Friday Jan 10, 2014

Next OTN Virtual Sysadmin Day: January 28th, 2014

Glynn Foster notes that another OTN Virtual Sysadmin Day is coming up in just a couple of weeks, and talks about what's in store for the Oracle Solaris 11 track.

If you're not familiar with these, they're half-day, online, proctored hands-on labs, so you can learn more about various system administration technologies. They're also free--but you do need to register, and there's also some prep work to be done ahead of the event, so take a look at Glynn's blog post, and sign up today.

Thursday Feb 28, 2013

Building a "developer cloud" with Oracle Solaris 11

Orgad Kimchi describes how the new cloud technologies built into Oracle Solaris 11 can be used to build a virtualized "developer cloud."

By the way, this is the story of the "Oracle Solaris Remote Lab," an Oracle PartnerNetwork resource for developers which you'll be hearing more about.


After you read this, check out Orgad's earlier posts on other aspects of Solaris and virtualization.

Friday Feb 22, 2013

Security Experts Spill the Beans on Oracle Solaris 11.1

There have been several recent blog posts about new security / crypto features in Oracle Solaris 11.1:

Glenn Faden has written on a few topics:

Dan Anderson writes about SPARC T4 Digest and Crypto Optimizations.

Darren Moffat shows how to run up a quick Python script to generate a crypt_sha256 hash from the command line.

Monday Feb 11, 2013

Oracle Solaris 11.1: Compliance Reporting with SCAP

Not "scap"; SCAPDarren Moffat writes about the new security compliance framework added in Oracle Solaris 11.1, the emerging Security Content Automation Protocol.

"One of the important parts is the OVAL (Open Vulnerability Assessment Language) standard [which] allows us to write a checkable security policy and verify it against running systems."

[Read More]


Friday Feb 08, 2013

Oracle Solaris 10 1/13: Improved Secure File Copy Performance

We released Oracle Solaris 10 1/13 today, and one of the things we mentioned was performance improvements.

On the Oracle Performance and Best Practices blog, there's a discussion of one of those improvements:

"Oracle Solaris 10 1/13 enabling a TCP receive window size up to 1 MB has up to 8 times faster transfer times over the latency range 50 - 200 msec compared to the previous Oracle Solaris 10 8/11."

This improved performance capability was previously introduced in Oracle Solaris 11.

[Read More]

Wednesday Dec 12, 2012

Oracle Solaris 11 pkg fix

Bob Netherton explains why Solaris 11 pkg fix is his new friend.

"So far so good. Then comes an oops... This is where you generally say a few things to yourself, and then promise to quit deleting configuration files and directories when you don't know what you are doing. Then you recall that the new Solaris 11 packaging system has some ability to correct common mistakes (like the one I just made)."

[Read More]

Thursday Oct 25, 2012

Oracle Solaris 11.1

Jeff Victor writes a brief note about what he likes about Oracle Solaris 11.1 (which just became available for download today).

Tuesday Oct 16, 2012

Using Ops Center to Provision Solaris using a Card-Based NIC

Scott Dickson writes:  "Here's what I want to do:  I have a Sun Fire T2000 server with a Quad-GbE nxge card installed.  The only network is connected to port 2 on that card rather than the built-in network interfaces.  I want to install Solaris on it across the network, either Solaris 10 or Solaris 11."

See what he did, using Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c.

[Read More]

Monday Jun 25, 2012

Oracle Solaris Live Chat This Wednesday (June 27, 8-11A PT)

One of the more popular features of last April's Oracle Solaris Online Forum was the Q&A session that ran along with it, so we've decided to do a dedicated chat event.

We'll have senior engineers Bart Smaalders, Dave Miner, Nicolas Droux, David Comay, Darren Moffat and others ready to answer questions.

Register today; we hope you can join us.

Friday Apr 27, 2012

Liveinstall Solaris 11 from Solaris 10

10 to 11 live install process illustrationIsaac Rozenfeld discusses a new how-to article: getting existing Solaris 10 systems to Solaris 11 with the virtues of a Live Upgrade methodology.

[Read More]

Tuesday Apr 24, 2012

Solaris Online Forum tomorrow, 9 AM PT

You may have noticed over to the right, there's that red box mentioning the Solaris online forum coming up tomorrow.

 There's still time to register; we'll have Markus Flierl, the head of Solaris core engineering, discussing what's been going on since the launch last November, plus two of his senior engineers, Dan Price and Bart Smaalders, who will be giving their point of view on not only what's cool in Solaris 11 today, but what they're working on for future updates.

Plus, we'll have a live Q&A running throughout the forum, so you can ask questions directly to various Solaris engineers.

 You can find out more on the other blog,  or just go straight to the registration page.

Tuesday Mar 27, 2012

Oracle Solaris 11 Cheat Sheet

Need to quickly know, or be reminded about, how to create network configuration profiles in Oracle Solaris 11 ?
How to configure VLANS ?
How to manipulate Zones ?
How to use ZFS shadow migration ?

To have those answers, and many more, neatly in front of you, we created this cheat sheet (pdf).

Originally developed by Joerg Moellenkamp, the author of the very popular blog c0t0d0s0.org, and of the "Less Known Solaris Features", some more people at Oracle jumped in and added more and more very useful commands to it.

And it may keep evolving, so keep checking !

The link to it can also be found on our new Oracle Solaris Evaluation page.


