Clearview IPMP in Production

When I was first getting obsessed with programming in my early teens, I recall waking up on many a Saturday to the gleeful realization I had the whole day to improve some crazy piece of home-grown software. Back then, the excitement was simply in the journey itself -- I was completely content in being the entire userbase.

Of course I still love writing software (though the idea of being able to devote a whole day to it seems quaint) -- but it pales in comparison to the thrill of knowing that real people are using that software to solve their real problems. Unfortunately, with enterprise-class products such as Solaris, release schedules have historically meant that a completed project may have to wait years until it gets to solve its first real-world problem. By then, several other projects may have run their course and I'm invariably under another one's spell and not in the right frame of mind to even reminisce, let alone rejoice.

Thankfully, times have changed. First, courtesy of OpenSolaris's ipkg /dev repository, only a few weeks after January's integration, Clearview IPMP was available for bleeding-edge customers to experiment with (and based on feedback I've received, quite a few have successfully done so). Second, for the vast majority who need a supported release, Clearview IPMP can now be found in the brand-new OpenSolaris 2009.06 release. Third, thanks to the clustering team, Clearview IPMP also works with the current version of OpenSolaris Open HA Cluster.

Further, there is one little-known but immensely important release vehicle for Clearview IPMP: the Sun Storage 7000 Q2 release. Indeed, in the months since the integration of Clearview IPMP, I've partnered with the Fishworks team on getting all of the latest and greatest networking technologies from OpenSolaris into the Sun Storage 7000 appliances. As such, the Q2 release contains all of the Solaris networking projects delivered up to OpenSolaris build 106 (most notably Volo and Crossbow), plus Clearview IPMP from build 107. Of course, these projects also open up a range of new opportunities for the appliance -- especially around Networking QoS and simplified HA configuration -- which will find their way into subsequent quarterly releases.

Needless to say, all of this is immensely satisfying for me personally -- especially the idea that some of our most demanding enterprise customers are relying on Clearview IPMP to ensure their mission-critical storage remains available when networking hardware or upstream switches fail. As per my blog entry announcing Clearview IPMP in OpenSolaris, it's clear I'm a proud parent, but given the thrashing we've given it internally and its track-record thus far with customers, I'm confident it's ready for prime time.

For those exploring IPMP for the first time, Xiang Zhou (the co-author of its extensive test suite) has put together a great blog entry, including step-by-step instructions. Additionally, Raoul Carag and I extensively revised the IPMP administrative overview and IPMP tasks guide.

Those familiar with Solaris 10 IPMP may wish to check out a short slide deck that highlights the core differences and new utilities (if nothing else, I'd recommend scanning slides 12-21).

Have fun -- and of course, I (and the rest of the Clearview team) am eager to hear how it stacks up against your real-world networking high-availability problems!

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