Monday Jan 28, 2008

\*Introduction of the xVM Central blog\*

Just a quick note about related products:

We recently started a blog for Sun xVM ( It will cover both Sun xVM Ops Center and Sun xVM Server, and will be used by developers, tech writers, and field enablement teams – everyone who's involved in the project.

For more information about Sun xVM, you can visit the wiki ( or the forums (

xVM will also be open-sourced. For more information, visit (

Friday Jan 11, 2008

Using EIS/Solaris Baselines in SunConnection Satellite and xVM Ops Center

Just a short note about an important feature of the Sun Connection Satellite and xVM Ops Center Software:

The Enterprise Installation Standards (EIS) team  is releasing monthly EIS-DVDs. Among other useful things they contain a baseline of patches for all current Solaris versions and OS-near Software products. These patch baselines are built on top of the Recommended Patch Cluster and aggregate feedback and experience from Sun Field Engineers and Solution Centers. They have gone through additional QA processes and are used to install Sun Server worldwide, before handing over them to our Customer.

Over the last years an increasing number of our large Customer world wide have used  these EIS patch baselines to maintain their server  on a regular schedule. This has been the core feature of the Traffic Light Patch management tool (TLP), which is now superseded by Sun Connection Satellite and soon xVM Ops Center.

These monthly patch baselines are now called Solaris Baselines and are available to all Customers with Sun Connection Satellite subscriptions and xVM Ops Center in the near future.They are part of the official Knowledge Base  which is leveraged by these products.

Using standards like Solaris baselines and automation tools like Sun Connection are building stones of a successful Patch Management Strategy !


Wednesday Dec 05, 2007

xVM Ops Center Early Adopter Training this week in Santa Clara

We just completed the first round of early adopter training in Santa
Clara this week. Another great job by Steve Stelting who taught the
class. Considering we put this together in just a couple of weeks I was
impressed with what he was able to deliver. I know the other attendees
were as well. Thanks to everyone in SysNet who provided content for us
and participated in the preparation and Q&A sessions.

For this early adopter class we picked some of the best from the field
including SE's from Scott Armour's sales team and David Teszler's
Systems Practice team. We brought in some of our Support (Tier 3) and
Sustaining engineers who currently support Sun Connection and N1SM from
a Solution Center perspective.  Also in attendance were some of our
best Support Services SSE's who do our Sun Connection installs. This
attendees provided a lot of great feedback, questions, etc. which we
will compile over the next couple of days. We will be doing similar
sessions in January in Burlington, MA and in EMEA prior to rolling out
training to a broader audience in February.

I thought I would share a comment from one of the SE's that attended
the training:

xVM Ops Center Cool improvements in OS provisioning vs. N1 SM


Cool "news to me" ...  :-D

In the old N1 SM way, when you did an "n1sh create os {os_name} file
/path/to/solarisdvd.iso" the ISO image was lofi/loop mounted and copied
the contents of the DVD filesystem to /var/js/{distro_number}, when N1
SM started running the "create os" job.

The new xVM Ops Center way simply copies the /path/to/solarisdvd.iso to
... so the operation is basically at "disk speed."   This approach
retains a copy of the original .iso file, which is used to create
"replica" boot servers on downstream "Proxy" servers for JumpStart
purposes...effectively as many Proxy/JS Boot servers as needed to
support a diverse network topology comprised of many subnets.   The
actual steps of mounting the ISO and copying the contents to
/var/js/{distro_id} are deferred until the first OS provisioning job is

This allows for the automatic creation of JumpStart boot servers in
each subnet, which is a huge advantage for a site with many subnets. 
In the N1 SM way we would have needed separate N1 SM servers in each
subnet and we would have had to create the OS and OS profiles on each
of them manually or through custom scripting.  Or we would have needed
to do funny things with DHCP helper and changed the provisioning IP on
the SM server and limited jobs to whichever subnet is currently
undergoing provisioning.  With xVMOC, the use of Proxies that act as JS
boot servers in each subnet ... and the fact that the JS miniroots are
copied to those JS boot servers, automatically is a HUGE improvement
over N1 SM.

There is also a positive side-effect of this design for demonstration
purposes...  It means we can create an OS, and an OS profile very
quickly and there is only a short "disk-speed" delay in copying the
.iso image.   We know that actual OS provisioning takes a while, so the
fact that it takes a bit longer the first time can easily be explained
away.  Also, we can deploy an OS image that has been previously
deployed, so there is no additional delay during the demo for the ISO
mount and copy to /var/js/{distro_number}.

