Friday Apr 04, 2014

Oracle DB 12c runs best on Sparc

Oracle's vision of Engineered Systems is transforming into reality with every new product that Oracle is launching. Oracle Database 12c, which was launched in 2013, is an example on how Oracle software is optimized for Oracle Solaris SPARC. Oracle Database 12c is co-engineered with Solaris engineering team and Oracle’s world record SPARC T5 servers have best performance and maximum ROI.

Independent Software Vendors (ISV) who are developing applications using both Oracle DB 12c and Solaris are taking advantage of one core technology, one operating system, one virtualization tool for all the range of SPARC servers. An ISV application can boost its performance, flexibility and security just by using SPARC high numbers of cores and big memory, combined Oracle 12c/Solaris/SPARC multi-tenancy,  zones and LDoms light-weight virtualization technologies, SPARC and Solaris build-in encryption, etc.

Let’s take a look at how all this is translated into technical features. What makes Solaris and SPARC servers the best infrastructure for Oracle 12c enterprise databases?

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Tuesday Jun 18, 2013

Moving Oracle Solaris 11 Zones between physical servers


As part of my job in the ISV Engineering team, I am often asked by partners the following question : is it possible to easily move a Solaris 11 Zone from a physical server to another?

The short answer is : YES ! The longer one comes with the following restrictions :

  • Both physical servers should be of the same architecture, x64 or SPARC (T-series and M-series systems are compatible).

  • Both physical servers should run Oracle Solaris 11.

  • The destination server should run at least the same or higher release of Solaris 11. This includes the SRU (Support Repository Update) level.






Given a physical server called “Source” hosting a Solaris 11 Zone called “myZone” on a ZFS filesystem, here are the steps to move the zone on another physical server called “Target” :
  1. Export the Zones configuration
    The zone needs to be configured on the destination server before it can be installed. The first step is to export the configuration of the Zone to a file:

    [Source]# zonecfg -z myZone export -f myZone.cfg

  2. Archive the Zone
    My favourite solution is to use the ZFS “send” functionality to archive the ZFS file system hosting the Zone in a single movable file, although this can also be achieved in other ways (cpio, pax)

    • Halt the Zone
      [Source]# zoneadm -z myZone halt

    • Take a recursive ZFS Snapshot of the rpool of the zone
      [Source]# zfs snapshot -r rpool/zones/myZone@archive

    • Archive the Zone using ZFS send (ZFS and cpio archives can be zipped using gzip or bzip2)
      [Source]# zfs send -rc rpool/zones/myZone@archive | bzip2 > /var/tmp/myZone.zfs.bz2
  1. Move the configuration and archive files to the destination server
    FTP, scp, NFS, removable hard drive, …

  2. Configure the zone on the destination server

    Depending on the configuration of the Targer server, you might need to tweak the zone configuration file before using it.

    [Target]# zonecfg -z myZone -f myZone.cfg

  3. Install the Zone

    If the zone is being installed in the same network, the zone configuration (IP address, DNS server, Gateway, etc) can be preserved using the "-p" option:

    [Target]# zoneadm -z myZone install -a myZone.zfs.bz2 -p

    If the Zone is being installed in a new network environment, using the "-u" option instead of "-p" will unconfigure the system. The Zone would need to be manually configured on the first boot. The configuration can be automatized during installation if a system configuration profile XML file is provided:

    # zoneadm -z myZone install -a myZone.zfs -u -c sc_profile.xml


    Quick Tip
    : To create a system configuration file, you can use the sysconfig program with option "create-profile":

    # sysconfig create-profile -o sc_profile.xml


    The configuration text wizard will walk you through the system configuration steps (same process as the first boot configuration wizard) but will not re-configure your system. It will simply create an output XML file with the defined system configuration. This files can then be manually tweaked if needed and act as a template for future use.

  4. Boot the Zone
    # zoneadm -z myZone boot

  5. You should now be able to log in the Zone which is the exact copy of the original Zone on the source server.

Obviously there are many more options and possibilities that go beyond the scope of this post. My intend was just to give a glimpse of what can be done, so don't hesitate to consult the documentation for more options.

Also, these simple steps cans be scripted to be made even more flexible and usable. Below are two scripts I have written for my own needs. There are only provided as an example and must not be considered as production ready scripts.

archive_zone.sh

#!/bi#!/bin/sh

#----------------------------------------------------------------

# archive_zone.sh

#

# This script creates a movable archive of an Solaris 11 Zone

# It take a single input parameter: The Zone name

#----------------------------------------------------------------

SCRIPT_NAME=$0
BASE_DIR="$(pwd -P)"

