmp/pppd.log
asyncmap a0000
idle 300
lcp-echo-interval 0
connect '/usr/bin/chat -s -t60 -f /etc/ppp/voda-chat'

Note that I symlinked /dev/term/0 to /dev/huawei - purely because I wanted to.

The chat script is

"" AT&F
OK AT\\136u2diag=0
OK ATS7=60
OK AT+CGDCONT=1,"IP","vfprepaymbb"
OK "ATD \\052 99\\052\\052 2 \\043"

Note the use of octal characters - Solaris' /usr/bin/chat doesn't like the caret (\^), asterisk (\*) or hash (#) in a chat script, so you have to work around that by using \\136 for caret, \\052 for asterisk, and \\043 for hash. Also, note that the prepaid solution uses an Access Point Name (APN) of "vfprepaymbb" rather than the contract/postpaid "vfinternet.au".

The other thing of interest is the ":" in the peers file. This is what I needed to add in order to get around the problem

[ID 702911 daemon.debug] Peer refused to provide his address; assuming

Once I'd done that, things seemed to work just fine. It was rather weird to see a ping time from my non-global zone to the laptop via 3G taking about 170msec even though both machines are within my arm's reach!

I just need to get some ip-up and ip-down scripts figured out, and then I'll be all raring to go.

One final thing, there are apparently a reasonably annoying bug with usbsacm:

6840063 usbsacm stops sending data out when pushed hard (fixed in snv_120), and an RFE

6588968 Provide support for 3G USB broadband modem device from Huawei Technologies.

I don't know for sure whether this works if you're not running snv_120, but rather than disabling a core, you could try

# pbind -b 0 `pgrep pppd`

as part of your ip-up script. I'm going to try it and see.

Friday Feb 27, 2009

Kernel Conference Australia - it's coming!

Over the years it's been a source of frustration for me that the conferences which I wanted to attend were either too expensive (time, travel, registration etc) or not covering topics I was interested in.

Late last year I realised I should stop grumbling about it and fix it myself.

So it is with great pleasure that I can announce that this July 15th to 17th in Brisbane, there will be an Open Source kernel-focused conference: Kernel Conference Australia. We don't have absolutely all of the organisational bits together yet, but here's what we do have:

World class speakers

Fantastic location

Our venue is the Queensland Brain Institute, within the University of Queensland.

Excellent climate

The University is situated in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Yes, it will be winter... but winter in Brisbane is a beautiful time to visit.

Call for Papers

The Call for Papers is not quite ready (still a few details to be ironed out), but if you'd like to be considered for a presentation spot you should be thinking about a topic in any of these areas:

  • Cross-architecture kernel development

  • Porting an OS to a new architecture

  • Filesystems

  • System performance visualisation (DTrace, SystemTap?)

  • Image visualisation (GPU kernels)

  • Fault Management

  • (globally) Distributed kernel development - how to make it work

  • Virtualisation

  • Clustering (HPC and High Availability)

  • Distributed systems

  • Kernel Testing - methodologies, interesting problems found

  • Traps and pitfalls found when porting drivers between OSes

  • Realtime performance and scheduling

  • Embedded OSes and drivers (including control systems)

  • Patents and Open Source

  • The state of OS kernel research / what's new / work in progress

Apart from the above, we expect that pretty much any kernel-focused topic for an Open Source licensed OS will be considered by the organising committee.

Target OSes

If you would like to help with sponsoring the conference, please let me know via email (jmcp at my employer . com).

Tuesday Dec 30, 2008

Under the heading of "Why didn't I do this before?"

J and I have a Lexmark Optra S 1855 with mucho extra memory and a duplexer, got it from EBay in late 2003 when we needed to print out her OT honours thesis. It used to be the case that you could get a Solaris package of utilities and drivers for it from lexmark.com, but sadly the only ones available from lexmark.com these days are for their non-EOL'd printers.

I emailed Lexmark printer support asking whether I could get a copy of the old package, but the response was less than satisfactory:

Thank you for contacting Lexmark Email support. I apologize for the delay
in response.

In reply to your email, this printer Optra S 1855 is supported on Unix AIX
system. However,there are no specific x86 drivers available on Lexmark website.
The available drivers are print-drivers-aix5-sysv.pkg.Z and drivers-aix.pkg.Z.
You need to install these drivers. Alternatively, you can install a system
generic driver.

... after a request which specifically asked for the Solaris package.

So for the last few builds I've been printing to file as postscript, then dumping the .ps direct to port 9100 on the printer's IP.... slack, I know.

