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Monday 31 December 2012

Press Review #18

Here is a little press review mostly around Oracle technologies and Solaris in particular, and a little lot more:

Best Practices for Building a Virtualized SPARC Computing Environment

This best practices guide provides a solution for a SPARC virtualized environment that hosts general computing workloads.

The Role of Oracle Solaris Zones and Linux Containers in a Virtualization Strategy

In the previous two articles of this series, we covered Oracle VM Server for SPARC and Oracle VM Server for x86, which provide hypervisor-based hardware virtualization. Now, we will cover the operating system level of virtualization, which is one type of software virtualization, by looking at Oracle Solaris Zones and Linux Containers.

Using rrdtool to graph vmstat output - a worked example

rrdtool is a fantastically brilliant command to have in your toolbox. Up there with awk, grep, sed, Apache, ksh, and nmon (of course). It is used to save data in a fixed size "database", does cascade summation of older data to keep the data volume down, it can extract the data across any period and then it can quickly generate impressive .gif file graphs from the data - which are perfect for displaying on a webserver.

Compiling for T4

I've recently had quite a few queries about compiling for T4 based systems. So it's probably a good time to review what I consider to be the best practices.

Solaris 11 pkg fix is my new friend

While putting together some examples of the Solaris 11 Automated Installer (AI), I managed to really mess up my system, to the point where AI was completely unusable. This was my fault as a combination of unfortunate incidents left some remnants that were causing problems, so I tried to clean things up. Unsuccessfully. Perhaps that was a bad idea (OK, it was a terrible idea), but this is Solaris 11 and there are a few more tricks in the sysadmin toolbox.

ZFS fundamentals: transaction groups

I’ve continued to explore ZFS as I try to understand performance pathologies, and improve performance. A particular point of interest has been the ZFS write throttle, the mechanism ZFS uses to avoid filling all of system memory with modified data.

Local, Near, Far part 12 - I have a 10 core POWER7 chip, eh!

Previously I said the POWER Hypervisor decides where to put a Virtual Machine (VM/LPAR) based on the Virtual Processor number (spreading factor). Well, apart from it nearly being right ... I was actually wrong! I got talking to one of these very impressive Hypervisor developers in Germany and he put me right.

USENIX LISA 2012: Performance Analysis Methodology

At USENIX LISA 2012, I gave a talk titled Performance Analysis Methodology. This covered ten performance analysis anti-methodologies and methodologies, including the USE Method. I wrote about these in the ACMQ article Thinking Methodically about Performance, which is worth reading for more detail. I’ve also posted USE Method-derived checklists for Solaris- and Linux-based systems.

Shared Storage Pools 3 and Systems Director 6.3.2

The new VIOS Shared Storage Pools 3 (SSP3) arrived a month ago and I have all my VIOS updated now to VIOS plus fixes. This brings with it the regular VIOS improvements but also new features for SSP3 including...

Oracle affiche de forts bénéfices et loue l'apport de Sun Microsystems

Concernant Sun Microsystems, racheté par Oracle il y a trois ans pour 7,4 milliards de dollars, Larry Ellison, le PDG d'Oracle, estime que « Sun s'est avéré être l'une des acquisitions les plus stratégiques et rentables que nous n'ayons jamais fait ». Une affirmation basée sur la forte rentabilité d'Oracle sur les systèmes d'ingénierie et sur l'impact de Sun sur la croissance de ses activités matérielles, qui perdent pourtant en chiffre d'affaires.

Ops Center Solaris 11 IPS Repository Management: Using ISO Images

With Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c, you can provision, patch, monitor and manage Oracle Solaris 11 instances. To do this, Ops Center creates and maintains a Solaris 11 Image Packaging System (IPS) repository on the Enterprise Controller. During the Enterprise Controller configuration, you can load repository content directly from Oracle's Support Web site and subsequently synchronize the repository as new content becomes available.

Of course, you can also use Solaris 11 ISO images to create and update your Ops Center repository.

Using Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center to Update Solaris via Live Upgrade

This Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center blog entry provides tips for using Ops Center to update Solaris using Live Upgrade on Solaris 10 and Boot Environments on Solaris 11.

Locating WWPNs on Linux servers

I do a lot of storage-related work, and often times need to grab WWPNs to zone hosts and to mask storage. To gather the WWPNs I would often times use the following script on my RHEL and CentOS servers...

The USE Method: SmartOS Performance Checklist

The USE Method provides a strategy for performing a complete check of system health, identifying common bottlenecks and errors. For each system resource, metrics for utilization, saturation and errors are identified and checked. Any issues discovered are then investigated using further strategies.

In this post, I’ll provide an example of a USE-based metric list for use within a SmartOS SmartMachine (Zone), such as those provided by the Joyent Public Cloud.

Resolving Duplicate disk/device entries in “vxdisk list” or vxdisksetup

One fine morning I had a undertaking to replace the disk which was part of VxVM. Easy enough – just another routine stuff [...] Everything you do or don’t do has an inherent risk !!!

Weird issue with VERITAS after replacing the disk

When performing a disk replacement in VxVM 4.1 and VxVM 5.0, the disk being replaced does not show up in the output of a "vxdisk list" command. Instead a "NONAMEs2" entry is seen...

Announcement: DTrace for Oracle Linux General Availability

Today we are announcing the general availability of DTrace for Oracle Linux. It is available to download from ULN for Oracle Linux Support customers.

"getent hosts" on IPv4/IPv6. Linux vs. Solaris

"getent hosts (server name)" is typically run when one wants to check whether /etc/nsswitch.conf is correctly set up. I recently found differences between Linux and Solaris when it tries to find IPv4/IPv6 addresses.

