Monday Oct 05, 2009

Planning for Oracle Open World

I'm starting to plan for Oracle Open World, which starts this Sunday.  I find that I'm actually getting kind of excited.  With JavaOne (Sun's biggest show) I always know what to expect, and I pretty much knew all about the technologies that interested me.  This is not so with Oracle Open World.  It's massive, and there is so much new stuff to learn!

I spent part of the day yesterday scouring the program to find all the sessions that interested me.  There were really too many to possibly attend (several times there were two sessions at exactly the same time I wanted to attend).  Below you'll find my personal list of sessions I'm going to try to go to.  I may try to hit a few more, and may miss some of these, but this is my personal target this.  I hope to see some of you at these too.  It should be a blast.

Session ID Time Room

Welcome to SUNday--Larry Ellison and Scott McNealy

17:45 Moscone North / Hall D


Solaris Virtualization for Application Consolidation S312622 11:30 Marriott Hotel / Salon 6
Managing Physical and Virtual Sun Systems with Ops Center S312605 13:00 Marriott Hotel / Salon 6
Getting Started with Oracle Enterprise Manager: Tips and Tricks S308083 14:30 Moscone South / Room 303
Get the Most Out of Virtualization: Manage Top-Down from Application to Disk S311846 16:00 YBCA / Novellus Theater
Comprehensive Linux Lifecycle Management Made Easy S307463 17:30 Moscone South / Room 302


Oracle Enterprise Manager: The Complete Oracle Ecosystem Management Tool S308065 11:30 Moscone South / Room 303
Optimizing Your Oracle Deployments with the Solaris Operating System S312609 13:00 Marriott Hotel / Salon 6
Oracle's Virtualization Road Map S312775 14:30 Moscone South / Room 302
Designing Better Desktop Environments with Sun Desktop Virtualization S312617 16:00 Marriott Hotel / Salon 6
Linux Administration Best Practices with Oracle Enterprise Manager S308079 17:30 Moscone South / Room 307


Oracle Unbreakable Linux: Everything You Need to Know in Just 30 Minutes S307460 13:00 Moscone South / Room 302
Oracle VM: Everything You Need to Know in Just 30 Minutes S307461 13:45 Moscone South / Room 302

Thursday May 28, 2009

Managing Solaris Containers with xVM Ops Center

Solaris Containers (sometimes also called Zones) are today the most popular way to virtualize Solaris.  I've talked to customers everywhere that use them.  In the current version of Ops Center we have a number of ways to make your life easier when administering Containers.  In fact, BigAdmin has a great article that covers this in-depth.  It's surely worth a read.

Below is a screenshot I took today on my Ops Center 2.1 test rig that includes a pair of Solaris Containers (you can see them as children in the main "gear" tree below the main OS instanced (aka the Global Zone).

When you select one of the Containers you can see an inspector like the one below (this is just a sub-set of the info we can display).

However, there's been a key limitation in our Container management story to date with Ops Center.  The creation of a new container hasn't been tightly managed.  We've been able to provision multiple containers with a bare-metal OS, but the dyanamic lifecycle management of Containers hasn't been available.  That's all changing in the upcoming version 2.5 release.  Below is a snapshot of the wizard that you use to create a new Container.  It's looks very similar (by design!) to the wizard you use to create a new x86 VM inside xVM Server or a new SPARC VM inside the Logical Domains hypervisor (more on that next week).

With this capability, we will have full lifecycle management for Solaris containers inside Ops Center.  And, this includes management of the virtual networks and storage for the Containers (a complicated bit of administration to be sure!).  Best of all, it's integrated with Ops Center's existing capabilities like patching and hardware management. 

Wednesday Jan 24, 2007

Solaris Container Migration Made Easy

Migrating Solaris containers is one of the most exciting recent additions to the most recent Solaris 10 releases.  You can read about the feature here.  However, if you look at that article, you realize that there are a fair number of manual steps involved.  Fortunately, there's a better way to do this!

While I was in India this week, the Sun MC team gave me a demo of the latest additions to the Solaris Container Manager.  One of the major updates is support for Container migration.  Here's a screen shot (click to enlarge).


The great thing about this is that all those manual steps are totally automated for you.  Just click the Migrate Zone... button and supply a few parameters.  BANG!  You're done. It's almost instant. 

Wednesday Dec 20, 2006

The Map

Jonathan has been teasing people with a mysterious map this week.  Today he revealed it's meaning.  Since this map was built by our team I thought I'd tell the story behind it.

Shortly after rejoining Sun in August, I was sitting at Gordon Biersch with some of the engineers from our Broomfield team.  They were telling me about all the cool "Web 2.0" technologies they'd been working with.  I didn't know them very well yet and thought it would be fun to see if they were really as good as they claimed.  I figured we should find a cool project for them.  Together we came up with the idea of taking all the Solaris registration data that comes from the Update Connection and put it on a Google Map.

Well, a couple weeks later it actually appeared!  Turns out these guys are really good.  I'd like to send out a special thanks to the team that built this:

  • Jamey Wood
  • John Lilly
  • Todd Wichers
  • Jeff Shoup
  • Bruce Wu

Thanks Guys!