Since it's the slack time of the year I figured I'd have a go at seeing whether I could get the printer setup in my non-global zone using the lp family of commands. Not pretty, and in fact, rather painful to get anywhere. Following the instructions on docs.sun.com gave me this:

-bash-3.2# lpadmin -p fishdbl -v /dev/null -m netstandard
-bash-3.2# lpadmin -p fishdbl -o protocol=tcp -v /dev/null
-bash-3.2# lpadmin -p fishdbl -T PS -v /dev/null
-bash-3.2# lpadmin -p fishdbl -I postscript -v /dev/null
-bash-3.2# lpadmin -p fishdbl -s prfish
-bash-3.2# lpstat -t
scheduler is running
no system default destination
-bash-3.2# lpadmin -d fishdbl
fishdbl: undefined printer

And yes, "prfish" is the name of the printer on the network.

Stopping and re-starting print/server didn't help either, so I went looking for help. The gnome-ish stuff for OpenSolaris all talked about autodiscovery, which is great except that it requires hal to work, and we don't find hal in a non-global zone. Then I found the Presto project, which lead to Printing community and that mentioned CUPS.

By now I was just totally over it all, and I wanted it to just work, dagnabbit! so I enabled CUPS in the non-global zone, configured my printer queues there, and then ran these commands in the global zone:

# lpset -a printer-uri-supported=lpd://prserv/printers/fishdbl fishdbl
# lpset -a printer-uri-supported=lpd://prserv/printers/fishsgl fishsgl

.... and it was all good!

Well, except for the annoying banner page, but the comments on Dan Anderson's post mentioned that you need to add -o job-sheets=none to the invocation for cupsd and that problem goes away. A quick edit of /var/svc/manifest/application/cups.xml (look for cups-lpd), then a re-import and restart of the cups services, and I'm now really happy.

Of course, I should hassle Norm for a slightly better solution than just hacking the manifest, but I'll do that later.

Thursday Oct 16, 2008

On stmsboot(1m)

When I started working with SAS (November 2006), our group's project (MPxIO support in mpt(7d)) was already off and running. The part that I was responsible for was booting - which meant fixing stmsboot(1m). Initially I was disappointed that I'd been given what I thought was such a small part of the problem to work on, but I quickly realised that there was a lot more to it than my first impression revealed.

Since we were under some pretty tight time pressure, I didn't really have time to do a redesign of stmsboot to make it more sustainable. The expected arrival of ZFS root meant that there was also some uncertainty about how that would tie in - nothing was nailed down, so I had to make some guesses and keep my eyes peeled for when ZFS root eventuated and then see what further changes needed to be made. We putback those changes into snv_63, and had a few followups in subsequent builds, and all seemed ok.

Then in February 2008 there was a thread on storage-discuss about how to obtain a particular device's lun number after running devfsadm -C (or boot -r, for that matter). I did a little digging and figured out that it would indeed be possible to provide that information - if you were willing to do a little digging and make use of a scsi_vhci ioctl() or two. Using hba-private data, unfortunately, so quite unsupportable. But it got me thinking, and I logged 6673281 stmsboot needs more clues as a placeholder.

Then a short while later I noticed that the -L or -lX options to stmsboot(1m) were now broken, as of snv_83 (nobody had worked on stmsboot(1m) since I made my changes in build 63). Since this is an essential part of the actual interface, I figured it was important enough to log (6673278 stmsboot -L/l is broken on snv_83 and later) but was unable to do much about it until I got Pluggable fwflash(1m) out of the way first. I was also annoyed to find that there were problems with updating /etc/vfstab, too (6691090 stmsboot -d failed to update /etc/vfstab with non-mpxio device paths... things were not looking good, and I was watching code rot for real. Staggering!

The kicker was (6707555 stmsboot is lost in a ZFS root world, and so I knew what I had to do - redesign and rewrite stmsboot from scratch.

The Redesign

I started with 4 guiding principles:

  • require only one reboot

  • listing of MPxIO-enabled devices should be \*fast\*

  • minimise filesystem-dependent lookups, and

  • use libdevinfo and devlinks as much as possible.

I then looked at the overall effects that we need to achieve with the stmsboot(1m) command:

  • enable MPxIO for all MPxIO-capable devices

  • enable MPxIO for specific MPxIO-capable drivers

  • enable MPxIO for specific MPxIO-capable HBA ports

  • disable MPxIO for all MPxIO-capable devices

  • disable MPxIO for specific MPxIO-capable drivers

  • disable MPxIO for specific MPxIO-capable HBA ports

  • update MPxIO settings for all MPxIO-capable drivers

  • update MPxIO settings for specific MPxIO-capable drivers

  • list the mapping between non-MPxIO and MPxIO-enabled devices

  • list device guids, if available

What does the old code do?