What's up with LDoms: Part 6 - Sizing the IO Domain

By now, we've seen how to create the basic setup, create a simple domain and configure networking and disk IO. We know that for typical virtual IO, we use vswitches and virtual disk services to provide virtual network and disk services to the guests. The question to address here is: How much CPU and memory is required in the Control and IO-domain (or in any additional IO domain) to provide these services without being a bottleneck?

zfsday: ZFS Performance Analysis and Tools

At zfsday 2012, I gave a talk on ZFS performance analysis and tools, discussing the role of old and new observability tools for investigating ZFS, including many based on DTrace. This was a fun talk – probably my best so far – spanning performance analysis from the application level down through the kernel and to the storage device level.

My background with ZFS includes leading various performance work for the world’s first ZFS-based storage appliance at Sun Microsystems and later Oracle, and now further analysis and tuning as Joyent’s lead performance engineer where we run a public cloud on ZFS. Given the risk of other tenants (noisy neighbors) interfering with your performance, I can’t imagine running a cloud on anything else. This talk includes the tools and tuning we use to make sure ZFS runs smoothly.

Friday 30 November 2012

Press Review #17

Here is a little press review mostly around Oracle technologies and Solaris in particular, and a little lot more:

OS Analytics - Deep Dive Into Your OS

Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center provides a feature called "OS Analytics". This feature allows you to get a better understanding of how the Operating System is being utilized. You can research the historical usage as well as real time data. This post will show how you can benefit from OS Analytics and how it works behind the scenes.

Solaris 11.1: Changes to included FOSS packages

  1. Solaris 11 can update more readily than Solaris 10
  2. Core OS Functionality
  3. Developer Stack
  4. Desktop Stack
  5. Detailed list of changes

debugging IO calls in Solaris 11 with kstat

Solaris 11 update 1 was released just a few days ago and I have been curious to find out about new features. One of the things mentioned in the What’s-New guide that caught my attention were “File System Statistics for Oracle Solaris Zones”. Until now, there was no way to tell which zone was responsible for how much IO. [...] This is where these new kstat statistics for each filesystem type in each zone come in handy.

My splitvg Went Splat (updated)

A couple of years ago I wrote about the splitvg command. This takes a volume group (VG) that has been mirrored using mirrorvg, and effectively breaks off one copy of the mirror, turning it into a point-in-time snapshot. The snapshot can then be used for reports, backups or for building a new database. I'm not sure how much this is used in the real world these days, but if you are still doing your backups this way, perhaps it's time to revisit the strategy.

Can Oracle REALLY Increase Throughput by 6x?

During some SPARC road map discussions, a particular anonymous IBM POWER enthusiast inquires:

"How... are 192 S3 cores going to provide x6 throughput of 128 SPARC64-VII+ cores?"

Unexpected advantage of Engineered Systems

It's not surprising that Engineered Systems accelerate the debugging and resolution of customer issues. But what has surprised me is just how much faster issue resolution is with Engineered Systems such as SPARC SuperCluster. These are powerful, complex, systems used by customers wanting extreme database performance, app performance, and cost saving server consolidation.

What's up with LDoms: Part 5 - A few Words about Consoles

Back again to look at a detail of LDom configuration that is often forgotten - the virtual console server.

25 Years of SPARC, 20 Years of Solaris

Faster Memory Allocation Using vmtasks

What is vmtasks, and why should you care? In a nutshell, vmtasks accelerates creation, locking, and destruction of pages in shared memory segments.

Introducing RedPatch

The Ksplice team is happy to announce the public availability of one of our git repositories, RedPatch. RedPatch contains the source for all of the changes Red Hat makes to their kernel, one commit per fix and we've published it on

Patching a miniroot image (astuce)

Petite astuce pour la mise à jour kernel d'un miniroot Solaris 10. Mais avant de commencer, parlons un peu du contexte. Lors d'une migration p2v d'un serveur Sparc vers une Ldom, j'ai rencontré l'erreur suivante lors de l'extraction de l'archive flar.

Oracle Solaris: Zones on Shared Storage

One of the significant new features, and the most significant new feature related to Oracle Solaris Zones, is casually called "Zones on Shared Storage" or simply ZOSS (rhymes with "moss"). ZOSS offers much more flexibility because you can store Solaris Zones on shared storage (surprise!) so that you can perform quick and easy migration of a zone from one system to another. This blog entry describes and demonstrates the use of ZOSS.

IBM POWER 7+ Better Late than Never?

Just announced, via TPM at The Register, is the ability to provision an IBM p260 with new POWER 7+ processors!

Automatic Storage Tiering

Automatic Storage Tiering or Hierarchical Storage Management is the process of placing the most data onto storage which is most cost effective, while meeting basic accessibility and efficient requirements. There has been much movement over the past half-decade in storage management.

Looking "Under the Hood" at Networking in Oracle VM Server for x86

Normally, you configure Oracle VM Server for x86 networking with the Oracle VM Manager GUI. The GUI simplifies administration, speeds deployment, and reduces the chance of configuration errors. Hiding the implementation details using the GUI has its benefits, but here on the Oracle Technology Network, we like to expose the heart of the machine; it's not only interesting, but it can help you troubleshoot problems that might arise.

Oh my god, it's full of threads ... and out of memory

This is for the people with the really large systems (however thread wise a T4-2 or T4-1 can be really large systems). Imagine you have dozens to hundreds of zones. All with thousands of threads. Or you have an extreme number of ZFS pools ... with all their zpool processes and a lot of zones with a lot of processes.

Solaris x86 sur serveur Dell (gamme PowerEdge Rxx0)

Petit article sur la configuration du déport Console Série et des interruptions NMI sur les serveurs Dell (gamme PowerEdge Rxx0).

