Thursday Feb 11, 2010

Leaving Sun/Oracle

After nine years at Sun, I have decided to leave the company to pursue other opportunities. My last day is today, February 12th.

In my time at Sun I have worked with hundreds of intelligent, friendly, and motivated people, both inside and outside the company. I have particularly appreciated the chance to become active in the OpenSolaris community and to be able to share some of my work with all of you. The decision to leave the company was difficult to make, but I feel that it’s the right time for me to try something new. While I will, of course, remain part of the community, my involvement will be limited due to the responsibilities of my new job.

I have relocated this blog to, where I will continue to post about tech-related topics.

I wish the best for Oracle, for OpenSolaris, and for all of you.

Monday Aug 17, 2009

OpenSolaris for Puppets

At OSCON last month I had the pleasure of discussing OpenSolaris, the OpenSolaris Bible, and Open HA Cluster with “Jack”. It was fun playing the “straight man,” especially since we hadn't planned anything ahead of time so I had no idea where the conversation was going to head. Take a look and let me know what you think.

Thursday May 28, 2009

OpenSolaris Bible Book Signing at CommunityOne on Monday

It looks like Dave, Jerry, and I will be doing an OpenSolaris Bible book signing at CommunityOne on Monday from 3:30-4. Come by and take advantage of this rare opportunity to get signatures from all three of us simultaneously!

Also, here's one last plug for our presentations at CommunityOne. My “Developing On OpenSolaris” talk will be Monday morning at 10:50. Dave and Jerry will both be presenting that day as well. Then on Tuesday, Jerry and I will be part of a “Deploying OpenSolaris in Your Data Center” deep dive track. This track is completely free – you can register with the link below. See the full schedule here.

Finally, don't forget about the Cluster Summit on Sunday!

Monday Mar 30, 2009

First Open HA Cluster Summit

Please join us at the first Open HA Cluster summit on May 31, 2009! This event will come almost exactly two years after we formed the HA Clusters community and released the first Open HA Cluster source code, and one year after we released the code for the Sun Cluster Core. I'm looking forward to showing off project Colorado. Here's the official invitation from Jatin, our new community manager:

Make High Availability Work For You

You are invited to participate in the first OpenSolaris Summit for Open HA Cluster.

Open HA Cluster Summit
Sunday, May 31st, 2009
San Francisco Marriott (Next to Moscone Convention Center)
55 Fourth Street
San Francisco, CA 94103 USA

The Open HA Cluster Summit will precede the CommunityOne West and JavaOne Conferences which start on June 1. We will bring together members of the HA Clusters community, technologists, and users of High Availability and Business Continuity software. Not only will experts lead interactive sessions, panel discussions and technical tracks, but there will be ample time for you to also be an active participant.

We invite you to register yourself for this event at your earliest convenience. Email if you have any difficulty with the registration. Attendance is free. There will be a reception and Community Marketplace, an informal venue to showcase your products and ideas, in the evening following the technical sessions.

Jatin Jhala
HA Clusters Community Manager

This event is sponsored by Sun Microsystems, Inc. Spread the word.

Wednesday Aug 27, 2008

Colorado Project Web Page and Requirements

I've launched a project page on for project Colorado. As this is quite a large project, there are several efforts occurring in parallel. One of these tasks is to write the requirements for the project. If you're interested, you can read a draft of the requirements and send any comments to by September 10.

Another task is basic building and bringup of Sun Cluster / Open HA Cluster on OpenSolaris. You can see some of the status on that effort on the project wiki. We are also starting to investigate what it will take to convert the existing SVR4 packages to IPS packages. There's a lot of work to do! If you're interested in getting involved with the project, please let me know.

Tuesday Dec 04, 2007

Sun Cluster Geographic Edition is now Open-Source

The source code for the Sun Cluster Geographic Edition product is now available in the HA Clusters community on! In addition to browsing the Open High Availability Cluster Geographic Edition source code, you can download it and build it with either the Sun Studio or the gcc compiler.

