Thursday Oct 07, 2010

Oracle VM Server for SPARC 2.0 released

We've just released version 2.0 of Oracle VM Server for SPARC (previously known as LDoms). This is a major new release of our SPARC virtualization technlogy. Here are just some of the new features:
  • Memory Dynamic Reconfiguration - resize your domain's memory while Solaris is running
  • Direct I/O - You can now assign individual PCI-E I/O devices to any domain
  • Affinity Binding for CPUs - optimizes placement of allocated strands onto cores to minimize unnecessary sharing of cores between domains
  • Support for Full Core Allocation - Optionally allocate CPU resources at the core, rather than strand, granularity. Guarantees only full cores are allocated to the domain, while enforcing a cap.
  • Improvements to domain migration performance and the relaxation of certain restrictions
  • Improvements to virtual disk multipathing to handle end-to-end I/O path failures between guest domain and storage device
  • More robust system restoration from XML files: the restoration of the primary domain can now be automated as well
  • Important fixes to MAC address assignment and more robust MAC address collision detection
  • New virtinfo(1) command and libv12n(3LIB) library to extract virtualization info from Solaris 10 9/10 or later
  • New power management capabilities on SPARC T3 based platforms

In addition, there are numerous smaller improvements and bug fixes. The official product documentation has all the details.

Oracle VM Server for SPARC 2.0 runs on all supported SPARC T-Series servers (i.e. T2, T2 Plus & T3 based platforms), including the just-announced SPARC T3 systems. As of this writing, version 2.0 is fully qualified on the T3-1 server (which is now available to order). We will announce full support for our other servers (including the existing UltraSPARC T2 and T2 Plus based platforms) in the coming weeks as we complete our qualification activities.

For further information, head over to Oracle's virtualization site.

Wednesday Jan 20, 2010

Logical Domains 1.3 Available

Logical Domains (LDoms) 1.3 is out! Some of the key new features include:
  • Dynamic Resource Management (DRM): policy-based load-balancing of cpu resources between domains
  • With the release of Solaris 10 10/09 (aka update 8), ability to dynamically add & remove crypto devices from domains
  • Significant speedup of warm migration (aka domain mobility) operations through HW crypto & compression algorithms
  • Faster network failover with link-based IPMP support
  • Domain hostid & MAC address properties can now be modified via the ldm set-domain command

DRM is a key new feature for which we've been getting many requests ever since LDoms launched in April 2007. With it, you can specify policies that determine how cpu resources are load-balanced between running logical domains. For each policy, you can specify (among other things) the min & max cpu count desired, the high & low utilization thresholds you'd like to stay within, the speed at which cpus are added or deleted, the time of day during which the policy is active, and a priority. Each specified policy can apply to one or more domains and can be active or inactive. Multiple policies can be active simultaneously, even if they affect the same domain(s). That's where the priority value comes in; lower numbers denote higher priority (valid values are 1-9999).

See complete details on setting up DRM policies in this section of the Logical Domains 1.3 Administration Guide

Further information about LDoms in general, and links to download the LDoms 1.3 components are available (as always) here.

Tuesday Sep 08, 2009

LDoms 1.2 available via IPS

Good news for folks running LDoms under OpenSolaris (either 2009.06 or the latest 2010.02 development builds): the LDoms 1.2 software is now available in the /release and /dev IPS repositories. You can get it by running 'pfexec pkg install ldomsmanager'

Saturday Jul 04, 2009

LDoms 1.2 is out!

LDoms 1.2 is now available. I've included a snippet of the initial marketing announcement below. There will be more official marketing activity in the coming weeks (including the updating of, but the bits are available now.

The LDoms team is pleased to announce the availability of LDoms v1.2.

In this new release you will find the following features:

  • Support for CPU power management
  • Support for jumbo frames
  • Restriction of delayed reconfiguration operations to the control domain
  • Support for configuring domain dependencies
  • Support for autorecovery of configurations
  • Support for physical-to-virtual migration tool
  • Support for configuration assistant tools.
We look forward to you downloading LDoms Manager v1.2 now from here. The full documentation set for LDoms 1.2 can be found here.

In addition, as I mention here, this release fully enables the enhanced FMA IO fault diagnosis changes introduced into the Solaris 10 5/09 release (aka s10u7).

UPDATE: One important thing I forgot to mention is that this release supports OpenSolaris 2009.06 for SPARC. OpenSolaris can be run either as the control/io/service domain or within a guest domain. In addition, the LDoms 1.2 LDom Manager & related files are available as an IPS package in the /dev repository under SUNWldom.
CORRECTION: I jumped the gun: the IPS package with LDoms 1.2 is not quite ready yet, but should be available very soon. When it is, it'll be under "ldomsmanager".