I like it.

Also, JET is being used for the JS boot servers on the proxies.  And it
is possible to import JET modules and existing JET profiles as well as
to override individual JET parameters.   This is well beyond my
expectations.  We've been asking for this for seems like FOREVER.   Now
we have a solution for customers with pre-existing JET
infrastructures.   We can add the JET modules they need and we can
import their existing templates.  Then they can stop using their old
JET servers and rely on xVM OC JET capabilities going forward.    This
is the best we could have hoped for -- would be unrealistic to manage a
pre-existing JET environment in place...but as long as we can capture
the settings, we have a great path to import to xVM OC and then
continue to manage within xVM OC.

Friday Nov 16, 2007

Moving zones between machines/hosts

I would just like to share some interesting things one can do with various tools to accomplish the moving of zones. First I need to talk a little bit about the terminology. We have Zone Migration and Zone Move, which in then accomplishes the same result but it is handled and performed differently. One assumption that I am making through out this article is that the zones are running on a exclusive drive or network LUN.

Zone Migration:  
This copies all files from the given Zone to a new host machine. Once all the data is there it will shutdown the first Zone and then startup the new one. Hence, the zone has moved, by copying all the data. This example does not need to have a shared storage, since the data would be copied over the network.

Zone Move:   
This in essence shuts down the zone, unmount the disk, re-mount on a new host, zone attach and then start it up. This in the end also performs the same as Zone Migration, except it is the very same data that is being re-used.


Now that this is all cleared up, so what tools or solutions exists to perform all of this?

  • The first one to mention is of course Sun Management Center with the Solaris Container Manager module. This can perform Zone Migration. It can also perform Zone Moving. Some of these features requires a specific version of Solaris 10 of course.

  • One which seems a bit overkill but works nicely is Solaris Cluster. One can easily cluster a zone, and then this zone can be started on various nodes when so wanted. This would then complete a Zone Move every time.

  • Another solution is the N1AA. In the name it says SAP, but can be really be used for a lot more. It is running N1SPS under the covers with a nice front end for all the operational tasks. This solution also supports zone moving. The solution was of course made primarily for SAP, but as I mentioned, it can be used creatively for more things and applications thanks to the GDS feature.

  • We have a partner that created something called; VDCF, which is a local Swiss solution via a partner called Jomasoft, but performs all of this as well with a command line interface. It can do a lot more than just moving of zones, but it is one of the examples.

I am sure that there are a lot more solutions out there to accomplish this, but this is just a hint of what is possible.

Thursday Nov 08, 2007

Registering Your Inventory in the Disconnected Mode

Registering Your Gear in the Disconnected Mode

This Tech Tip explains how to register your hardware and software, or gear, with the Sun
Connection Inventory Channel from within a disconnected or protected network where Internet,
or cross-intranet connections, are not allowed for security and compliance reasons.


The procedure for registering your gear in a disconnected network is similar
to that for a connected network. The difference is that for a
disconnected network there is an extra step (or two extra steps for
the client CD) to download the Sun Connection Product Registration Manager to
run as a client application and collect the data. The client application can
be either downloaded to run on a laptop computer, or as a
Java Archive (JAR) file to be burned onto a CD-ROM disk as
described below.

  • The laptop would have the client loaded, be connected to the secure
    network to collect the data, and then be reconnected to a public
    network to communicate with Sun.

  • The client CD would be installed on a machine in the secure network
    to collect the data and be used to burn a data CD that would then be
    transferred to a machine on a public network to communicate with Sun.

Either of these options can enable gear registration on a secure network.

Note - To ensure that you always have the latest version of the application
with access to the most up-to-date features, you should download the Sun
Connection Product Registration Manager to run as a client application on a
laptop computer. (A web-based client application only persists for that “session,” so you
always have the most recent and up-to-date client application. Whereas, a JAR
client remains persistent so you must remember to periodically refresh the JAR
application within the public network.) However, the web-based client option will not
work in protected networks that require the vetting of data before it enters
or leaves. In this case, you will need to download the JAR
file onto a CD.

To Download the Sun Connection Product Registration Manager for Use With a Laptop Computer

  1. Access the Sun Connection Inventory Channel with a laptop or external computer.
  2. Click the Discover Now button from Step 2.

    The live version of the Sun Connection Product Registration Manager is displayed.

