Thursday Mar 20, 2008

Moving on

As of March 14th, I am no longer with Sun.   Please visit my new blog for all updates.

Thursday Jan 24, 2008, offline, BAD, mmkay?

A warning and complaint to all:

Offline support in in 10.5.1 (and 10.5.0) is a DISASTER!
Actions performed offline (filing) DO NOT get synced when you connect
back up. Further, every time you send a message it warns you that
you're not connected! I lost 2 hours of email work on the plane.
Apparently only 50% of the 40 emails I sent actually found their way
out, I can't tell what is what, and who has seen whom. It's a disaster.
DO NOT USE for offline.

darn it.

Monday Jan 21, 2008

Mac Software Bundle

Yes, it appears to be a bad deal for the developer. It's a great deal for the user though.

The MacHeist software bundle takes 14 apps and sells them for 90% off - $49 total. And that's a real discount - not some ginzu knife discount. I personally had purchased 1passwd in the past for the indicated price. I've already received my money's worth - Snapz Pro X is a great way to do screencasts, and costs $69 alone.

Ensuring they are buzzword compliant, they also have a viral marketing aspect - refer people to recieve additional software. Clearly they're roped me in to it. Finally, it's marketing genius that they give 25% of the order to charity - help you assuge your guilt somehow? Turn buying into a community action? Either way, it's really worth checking out, and taking advantage of. The deal ends Wednesday.

Referral link - MacHeist
Direct link - MacHeist

Thursday Jan 17, 2008

We're hiring

As we continue to ramp up, invest more, and kick ass with Sun xVM, we need some great people to join the team. I've got three open reqs posted, and the team in general has way more. We can use any and all help.

Since job postings are often a little hard to decode, I thought I'd help by giving the blunt skinny on each of my jobs:

  • Virtualization Management Product Manager
    I'm looking for a senior, kick-ass product manager. You've been doing this for a while. You live and breathe customers and requirements. You've been in the system management space, you're hooked on virtualization, you think it's going to change the way systems are run. Maybe you're at a big company, and tired of being one of a hundred on a team. You want a leadership position, to have a MASSIVE impact on the direction a hot new product is going.
  • Sun xVM Product Marketing
    You are a writing machine. You blog (or twitter, or tumblr, or whatever), you write whitepapers, you grok what's going on, and you want to make sure that everyone else out there does too. You might be a bit more junior, looking to make an impact, or you are seasoned and ready to take over and control. Either way, you know how to talk the talk, and more importantly write the content. Messaging, value prop, customer presos, you've got them all down so pat it's scary.
  • Business Lifecycle Product Manager
    Numbers mean something. The only way to know how the product is doing is to follow the metrics. Sales is the king - they bring home the bacon, and you're here to make sure that this product is MOVING. You're detailed oriented, like process, and live to view the business side of a product. Technical depth is not required, but a passion for following the business is.

Go ahead, take a look at these jobs, and either apply or pass them on to someone else! Each one of these is going to make a HUGE impact on the group, on Sun, and frankly on enterprise systems as a whole.

Tuesday Dec 04, 2007

Open Sourcing Sun xVM Ops Center 1.0

As the first product from Sun to be released under a GPLv3 license, there's a ton of interest and questions coming up around our Ops Center open source plans. Consider this blog post my attempts to help answer any questions. I'll queue up a podcast in a few weeks to discuss the open source process and what we're doing with Ops Center as well. Please let me know any questions you want answered. What we're open sourcing
  • The agentry infrastructure, AKA "CAC" or Common Agent Code. CAC is the basis and building block for the agent itself. This is the first component to be open sourced, and will be available on OpenxVM December 10, 2007
  • The agent itself. The agent does the actual work. The agent sits on each managed operating system instance
  • The proxy server. The proxy server provides both scalability and network efficiency. It has an embedded DB and a web server.
  • The satellite server. This is the main act - where all the UI is performed, the logic, and everything that makes ops center so great.

When we're open sourcing it

Turns out, open sourcing code is hard work. We need to scrub the code for 3rd party, copyright, encumbrances, etc. We need to pull out any non-relevant information. We need to do the actual physical process of getting code outside our firewall. We need to deal with lawyers. All of which means, it takes a while. We've been working on it for a few months, and we'll keep working on it for a few more.