The code makes use of a shell script (/usr/bin/stmsboot), a private binary (/lib/mpxio/stmsboot_util) and an SMF service (/lib/svc/method/mpxio-upgrade) which runs on reboot.

The private binary does the heavy lifting, providing a way for the shell script and SMF service to determine what a device's new MPxIO or non-MPxIO mapping is. The old private binary also walked through the device link entries in /dev/rdsk when called with the -L or -l $controller options, printing any device mappings. Finally, the private binary handles the task of re-writing /etc/vfstab.

The shell script (stmsboot) is the user interface part of the facility. Its chief task is to do editing of the driver.conf(4) files for the supported drivers (fp(7d) and mpt(7d)), and to set the eeprom bootpath variable on the x86/x64 platform if disabling or updating MPxIO configurations. (Failing to do this would prevent an x86/x64 host from booting). The shell script also makes backup copies of modified files, and creates a file with instructions on how to recover a system which has failed to boot properly after running the stmsboot script.

The SMF service is armed by the stmsboot script, and runs on reboot. It mounts /usr and root as read-write, invokes the private /lib/mpxio/stmsboot_util binary to rewrite the /etc/vfstab, updates the dump configuration and any SVM metadevice (/dev/md) device mappings, and then (in the old form) reboots the system.

What has changed

The new design makes use of a private cache of device data (stored using an nvlist) gathered from libdevinfo(3LIB) functions, and obviates the requirement for a second reboot since the vfstab rewriting function is reliable - we use the kernel's concept of what devices it has attached so we're always consistent. In addition, the new design provides a significant improvement in execution time when listing device mappings: we don't need to trawl through device links on disk but instead use libdevinfo functions and our private cache to provide the required information.

The data that we store in the cache for each device attached to an MPxIO-capable controller is

  • its devid (eg, id1,sd@n5000cca00510a7cc/aS_________________________________________3QF0EAFP/a

  • its physical path (eg, /pci@0,0/pci10de,5c@9/pci108e,4131@1/sd@0,0)

  • its devlink path (eg, /dev/dsk/c2t0d0, which becomes c2t0d0)

  • its MPxIO-enabled devlink path (eg, /dev/rdsk/c3t500000E011637CF0d0,
    which becomes c3t500000E011637CF0d0)

  • whether MPxIO is enabled for the device in the running system (as a boolean_t B_TRUE or B_FALSE)

These are stored as nvlist properties:

#define NVL_DEVID "nvl-devid"
#define NVL_PATH "nvl-path"
#define NVL_PHYSPATH "nvl-physpath"
#define NVL_MPXPATH "nvl-mpxiopath"
#define NVL_MPXEN "nvl-mpxioenabled"

When we've found an MPxIO-capable device, we check whether it exists in our cached version, and if not, we create an nvlist containing the above properties and keyed off the device's devid. This nvlist is added to the global nvlist. In order to speed operations later, we also add some inverse mappings to the global nvlist:

devfspath -> devid
current devlink path -> devid
current MPxIO-enabled path -> devid
device physical path -> devid

This allows us to search for any of those paths and get the appropriate devid back, the nvlist of which we can then query for the desired properties.

When the mpxio-upgrade service is invoked, we need to determine the mapping for the root device in the currently running system and mount that device as read-write in order to continue with the boot process. We do this by reading the entry for root in /etc/vfstab and finding the physical path of that device in
the running system. We mount /devices/$physicalpath as read-write, then re-invoke stmsboot_util to find the devlink (/dev/dsk...) path for root, which we then remount. This two-remount option is required because the devlink facility is not available to us at this early stage of the boot process devfsadm is not running yet) - until we can determine what the root device is and mount it as read-write.

Once root and /usr have been remounted, we can then invoke stmsboot_util to re-write the vfstab. This is a fairly simple process of scanning through each line of the file and finding those which start with /dev/dsk, determining their mapping in the current system, and re-writing that line. As a safeguard, the new version of the vfstab is written to /etc/mpxio, and we let the mpxio-upgrade script take care of copying that file to /etc/vfstab. Once the vfstab has been updated, we run dumpadm, and if necessary, metadevadm. Finally, we re-generate the system's boot archive - which in fact is the longest single operation of all!

After this, we can disable the svc:/system/device/mpxio-upgrade:default service and exit.