VIOS SEA Failover flapping on backup SEA

Why is the backup SEA adapter of my SEA failover flapping from Primary to Backup repeatedly?

Consommation CPU & Gestion mémoire (1er partie)

Première partie d'une analyse effectuée sur un système Solaris 10 exécutant plusieurs bases de données Oracle. Les symptômes remontés par l'équipe DBA sont les suivants : temps de réponse long sur plusieurs bases.

Logical Domains Manager (v

Oracle have release Oracle VM for SPARC 3.0 (LDOM).

Tuesday 30 October 2012

Press Review #16

Here is a little press review mostly around Oracle technologies and Solaris in particular, and a little lot more:

What's up with LDoms: Part 4 - Virtual Networking Explained

In this article, we'll have a closer look at virtual networking. Basic connectivity as we've seen it in the first, simple example, is easy enough. But there are numerous options for the virtual switches and virtual network ports, which we will discuss in more detail now. In this section, we will concentrate on virtual networking - the capabilities of virtual switches and virtual network ports - only. Other options involving hardware assignment or redundancy will be covered in separate sections later on.

Best Practices - which domain types should be used to run applications

One question that frequently comes up is "which types of domain should I use to run applications?" There used to be a simple answer in most cases: "only run applications in guest domains", but enhancements to T-series servers, Oracle VM Server for SPARC and the advent of SPARC SuperCluster have made this question more interesting and worth qualifying differently. This article reviews the relevant concepts and provides suggestions on where to deploy applications in a logical domains environment.

Power Champions! POWER7+ is here!

Finally, I got the invite to join the Power Champions. Three days of news and information before today's announcements . It has been quite an experience - finally hearing the news directly from the developers, project managers, etc. rather than only reading several stack of slides.

Oracle Announces Oracle Solaris 11.1 at Oracle OpenWorld

Adds Unique Oracle Database Support, Extends Cloud Infrastructure Capabilities and Delivers New Security and Compliance Features for Highly Available Enterprise Application Deployments.

Announcing Oracle Solaris 11.1

This document highlights some of the many changes that have occurred since the introduction of Oracle Solaris 11 11/11. It should be read in conjunction with the release notes and documentation for the product.

IPS changes in Solaris 11.1, brought to you by the letter ‘P’

I thought it might be a good idea to put together a post about some of the IPS changes that appear in Solaris 11.1. To make it more of a challenge, everything I’m going to talk about here, begins with the letter ‘P‘.

Measurement artifact

The application was throughoutly instrumented by means of something i will call "middleware" and so the customer thought he was able to see how long a job on the system took and how much CPU was used.

However the numbers were strange: High throughput, short time to complete the job, however the CPU time used for a job looked strange. Something in there was something wrong with the CPU times. Just a guess. A feeling. Not really knowing.

Doubled memory capacity on T4-4

There is only one thing that's better than a lot of memory in a system: More memory! So it's quite nice that there is a new memory options with the T4-4 system. You can now plug 32 GB DIMMS into the systems. The T4-4 can now hold 2 TB of main memory.

SPARC Processor Roadmap Updated

The updated SPARC Processor Roadmap is now available here. The roadmap provides data on the M-series,l the T-series and the T-4 series from 2011 through 2016. During that period the M-series is scheduled to add up to 10x throughput; and the T-series an additional 4.5x throughput. Thread strength is also set to increase in both series through that period. Dates are also outlined for expectd updates to Solaris 10 OS and Solaris 11 OS.

Disks lie. And the controllers that run them are partners in crime.

Most applications do not deal with disks directly, instead storing their data in files in a file system, which protects us from those scoundrel disks. After all, a key task of the file system is to ensure that the file system can always be recovered to a consistent state after an unplanned system crash (for example, a power failure). While a good file system will be able to beat the disks into submission, the required effort can be great and the reduced performance annoying. This article examines the shortcuts that disks take and the hoops that file systems must jump through to get the desired reliability.

Solaris 11.1 announced

Solaris 11.1 have been announced and will be released later this month. It is the first update of Solaris 11 since it release november last year. It contains a few interesting features, I've only list a few, over 200 projects have integrated into this release.

SPARC T5, M4 and SPARC64-X

Short summary of SPARC processor information that was disclosed at Oracle world, in the near future Oracle will release two different SPARC processors and Fujitsu will release a new SPARC64 processor with support for LDOM.

nicstat update - version 1.92

Another minor nicstat release is now available.

Solaris 11 SRU / Update relationship explained, and blackout period on delivery of new bug fixes eliminated

  • Relationship between SRUs and Update releases
  • Changes to SRU and Update Naming Conventions
  • No Blackout Periods on Bug Fix Releases

Active Benchmarking

Benchmarking is often done badly: tools are run ad-hoc, without understanding what they are testing or checking that the results are valid. This can lead to poor architectural choices that haunt you later on. I previously summarized this situation as: casual benchmarking: you benchmark A, but actually measure B, and conclude you’ve measured C.

How to Update to Oracle Solaris 11.1 Using the Image Packaging System

This article details the steps required to update your Oracle Solaris 11 11/11 systems to Oracle Solaris 11.1 using the Image Packaging System (IPS).

Morgan Stanley chooses Solaris 11 to run cloud file services

I came across this blog entry and the accompanying presentation by Robert Milkowski about his experience switching from Linux to Oracle Solaris 11 for a distributed OpenAFS file serving environment at Morgan Stanley.

IDC Recommends Oracle Solaris 11

IDC published a research report this week on Oracle Solaris 11 and described it as "Delivering unique value." The report emphasizes the ability of Oracle Solaris to scale up and provide a mission critical platform for a wide variety of computing. Solaris built-in server and network virtualization helps to lower costs and enable consolidation while reducing administration costs and risks.