ZONE_NAME=$1

ZONES_ROOT=rpool/zones

ARCHIVE_FOLDER=/var/tmp/${ZONE_NAME}
ARCHIVE_FILE=${ZONE_NAME}.zfs.bz2

CONFIG_FILE=${ZONE_NAME}.cfg

SNAPSHOT=${ZONES_ROOT}/${ZONE_NAME}@`date '+%d_%m_%Y-%H:%M:%S'`

if [ if [ ! -d ${ARCHIVE_FOLDER} ] ; then
   mkdir -p ${ARCHIVE_FOLDER}
fi

zoneadm -z ${ZONE_NAME} halt

zonecfg -z ${ZONE_NAME} export -f ${ARCHIVE_FOLDER}/${CONFIG_FILE}

# Take a ZFS Snapshot of the rpool of the zone
zfs snapshot -r ${SNAPSHOT}

# Archive the Zone using ZFS send
zfs send -rc ${SNAPSHOT} | bzip2 > ${ARCHIVE_FOLDER}/${ARCHIVE_FILE}

# Delete the snapshot used to create the archive
zfs destroy -r ${SNAPSHOT}

deploy_zone.sh

#!/bin/sh

#----------------------------------------------------------------

# deploy_zone.sh

#

# This script deploys an archived Solaris 11 Zone

# It take a single input parameter: The Zone name

#----------------------------------------------------------------

SCRIPT_NAME=$0

BASE_DIR="$(pwd -P)"

ZONE_NAME=$1

ARCHIVE_FOLDER=/var/tmp/${ZONE_NAME}
ARCHIVE_FILE=${ZONE_NAME}.zfs.bz2

CONFIG_FILE=${ZONE_NAME}.cfg

# Configure the Zone
zonecfg -z ${ZONE_NAME} -f ${ARCHIVE_FOLDER}/${CONFIG_FILE}

# Install the Zone and configure the system
zoneadm -z ${ZONE_NAME} install -a ${ARCHIVE_FOLDER}/${ARCHIVE_FILE} -u

# Boot the Zone
zoneadm -z ${ZONE_NAME} boot

Monday Mar 12, 2012

Mobile Tornado adopts Solaris features for better RAS and TCO

Mobile Tornado provides instant communication services for mobile devices, with a focus on enterprise workforce management. Its solutions include Push-To-Talk and Instant Locate, Alert & Message applications.

As a software developer, Mobile Tornado's main challenges are up-time --the applications are largely sold today into the homeland security and defense markets-- and scalability --during network peak usage. With these challenges in mind, and as part of the on-going engineering collaboration between Mobile Tornado and Oracle's ISV Engineering, we investigated which Oracle Solaris technologies would improve the application's availability and scalability while reducing the solution's TCO.

We looked at the following Oracle Solaris technologies: Solaris Cluster, ZFS and Zones.

[Read More]

Monday Jan 09, 2012

Infovista VistaInsight for Networks shows 3.7x performance on Oracle

System management vendor InfoVista markets the VistaInsight for Networks® application to enable telco operators, service providers and large enterprises effectively meet performance and service level agreements of converged and next-generation communication networks. As part of our on-going technology partnership, InfoVista and Oracle ISV Engineering together ran a performance test campaign of VistaInsight for Networks® over Oracle Solaris and Sun CMT hardware. The two companies shared many common objectives when starting this project.

The most obvious was to improve the scalability and performance of VistaInsight for Networks® over Oracle's SPARC T-Series systems and thereby provide customers with a better price/performance ratio and a better ROI. From the onset, virtualization was considered a promising technology to improve scalability, thus testing VistaInsight for Networks® in the context of Oracle Solaris Zones was also a major milestone.

Second, InfoVista was interested in setting new limits in terms of the workload that its application can sustain, in response to the evolving needs of its customers.

Lastly, as the first improvements on computing scalability were delivered, it became obvious that the storage was the next critical component for the performance of the entire solution. A decision was then made to test the Oracle Solaris ZFS file system, the Sun ZFS Storage Appliance, and the SSD technology from Oracle to move to the next level of performance.

The result of this performance test campaign is a new Reference Architecture whitepaper that provides detailed information about the configuration tested, the tests executed and the results obtained. It clearly shows that VistaInsight for Networks® takes full advantage of the server, storage and virtualization technology provided by Oracle. By leveraging the Oracle Solaris Zones, Oracle Solaris ZFS, SSD and Sun ZFS Appliance storage, Infovista increased the throughput performance by more than 370%, meeting the highest expectations in terms of workload and performance while maintaining the cost in a very attractive range.

Learn all the details about this new Reference Architecture published on OTN.

Monday May 23, 2011

Leveraging a disaster recovery site for development - Part 2

In our previous post, we introduced the idea of using Disaster Recovery (DR) sites as a private cloud for hosting virtual development and testing environments. The solution we developped for an ISV partner of ours in the Healthcare sector looks like this.

Architecture

The solution is based on the Zones and ZFS features of Oracle Solaris --available from Solaris 10 and up. Solaris Zones (a.k.a. Containers) are an operating system level virtualization technology that…

[Read More]
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How open innovation and technology adoption translates to business value, with stories from our developer support work at Oracle's ISV Engineering.

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