When the mpxio-upgrade script exits, the svc:/system/filesystem/usr:default service takes over and the boot process completes normally - with the new device mappings already active and working. No second reboot required!

I'm not going to claim that the new form of stmsboot(1m) is a beautiful thing, but I do believe that the architecture and implementation that it has now are much more solid and should be easier to extend in the future if required.

Update (17 October 2008, 07:08 Australia/Brisbane): Jason's comment reminded me that I should have mentioned - I pushed these changes into build snv_99 and you can see them in the changelog.

See also links:

Solaris Express SAN Configuration and Multipathing Guide

Solaris ZFS Administration Guide

Linker and Libraries Guide


devfsadm(1m) stmsboot(1m) zfs(1m) zpool(1m)

libdevinfo(3LIB) libnvpair(3LIB) libdevid(3LIB)

fp(7d) mpt(7d) scsi_vhci(7d)


Friday Sep 19, 2008

Two pushes, two heads-up messages... been a busy week

I've had a busy week. Apart from getting my ducks in a row for a backport of Pluggable fwflash(1m) and my redesign + reimplementation of stmsboot(1m) to a Solaris 10 Update, I also pushed two rather interesting changesets into builds 99 and 100:

Why are these important? First off, the arcmsr(7d) driver is the first storage driver that we've integrated as a result of an RFE coming in via http://bugs.opensolaris.org.

Normally we'd go through months of legal back-n-forth getting licensing arranged and back-to-back support agreements with SLAs... a big undertaking. After the rfe was filed (by the CEO of Areca Technologies as it happens), the arcmsr(7d) code went through Sun's Open Source Review process (it's BSD-licensed), and then it was a matter of getting the code to compile within the existing ON driver.

The second reason this is important is because our group (Solaris Storage drivers) now has a much better idea about how to get this sort of integration to actually happen. One thing that people always complain about is that $OtherOSen always have better (more wide-ranging) driver support than OpenSolaris, so now we've got a better idea about what to do, I hope we'll be able to make getting drivers integrated more easily.

Thirdly, the ITU construction utilities supersede the existing SUNWpkgd tools - which are old, enforced an arbitrary breakdown between 32- and 64-bit packages, and were pretty darned useless for patching boot and installation media when it comes to Grub. With the code which I integrated on Wednesday morning (yay first heads-up message for the build!) those restrictions now no longer apply - making the task of, oh, I dunno.... testing installation of OpenSolaris to volumes in a new RAID card (to pull an example out of thin air)... much easier. We're all winning with this.

I would like to publicly thank Billion Wu and Erich Chen of Areca Technologies for their assistance (and patience!) with getting arcmsr(7d) integrated.

I would also like to thank Jongki Suwandi who wrote the initial version of the ITU construction tools, and Jan Setje-Eilers for passing them on to me.

Tuesday Aug 05, 2008

It's time for some dancing

At the third stroke, the time will be 11pm US/Pacific......

From 11pm US/Pacific the NV gate is not accepting any more putbacks and is not under the control of teamware.

Time to start dancing (on the grave of teamware {cue evil cackle}).

I'm really looking forward to the new way of working - with Mercurial and the collection of associated utilities which people like Rich, Dave, Bill and MJN have been working on for ages to smooth the transition. Of course, that collection is called "Cadmium" - it's layered on top of Mercurial. (See the Periodic Table). It took me ages to get it.

Saturday Jul 19, 2008

mega_sas project page now live

I've helped out with the mega_sas project here and there over the last 7 or so months, and so I'm really glad to see that the project page is now live and unhidden.

We'll be adding to the content on the page as time goes by, updating progress towards the project goals which we outlined in the project proposal email.

Friday Jul 11, 2008

Another (large) step along the road

Just saw this in my mailbox from mjnelson:

Author: mjnelson
Repository: /hg/onnv/onnv-gate
Latest revision: 935563142864dcc57ff3b20395393f5f0323921f
Total changesets: 1
Log message:
6538468 add Mercurial support to ON developer tools
6658967 /etc/publickey entries get removed on upgrade
Portions of 6538468 contributed by Rich Lowe.
Portions of 6538468 contributed by Mike Gerdts.
[extensive list of files changed removed]

Along with a copy (or 6!) of the associated flag day message:

Flag day: ON Developer Tools upgraded to support Mercurial

There's more associated doco to come, of course, but from now on if you're building OpenSolaris (ok, the ON consolidation) from the source then you should really get up to speed on how your workspace management tools behave.

This is all in preparation for the close of build 96: from the open of build 97 the ON gate will be managed with Mercurial.... as a precursor to the eventual move of the gate outside Sun's network and opening up the contribution process yet more.