This source code release represents the second phase of the complete Sun Cluster open-sourcing roadmap. The first phase, the Sun Cluster Agents, occurred last June, and the third and final phase, the Sun Cluster core gate, will happen sometime next year.

I'm particularly pleased that, in addition to product code, this release of the Geographic Edition source includes test code, man pages, and globalization source.

Thursday Sep 20, 2007

Photos from Sun Tech Days Boston

I wrote last week that I was in Boston for the kickoff event of Sun Tech Days 2007-2008.

I thought the OpenSolaris day and Installfest went well. If you're interested, you can check out the slides (PDF file) from my talk on Open High Availability Cluster.

Here are some photos

Giving my talk

Continuing my talk

Stephen Lau, multitasking Solaris installs across four laptops at the Installfest

Tuesday Sep 11, 2007

At Sun Tech Days Boston

I'm in Boston this week for the Sun Tech Days conference. Today I will be giving a presentation on Open High Availability Cluster as part of the OpenSolaris track. Here's the complete conference agenda.

Monday Jul 30, 2007

Solaris Cluster Express 7/07 available

The first release of Solaris Cluster Express is now available for download.

Solaris Cluster Express 7/07 is a complete version of Solaris Cluster that runs on Solaris Express Community Edition build 68. You can install and run Solaris Cluster Express 7/07 on SPARC based platforms and on 32-bit or 64-bit x86 based platforms.

As the tech lead on this effort, I'm particularly pleased that we were able to release it so quickly after our first Solaris Cluster source-code release last month.

My colleague, Thorsten, wrote a great summary of the reasons that this is a particularly exciting release.

You can also browse the installation instructions.

Please check it out and give us your feedback!

Monday Jul 23, 2007

My Upcoming Open HA Cluster Talks

I'll be presenting, "Discovering Open High Availability Cluster" at two different OpenSolaris User Groups in the next few weeks.

Both meetings are open to the public. If you’re in the area, please come by!

Thursday Jul 05, 2007

Globalization Source for Sun Cluster Agents

We've open-sourced some more Solaris Cluster code under the Open High Availability Cluster umbrella. The globalization (G11N) source code for the Solaris Cluster Agents is now available.

Browse the source

Download the source

Wednesday Jun 27, 2007

Open-Source Solaris Cluster

I'm excited to report that the HA Clusters community group on went live this morning!

In addition, we released over 200,000 lines of Solaris Cluster code, including most of the Sun Cluster Agents and the Data Services Automated Test Suite, under the name, Open High Availability Cluster. This code is available under the Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL), as is most of the code on OpenSolaris. You can download the code here.

The agents and test code compiles with Sun Studio 11, which is freely available from the Sun Download Center.

We're committing to open-source the full Solaris Cluster product over the next 18 months, including the agents, core, Geographic Edition, test suites, and docs. We expect to open nearly three million lines of code! (Two million lines of product code and one million lines of test code).

I'm looking forward to working with the new HA Clusters community on future Open HA Cluster development!

Wednesday Jun 20, 2007

Open High Availability Cluster

Regular readers of this blog may have noticed that I haven’t written much about my recent work at Sun. That silence hasn’t been due to lack of interesting material. Quite the contrary. The reticence is because I couldn’t discuss my work publicly. I still can’t give too many details, but the overview is that I’m the technical lead on the initiative to open-source the Solaris Cluster product group.

As the first public step in this direction I proposed a new HA Clusters community on To quote from my proposal:

Sun Microsystems will contribute to the community the source code for
Solaris Cluster, Sun's commercial HA Cluster product group, under the
name “Open High Availability Cluster.” This contribution will start at
the time of community formation with the Sun Cluster Agents source for a
wide portfolio of applications.

I’m pleased to report that my proposal was unanimously approved today by the OpenSolaris Governing Board. I’m excited to start building the HA Clusters community!