    Note - Once the Sun Connection Product Registration Manager is running on a laptop
    computer, it can be moved from network to network by physically changing
    the network connections.

  3. Physically disconnect the laptop from the Internet and connect it to your
    secure network.

    You are now ready to use the Sun Connection Product Registration Manager

To Download the Sun Connection Product Registration Manager as a JAR File for Use With a CD or DVD

  1. Access with a laptop or external computer.
  2. Choose Save to disk in the popup menu and provide a convenient
    directory for the file.
  3. Copy the file onto portable media.
  4. (Optional) Perform any desired vetting or certification of the file.
  5. Install the media in a device on your secure network.
  6. Run the JAR file by one of the following methods:
    • Access it from your browser.

    • Issue the java —jar regclient.jar command in a terminal window.

    You are now ready to use the Sun Connection Product Registration Manager

To Discover Your Gear

Once you have the Sun Connection Product Registration Manager client running on
your protected network, you will use it to perform a discovery of
your Sun products. The discovery record will then be transferred to a
public network to be uploaded to Sun for registration.

  1. On the first screen of the Sun Connection Product Registration Manager client
    (Locate Product Data), select the Locate Products on Local Subnet: radio
    button and click Next.

    Typically, with a protected network you will scan only the local subnet.

    When the discovery completes, a product registration screen with a list of
    your Sun products is displayed.

  2. Save the record of discovered gear by doing one of the following:
    • Click the Save As button and save the record of discovered gear to a
      convenient location on the laptop's hard drive. Then relocate your
      laptop computer to a public network to continue the registration

    • Click the Save As button to save the record of discovered gear to storage media.

      Once the record of discovered gear is cleared to leave the protected
      network, you can load the media onto a machine on a public network to
      continue the registration process.

    Note - All saved information is in a clearly manageable XML format and you
    can scrub any data you do not wish exposed (for example, host
    names) before that data leaves the protected network.

    Note - The remaining instructions are for the reconnected laptop computer or for another
    machine with the newly loaded media that contains the record of discovered

  3. Access the Sun Connection Inventory Channel at

  4. Click the Discover Now button from Step 2.

    The live version of the Sun Connection Product Registration Manager is displayed.

  5. Click the Locate Products on Other Subnets, Specific Systems or Load Previously
    Saved Data button.

    A number of new check boxes are displayed on the screen.

  6. Select the File Name check box.
  7. Click the Browse button and complete the path to the media or
    hard drive location that has the record of discovered gear, and click

  8. Click Next.

    The Enter Sun Online Account Information screen is displayed.

  9. Enter your Sun Online Account (SOA) information by completing the appropriate choice:
    • Click I already have a Sun Online Account. Then type your user name and password.

    • Click I don't have a Sun Online Account. Sign me up! Then use the wizard to establish an SOA.

  10. If you have multiple teams, select the team to which you want to register your gear.

  11. Click Next to log in and bring up a screen that allows
    you to register your gear with Sun.

    After logging in, the Sun Connection Product Registration Manager contacts Sun to
    retrieve the registration state of each of the pieces of gear in
    your list.

    1. Choose to register some or all of the products by selecting the
      check boxes in the far right column.
    2. (Optional) Enter any desired gear tag information in the Description column for a
      selected service tag.
    3. (Optional) Click Show me all data that will be uploaded to Sun connection.

      You can view the entire XML content that will be transmitted back
      to Sun.

    4. Click View Terms of Use and select the check box if you
    5. Click Next to register your gear with Sun.

      A Registration Complete screen is displayed.

    That's it! Now you can use the Sun Connection Inventory Channel to view, organize, and manage your gear.

More Information

For more information about Sun Connection, go to the Sun Connection information hub.

To get an inside perspective of Sun Connection, Sun Management Center software,
Sun N1 Service Provisioning System, and Sun N1 System Manager, visit the
Sun Connection blog. Contributors to this blog include members of the Sun Connection Field Enablement
team. The goal of this blog is to share information with customers
who either have already implemented or will implement these products in the
future. The blog also provides important information about training and other key
enablement activities.

Discuss and comment on this resource in the BigAdmin Wiki

New Release of Sun Management Center

What's New in Sun MC 4.0

Sun MC 4.0 software provides comprehensive monitoring and managing capabilities for Sun hardware
and software products in an enterprise. This release is focused around providing better
user experience, an improved and simplified installation experience, removing the dependency on proprietary
databases, a seamless experience on SPARC and x86 hardware, and detailed hardware monitoring of x86/x64 flagship Sun hardware.