So we're getting there, bit by bit by bit.

Tuesday Jul 08, 2008

Better late than never - a ZFS bringover-like util

So... it's a little late, but better late than never. Now that I've got my u40m2 re-configured and redone my local source code repositories (not hg repos... yet), I figured it was time to make the other part of what I've mentioned to customers a reality.

The first part is this: bringing over the source from $GATE, wx init, cd $SRC, /usr/bin/make setup on both UltraSPARC and x64 buildboxen, and then zfs snapshot followed by two zfs clone ops so that I get to build on UltraSPARC and x64 buildboxen in the same workspace at the same time.

Yes, this is a really ugly workaround for Should be able to build for sparc and x86 in a single workspace, and while I'm the RE for that bug, it's probably not going to be fixed for a while.

So here's the afore-mentioned "other part": a kinda-sorta replacement for bringover, using ZFS snapshots and clones. Both Bill and DarrenM have mentioned something of this in the past, and you know what - the script I just hacked together is about 3 lines of content, 1 line of #! magic and 16 lines of arg checking.

Herewith is the script. No warranties, guarantees or anything. Use at your own risk. It works for me, but your mileage may vary. Suggestions and improvements cheerfully accepted.
# The contents of this file are subject to the terms of the
# Common Development and Distribution License (the "License").
# You may not use this file except in compliance with the License.
# You can obtain a copy of the license at usr/src/OPENSOLARIS.LICENSE
# or http://www.opensolaris.org/os/licensing.
# See the License for the specific language governing permissions
# and limitations under the License.
# When distributing Covered Code, include this CDDL HEADER in each
# file and include the License file at usr/src/OPENSOLARIS.LICENSE.
# If applicable, add the following below this CDDL HEADER, with the
# fields enclosed by brackets "[]" replaced with your own identifying
# information: Portions Copyright [yyyy] [name of copyright owner]
# Copyright 2008 Sun Microsystems, Inc.  All rights reserved.
# Use is subject to license terms.
# Version number? if this needs a rev.... there's something 
# really, really wrong

# we use the following process to snapshot, clone
# and mount an up to date image of $GATE ::
# zfs snapshot sink/$GATE@$wsname  {$GATE is onnv-gate|on10-feature-patch|on10-patch}
# zfs clone sink/$GATE@wsname sink/src/$wsname  ## ignore "failed to mount"
# zfs set mountpoint=/scratch/src/build/{rfes|bugs}/$wsname sink/src/$wsname

# arg1 is "b" or "r" - bug or rfe
# arg2 is $GATE - onnv-gate, on10-feature-patch, on10-patch
# arg3 is wsname

# first, some sanity checking of the args

if [ "$1" != "b" -a "$1" != "r" ]; then
   echo "Is this a bug (b) or an rfe (r) ?"
   exit 1;

if [ "$2" != "onnv-gate" -a "$2" != "on10-feature-patch" -a "$2" != "on10-patch" ]; then
    echo "unknown / invalid gate specified ($2). Please choose one of "
    echo "onnv-gate, on10-feature-patch or on10-patch."
    exit 2;


if [ "$1" = "b" ]; then


# ASSUMPTION1: our $GATE is a dataset under pool "sink"
# ASSUMPTION2: we have another dataset called "sink/src"
# ASSUMPTION3: our user has delegated admin privileges, and can mount
#              a cloned snapshot under /scratch/src/.....

zfs snapshot sink/$GATE@$WSNAME
zfs clone sink/$GATE@$WSNAME sink/src/$WSNAME >> /dev/null 2>&1
zfs set mountpoint=/scratch/src/build/$BR/$WSNAME sink/src/$WSNAME
exit 0

Note the ASSUMPTIONx lines - they're specific to my workstation, you will almost definitely want to change them to suit your system.

Friday Jul 04, 2008

Oh, if only I'd had

Back when I got my first real break as a sysadmin, one of my first tasks was to upgrade the Uni's finance office server, a SparcServer 1000. Running Solaris 2.5 with a gaggle of external unipacks and multipacks for Oracle 7.$mumble, I organised an outage with the DBAs and the Finance stakeholders, practiced installing Solaris 2.6 on a new system (we'd just got an E450), and at the appointed time on the Saturday morning I rocked up and got to work on my precisely specified upgrade plan.

That all went swimmingly (though looooooooowly) until the time came to reboot after the final SDS 4.1 mirror had been created. The primary system board decided that it really didn't like me, and promptly died along with the boot prom.