How to Migrate Your Data to Oracle Solaris 11 Using Shadow Migration

Data migration is a fundamental building block of an Oracle Solaris 11 adoption strategy. This article describes shadow migration, which is a technology for moving large amounts of data from one file system to another while the data remains online and accessible to users.

Oracle rolls up and rolls out Solaris 11.1 update

Tweaked Solaris Cluster 4.1 system lasher tags along

Solaris 11, which debuted a year ago, was the first major release of the Unix operating system that spans Sparc, Sparc64, and x86 iron to come out since the former Sun Microsystems launched Solaris 10 in January 2005. Oracle had previewed some of the features in Solaris 11.1 and today it put the code into the field and gave some more details on the nips and tuck and tweaks in the update.

Using svcbundle to Create SMF Manifests and Profiles in Oracle Solaris 11

This articles covers a new utility introduced in Oracle Solaris 11.1, svcbundle, and shows how developers and administrators can use it to integrate their applications with SMF more quickly.

How to Migrate Oracle Database from Oracle Solaris 8 to Oracle Solaris 11

How to use the Oracle Solaris 8 P2V (physical to virtual) Archiver tool, which comes with Oracle Solaris Legacy Containers, to migrate a physical Oracle Solaris 8 system with Oracle Database 10.2 and an Oracle Automatic Storage Management file system into an Oracle Solaris 8 branded zone inside an Oracle Solaris 10 guest domain on top of an Oracle Solaris 11 control domain.

Announcing Release of Oracle Solaris Cluster 4.1!

We are very happy to announce the release of Oracle Solaris Cluster 4.1, providing High Availability (HA) and Disaster Recovery (DR) capabilities for Oracle Solaris 11.1. This is yet another proof of Oracle's continued investment in Oracle Solaris technologies such as Oracle Solaris Cluster.

Solaris 11.1: Encrypted Immutable Zones on (ZFS) Shared Storage

Solaris 11 brought both ZFS encryption and the Immutable Zones feature and I've talked about the combination in the past. Solaris 11.1 adds a fully supported method of storing zones in their own ZFS using shared storage so lets update things a little and put all three parts together.

Monday 1 October 2012

Press Review #15

Here is a little press review mostly around Oracle technologies and Solaris in particular, and a little lot more:

Pre-rentrée Oracle Open World 2012 : à vos agendas

A maintenant moins d'un mois de l’événement majeur d'Oracle, qui se tient comme chaque année à San Francisco, fin septembre, début octobre, les spéculations vont bon train sur les annonces qui vont y être dévoilées... Et sans lever le voile, je vous engage à prendre connaissance des sujets des "Key Notes" qui seront tenues par Larry Ellison, Mark Hurd, Thomas Kurian (responsable des développements logiciels) et John Fowler (responsable des développements systèmes) afin de vous donner un avant goût.

UPDATED: Volume Group Missing After AIX Migration

A customer did a migration from AIX 5.3 to 6.1 and then called me to report a strange set of symptoms. Some file systems didn't mount following a reboot. When the file systems in the volume group (let's call it datavg) went to mount, they returned the error that there was no such device. If the customer ran an exportvg and an importvg, all the datavg file systems became available. But then another reboot was done and the datavg file systems didn't mount.

Oracle Optimized Solution for Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure — Implementation Guide for SPARC

This white paper describes the implementation details for an Oracle Solaris Could build around SPARC T4 and ZFS SA, with all the latest development of Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c. It covers both Zones (Branded, S10, S11), and LDOMs (OVM for SPARC) directly managed through Ops Center.

Systems Director - What Licences should I have?

I have long thought it is rather silly that IBM Systems Director can't give you a list the licenses that you should have! It does, after all, know what machines it is controlling and the data is in the database. Perhaps, that will come in the future. What can we do in the short term?

Oracle SPARC SuperCluster and US DoD Security guidelines

I've worked in the past to help our government customers understand how best to secure Solaris. For my customer base that means complying with Security Technical Implementation Guides (STIGs) from the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). I recently worked with a team to apply both the Solaris and Oracle 11gR2 database STIGs to a SPARC SuperCluster. The results have been published in an Oracle White paper.

Best Practices - Dynamic Reconfiguration

This post is one of a series of "best practices" notes for Oracle VM Server for SPARC (formerly named Logical Domains)

Oracle VM Server for SPARC supports Dynamic Reconfiguration (DR), making it possible to add or remove resources to or from a domain (virtual machine) while it is running. This is extremely useful because resources can be shifted to or from virtual machines in response to load conditions without having to reboot or interrupt running applications. For example, if an application requires more CPU capacity, you can add CPUs to improve performance, and remove them when they are no longer needed. You can use even use Dynamic Resource Management (DRM) policies that automatically add and remove CPUs to domains based on load.

Secure Deployment of Oracle VM Server for SPARC - updated

Quite a while ago, I published a paper with recommendations for a secure deployment of LDoms. Many things happend in the mean time, and an update to that paper was due. [...] In a very short few words: With the success especially of the T4-4, many deployments make use of the hardware partitioning capabilities of that platform, assigning full PCIe root complexes to domains, mimicking dynamic system domains if you will.

Get Unique Access to SPARC Product Strategy and Best Practices at Oracle OpenWorld 2012

Product strategy, real-world best practices, and customer panels devoted to Oracle’s SPARC servers and related technology are among the highlights of the upcoming Oracle OpenWorld 2012, taking place from September 30 to October 4 in San Francisco.