This article explores some of these new features and enhancements available in the
Sun MC 4.0 release relating to administrative ease and flexibility.

The features and enhancements introduced in Sun MC 4.0 are:

  • Generic Config Reader for x86/x64

  • Sun MC console using Java Web Start

  • x86 server layer support and installer enhancements

  • Service tags

  • New integrated browser interface

  • Solaris Container Management enhancements

  • Database migration

Generic Config Reader for x86/x64

Sun MC 4.0 release contains a new standards-oriented configuration reader for Sun x86/x64
hardware. This feature provides monitoring and threshold support for a large number of
Sun x86/x64 servers. The Config Reader is an independent Sun MC agent module
that helps in monitoring power and chassis status, and sensor information such as
temperature, voltage, fan rpm, and LED status.

This module is dependent on the availability of the IPMI tool, which must
have the right interfaces implemented. In the absence of the required interfaces, the
x86 Config Reader add-on output provides the older version output that was released
with Sun MC 3.6.1.

Sun MC Console Using Java Web Start

The Sun MC 4.0 Java Console is launched with Java Web Start through web
browsers. The Java Web Start console is enabled through a script that is
invoked during the current web console setup.

To use the Java Web Start based Sun MC Java console, type
the following address in the browser:


where server-name is the name of the server and http-port is the port number.

x86 Server Layer Support and Installer Enhancements

The enhanced installer installs the Sun MC server layer on x86 hardware as
well as the SPARC platform. It facilitates migration from Sun MC 3.6
and Sun MC 3.6.1 to Sun MC 4.0 through a handsfree installation. Installation also
validates the database version, Sun Web Start console version, and Java version.

The x86 server layer is available on the Solaris 10 11/06 release. The Agent
layer is available beginning with the Solaris 8 release.

Service Tags

Sun MC 4.0 supports the service tags utility. Service tags provide a common
network-based discovery capability to their products. Sun MC server implements Service Tag Registration
interfaces that enable Sun Connection to retrieve the field deployment information about the
Sun MC server and agents and send it back to Sun. These service
tags encapsulate information such as the types of agent, add-ons deployed, server instance,
and the like.

New Integrated Browser Interface

The user interface for Sun MC 4.0 is integrated with the new
Solaris Container Manager 4.0 through a common Sun web console user interface. As a
result, the Container Manager user interface is not available as a separate web
console. This functionality is available as the Manage Solaris Containers tab in the
Sun MC integrated web application. This integration enables smoother integration between the Container
Manager and the Sun MC software.

Solaris Container Manager Enhancements

The Solaris Container Manager 4.0 release delivers a host of new enhancements and
features in the areas of zone management and user interface. Solaris Container Manager
4.0 extends the Solaris Container Manager 3.6.1 framework to support the new zone
management additions in the Solaris 10 OS. The new zone management enhancements for this release

  • Branded Zone (BrandZ) lifecycle management.

    Solaris Container Manager 4.0 enables users to manage branded zones.
    A branded zone is a special zone that can host operating systems other
    than the Solaris OS. Currently, Solaris Container Manager 4.0 supports
    Linux as its guest operating system. All brand management is performed
    through extensions to the current zones structure.

  • Capped memory resource configuration management.

    Solaris Container Manager enables system administrators to control
    the resident set size for a zone. You can configure the following

    • The maximum resident set size for a zone

    • The maximum system swap memory that can be reversed by a zone

    • The maximum locked memory that can be used by processes in a zone

  • Dedicated CPU resource management.

    Solaris Container Manager 4.0 enables you to specify the number of
    CPUs to be dedicated to the zone. This option appears during zone
    creation. Users can specify dedicated CPUs in terms of a specific
    range. For example, for a range of 1-3, 1 and 3 indicate the minimum
    and maximum number of dedicated CPUs. If a dedicated CPU resource is
    configured for the zone, once the zone boots, the zoneadmd command enables
    pools if necessary and creates a temporary pool dedicated for the
    zone's use. The specified number of CPUs are acquired dynamically when
    the zone is booted up and are relinquished when the zone is shut down.
    Once the dedicated CPUs are specified, the user is not allowed to
    specify the CPU shares.

  • Managing other resources such as shared memory limit and scheduling class for zone.

    Solaris Container Manager 4.0 enables the user to select a
    scheduling class during zone creation on the Solaris 10 8/07 OS. If the
    CPU shares are specified, the class is automatically set to FSS in the
    wizard. If dedicated CPUs have been specified, the user is not allowed
    to specify the CPU shares.