UPDATE 2: LDoms 1.2 is now available via IPS. Details here.

Monday Jun 01, 2009

OpenSolaris & LDoms

OpenSolaris 2009.06 officially launched today. The big news is that it supports SPARC. I was going to post a nice article about how it is also supported under LDoms, but Marcus & Liam did a much better job than I could. See here and here.

Sunday May 03, 2009

Improving integration of LDoms and FMA

Scott Davenport recently posted a blog entry announcing the availability of Solaris 10 Update 7 (aka Solaris 10 5/09 or just s10u7), and touted some of the FMA improvements in the release. Of particular interest for LDoms and its users are improvements in diagnosis of IO faults when one or more IO root complexes are allocated to domains other than the control domain (i.e. so-called root domains). These improvements were designed & developed through a collaborative effort between the LDoms & FMA teams. The collaboration between these teams is nothing new; even before the initial release of Logical Domains technology in April 2007, as well as ever since, there has been tight coordination between LDoms and FMA, both in terms of the technology, and the teams.

The changes needed to resolve the IO diagnosis problems required new interfaces between the FMA and LDoms code, as well as new software on both sides of the interface. As Scott mentioned, the FMA software is now available in the Solaris 10 5/09 release. However, the necessary changes on the LDoms side (in the LDoms Manager) will be available in the upcoming 1.2 release of Logical Domains, currently scheduled for this summer. That's no reason not to install s10u7 in a Logical Domains environment now; all currently supported versions of LDoms will function correctly with s10u7 installed in a control domain, guest domains, or both. And once LDoms 1.2 is released, simply installing the new firmware & LDoms Manager that make up the 1.2 update on a system running s10u7 will automatically enable the improved IO diagnosis features (along with several other new LDoms features, but that's the subject of another post).

Wednesday Dec 24, 2008

LDoms 1.1

Just in time for the holidays, LDoms version 1.1 is now available! This is a major new release of Logical Domains technology, with an extensive list of new features & bugfixes. Here are the highlights:

Major Features Introduced in LDoms version 1.1:

  • Warm and Cold Migration
  • Network NIU Hybrid IO
  • VLAN Support for Virtual Network Interface and Virtual Switch
  • Public XML Interface and XMPP Connection with the Domain Manager
  • Virtual IO DR
  • Virtual Disk Multipathing and Failover
  • Virtual Switch Support for Link Aggregated Interface
  • iostat(1M) Support in Guest Domains

Alex has more details on these features here.

Other Improvements Include:

  • Improved Interrupt Distribution (CR 6671853)
  • Performance improvements for virtual IO (CR 6689871, 6640564)
  • Solaris Installation to Single Slice Disk (CR 6685162)
  • Numerous Improvements and Extension to our Domain Services Infrastructure (CR 6560890)
  • Improved Console Behavior when not using Virtual Console (CR 6581309)
  • VDisk EFI Label Support for Disk Image (CR 6558966)
  • VDisk Support for Disk Managed by Multipathing Software (Veritas DMP, EMC Powerpath) (CR 6694540, 6637560)
  • LDoms Manager Improvements to IO FMA (CR 6463270)
  • ldm list -l now displays MAC assigned to guest (CR 6586046)
  • Improved Error Messages (CR 6741733, 6590124, 6715063)
  • ldm list -o provides fine-grained control of configuration display options (CR 6562222)
  • More accurate utilization percentage reporting (CR 6637955, 6709020)
  • Can now explicitly set a domain's hostid (CR 6670605)
  • Improved persistence of VIO service and VDS volume names (CR 6729544, 6771264)
  • More predictable behavior when deciding which cpus to DR out of a domain (CR 6567372)
  • More accurate annotations in ldm ls-spconfig output (CR 6744046)
  • Better support for large, fragmented memory configs in a domain (CR 6749507)
  • Supports setting persistent WANboot keys from OBP (CR 6510365)
  • Lots of Bug Fixes (over 100)

Get it here!

Monday Oct 13, 2008

New Sun SPARC Enterprise T5440 Server runs LDoms 1.0.3

Today Sun is announcing the latest in our line of sun4v SPARC CMT systems: the Sun SPARC Enterprise T5440 Server. This is a four socket server based on our UltraSPARC T2 Plus processor.

With up to 256 available threads, this is the best platform yet for running our Logical Domains (LDoms) virtualization technology. LDoms 1.0.3, released last May, fully supports all shipping configurations of the T5440. All the necessary firmware & software comes pre-installed. If you need to download any of the LDoms 1.0.3 software, just go here.