The first Oracle Solaris 11 book is now available

The first Oracle Solaris 11 book is now available: "Oracle Solaris 11 System Administration - The Complete Reference", by Michael Jang, Harry Foxwell, Christine Tran, and Alan Formy-Duval.

Introducing Oracle System Assistant

One of the challenges with today's servers is getting the server up and running and understanding what all of the steps are once you plug the server in for the first time. So many different pieces come into play: installing drivers, updating firmware, configuring RAID, and provisioning the operating system. All of these steps must be done before you can even start using the server.

ZFS Articles @nexenta

This category contains articles that describe the various aspects of ZFS, the Zettabyte file system. ZFS was originally developed by Sun Microsystems, and open sourced thru the OpenSolaris project, and now maintained at

DTrace Guide @illumos

DTrace is a comprehensive dynamic tracing framework for the illumos™ Operating System. DTrace provides a powerful infrastructure to permit administrators, developers, and service personnel to concisely answer arbitrary questions about the behavior of the operating system and user programs. The illumos Dynamic Tracing Guide describes how to use DTrace to observe, debug, and tune system behavior. This book also includes a complete reference for bundled DTrace observability tools and the D programming language.

By 2015, engineered systems would account for over 30% of physical hardware shipments

Upbeat over Exalogic's global uptake, Andrew Lau, Senior Director, Oracle Exalogic - Asia Pacific, discussed the organization’s strategy to leverage the acquired hardware expertise and extend the Exa family.

Le Sparc64 X : prochain moteur des serveurs d'entreprises d'Oracle ?

A Hot Chips, Fujitsu a dévoilé les spécification de sa puce Sparc64 X, une puce aux performances détonnantes qui pourrait bien être le fameux processeur M4 mentionné par Oracle dans ses roadmap. Un processeur censé motoriser une nouvelle ligne de serveurs Unix haut de gamme à la fin 2012...

Oracle hurls Sparc T5 gladiators into big-iron arena

Oracle's Sparc processor server biz may be bleeding revenue, but the company is still working on very innovative chips. Its Sparc T series, and the Sparc T5 systems that will launch later this year (very likely at the OpenWorld trade show at the end of September) suggest the company is growing its multithreaded processors in terms of cores and sockets and pushing up into the big iron space.

Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.2 narrows gap with VMware, Parallels

Many people feared that Oracle would kill off VirtualBox after it acquired Sun Microsystems, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, it's been a little over a year since the last major release was announced, and Oracle is once again pushing the virtual ball forward with a major release of Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.2.

VirtualBox Finds the Meaning of Open Source Life with Version 4.2

Oracle over the last two years has expanded VirtualBox to make it the easiest solution for anyone on Linux, Window, Mac or Solaris to get a baseline level of guest operating system virtualization up and running quickly.

What's New in Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.2?

A year is a long time in the IT industry. Since the last VirtualBox feature release, which was a little over a year ago, we've seen:

  • new releases of cool new operating systems, such as Windows 8, ChromeOS, and Mountain Lion;
  • we've seen a myriad of new Linux releases from big Enterprise class distributions like Oracle 6.3 and Solaris 11, to accessible desktop distros like Ubuntu 12.04 and Fedora 17;
  • and we've also seen the spec of a typical PC or laptop double in power.

All of these events have influenced our new VirtualBox version which we're releasing today. Here's how...

So You Want To Build a SPARC Cloud

Did you ever wish you could get the industrial strength power of UNIX/RISC with the flexibility of cloud computing? Well, now you can! With recent advances from Oracle it's possible to build an incredibly high-performance, flexible, available virtualized infrastructure based on Solaris and SPARC. Here's the recipe!

POWER Double Stuff vs SPARC Critical-Thread

Computing processor models differ in architecture from one company to another, each trying to gain an edge in the market over their competitors. Often, chip foundries will attempt radical approaches to conquer a problem, but incremental improvement will often bring radical ideas back to similar conclusions in the end. A comparison between SPARC and POWER architectures is no different.

Oracle forces wesunsolve to close

In another blow against the community and the people who work with or/and have interest in their products Oracle now has forced to close.

Current SPARC Architectures

If an application targets a recent architecture, then the compiler gets to play with all the instructions that the new architecture provides. The downside is that the application won't work on older processors that don't have the new instructions. So for developer's there is a trade-off between performance and portability.

A Return to Linux on the Workstation

Up until about 30 days ago my primary workstation ran some variety of Solaris for nearly 10 years, starting with Solaris 9 when X86 became viable on X86, then OpenSolaris and the various Solaris Express releases and finally Solaris 11 Beta. It was one month ago today that I finally re-installed it with Ubuntu, returning me to Linux officially.

Friday 31 August 2012

Press Review #14

Here is a little press review mostly around Oracle technologies and Solaris in particular, and a little lot more:

SPARC Servers: An Effective Choice for Efficiency in the Datacenter

Agility can also be added to their IT operations through more rapid application rollout and an easy means to move services around in a highly available, secure, and scalable environment. A new generation of SPARC servers, based on SPARC T-Series processors, provides a wider portfolio of hardware and software features that can be leveraged to dramatically improve efficiency and agility.

Migrate to Oracle’s SPARC Systems

Keeping up with changing market conditions can be a challenge. Enterprises are looking for ways to cut costs and streamline their business operations. So when it's time to migrate off your aging servers, consider how Oracle's SPARC systems, software, and solutions can protect your legacy application investment, improve IT efficiency and services.

It's good when it goes wrong and I am on holiday (nmon question peaks)

I have never really understood why I get peaks and troughs in nmon questions and urgent situations but July seems to be a peak and fortunately I was not at work for a large part of it. Performance and nmon Questions trend to come in three flavours: really dumb, genuine and mega-urgent critical lets blame the hardware. Let me give you a flavour of each type of question from the last month. Perhaps, reading these will let you avoid the same problem or at least let you learn "you are not alone".

