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Friday Spotlight: Running Oracle Linux as a Logical Domain on SPARC

Jeff Savit
Product Management Senior Manager

Oracle recently announced Oracle Linux 6 Update 7 (SPARC) available as a developer release for the benefit of developers and partners. Now you can install Oracle Linux in a guest domain under Oracle VM Server for SPARC managed by Oracle VM Manager or OpenStack.

A simple installation in a logical domain could look like the following commands, which define a simple guest domain with 4 CPU cores (32 virtual CPU threads), 32GB of RAM, a single  network device, and a virtual disk and the install iso image. The virtual disk is a file in a ZFS dataset, which makes it easy to later make snapshots and golden image clones. The domain is set to not boot from media when started, giving you the opportunity to look at the domain environment from the "ok" prompt:

primary # ldm add-domain ols
primary # ldm set-core 4 ols
primary # ldm set-mem 32g ols
primary # zfs create rpool/export/home/ldoms/ols
primary # mkfile -n 32g /ldoms/ols/disk0.img
primary # ldm add-vdsdev /ldoms/ols/disk0.img olsroot@primary-vds0
primary # ldm add-vdisk boot olsroot@primary-vds0 ols
primary # ldm add-vdsdev /export/home/OL-SPARC/OL-201703262026-R6-U7-sparc-dvd.iso oliso@primary-vds0
primary # ldm add-vdisk iso oliso@primary-vds0 ols
primary # ldm add-vnet pvid=123 eth0 primary-vsw0 ols=
primary # ldm set-variable auto-boot\?=false ols

The domain can be bound and started (ldm bind ols; ldm start ols). It's convenient to use a separate terminal window for the virtual console. Since auto-boot is disabled, we can issue commands to view the guest domain environment before booting the OS.

SPARC T5-2, No Keyboard
Copyright (c) 1998, 2016, Oracle and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
OpenBoot 4.38.6, 32.0000 GB memory available, Serial #xxxxxxxx.
Ethernet address 0:14:4f:f8:96:25, Host ID: xxxxxxxx.
{0} ok devalias
boot                     /virtual-devices@100/channel-devices@200/disk@0
iso                      /virtual-devices@100/channel-devices@200/disk@1
eth0                     /virtual-devices@100/channel-devices@200/network@0
net                      /virtual-devices@100/channel-devices@200/network@
disk                     /virtual-devices@100/channel-devices@200/disk@1
virtual-console          /virtual-devices/console@1
name                     aliases
{0} ok boot iso
Boot device: /virtual-devices@100/channel-devices@200/disk@1  File and args:
                             GRUB Welcome to GRUB!
                          GNU GRUB  version 2.02~beta3
 |*Install linux using text mode (use DHCP)                                   |
 | Install linux using VNC (graphical) mode (use DHCP)                        |
 | Rescue mode (use DHCP)                                                     |
 |                                                                            |
 |                                                                            |
 |                                                                            |
      Use the ^ and v keys to select which entry is highlighted.          
      Press enter to boot the selected OS, `e' to edit the commands       
      before booting or `c' for a command-line.                           
   The highlighted entry will be executed automatically in 0s.                 


Powering up the guest domain is very fast, since it doesn't have to probe physical hardware as in a bare metal environment. The install process is much like on installing on x86, as is the procedure for setting up the network identity. Note that the virtual disk will be named  /dev/vdiskX (starting with /dev/vdiska) and the first network device will be named 'eth0'.

Multiple instances of Oracle Linux can run in guest domains alongside Oracle Solaris guests, making it easy to efficiently share SPARC servers with different OS environments as needed. The Oracle VM Server for SPARC provides high performance virtualization with security and isolation, and provides full access to SPARC's Software in Silicon features like DAX. The control domain used to administer the server can be either Solaris or Oracle Linux, providing flexibility to meet customer needs and preferences.

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