Monday Nov 27, 2006

Solaris Container Manager

Yesterday I started writing about virtualization.  This is a topic I'll be covering a lot more here as we bring Connected Systems and Systems Management together.  In my last entry I mentioned that SunMC has great support for managing containers.  The feature of SunMC that does this is called the Solaris Container Manager. Some folks from the N1 team were nice enough to send me some screen shots.  Here's one.


Looks slick. The team has promised me live demos this week, so I'll write more after I've had a chance to check it all out.  Anyone out there using this feature?  How do you like it?  Also, if you're using Xen or VMware for virtualization what do you use to manage them?  How do you like it?


Sunday Nov 26, 2006

IT Pet Peeves

Network Computing has an interesting article that shows the results of a recent poll on IT Pet Peeves.  In other words, what do vendors do that really ticks off folks running IT shops?  It's pretty eye opening.  One set of results really hit home from my time working in marketing at Cassatt.  The section on marketing asked about the buzzwords that people most hate.  The two most hated buzzwords are Service Oriented Architectures and Virtualization!

With respect to Virtualization, 26 percent said they'd like to punch the next salesperson who mentions it.  Now that's love!  Of course this reaction has little to do with Cassatt (in fact what they're doing is surely more real that most products that use that buzzword). 

I'm starting to get more involved with Virtualization-related work here at Sun and it's cool to be back in that space.  Sun's agenda around Xen and Solaris Containers (along with really cool stuff in hardware coming soon) is really heating up.  Update Connection can already update Xen virtual machines, and Solaris Container support is coming soon.  Also, SunMC comes with great facilities for managing Containers.  Stay tuned for more.


Wednesday Nov 15, 2006

Don't Fear the Firewall

Last week I wrote about the percieved fears of using Software as a Service (SaaS) applications.  Many of these fears have to do with critical data moving across the company firewall.  We've been discussing these issues internally as we debate the next-gen architecture for Update Connection.  Mike Wookey (Distinguished Engineer and general-purpose brainiac) sent me some interesting links to recent articles on the topic.

The eWeek article quotes a recent study that says a full 40% of companies are using hosted CRM solutions.  That's 40% of companies that are hosting their most critical customer data outside their firewalls.  The InformationWeek article discusses the challenges for this model, but then goes on to say that a full 25% of all business software will be delivered this way within the next five years.  Clearly this is a major force in the market and a viable architecture for many customers and applications.

Source: InformationWeek 

Side Note: My boss just started blogging.  Check out his new blog

Sunday Nov 12, 2006

Cross-platform Patching Webinar

Did you know that Sun's Update Connection team hosts a free, regular web session that shows the newest techniques in managing updates for your Solaris and Linux systems?  There are two sessions scheduled for this coming Thursday, and more over the next month.  You should check it out.  Each session iincludes a live demo over WebEx and internationally accessible dial-in numbers are available.  It's the best way to get a real look at how much more productive you could in keeping your systems up-to-date, available and secure.

Do you want to know if your flavor of Solaris or Linux is supported by Update Connection?  Check out the Knowledge Channel list for details.

Tuesday Nov 07, 2006

SysAdmin Survey

During my time working on Java I participated in many communities like: JavaLobby, The Server Side, and NetBeans. But, now in my new role I find myself searching for the communities where people interested in System Administration (not software development) hang out. Do you have a favorite?

Here's a list of some that look interesting. If you like one of these, please vote for it. If you have another favorite, please leave me a comment telling me about it. <script type="text/javascript" src=""></script>

BTW, it's OK to vote or comment if you work at Sun (or even in SysNet). I'm just interested in what people like and find useful. I'll leave the survey open for 7 days and then I'll publish the results. Let me know what you think.


Monday Nov 06, 2006

Disaster Averted (aka Attack of the POD people!)

Have you ever had one of those jobs that you knew was really important, but no one else seemed to know it?  Or, have you ever had one of those jobs where no one seemed to notice all the great work you've been doing until something goes terribly wrong?

Inside the Connected Systems Network there is a quiet, little piece of infrastructure called Patch Operations and Delivery (POD for short).  POD is the key part of the pipeline that internal engineers at Sun use to push out patches and updates to products like Solaris and the Java Enterprise System.  It isn't directly visible to customers, but it's the back-end of important services like Update Connection and SunSolve.  If POD were to suddenly go away people would notice!

Well, that's just what happened recently.  POD had a whopper of a melt down.  In one of those classic IT mishaps, a sleeply little UltraSPARC-II system in a non-production lab had crept into the transaction flow for the production database.  It had been running fine for years, but then there was failure in the storage array attached to the machine!

Without going into all the details of what transpired (there were repair scripts written, data pulled from mirrors across the planet, and people working through the night and over the weekend) I'm happy to report that POD is back to full strength.  There were some serious heroics involved in this incredibly delicate fix.  Here's a quick list of people that deserve a real thank you.

  • Jan Birkelund
  • Slim Heilpern
  • Darcy O'Connor
  • Simon Ip
  • Philippe Nave
  • Derk Norton
  • Mike Tanaka
  • Janet Bacon
  • Don Gritzmacher
  • Darl Kuhn

In honor of you brave warriors of software, I give you Wired Magazine's List of the Coolest Movie Weapons.  These may come in handy next time you have to fight a problem this big!

Thanks Again Gang!


Thoughts on cloud computing, virtualization and data center management from Steve Wilson, Oracle engineering VP.


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