At that point I didn't know all that much about the innards of the SS1000 otherwise I probably would have just engaged in some swaptronics with the other three boards. However, I was green, nervous, and - by that point - very tired of sitting in a cold, loud machine room for 12 hours. Turned the box off, rang the local Sun support office and left a message (we didn't have weekend coverage on any of our systems then), rang my boss and the primary stakeholder in the Finance unit and went home.

Come Monday morning, all hell broke loose - the Accounts groups were unable to do any work, and the DBAs had to do a very quick enable of the DR system so I could get time to work on the problem with Sun. The "quick enable" took around 4 hours, if I'm remembering it correctly. Fortunately for me, not only were the DBAs quite sympathetic and very quick to help, but Miriam on the support phone number (who later hired me) was able to diagnose the problem and organise a service call to replace the faulty board. She also calmed me down, which I really, really appreciated. (Thankyou Miriam!)

So ... why am I dredging this up? Because I've just done a LiveUpgrade (LU) from Solaris Nevada build 91 to build 93, with ZFS root, and it took me a shade under 90 minutes. Total. Including the post-installation reboot. Not only would I have gone all gooey at the idea of being able to do something like LU back in that job, but if I could have done it with ZFS and not had to reconfigure all the uni- and multi-pack devices I probably could have had the whole upgrade done in around 4 or 5 hours rather than 12. (Remember, of course, that while the SS1000 could take quite a few cpus, they were still very very very very sloooooooooow).

Here's a trancript of this evening's upgrade:

# uname -a
SunOS gedanken 5.11 snv_91 i86pc i386 i86xpv

(remove the snv_91 LU packages)
pkgrm SUNWlu... packages from snv_91
(add the snv_93 LU packages)
pkgadd SUNWlu... packages from snv_93

(Create my LU config)
# lucreate -n snv_93 -p rpool
Checking GRUB menu...
Analyzing system configuration.
No name for current boot environment.
INFORMATION: The current boot environment is not named - assigning name .
Current boot environment is named .
Creating initial configuration for primary boot environment .
The device  is not a root device for any boot environment; cannot get BE ID.
PBE configuration successful: PBE name  PBE Boot Device .
Comparing source boot environment  file systems with the file 
system(s) you specified for the new boot environment. Determining which 
file systems should be in the new boot environment.
Updating boot environment description database on all BEs.
Updating system configuration files.
Creating configuration for boot environment .
Source boot environment is .
Creating boot environment .
Cloning file systems from boot environment  to create boot environment .
Creating snapshot for  on .
Creating clone for  on .
Setting canmount=noauto for  in zone  on .
Saving existing file  in top level dataset for BE  as //boot/grub/menu.lst.prev.
File  propagation successful
Copied GRUB menu from PBE to ABE
No entry for BE  in GRUB menu
Population of boot environment  successful.
Creation of boot environment  successful.
-bash-3.2# zfs list
NAME                             USED  AVAIL  REFER  MOUNTPOINT
rpool                           50.0G   151G    35K  /rpool
rpool/ROOT                      7.06G   151G    18K  legacy
rpool/ROOT/snv_91               7.06G   151G  7.06G  /
rpool/ROOT/snv_91@snv_93        71.5K      -  7.06G  -
rpool/ROOT/snv_93                128K   151G  7.06G  /tmp/.alt.luupdall.2695
rpool/WinXP-Host0-Vol0          3.57G   151G  3.57G  -
rpool/WinXP-Host0-Vol0@install  4.74M      -  3.57G  -
rpool/dump                      4.00G   151G  4.00G  -
rpool/export                    7.47G   151G    19K  /export
rpool/export/home               7.47G   151G  7.47G  /export/home
rpool/gate                      5.86G   151G  5.86G  /opt/gate
rpool/hometools                 2.10G   151G  2.10G  /opt/hometools
rpool/optcsw                     225M   151G   225M  /opt/csw
rpool/optlocal                  1.20G   151G  1.20G  /opt/local
rpool/scratch                   14.4G   151G  14.4G  /scratch
rpool/swap                         4G   155G  64.6M  -

# lustatus
Boot Environment           Is       Active Active    Can    Copy      
Name                       Complete Now    On Reboot Delete Status    
-------------------------- -------- ------ --------- ------ ----------
snv_91                     yes      yes    yes       no     -         
snv_93                     yes      no     no        yes    -         

Golly, that was so easy! Here I was rtfming for the LU with UFS syntax.... not needed at all.