In addition, there's a new resource available for helping administrators get the most out of their LDoms installation: the LDoms Community Cookbook. It just went live today; in fact, at the time of this writing, not all sections are live yet. Please check back often, and remember, this is a Wiki & a community resource, so feel free to add content, make corrections, etc.

To read what other Sun engineers have to say about the T5440, see Allan Packer's blog for an updated list of T5400-related blog entries.

Note: the Sun SPARC Enterprise T5440 Server is not to be confused with our recently anounced Sun Netra T5440 Server, which is a two socket carrier-grade server.

Monday May 19, 2008

LDoms 1.0.3

Logical Domains (LDoms) 1.0.3 is now available. This release is mainly intended to enable many new features included in Solaris 10 5/08 (aka update 5). Jason did an excellent job with details & logistics in this blog entry, so there's no need in my repeating that info here.

One thing I do want to mention in terms of LDom Manager functionality is that with this release, the XML format produced by the

ldm ls-constraints -x
command has changed. While the LDom Manager will continue to accept our previous, so-called v2 XML format, as of 1.0.3, it also accepts & produces the new v3 format. This format is designed to closely align with the schema defined as part of the draft Open Virtual Machine Format (OVF) specification.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Coming in LDoms 1.1 (currently targeted for release in Q4CY08) will be a complete XML based control interface for monitoring & managing Logical Domains, based on this same v3 schema. In addition, it will utilize the XMPP transport, providing secure, standards-based XML messaging between client application & the LDom Manager.

This combination of a standards-based schema over a standard XML transport provides a rich control interface for creating management applications. More details about this new management interface, including detailed specifications, will be forthcoming.

Wednesday Apr 09, 2008

UltraSPARC T2 Plus & LDoms 1.0.2

Today we announced our T5140/T5240 platforms, based around the UltraSPARC T2 Plus processor. This is the first CMT platform which supports multiple processor chips (2), providing up to 128 hardware threads of CMT goodness! And to go along with these platforms, we're releasing Logical Domains version 1.0.2, which fully supports the new T5140/T5240 systems, including the ability to create up to 128 logical domains to match the number of available hardware threads.

Of course, most users probably won't want to run 128 single threaded logical domains, but the fact that you can is a testament to the scalability of the architecture.

Other features of LDoms 1.0.2 include:

  • Support for up to 64 domains on UltraSPARC T2 based systems
  • Libvirt management interface software included
  • A slew of bug fixes

Of course, LDoms 1.0.2 supports all the platforms supported by LDoms 1.0.1 & LDoms 1.0, and like its predecessors, is available at no extra cost. In fact, LDoms 1.0.2 comes factory installed on all T5140/T5240 systems. The associated firmware & LDoms Manager packages are also available from the Sun Download Center.

Sunday Dec 02, 2007

LDoms versions & compatibility

With the release of LDoms 1.0.1 last October, along with the release of the first members of our UltraSPARC T2 (US T2) based platform family, issues of version compatibility naturally arise. When I first posted about the availability of LDoms 1.0.1, I included the following caveats:

WARNING: There are two important caveats when upgrading from LDoms 1.0 to LDoms 1.0.1:

  • Configurations saved to the service processor under 1.0 are not usable under 1.0.1. The LDoms 1.0.1 Administration Guide describes the upgrade procedure that needs to be applied to work around this. Part of this procedure needs to be carried out BEFORE performing the actual upgrade!
  • You must upgrade both the firmware and LDom Manager components at the same time.

One of the pillars of Sun's products is our ability to maintain compatibility; we have explicit practices & processes in place to guarantee compatibility between product releases. Unfortunately, we did not apply those to the 1.0.1 LDoms upgrade. This was an omission we do not intend to repeat. So, when upgrading from LDoms 1.0 to any subsequent version, the caveats mentioned above do apply (the current LDoms release is still 1.0.1, but we are planning for two follow-on releases in CY 2008).

As we wrap up the development phase of our upcoming 1.0.2 release, we're re-verifying that existing configurations created under 1.0.1 do continue to work under 1.0.2, and that firmware & LDom Manager upgrades do not need to be synchronized. Of course, certain 1.0.2 capabilities might not be fully enabled until both the firmware & the LDom Manager are upgraded, but at least the system will continue to function with only one or the other upgraded.

UPDATE 4/29/2008: With the release of LDoms 1.0.2, I'm happy to report that neither of the caveats described in this entry apply when upgrading from LDoms 1.0.1 to LDoms 1.0.2. However, they do still apply if you're upgrading from LDoms 1.0 to LDoms 1.0.2 (or any subsequent release). In other words, these compatibility issues only come into play when upgrading from LDoms 1.0 to a subsequent release.