Net net - we're going to do this in phases. To start, we're releasing the aforementioned CAC on December 10th. This is both a sign of good faith, plus demonstrate our commitment. It gives people a set of code they can start to evaluate and play with, and help expand some of the functionality. As we continue to get the code base approved and in process, we'll then be in place to release the entire product open source by 2Q 2008 (that's calendar year, not silly Sun financial year)

What about xVM server?

It's already open source! xVM is integrated into every nevada build now. We're working tightly with the community, and developing this further all the time.

If I missed anything, let me know via email or the comments. I'll either update this post, do another one, or even add it to my next xVM unscripted podcast!

Monday Dec 03, 2007

Sun xVM Ops Center 1.0

With the stroke of midnight, Sun xVM Ops Center 1.0 is launched to a joyous world.

So what is it? It's a highly scalable datacenter management platform that runs across cross-platform Linux and Solaris OS-based x86 & SPARC systems to help customers improve efficiency, and save time & money by:

  • Better managing datacenter consolidation, keeping guest OSes up-to-date and monitoring for virtual assets on a network
  • Automating provisioning & updating OS instances (Solaris & Linux) to increase availability & utilization & minimize downtime
  • More effectively deploy, manage and monitor security and compliance in IT operations, either locally or remotely

You can see the features here, click the image for a bigger version.

There's a huge amount of cool stuff in here, but one of the enhancements we've put in place that I'm most excited about is the new network architecture. It's cool for a few reasons:

  1. Firewall friendly. All communication is up and out, and it's all XML over HTTPS. So what? This means that the agent talks to the proxy, the proxy to the satellite. And it's all over the same ports that your network admin already has open, and is managing. No custom firewall rules, no custom network config, no painful installations!
  2. Scalability. You can now have hundreds of agents talking to each proxy, and hundreds of proxies talking to each satellite. Put a different proxy in each location, or use multiple in one location to really scale into the thousands of nodes.

So go ahead, check it out!

Wednesday Oct 31, 2007

It lives, it lives!


A huge group of people have pulled off the impossible. They have managed to release a developer preview of Open Solaris in October. 8:32PM PST 10/31 shall go down in history!

I immediately downloaded and ran the image in VMware Fusion 1.1RC1 on my 24" Santa Rosa iMac. Booted fast, and I was running. LIVE CD! Hooray! Ran the installer, enjoyed myself a trivial process, and waited ~20 min for it to finish.

Sadly, there is some weird weird bug that I've run into before that all the recent solaris builds, including Opensolaris exhibit - they hang/take forever to boot. Waited ~5 min and it finally started it's thing. Sure enough, it's got a nice bash shell, it's snappy, firefox works, the package system seems to have packages, and it's even running ZFS by default! I was even going to drop the output from "zfs list" here, but realized without VMware tools there's no easy way to copy/paste between opensolaris and OSX, and I'm not in the mood to type it all in, nor FTP/SCP it around. So trust me, or just run it yourself!

Took the mandatory screen shot too:

Saturday Oct 27, 2007

Spotlight, now with usefulness added in too!

Upgraded to Leopard last night. (BTW, drove by the Palo Alto Apple store on the way home, where there was a ~100 person line @ 6 waiting for the store to reopen. For an OS. Apple, please rub some juju on me too). As you can imagine, there are thousands of people pontificating all over the web. I haven't seen anyone cover the one change that means the world to me: Spotlight and mail.

Previously, searching for mail was tedious. My standard M.O. involves remembering that Steve sent me an email with a presentation in it, but not really remembering anything else. It used to be, I created a "smart folder" for email from steve, then searched that folder for emails to me or that contained a presentation. Not exactly useful.Now, just type: "from:steve to:oren odp" (yeah, I use neooffice/staroffice) and I've got my results. This is the way google desktop, MSN desktop, and even ancient Lookout search all worked. It's been the ONE thing I've really missed in my switch to a mac, and now it's here! I'm such a loser - but this made the $120 upgrade totally worth it. Doesn't hurt that spotlight is now blazing fast too.

Thursday Oct 18, 2007

Too smart for your own good

I came up with a ridiculous title and comment for a previous post, but couldn't bring myself to use it. I can't bring myself to delete it either. So here it is. Yes, I'm a loser.

ameliorating erudition via the disambiguation of conjoined concepts

please excuse the adoxography by a clear logastellus

(thanks to this long word dictionary)

Wednesday Oct 17, 2007

Recursive VM

Recently decided to try out VMWare ESX.
  • ESX offers two management interfaces, a desktop client or a browser interface. Neither support the Mac.
  • It looks like you must use the "Virtual Infrastructure Client", a windows app, to get started using ESX
  • Took me a little bit to figure out how to get ESX running inside Fusion. had some good pointers. Watch out if you're copying from the web for "smart quotes". Curly quotes will crash VMware right quick

The results: a really silly screenshot. What, you may be asking, is that? It would be Joomla appliance from rPath running on ESX running on Fusion, with the VI client running on Windows running on Fusion. It worked amazingly well, though joomla booting was a bit slow - about 30 min.