# time luupgrade -u -s /media/SOL_11_X86 -n snv_93

No entry for BE  in GRUB menu
Copying failsafe kernel from media.
Uncompressing miniroot
Uncompressing miniroot archive (Part2)
13367 blocks
Creating miniroot device
miniroot filesystem is 
Mounting miniroot at 
Mounting miniroot Part 2 at 
Validating the contents of the media .
The media is a standard Solaris media.
The media contains an operating system upgrade image.
The media contains  version <11>.
Constructing upgrade profile to use.
Locating the operating system upgrade program.
Checking for existence of previously scheduled Live Upgrade requests.
Creating upgrade profile for BE .
Checking for GRUB menu on ABE .
Saving GRUB menu on ABE .
Checking for x86 boot partition on ABE.
Determining packages to install or upgrade for BE .
Performing the operating system upgrade of the BE .
CAUTION: Interrupting this process may leave the boot environment unstable 
or unbootable.
Upgrading Solaris: 100% completed
Installation of the packages from this media is complete.
Restoring GRUB menu on ABE .
Adding operating system patches to the BE .
The operating system patch installation is complete.
ABE boot partition backing deleted.
PBE GRUB has no capability information.
PBE GRUB has no versioning information.
ABE GRUB is newer than PBE GRUB. Updating GRUB.
GRUB update was successful.
Configuring failsafe for system.
Failsafe configuration is complete.
INFORMATION: The file  on boot 
environment  contains a log of the upgrade operation.
INFORMATION: The file  on boot 
environment  contains a log of cleanup operations required.
WARNING: <3> packages failed to install properly on boot environment .
INFORMATION: The file  on 
boot environment  contains a list of packages that failed to 
upgrade or install properly.
INFORMATION: Review the files listed above. Remember that all of the files 
are located on boot environment . Before you activate boot 
environment , determine if any additional system maintenance is 
required or if additional media of the software distribution must be 
The Solaris upgrade of the boot environment  is partially complete.
Installing failsafe
Failsafe install is complete.

real    83m24.299s
user    13m33.199s
sys     24m8.313s

# zfs list
NAME                             USED  AVAIL  REFER  MOUNTPOINT
rpool                           52.5G   148G  36.5K  /rpool
rpool/ROOT                      9.56G   148G    18K  legacy
rpool/ROOT/snv_91               7.07G   148G  7.06G  /
rpool/ROOT/snv_91@snv_93        18.9M      -  7.06G  -
rpool/ROOT/snv_93               2.49G   148G  5.53G  /tmp/.luupgrade.inf.2862
rpool/WinXP-Host0-Vol0          3.57G   148G  3.57G  -
rpool/WinXP-Host0-Vol0@install  4.74M      -  3.57G  -
rpool/dump                      4.00G   148G  4.00G  -
rpool/export                    7.47G   148G    19K  /export
rpool/export/home               7.47G   148G  7.47G  /export/home
rpool/gate                      5.86G   148G  5.86G  /opt/gate
rpool/hometools                 2.10G   148G  2.10G  /opt/hometools
rpool/optcsw                     225M   148G   225M  /opt/csw
rpool/optlocal                  1.20G   148G  1.20G  /opt/local
rpool/scratch                   14.4G   148G  14.4G  /scratch
rpool/swap                         4G   152G  64.9M  -
-bash-3.2# lustatus
Boot Environment           Is       Active Active    Can    Copy      
Name                       Complete Now    On Reboot Delete Status    
-------------------------- -------- ------ --------- ------ ----------
snv_91                     yes      yes    yes       no     -         
snv_93                     yes      no     no        yes    -         

# luactivate snv_93
System has findroot enabled GRUB
Generating boot-sign, partition and slice information for PBE 
Saving existing file  in top level dataset for BE  as //etc/bootsign.prev.
WARNING: <3> packages failed to install properly on boot environment .
INFORMATION:  on boot 
environment  contains a list of packages that failed to upgrade or 
install properly. Review the file before you reboot the system to 
determine if any additional system maintenance is required.

Generating boot-sign for ABE 
Saving existing file  in top level dataset for BE  as //etc/bootsign.prev.
Generating partition and slice information for ABE 
Copied boot menu from top level dataset.
Generating direct boot menu entries for PBE.
Generating xVM menu entries for PBE.
Generating direct boot menu entries for ABE.
Generating xVM menu entries for ABE.
Disabling splashimage
Re-enabling splashimage
No more bootadm entries. Deletion of bootadm entries is complete.
Changing GRUB menu default setting to <0>
Done eliding bootadm entries.


The target boot environment has been activated. It will be used when you 
reboot. NOTE: You MUST NOT USE the reboot, halt, or uadmin commands. You 
MUST USE either the init or the shutdown command when you reboot. If you 
do not use either init or shutdown, the system will not boot using the 
target BE.