    The user can also specify a limit during zone creation as well as while changing the zone configuration.

    The zone creation wizard in Solaris Container Manager 4.0 has also
    been enhanced to accept generic attributes that were not available in
    earlier releases.

  • Persistent zone configuration for the global zone.

    In Solaris Container Manager 4.0, various zone resources can be
    assigned to the global zone that persist across reboots. Container
    Manager enables the users to perform the following tasks:

    • Specify CPU shares for the global zone

    • Specify dedicated CPUs for the global zone

    • Specify capped memory resource configurator for the global zone

    • Specify maximum shared memory

    • Change the pool for the global zone

Database Migration

The Sun MC server layer requires extensive database usage of persistent data for
operational and reporting purposes. Sun MC 4.0 now supports the Postgres database system,
replacing the ORACLE 8.1 database that was supported by all previous Sun MC

Using the Postgres database improves query performance because the partitioning feature is in
the form of inherited tables. Because the Performance Reporting Manager requires the database
to efficiently store and manage large tables, Postgres is an ideal option. Other
benefits of using Postgres as a database are:

  • New command for bulk uploads.

    The Postgres COPY command enables bulk uploads from a text or csv
    file. Performance Reporting Manager requires this feature to
    efficiently insert multiple rows into a database. In earlier releases,
    PRO-C code was used to perform similar operations, which was more
    difficult to maintain.

  • Autovacuum feature.

    The Postgres autovacuum feature enables automated clean-up of blocks
    belonging to deleted data. This feature also analyzes the tables so
    that the latest table and index statistics are available for the
    database optimizer. This feature improves query performance.

  • Allows soft links.

    Postgres uses soft links for tablespace management, which enables
    tablespaces to span across filesystems. Also, moving a tablespace does
    not require complex database operations because the soft link points to
    the right location.

  • Archive mode.

    Postgres supports archive logging, which is a Sun MC supported feature.


For additional information, refer to the following documentation:

Also, refer to the following resources:

Discuss and comment on this resource in the BigAdmin Wiki

Tuesday Oct 09, 2007

Systems Management at CEC in Las Vegas

We have had a great turn out at the Sun Connection & Systems Management
demo booth in the CEC Pavilion. I am told we have been the busiest of
all of the exhibitors. We were packed on Sunday night with three deep.

Our first session breakout session, Sun Connection 2.0/xVM Ops Center
lead by Eran Steiner with help from Bob Lusk broke a record for that room with
147 attendees. Eran did a great job. We had people sitting on the floor
because all the seats were taken.

Dave Tong from our Connected Systems Network Engineering team created a cool video that talks about what we are doing for our next release of Sun Connection & N1 System Manager (merged product) and now names xVM OPS Center. More about that in our next blog. Here is Dave's submission to the CEC Technical Video Challenge:

The following are all of the sessions we will be holding in addition to
the demo booth. I understand at least one of the is already full with
over 140 attendees registered:

Sun Connection 2.0 - Eran Steiner, Sun Microsystems, Inc. Monday
2:15 PM - 3:15 PM 
Bally's Hotel - Las Vegas 7

Patch Management: Facts, Fiction or Religion - Peter Charpentier, Sun
Microsystems, Inc.; Michelle Millar, Sun Microsystems   
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Paris Hotel - Versailles Room 3 & 4

Sun Connection 2.0 - Building out a massively scalable internet-ready
distributed management infrastructure for systems provisioning

updating, and reporting Jean-Dominique Sorace, Sun Microsystems,
Inc.; Nick Stephen, Sun Microsystems, Inc. Tuesday

3:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Bally's Hotel - Bronze Room 3

Sun Service Tags and Sun Connection Inventory Channel - what it can do
for you and how it adds value to the over all customer experience with
Sun - Dave Wood, Sun Microsystems Tuesday
2:15 PM -3:15 PM

Thursday Sep 13, 2007

The Sun Connection Inventory Channel in a Nutshell

So you have a state-of-the-art enterprise data center that employs Sun products and serves clients across the country. Or, you have a mid-tier-sized business that uses a primary storage area network (SAN) and a remote storage location for backup. In either case, you have a number of Sun assets that need to be managed and maintained over time for the system to operate efficiently. Some things to consider are:

  • How to keep track of an ever-changing inventory
  • How to keep your inventory of hardware, firmware, and software up to date
  • How to maintain required licenses and renewals
  • How to easily share data about the system with other asset management tools
  • How to compare the system inventory with that of our vendor

Sun addresses these concerns with a lightweight inventory management tool, the Sun Connection Inventory Channel. This is a free web service for Sun customers to significantly decrease system management costs by automating
the IT inventory process. This allows you to focus more on the priorities of your business.