Enabling 2 GB Large Pages on Solaris 10

Giri Mandalika wrote an article how to use the 2 gigabyte page size offered by T4 systems on Solaris 10: "Enabling 2 GB Large Pages on Solaris 10". This can be really useful if you have an application allocating really large amounts of memory. The more memory a single page covers, the smaller the the translation tables from virtual to physical memory gets, the higher the hit rate of the translation lookaside buffer. However check out your application if it behaves well with such large pages.

CIS Solaris 11 Benchmark v1.0.0

This document is intended to address the recommended security settings for the Solaris 11 operating system (Solaris 11 OS) running on x86 or SPARC platforms.

Coming from RHEL to Oracle Solaris? Need help?

With Oracle Solaris 11 development, one of the primary goals was to greatly modernize the operating system and make it easier to use, remove some of the uneccessary differences between the two operating systems, and remove some of the frustrations that people have had. I believe we've done exactly that with the introduction of Oracle Solaris ZFS as the default root file system, the Image Packaging System (IPS) and much more familiar installation experiences with the LiveCD and interactive text installer. It's now even easier to approach Oracle Solaris, install it into a virtual machine and give it a spin!

Best Practices for Securely Deploying the SPARC SuperCluster T4-4

Oracle's SPARC SuperCluster T4-4 is a high performance, multipurpose engineered system designed, tested, and integrated to run a wide array of enterprise applications. It is well suited to many different tasks including database and application consolidation, running multitier enterprise applications, and multitenant application delivery. To realize secure architectures such as these, the SPARC SuperCluster platform offers a level of security synergy not often found in today's IT architectures. Its engineering innovation and high degree of integration provide a security potential that is truly greater than the sum of its individual components.

Oracle Solaris 11 Developer Webinar Series

Who should attend? Application developers and administrators who want to learn how they can deploy Oracle Solaris 11 in their application environment.

Introducing the Basics of Service Management Facility (SMF) on Oracle Solaris 11

The Service Management Facility (SMF), first introduced in Oracle Solaris 10, is a feature of the operating system for managing system and application services, replacing the legacy init scripting start-up mechanism common to prior releases of Oracle Solaris and other UNIX operating systems. SMF improves the availability of a system by ensuring that essential system and application services run continuously even in the event of hardware or software failures. SMF is one of the components of the wider Oracle Solaris Predictive Self Healing capability.

Advanced Administration with the Service Management Facility (SMF) on Oracle Solaris 11

This article covers some more-advanced administrative tasks with SMF, including an introduction to service manifests, understanding layering within the SMF configuration repository, and how best to apply configuration to a system. To learn more about SMF, check out a variety of content at the SMF technology page on Oracle Technology Network.

Are you entitled to the latest AIX 5.3 Service Pack?

There are a lot of organisations out there that are still running AIX 5.3. As you must know, AIX 5.3 is out of support. That doesn't stop you updating to the latest Technology Level (TL 12). But you may not be entitled to the latest Service Pack (SP 6). If you're staying with AIX 5.3, then you have a choice of being supported; unsupported (but legal), or unsupported and illegal!

How I Use the Advanced Capabilities of Btrfs

This article continues an exploration of Btrfs, looking into the more interesting—and sometimes less obvious—features of Btrfs, such as redundant configurations, data integrity options, compression, snapshots, and performance enhancements.

nmon Analyser Version 3.4 = Just Released, Get Your Copy Today

Stephen Atkins (the Guru behind the nmon Analyser) has released a new version - two days ago. This includes loads of improvements and some new features. Best of all - less problems running on newer Excel releases (it works around inconsistencies with the Microsoft API).

How to Create Oracle Solaris 11 Zones with Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center

Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c manages Oracle hardware, virtualization technologies, and operating systems that are deployed in traditional, virtualized, and cloud environments. This article describes how you can use it to create and configure Oracle Solaris 11 zones.

Upcoming SPARC CPUs

The upcoming Hot Chips symposiums "Big iron" session will feature two future SPARC processors...

The Role of Oracle VM Server for SPARC In a Virtualization Strategy

Overview of hardware and software virtualization basics, and the role that Oracle VM Server for SPARC plays in a virtualization strategy.

Tuesday 31 July 2012

Press Review #13

Here is a little press review mostly around Oracle technologies and Solaris in particular, and a little lot more:

future of AIX is my future too?

Maybe all what is required is to have HMC “gui” designers to download a copy of “virtual box” or VMWare in order to get some inspiration? Maybe it is time to stop repeating how great AIX is and to return to the drafting board to make AIX and its components match the times (2012) we live in? It is not 1990 any more. I am with AIX since 3.2.5 and I have not seen any improvement in its access and control methods. Why? Are we perfect already?

Delegation of Solaris Zone Administration

In Solaris 11 'Zone Delegation' is a built in feature. The Zones system now uses finegrained RBAC authorisations to allow delegation of management of distinct zones, rather than all zones which is what the 'Zone Management' RBAC profile did in Solaris 10.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux to Oracle Solaris Porting Guide

The purpose of this document is to enable developers to resolve issues faced during the migration of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) applications to Oracle Solaris 11. The document describes similarities and differences between the two environments in terms of architecture, system calls, tools, utilities, development environments, and operating system features. Wherever possible, it also provides pointed solutions and workarounds to address the specific porting issues that commonly arise due to implementation differences on these two platforms.

Which Tool Should I Use to Manage Which Virtualization Technology?

A summary of the interfaces and tools that sysadmins can use to set up and manage virtual server, operating system, network, and storage resources from Oracle. This article surveys the interfaces and tools that sysadmins can use to set up and manage virtual compute, memory, operating system, network, and storage resources from Oracle.