Thursday Apr 12, 2007

Top Ten Benefits of Working From Home

My previous post was called, “Why I Joined Sun.” This post could probably be titled, “Why I still work for Sun.” For the past 5 1/2 years I've been working exclusively from home through Sun's openwork program, and I love it. At this point I'm not sure I could go back to working in an office building every day. I'll comment more on working-from-home (or telecommuting, as some people call it) in subsequent posts. But for now, here's my top-ten list, in no particular order:

  1. No commute! I can go from sleeping to working in my office in 30 seconds if I need to.

  2. I have a larger and nicer office than I'd ever get in a Sun building. I even have my own bathroom!

  3. No drop-in interruptions from co-workers. If I need to focus on a task, I can just close my email client and turn off my phone.

  4. It's easier to work exercise into my daily routine. I typically run on the treadmill first thing in the morning, work for an hour or two, then eat breakfast and take a shower. I don't think my co-workers would appreciate that schedule if I had to go into an office!

  5. I get to see my family more. I can usually have lunch with them, and am able to spend my breaks with them instead of in small talk over the water cooler in an office.

  6. I can multi-task during boring meetings. If I'm dialed into a meeting that doesn't demand my full attention I can continue with my work simultaneously.

  7. I don't have to buy lunch or remember to make a lunch ahead of time. I can just walk downstairs to the kitchen and eat leftovers, or quickly make myself a sandwich when I get hungry.

  8. I don't have to take time off work to wait for repair people coming to my house.

  9. I am judged by co-workers solely on what I get done, not on when I come into or leave the office (since they don't know when I start or end work).

  10. I don't have to live anywhere near my home office. I currently live in beautiful Colorado Springs, Colorado, which is about 1000 miles away from and one mile higher than my core team in Menlo Park, California.

Wednesday Apr 11, 2007

Why I joined Sun Microsystems

When I accepted a position at Sun 6 ½ years ago, many of my friends were surprised. This was the fall of 2000, when most of us thought the dot-com boom was still going strong. So the idea of coming out of school and working for a large and “boring” company like Sun instead of a hot start-up was anathema to most people in my situation.

So why did I join Sun? A number of factors contributed to my decision to join a large company, including working in the summer of 2000 for a dot-com that ran out of money midway through the summer. However, that doesn't explain why I choose Sun instead of, say, Oracle or HP. That decision I think goes back to my undergraduate years at Stanford, and can be summarized in two words: Solaris and Java.

Solaris boxes were the machines of choice for all our class projects. Of course there were some other computers in the UNIX lab -- maybe some HP or IBM boxes. But with the exception of using SGI machines for graphics, everyone knew that the Solaris workstations were far and away the best computers. Our assignments had to run on Solaris as that's what the TAs used to test them. Furthermore, any pre-compiled starter files or scripts in the assignments were for Solaris. The Solaris workstations were always the most loaded, and the consoles were the first to get taken in the lab.

Sure, some people used Linux, but it hadn't taken off yet to the extent that there were any Linux labs on campus. And Linux was interesting primarily because it was open-source, not because it actually rivaled Solaris.

Around the time I was in college (1995-1999), Sun also came out with this exciting new language called Java. So in addition to having the best operating system, the company was continuing to innovate.

So when I applied for jobs in the fall of 2000 and was offered the opportunity to work on the Solaris Cluster product at Sun, it wasn't a tough decision. My “formative years” as a computer science student had primed me to respect Sun Microsystems, so I was happy to go to work for them.

I think that my experience and reasons for joining Sun are good lessons in the power of product positioning in academic institutions. Who knows how many future sysadmins and executives were influenced by the same factors as me as undergraduates, and are now in positions to recommend Sun and Sun products within their companies? And who knows how many deals we've lost from all the people who are exposed to Linux instead of Solaris in their academic institutions? That's why I'm particularly pleased that Sun decided to open-source Solaris and focus on getting it back into universities.


Nick Solter is a software engineer and author living in Colorado.


« July 2016