Some of the ways the Sun Connection Inventory Channel can help you are:

  • Register Sun software and system assets through an easy-to-use  browser interface at a single console with no setup required
  • Organize your assets based on location or business function and use inventory filters to view your product information
  • Generate reports on your products and export your product data to a variety of file formats for use with third party products

 The major elements to the Sun Connection Inventory Channel are:

  • Electronic labeling. The Sun Connection Inventory Channel uses digital identifiers called service tags to register Sun products. Service tags contain basic product information and can be embedded in the product software or firmware. You can download service tags for Solaris 8, 9, and 10. For more information, see the Service Tag FAQ
  • Discovery and registration. Product discovery and registration are done with a wizard-based tool at the Sun Connection Inventory Channel portal.
  • Managing your Sun assets. After discovery and registration, you can use the Sun Connection Inventory Channel to view, organize, manage, and generate standard reports from the data on your Sun products.

To get started, see the Sun Connection Inventory Channel portal. 

Friday Sep 07, 2007

Using Python API scripts with Sun Connection

Did you know that you can use Python API scripts to automate Sun Connection tasks?

There's a new article in BigAdmin, Getting Started With the Sun Connection Satellite Python API,
which describes how to install and configure the Sun Connection Python
API software. It also includes a pointer to sample API scripts for both
the Solaris OS and Linux.

To find more API documentation, including  classes, use the pydoc script. The
pydoc module is bundled with Python and the pydoc script is usually
installed at the same place where the python interpreter is located:

$ cat /usr/sfw/bin/pydoc

import pydoc

Use the pydoc command to get the information that you want.

For Solaris OS

$ pydoc /opt/SUNWuce/api/python/lib/PyOsApi/
$ pydoc /opt/SUNWuce/api/python/lib/PyOsApi/
$ pydoc /opt/SUNWuce/api/python/lib/PyOsApi/
$ pydoc /opt/SUNWuce/api/python/lib/PyOsApi/DataStructures/

For Linux OS

$ pydoc /opt/local/uce/api/python/lib/PyOsApi/
$ pydoc /opt/local/uce/api/python/lib/PyOsApi/
$ pydoc /opt/local/uce/api/python/lib/PyOsApi/
$ pydoc /opt/local/uce/api/python/lib/PyOsApi/DataStructures/

For example, use this command to find the available API classes for the Solaris OS: 
# pydoc /opt/SUNWuce/api/python/lib/PyOsApi/

Thursday Aug 30, 2007

N1 SPS Modeler with NetBeans 6.0

With N1 Service Provisioning System 6.0, we shipped a set of NetBeans plugins called the SPS Modeler for modeling SPS artifacts like plans and components. The SPS Modeler which you can download from here, needs NetBeans 5.5.1 and Enterprise Pack 5.5.1
beta. But, if you want to try out the SPS Modeler on the upcoming Netbeans 6.0, here's what you can do.

Note: Netbeans 6.0 is not a supported platform for the SPS Modeler.

To start off, download and install NetBeans 6.0 Milestone 10 from the NetBeans site. For the SPS Modeler, the basic version of NetBeans (23 MB) is good enough. I am assuming here that you have a JDK 5 installed on your system. This is a significant reduction in download time, since NetBeans 5.5.1 and the Enterprise Pack 5.5.1 Beta collectively take more than 150 MB of download.

Grab the SPS Modeler bits from here. It's free (as is N1 SPS).

Fire up your Netbeans 6.0 M10 and open Tools -> Plugins

Tools Menu 

This will open up the Plugin Manager. Select the Downloaded tab and click on the Add Plugins... button to start installation of the SPS Modeler.

NetBeans Plugin Manager 

Clicking on the Add Plugins... button will bring up a file chooser. Navigate to the directory where you have unzipped the SPS Modeler zip file that you downloaded earlier. Select all the nbm files as shown below and click on the Open button.


The modules are now queued for installation. Click on the Install button to start off the installation.


The NetBeans module installation wizard will start. Accept the relevant options (use the following screen shots as reference).


Ignore the validation warning by clicking on the Continue button.