Some Insight Into Those Future Power7+ Processors

A few weeks ago, I told you that IBM was getting ready to start talking about its future Power7+ and System zNext processors at the Hot Chips conference at the end of August.

What's up with LDoms: Part 3 - A closer look at Disk Backend Choices

In this section, we'll have a closer look at virtual disk backends and the various choices available here. As a little reminder, a disk backend, in LDoms speak, is the physical storage used when creating a virtual disk for a guest system. In other virtualization solutions, these are sometimes called virtual disk images, a term that doesn't really fit for all possible options available in LDoms.


This documentation is intented to any Solaris sysadmin who wish to install from scratch an Automated Installer Server.

This document covers the installation of a SPARC client using AI from start to finish, including post-install configuration and os-specific basic configuration.

As the oracle documentation is spreaded accross a lot of different documents, I decided to write my own HOWTO to setup an AI server...

How I Got Started with the Btrfs File System for Oracle Linux

This article describes the basic capabilities that I discovered while becoming familiar with the Btrfs file system in Oracle Linux, plus the instructions I used to create a file system, verify its size, create subdirectories, and perform other basic administrative tasks.

One More Power Systems Roadmap For The Road

In last week's issue of The Four Hundred, I walked you through some Power processor and systems roadmaps that I was able to find out there on the Intertubes, as well as some specifics about the forthcoming Power7+ processors, which are due to come to market between now and the end of the year. I accidentally left one of the roadmaps I stumbled upon out of last week's story.

Tips for Hardening an Oracle Linux Server

Oracle Linux provides a complete security stack, from network firewall control to access control security policies. While Oracle Linux is designed "secure by default," this article explores a variety of those defaults and administrative approaches that help to minimize vulnerabilities.


Oracle ASMlib on Linux has been a topic of discussion a number of times since it was released way back when in 2004. There is a lot of confusion around it and certainly a lot of misinformation out there for no good reason. Let me try to give a bit of history around Oracle ASMLib.

The post-RAID era begins

The post-RAID (noRAID) era has begun. While RAID arrays aren’t going away, the growth is elsewhere, and corporate investment follows growth.

How to Manage ZFS Data Encryption

Oracle Solaris 11 adds transparent data encryption functionality to ZFS. All data and file system metadata (such as ownership, access control lists, quota information, and so on) are encrypted when stored persistently in the ZFS pool.

Saturday 30 June 2012

Press Review #12

Here is a little press review mostly around Oracle technologies and Solaris in particular, and a lot more:

How to Set Up a Load-Balanced Application Across Two Oracle Solaris Zones

This article describes how to combine the built-in Integrated Load Balancer (ILB) with Oracle Solaris Zones and the new network virtualization capabilities of Oracle Solaris 11 to set up a virtual server on a single system. This article starts with a brief overview of ILB and follows with an example of setting up a virtual Apache Tomcat server instance. You will need a basic knowledge of Oracle Solaris Zones and networking administration.

How to Use Oracle VM Templates

This article describes how to prepare an Oracle VM environment to use Oracle VM Templates, how to obtain a template, and how to deploy the template to your Oracle VM environment. It also describes how to create a virtual machine based on that template and how you can clone the template and change the clone's configuration. As an example, the article uses a template for Oracle Database that contains two disk images: an Oracle Linux system image and an Oracle Database image.

NUM_PARALLEL_LPS for AIX and for PowerHA

This logical volume has stale partitions, so sync it. Doing 4 stale partitions at a time seems to be a win most of the time. However, we will honor the NUM_PARALLEL_LPS value in /etc/environment, if set.

DTrace in the zone

So with these three changes, I am relieved to report that DTrace is now completely usable in the non-global zone — and all without sacrificing the security model of zones! If you are a Joyent cloud customer, we will be rolling out a platform with this modification across the cloud (it necessitates a reboot, so don’t expect it before your next scheduled maintenance window); if you are a SmartOS user, look for this in our next SmartOS release; and if you are using another illumos-based distro (e.g., OpenIndiana or OmniOS) look for it in an upcoming release — we will be integrating these changes into illumos, so you can expect them to be in downstream distros soon. And here’s to DTrace in the zone!

What happened to the MAUs on T4?

Besides being much faster than its predecessors, the T4 also integrates hardware crypto acceleration so its seamlessly available to applications, whether domains are being used or not. Administrators no longer have to control how they are allocated - it is available to all CPUs and virtual environments without any administrative effort.

FOSS Support In Oracle Solaris

Support of Free and Open Source Software in Oracle Solaris is described inside a knowledge article [ID 1400676.1], which can be found inside My Oracle Support (MOS). This knowledge article is the most definitive source of information concerning FOSS support in Oracle Solaris and shall be used by Oracle Solaris customers.

Virtualise Storage with Style: Shared Storage Pools

The team from IBM's Advanced Technology Support, Europe have done it again! Their free Webinar Series on Power Systems Virtualisation from IBM has another contribution from Nigel Griffiths, (a.k.a. Mr NMon). This presentation is on Shared Storage Pools from Experience - a kind of walk through of where the rubber hits the road. On the PowerVM Virtualisation Webinar Series Wiki, scroll down to Session 13: Shared Storage Pools ... from Experience.

Best Practices - Core allocation

SPARC T-series servers currently have up to 4 CPU sockets, each of which has up to 8 or (on SPARC T3) 16 CPU cores, while each CPU core has 8 threads, for a maximum of 512 dispatchable CPUs. The defining feature of Oracle VM Server for SPARC is that each domain is assigned CPU threads or cores for its exclusive use. This avoids the overhead of software-based time-slicing and emulation (or binary rewriting) of system state-changing privileged instructions used in traditional hypervisors.