Friday Mar 16, 2012

Great Solaris 10 features paving the way to Solaris 11

Karoly Vegh writes on the Oracle Systems Blog Austria about what you can do with Solaris 10 today that will get you ready for Solaris 11.

Even today, many people still use Solaris 10 as if it were a patch update to Solaris 8 or 9, missing out on the power behind Live Upgrade, Zones, resource management, and ZFS. Learning more about these will help set your feet on the road to the even more sophisticated capabilities of Oracle Solaris 11.

[Read More]

Thursday Nov 17, 2011

Critical Threads Optimization

Background

One of the more common issues we've been seeing in the field is the growing difficulty in optimizing performance of multi-threaded applications. A good portion of this difficulty is due to the increasing complexity of modern processors that present various degrees of sharing relationships between hardware components. Take any current CMT processor and you'll find any number of CPUs sharing execution pipelines, floating point units, caches, etc. Consequently, applying the traditional recipe of one software thread for each CPU will have varying degrees of success, according to the layout of the underlying hardware.

On top of this increasing complexity we've also seen processors with features that aim at dynamically resourcing software threads according to their utilization. Intel's Turbo Boost allows processors to increase their operating frequency if there is enough thermal headroom available and the processor isn't fully utilized. More recently, the SPARC T4 processor introduced dynamic threading, allowing each core to dynamically allocate more resources to its active CPUs. Both cases are in essence recognizing that current processors will be running a wide mix of workloads, some will be designed for throughput, others for low latency. The hardware is providing mechanisms to dynamically resource threads according to their runtime behavior.

We're very aware of these challenges in Solaris, and have been working to provide the best out of box performance while providing mechanisms to further optimize applications when necessary. The Critical Threads Optimzation was introduced in Solaris 10 8/11 and Solaris 11 as one such mechanism that allows customers to both address issues caused by contention over shared hardware resources and explicitly take advantage of features such as T4's dynamic threading.

What it is

The basic idea is to allow performance critical threads to execute with more exclusive access to hardware resources. For example, when deploying an application that implements a producer/consumer model, it'll likely be advantageous to give the producer more exclusive access to the hardware instead of having it competing for resources with all the consumers. In the case of a T4 based system, we may want to have a producer running by itself on a single core and create one consumer for each of the remaining CPUs.

With the Critical Threads Optimization we're extending the semantics of scheduling priorities (which thread should run first) to include priority over shared resources (which thread should have more "space"). Now the scheduler will not only run higher priority threads first: it will also provide them with more exclusive access to hardware resources if they are available.

How does it work ?

Using the previous example in Solaris 11, all you'd have to do would be to place the producer in the Fixed Priority (FX) scheduling class at priority 60, or in the Real Time (RT) class at any priority and Solaris will try to give it more "hardware space". On both Solaris 10 8/11 and Solaris 11 this can be achieved through the existing priocntl(1,2) and priocntlset(2) interfaces. If your application already assigns these priorities to performance critical threads, there's no additional step you need to take.

One important aspect of this optimization is that it requires some level of idleness in the system, either as a result of sizing the application before hand or through periods of transient idleness during runtime. If the system is fully committed, the scheduler will put all the available CPUs to work.

Best practices

If you're an application developer, we encourage you to look into assigning the right priorities for the different threads in your application. Solaris provides different scheduling classes (Time Share, Interactive, Fair Share, Fixed Priority and Real Time) that offer different policies and behaviors. It is not always simple to figure out which set of threads are critical to the performance of a workload, and it may not always be feasible to take advantage of this optimization, but we believe that this can be correctly (and safely) done during development.

Overall, the out of box performance in Solaris should meet your workload's requirements. If you are looking into that extra bit of performance, then the Critical Threads Optimization may be what you're looking for.

Tuesday Oct 25, 2011

You're invited: November 9th, Oracle Solaris 11 Launch, New York City

We're throwing a party, and you're invited.

On November 9th, we're holding the Oracle Solaris 11 launch event at Gotham Hall on Broadway in New York City.  It should not only be a lot of fun, but we're bringing our engineers, our execs, and some cool software and hardware, so it's a chance to learn even more about what we've been doing, and get a jump on the latest release of the #1 enterprise OS.

Register now --- space is limited, and you don't want to miss this event.  It's been literally years in the making.

I'm a West Coast kind of guy, so I hadn't heard of Gotham Hall before. With a name like that, my mind naturally wandered to caped superheroes making their entrance by crashing through ornate skylights.

 Well, guess what?  There's an ornate skylight!

Not an approved entrance

"In the center of the unique gold-leaf honeycombed design sits a one-of-a-kind 3,000 square foot stained-glass skylight."
"The regal granite walls and delicate stained-glass skylight are softened and warmed by the glow of the gold-leaf dome providing an extraordinary experience that leaves you and your guests breathless."

So that sounds pretty awesome right there.  But I checked with our event planners, and they said the contract specifically forbids crashing through the ornate skylight.  (Apparently, they've been asked before.)

But if your mind is more focused on 21st century enterprise infrastructure architecture than historic architecture, this is still the place to go.  Come sit down and have lunch with the Oracle Solaris 11 team.

If you're not in the area, you can register for the webcast, too.  But you'll have to supply your own food.

About

The Observatory is a blog for users of Oracle Solaris. Tune in here for tips, tricks and more as we explore the Solaris operating system from Oracle.

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