The SPS Modeler is now installed.

The SPS Modeler causes exceptions to be thrown in Netbeans
6.0 due to API differences between Netbeans 5.5.1 and 6.0. To get rid
of these, you will need to deactivate the Netbeans Profiler which comes
along with NetBeans 6.0. Go to the Installed tab of the Plugin Manager, select the Netbeans
module, right click and click on Deactivate Module option in the context
menu. Follow the steps of the wizard which pops up, to deactivate the


Close the Plugin Manager. You are now all set to start using the SPS Modeler. You can start off by creating a new Basic Project (go to File -> New Project... -> Provisioning -> Basic Project) or if you are totally new to SPS, you can read the online help to get started.

Tuesday Aug 21, 2007

Portable demo and development environment

Today I would like to share with you all my portable demo/development environment. I thought it would be nice to share this and also show how some of the work is being done. First of all, what gear do I have:

  • Toshiba Tecra M5 with 3GB of RAM
  • Solaris Nevada build 69
  • Latest FRKIT to get all the drivers working properly
  • QEMU compiled with the kernel accelerator 

Then I realized that it would be nice to be able to show the real stuff to customer, but also for development so I started to setup the following. I also wanted to make sure that I was running with the GA code of everything and not canned demos or minimized editions of the software. 

With this setup I run Solaris Nevada as the main operating system. After this I have installed and set up QEMU as a PC emulator, where I can install Solaris 10. In this emulated PC where Solaris 10 is running, I install SunConnection 1.1.1, since it is neither running nor supported to run under Nevada. This gives me the ability and possibility to try new patches, patch schemes, downloads, etc etc... Very very useful. If the image would break, I can then just re-install it in a whim. I have allocated 7GB of space for this. QEMU uses a disk image which I can make copies of as backups of my Solaris 10 environment. I can also copy this image to colleagues or to other hardware and then it can run there once QEMU is installed. Very useful tool, to be able to virtualize PCs and using only opensource and freeware tools.

N1 Service Provisioning System:
For N1SPS, I run this inside Nevada with multiple Zones. I have create 2 very sparse zones, which are not even sharing /opt. Then I have installed the RA under /opt2 with SSH. With this I can then easily try and install various setups, re-targets, and of course development of new code. I have also of course the SPS modeler for NetBeans installed so I can easily update and write plugins. I just have to mention that it is completely unsupported to run SPS 6.0 under Nevada. Since these zones are so sparse, they can also be quickly re-installed in case of issues or so. It takes a total of 30 minutes to setup the entire environment.

I am now working on installing and setting up SunMC 4.0 beta on my laptop also to test and develop a bit. I have not decided to do this with QEMU or directly inside Nevada. The main idea behind all of this is to be able to travel and not rely on machines in a datacenter. Mobility is the key here.

Happy developing and demoing,




Tuesday Aug 07, 2007

N1 SPS 6.0 Goes Live

The N1 SPS 6.0 release is now available for download. This new release includes several features that a few of you have been waiting for, including:

  • User Interface Enhancements, including integrated task flows and wizards for creating plans, components, and containers
  • N1 SPS Modeler, a NetBeans module that enables you to create N1 SPS components, plans, and plug-ins in your NetBeans IDE
  • Plan Variable Sets, enabling you to capture plan execution information, as well as other common plan parameters, as a complete variable set
  • UNIX <reboot> Step, allowing you to include reboot instructions in your execution plans
  • User Name and Password Constraints, giving you the option to specify the minimum character length, maximum character length, and acceptable character set for you N1 SPS user names and passwords
  • Linux RPM Installers, allowing you to install the Master Server and Command Line Interface client as Linux RPM packages
  • Native Call Cancel on Timeout, enabling you to use the <execNative> and <execJava> elements to perform a remote procedure call (RPC) and terminate code that is running on a remote agent
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux Workstation 3 Update 5 Support
  • JDK Upgrade to include version 1.5
  • PostgreSQL Upgrade to include version 8.1

This new release also includes the new features first introduced in the N1 SPS 5.2 Update 2 release:

  • Import/Export Bundles, enabling you to copy N1 SPS artifacts (plans, components, etc.) between master servers as bundles
  • Dynamic Targetting, allowing you to use variable substitution on a component targeter.
  • Installed Components Display Commands, enabling you to list installed components and their dependencies with the cdb.ic family of commands
  • Unrestrictive Host Locking, enabling you to customize the locking behavior for your hosts while executing plans

Get Started With N1 SPS 6.0

  1. Download the software here
  2. Download the N1 SPS Modeler here.
  3. Install the software by following the instructions.
  4. Learn more about N1 SPS.