Wednesday Nov 14, 2007

Open xVM Launches

OpenxVM has been launched. Read Steve Wilson's blog entry for the details.

Wednesday Oct 24, 2007

Project Virginia? xVM? Whither LDoms?

There's been some understandable confusion regarding the re-branding of Sun's various virtualization technologies that's currently underway, specifically as it relates to our two Hypervisor based technologies; the one on our x64 systems (originally based on Xen); the other on our SPARC CMT systems (i.e. LDoms).

Part of the confusion stems from the fact that we recently started using the "xVM" moniker for our x86 based hypervisor technology, since we did not meet the requirements set out by Citrix to continue using the Xen brand. But then, as part of an effort to re-cast all our virtualization technologies under one systems management umbrella (I believe this is what Project Virginia is about), it was decided to expand the scope of technologies included under the xVM brand. The Sun xVM Product Family now encompasses both LDoms & our x86 based hypervisor. Read this blog entry from Marc Hamilton for more details.

Unfortunately, there is still plenty of collateral out there that either implies or explicitly correlates xVM solely with our x86 hypervisor technology. This requires our readers to carefully analyze any information describing xVM, and properly determine from the context whether it's a reference to the overall Sun xVM infrastructure product family, or to one of its members, be it one of the underlying virtualization technologies, or the systems management piece layered on top.

Speaking of systems management, one of the key pieces of the Sun xVM infrastructure is Sun xVM Ops Center, which is under active development by our SysNet organization. Its aim is to provide a systems management framework that truly encompasses all our virtualization technologies. Read more about it in Marc's blog.

So what does this mean for LDoms? Other than the planned support for it in Sun xVM Ops Center, absolutely nothing. Unchanged are the LDoms technology, product, roadmap or name. This includes our plans to support 3rd party management tools via SNMP, our planned extensions to libvirt, or through our own XML-based control interface currently under development. That's a topic for another posting...

Thursday Oct 11, 2007

UltraSPARC T2 & LDoms 1.0.1

Sun is officially announcing the first products in its UltraSPARC T2 (US T2) based platform lineup today, the T5x20 series. You can read all about the details here and here. There are two big stories here related to our Logical Domains technology. For those of you who are new to my blog, Logical Domains (LDoms for short) is the name of Sun's virtualization technology for our SPARC CMT platforms that allows multiple operating systems to run concurrently on a single system.

These products represent the first of our CMT based platforms that are shipping with LDoms technology pre-installed from the factory. All future CMT servers from Sun will ship with the ability to run Logical Domains out of the box. This includes the LDoms-enabled hypervisor (our LDoms hypervisor runs on bare metal, and is embedded in the firmware of the platform), all the necessary Solaris components, and the LDoms Manager package (which is what my team works on).

This further represents the introduction of version 1.0.1 of LDoms technology. Besides support for the new US T2 based platforms (and a slew of bug fixes), this release supports the ability to reset any domain, even one which owns physical I/O devices, while all other domains continue to run. Even the control domain, i.e. the one on which the LDoms Manager runs, can reboot while all other domains stay up. This represents a major step forward in terms of RAS capability for LDoms.

As of today, LDoms version 1.0.1 is only available pre-installed on our newly announced US T2 based servers. Stay tuned here for information on the impending availability of this upgrade on our existing US T1 based platforms!

UPDATE: LDoms version 1.0.1 is now available for download here. This includes the firmware updates for US T1 platforms.

WARNING: There are two important caveats when upgrading from LDoms 1.0 to LDoms 1.0.1:

  • Configurations saved to the service processor under 1.0 are not usable under 1.0.1. The LDoms 1.0.1 Administration Guide describes the upgrade procedure that needs to be applied to work around this. Part of this procedure needs to be carried out BEFORE performing the actual upgrade!
  • You must upgrade both the firmware and LDom Manager components at the same time.

Tuesday Jul 24, 2007

Updated Beginners Guide to LDoms

Tony Shoumack has just posted an updated version of the excellent Sun Blueprints™ document Beginners Guide to LDoms. This is the perfect resource and reference document for those folks new to Logical Domains. It provides both a conceptual background of the technology, and specific guidance on configuring LDoms. This represents a significant update to the previous version, incorporating feeedback from LDoms experts within Sun as well as our customers. It is also now current with the 1.0 release. If you had downloaded the previous version (which was targeted at our old, pre 1.0 release candidate builds of LDoms), please update to this latest version.

I work on the Oracle VM Server for SPARC (nee LDoms) team.

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