In case of a failure while booting to the target BE, the following process 
needs to be followed to fallback to the currently working boot environment:

1. Boot from Solaris failsafe or boot in single user mode from the Solaris 
Install CD or Network.

2. Mount the Parent boot environment root slice to some directory (like 
/mnt). You can use the following command to mount:

     mount -Fzfs /dev/dsk/c1t0d0s0 /mnt

3. Run  utility with out any arguments from the Parent boot 
environment root slice, as shown below:


4. luactivate, activates the previous working boot environment and 
indicates the result.

5. Exit Single User mode and reboot the machine.


Modifying boot archive service
Propagating findroot GRUB for menu conversion.
File  propagation successful
File  propagation successful
File  propagation successful
File  propagation successful
Deleting stale GRUB loader from all BEs.
File  deletion successful
File  deletion successful
File  deletion successful
Activation of boot environment  successful.

# date
Friday,  4 July 2008  9:45:41 PM EST

# init 6
propagating updated GRUB menu
Saving existing file  in top level dataset for BE  as //boot/grub/menu.lst.prev.
File  propagation successful
File  propagation successful
File  propagation successful
File  propagation successful

Here I reboot and then login.

# lustatus
Boot Environment           Is       Active Active    Can    Copy      
Name                       Complete Now    On Reboot Delete Status    
-------------------------- -------- ------ --------- ------ ----------
snv_91                     yes      no     no        yes    -         
snv_93                     yes      yes    yes       no     -         

# lufslist -n snv_91
               boot environment name: snv_91

Filesystem              fstype    device size Mounted on          Mount Options
----------------------- -------- ------------ ------------------- --------------
/dev/zvol/dsk/rpool/swap swap       4294967296 -                   -
rpool/ROOT/snv_91       zfs          20630528 /                   -

# lufslist -n snv_93
               boot environment name: snv_93
               This boot environment is currently active.
               This boot environment will be active on next system boot.

Filesystem              fstype    device size Mounted on          Mount Options
----------------------- -------- ------------ ------------------- --------------
/dev/zvol/dsk/rpool/swap swap       4294967296 -                   -
rpool/ROOT/snv_93       zfs       10342821376 /                   -

Cor! That was so easy I think I need to fall off my chair.

Thinking about this for a moment, I needed just 6 commands and around 90 minutes to upgrade my laptop. If only I'd had this technology available to me back then.

Finally, let me send a massive, massive thankyou to the install team and the ZFS team for all their hard work to get these technologies integrated and working pretty darned smoothly together.

Sunday Mar 02, 2008

A giveaway at the Sydney Tech Day

Care to get your hands on a Sun workstation? If you're going to the Sydney Tech Days or the OpenSolaris day and register on OpenSolaris.org during the event, then you'll go into a draw to win one of three Ultra 20 workstations.

I don't know the exact conditions attached - so you'll have to rock up to the event to find out :)

While you're attending, come along to the OpenSolaris booth where you'll find people like .... oh, me!... hanging around and talking about pretty much anything and everything related to OpenSolaris.

Technorati tags: , , , ,

Sunday Oct 07, 2007

Opening up OpenSolaris just a little bit more

Get OpenSolaris

For the last few weeks I've been working with Jason King (jbk on #opensolaris) to integrate his clean-room re-implementation of libdisasm for SPARC.

Today, having received RTI approval, passed all the tests and checks and run many many nightly builds I was able to putback the changes to the ON gate. The heads up message is here.


The putback comments are

PSARC/2007/507 Unencumbered libdisasm for Sparc
6596739 need non-encumbered libdisasm for sparc
6396410 Update dis for preferred assembly language syntax
4751282 fp conversion ops decode registers incorrectly
4767086 fmovrq registers decoded wrong
4767091 pixel compare source registers decoded wrong
4767154 Registers for fmul8x16, fmul8sux16, fmul8ulx16 decoded wrong
4658958 dis misrepresents invalid opcodes
6193412 Support for new Olympus B/C instructions needed in disassemblers


I expect that there will be a few followup putbacks as people find edge cases, but the great thing about this putback is that \*you\* can make those changes if you want. You don't have to depend on Sun doing it for you :-)


Thankyou Jason - you've helped make OpenSolaris more open.

Technorati tags: OpenSolaris Jason King OpenSPARC UltraSPARC Solaris disassembler jbk libdisasm


I work at Oracle in the Solaris group. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own, and neither Oracle nor any other party necessarily agrees with them.


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