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.

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,




Wednesday May 30, 2007

JavaOne Technology Roundup

In case you missed this year's JavaOne conference, I thought I'd throw in a word about our demo. We had a booth at the pavilion, and built a great exhibit of our systems management technologies.

The systems were all located in our Santa Clara campus, while we performed remote administration from downtown San Fran. We worked with a variety of mid-range servers: V240, X4100 and a T2000. We set up three logical groups of servers, with each group targeted to different jobs: Infrastructure, Test and Production.

We started with the N1 System Manager. We used  it for "bare metal provisioning"... loading an OS profile onto a bunch of clean systems. Working with a base OS, we created a bunch of Solaris zones to provide independently manageable application hosting environments. (BTW, we also automated zone creation with the Solaris Container Manager)

N1 SM demo


Next, we used Sun Connection for OS patching. Sun Connection simplifies patch management on a bunch of Solaris,Red Hat or SuSE systems. Depending on your needs, you can install standard patch baselines or create a custom mix of patches and config files.

Sun Connection 

After that, we used the N1 Service Provisioning System. N1 SPS is often used for advanced application provisioning... not only does it let you install software to one or many systems, you can also configure the installation on a server-by-server basis. In this case, we installed Sun's App Server, then added a JavaServer Faces application.


To round things out, we used the Sun Management Console to monitor the application. Sun MC can monitor a wide range of values on a server, from hardware all the way down to installed software. In this case, we monitored the application server configuration, looking at Web traffic, resource pool configuration... and of course the Web application itself.



Friday Apr 13, 2007

N1SPS and Sun OTP

What is Sun OTP?

Sun OTP is a Carrier Grade platform for NEP application development, deployment and hosting that leverages commercial off-the-shelf components. OTP is also about automating deployments, and also admin procedures and runbooks.

Where does N1SPS come into play then. Well, N1SPS is one of the foundational components inside Sun OTP to be the driver and to orchestrate software deployments, upgrades and rollbacks. It also facilitates the life-cycle-management of the software.

So imagine the following scenario. I am a large Telco and I develop a lot of software. I have a lot of customers but having a hard time controlling the deployments and the software life cycle. The installation requires a lot documentation and the chance of doing something wrong is pretty high. Having someone to read, follow and execture, a 200+ steps installation guide for x number of systems... Well something is bound to go wrong.

So we have then developed and produced some foundational work with N1SPS to facilitate this. The customer can then just click on the piece of software needed, and then N1SPS knows if it is an upgrade or fresh install. It can also split the deployment to keep track on progress and if the deployment needs to be restarted from a specific point in time. The customer only needs to fill out a screen with parameters and then these will be used when the software is deployed. This will get the errors down, like human mistakes but also keep track on all the different steps needed while deploying.

The other benefit is that all this data can then later be harvested so that I, as Large Telco, knows of how things are deployed, when and by who. I can also write collection plans and scripts through N1SPS that can be used to collect information regarding this.

This is just one of the recent areas where N1SPS has been used with great success, and N1SPS is now being used as a building block for large scale NEP solutions.

Thursday Apr 12, 2007

Introduction of the Sun Connection Field Enablement Team Weblog

This is the introduction of the Sun Connection Field Enablement team weblog. My name is Bob Lusk and I work in the Sun Software organization for Steve Wilson. Steve is our vice president in charge of the Connected Systems Network organization. Perhaps you have seen his weblog,

I run a group called Field Enablement. This group consists of subject matter experts on the key life cycle management technologies from the Connected Systems Network organization. These technologies are Sun Connection (formerly known as Aduva OnStage or Sun Update Connection Enterprise), Sun MC (Sun Management Center), N1 SPS (N1 Service Provisioning System) and N1 SM (N1 System Manager).

My team works with the field and customers to provide assistance with implementations as well as to drive mindshare & adoption, information sharing, road shows and conferences. In addition to this we create all of the training for these products which includes instructor led and web based. Other responsibilities include creating best practices around the implementation and usage of the Connected Systems Network technologies. Our goal of this weblog is to be able to share information with Sun employees and our customers who have either implemented these products or will implement them in the future. We also want to provide important information around training and other key enablement activities. You can expect regular updates to this weblog from members of my team.

Sun Connection at JavaOne - For those of you who may be attending the upcoming JavaOne conference in San Francisco, May 8-11, my team will be running a demo booth where you will get a chance to see Sun Connection and the other Connected Systems Network technologies at work. We will show all the products while we walk through a story line. The following is a preview of what you might see:

1.) We start out the demo at the very beginning. With Sun Netbeans up and running, Devman can see his new WizBang web application within the IDE. In the same location he can see the deployment plans and components needed to not only push out his new application to the web tier, but also all the plans and components to stand up the application layer on newly provisioned boxes.

2.) Devman needs some equipment. So he logs into the N1 System Manager BUI and clicks over to the "Spare Pool" logical group. He knows no one is using these boxes because they are in the Spare Pool. He checks to make sure the hardware is healthy via a quick click through. Devman creates a logical group called JavaONE and moves the systems he wants into it. He then drags and drops the OS images on top of the group.

3.) Devman's company is not into wasting money. With just 2 physical boxes, Devman can test his application content on 6 new app servers running n the same exact configuration on 6 virtual OSs. Now that the Sun Management Center agent has been installed on the systems, they appear in the Solaris Container Manager BUI. Devman needs to create some whole root Solaris zones. He quickly copies an existing zone definition from a production server over to these boxes for provisioning via the Sun Container Manager BUI.

4.) Once OS provisioning is completed, which also installed the Sun Connection 1.1 agent, the systems appears in the Sun Connection BUI. Next we will show there is an Acme Inc. patch base line that needs to be deployed to the box. The compliancy reports show the boxes are in violation of this. Devman now runs the job to bring them up to date on OS, java, and application patches.

5.) Devman now turns to the N1 Service Provisioning System BUI. With a simple mouse click he is into the JES deployment plan. He can quickly modify the variable set to meet the needs of his deployment. He can also deploy his new content up to the freshly installed JES application stack.

6.) Now that the application is up and running in QA, Devman needs to understand if his new content is adversely effecting the system. For this he turns to Sun Management Center to look through the Halcyon JES app server module, the JDK 1.5.x remote monitoring module, and the overall system utilization health. He looks for any open alarms and the Performance Reports over the last week.

7.) All QA tests and performance is good. Devman decides to push his content to the production JES app servers via N1 Service Provisioning System with a single click. He is assured it will be the exact same configuration used in QA via this method.

If you are at JavaOne we hope you can make it by our booth. In the meantime we will be getting more postings up on this weblog and perhaps even a brief video preview.




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