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. 

SunConnection:
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.
 

Future:
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,

Peter


 

 

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.

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