In case you're wondering, the key lines to add/edit in the vmx file are:

scsi0.VirtualDev = "lsilogic"
ethernet0.virtualdev = "e1000"
monitor_control.restrict_backdoor = TRUE
monitor_control.vt32 = TRUE

Tuesday Oct 16, 2007

Macgyver your way out of darkness

I totally need to break down at night and try this. Not that I ever carry a pencil. Or would want to rip out the speaker wire from my car. Maybe I'll just make sure to carry a flashlight with me instead.

Monday Oct 15, 2007

Transparency into confusion

Be careful of the windows you look through - sometimes you won't be happy with what you see. Sun has posted review widgets on our site for a few months now. In keeping with our blog philosophy and our open source culture, it makes sense to solicit feedback direct from the source. One of the keystones of a review is a fair basis of understanding - the reviewer knows and understands what it is they are reviewing. So what do you do when that breaks down?

One of my products, Sun Connection has had a spate of bad reviews recently. As soon as they came up, we looked closely at each one. And each one has the same problem - it's not for the product that we have listed! To a tee, every review was really feedback on a feature in Solaris that provides single system patch updates, confusingly called Sun Update Connection (vs this product - Sun Connection). Sun Connection is an enterprise patch management tool that works across Linux, zLinux and Solaris systems. Sun Update Connection is a simple interface into downloading patches from Sun for a single machine.

Choice reviews inlcluded such pointed feedback as:

  • Extremely buggie product. It hangs very often and sometimes is very difficult to put the tool working again.
  • I will never use Sun again. I have been migrating my business and my customers from Solaris to Linux. This is absurd. No more patch clusters. Register for this. Register for that. Sun used to be a great company. No more. I can't get security updates without remembering my username for this, my username for that. Ubuntu and Debian, here we come!
  • While the GUI is nice in theory, I hate it. It gives no feedback on what it is doing and which machine it is doing it on. I would much rather have a CLI based method that give proper feedback and syslogging. Plus updatemanager is unreliable
  • Unusable. Would much rather download clustered patches, which doesn't seem to be an option anymore

Ouch. Frankly though, fair. All these comments point out very real deficiencies in the built in patch management tools with Solaris. They also point out frustration with our patch policy. What they don't point out is any feedback on the product the reviews show up on - Sun Connection, our enterprise patch management tool. Clearly, this is our (SMI's) fault. We haven't done a good enough job naming and describing our products, we haven't communicated out patch policy well, and we apparently haven't given customers enough options on how to use the system. We're working aggressively on addressing all of these - with Project Indiana, launching new products and restructuring the web site.

In the meantime, we've taken the reviews down off our product page. I want to apologize - this is a failing of my team that we've needed to do this, and we're working overtime to relaunch our pages with a clearer delineation on what exactly our products are. The point of the reviews is to help spark the conversation, and keep it open even among the disenfranchised. Reviews will return soon (before the end of the calendar year). In the meantime, please take advantage of the comments, and let's have a discussion on the issues and merits of our products! We know we're not perfect, and we do want to make it better!

Wednesday Aug 22, 2007

Managed EC2

I'm fairly obsessed with Amazon EC2. Some of the coolest stuff I've seen people doing:

Tuesday Aug 21, 2007

SXCE B70 & Vmware?

I eagerly downloaded build 70 of SXCE last night. I've been curious to try out the new installer I've been hearing about for some time.

Good news: the install was as easy as I could have hoped. It's pretty, not ugly motif, seems to work well, didn't ask me inane questions.

Bad news: first, it was slow. 1+ hour. Second, I installed this into VMWare fusion with a 20gb disk and 1gb ram allocated. Install went fine, but now I can't actually boot the thing! I get the GRUB screen, then nothing - just a blank console with a blinking cursor. Bummer.

Edit: Rumor here is that there's a bug in SXDE, I'll post as soon as I find out if it's fixed.

Monday Aug 20, 2007

This can't be good

Take the Transformers Quiz

That can't be good. I'm not evil...



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