Friday Jul 27, 2007

Handy N1 SPS Import-Export Feature

The N1 Service Provisioning System just got a lot easier to use,
thanks in part to a great new import-export feature. Now, you can very
simply copy a whole raft of artifacts at once between your SPS master
servers. You can roll a bunch of SPS artifacts up into what's called a "bundle
" on, say, master servers your test environment. What SPS artifacts might these be? They might be things like host types,
components, component types, folders, and any plans you want. 
And you can then get access to these SPS artifacts from another master server. How is this done? Well, you declare a list of  "search criteria" that
represent these SPS artifacts. This list of search criteria forms the bundle template. For example, a bundle template might contain criteria for searching for component types and plans. Then, with a few simple clicks, you can save this bundle template, and export it into a bundle jar. On another master server, import that bundle jar. Once you've imported the bundle jar to a master server, the SPS artifacts are now held on that master server. This means of course that you can easily copy several SPS artifacts from one master server to another, which is great for testing things out before putting them in live environments. This new feature will make things easier for those customers who want to really be able to test complex things out on in one or several SPS environments before going live. Learn how to do this using the command line. This feature is already available through the command line in the recent N1 Service Provisioning System 5.2 Update 2 release. In the upcoming N1 Service Provisioning System 6.0 release, you can also use this feature through the new, improved browser user interface.

Tuesday Jul 24, 2007

Sun Connection and SunGDD

What is  SunGDD ? It is a project to help customer deliver the correct debug information back to Sun in case there are any bugs or issues. This is not Explorer. These scripts are product oriented and unique per product.

So SunGDD is now in the works to be released for Sun Connection 1.1 and 1.1.x. This is a screenshot of the help page:

This is the helpscreen
Usage: ./ [options]
  -collect                Collect Data
  -debugAgent             Enable Agent Debug
  -debugServer            Enable Server Debug
  -debugEngine            Enable Engine Debug
  -debugAll               Enable Debug for All
  -restoreAgent           Restore Agent Debug
  -restoreServer          Restore Server Debug
  -restoreEngine          Restore Engine Debug
  -restoreAll             Restore Debug for All
  -h or -help             Print this Information.

At least one option is mandatory or the script will just exit.

So the script will help to enable and restore debug levels of the product and then be able to collect all the needed logfiles, configuration files and other miscellaneous data that can help Sun with any kind of problem that may happen with the product.

Stay tuned for release date!!

Peter Charpentier
SysNet Field Enablement Team

Monday Jul 16, 2007

Marley's day at the dog park

Steve Wilson challenged us to put yourselves on YouTube. While I'm not ready to post videos of myself, I am ready to put my dog out there. This really happened, so it seems like a good place to start.

Marley and I were at the dog park a couple of weeks ago and I was chatting with Sue while our dogs played. When she learned that I work at Sun, she asked me about Sun Connection's Inventory Channel. She wanted the inside scoop. We talked for quite awhile and I thought that we'd covered everything. I was surprised when Sue tracked me down at work the next morning (impressive, since she hadn't written down my name or number) and set up an impromptu conference call with one of her co-workers. We went through everything that we talked about at the park, and more.

What is Sun Connection's Inventory Channel?
It's a new web-based service that you can use to register one or more of your eligible IT assets at the same time, and then use it to manage your registered inventory.

How does registration work?
If Sun Service Tags are embedded in your software, hardware, or storage devices, you can register them. Service tags are very lightweight and don't do anything on their own, you control the registration.
To register:

  1. Get the Product Registration Manager.
  2. Go to the Inventory Channel and click Discover Now to find out what's available for registration. You can define the scan parameters, such as scan your local subnet, or enter specific subnets, host names, or IP addresses.
  3. Log in to the Inventory Channel with your Sun Online Account ID and select the product or products you want to register, then click Next to complete the registration.
  4. View your registered assets in the Inventory Channel. If you want to track other information, edit the asset details.

That's it. Once registered, you can group the assets and then export the information in an XML, CSV, or PDF format. Just what the boss wants, without manually updating a spreadsheet ...and, it's free. No cost, nada!

Get more information here, or check out this screen cast to learn how to manage and organize your registered assets.
Want to see Marley in action? Check out his YouTube video.

See you at the park!
Marley and Laura





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