Oracle Solaris Zones Physical to virtual (P2V)

This document describes the process of creating and installing a Solaris 10 image build from physical system and migrate it into a virtualized operating system environment using the Oracle Solaris 10 Zones Physical-to-Virtual (P2V) capability.

Networking in VirtualBox

Networking in VirtualBox is extremely powerful, but can also be a bit daunting, so here's a quick overview of the different ways you can setup networking in VirtualBox, with a few pointers as to which configurations should be used and when.

Vendors, Systems, Processors, and Vendors Update

Hot Chips 24: A Symposium on High Performance Chips is right around the corner, and the agenda looks pretty exciting.

Upgrading a very, very, very old VIOS

This is the epic of the upgrade for the Virtual I/O server (VIOS) from version 1.4 to version 2.2.

Fragmentation de l'Intimate Shared Memnory (ISM)

Petit compte rendu sur un problème de performance que je viens de rencontrer sur un serveur Solaris Sparc avec une base de donnée Oracle. Le contexte étant le suivant : temps de réponse dégradés suite au reboot du serveur. Bien entendu, aucun changement entre les deux reboot et pourtant l'application fonctionne moins bien qu'avant.

Workload Partition (WPAR) - Answers

This week I spent 4 hours with a customer covering many advanced WPAR topics and took way a bunch of questions that I had to check the answers and ask the WPAR developers themselves to be sure I had the right answers. If the questions were not clear to my customers and I did know initially know the answers then there may be others with similar issues so I thought I would share the answers with everyone.

Workload Partition (WPAR) - Sharing filesystem Global AIX to WPAR

From the Global AIX, I can add a filesystem to /wpars/WPARname/directory so the WPAR has access but what if I don't want to have the filesystem mounted there in the Global AIX?

POWER System Firmware Warnings & Red Lights on the Dashboard

Earlier today I received email from a customer reporting their large POWER7 based machines where on firmware 720_64 to 720_90 and their reluctance to take the outage to upgrade it. They were asking for fine details of newer firmware levels and what advantages this would bring to "justify the outage to their user departments".

Breaking the telnet addiction with netcat

After many years of use it’s become almost second nature to type ‘telnet ’ when I need to see if a system has TCP port open. Newer systems no longer install telnet by default.

To extreme micro-partition or to Workload-Parttion, that is the question?

So I got asked, just as an example configuration which forces lots of workload per CPU:
Given a 16 CPU POWER machine and a need to run 100 workloads, would I recommend 100 LPARs or 100 WPARs?

Oracle VM Server for SPARC on YouTube

What's up with LDoms: Part 1 - Introduction & Basic Concepts

LDoms - the correct name is Oracle VM Server for SPARC - have been around for quite a while now. But to my surprise, I get more and more requests to explain how they work or to give advise on how to make good use of them. This made me think that writing up a few articles discussing the different features would be a good idea.

What's up with LDoms: Part 2 - Creating a first, simple guest

In the first part, we discussed the basic concepts of LDoms and how to configure a simple control domain. We saw how resources were put aside for guest systems and what infrastructure we need for them. With that, we are now ready to create a first, very simple guest domain. In this first example, we'll keep things very simple. Later on, we'll have a detailed look at things like sizing, IO redundancy, other types of IO as well as security.

Magic Quadrant for x86 Server Virtualization Infrastructure

Oracle VM moves into Challenger Position in Gartner x86 Server Virtualization Infrastructure Magic Quadrant Report.

Présentation Automated Installer, TechDay Solaris 11, Guses, par Bruno Philippe

Friday 1 June 2012

Press Review #11

Here is a little press review mostly around Oracle technologies and Solaris in particular, and a lot more:

T4 Crypto Cheat Sheet

Processors for: AIX, HP-UX, and Solaris

How to Set Up a Cluster of x86 Servers with Oracle VM 3

Step-by-step instructions for using Oracle VM 3 to set up a cluster of highly available Sun x86 servers.

How to Set Up Automated Installation Services for Oracle Solaris 11

How to get started creating, customizing, and configuring systems using Automated Installer in Oracle Solaris 11.

Independent Analyst Documents Significant ROI for Oracle Support Option

Organizations can see a 43 percent positive ROI over three years with Oracle Premier Support for Systems, Oracle’s comprehensive support program for server and storage hardware, according to a new study conducted by Forrester Consulting and commissioned by Oracle.

Oracle Launches Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c

Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c, which is now included with Oracle Premier Support on SPARC servers, allows you to accelerate mission-critical cloud deployment; unleash the power of Oracle Solaris 11, the first cloud operating system; and simplify Oracle engineered systems management.

Optimize Your Data Center with Oracle’s SPARC Servers and Oracle Solaris 11 Operating System

See how Oracle’s SPARC servers and Oracle Solaris 11 operating system can provide the highest reliability, scalability, virtualization, and security, along with the greatest choice of applications.

White paper: A Technical Overview of Oracle’s SPARC SuperCluster T4-4

Linux Cost Calculator

Oracle Linux vs. Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Free 30-Day Trial of Ksplice Zero Downtime Uptime for Red Hat Enterprise Linux Customers

Take back your weekend and say goodbye to lengthy maintenance windows for kernel updates. With Ksplice, you can install kernel updates while the system is running.

Capacity Planning and Performance Management on IBM PowerVM Virtualized Environment

As a capacity planner, I have to be proficient in virtualization techniques and latest happening in this space. Last year I got an opportunity to work on IBM’s power systems. Being from Solaris/Linux background it was quite difficult in the beginning to grasp the terminologies as they are different from Oracle VM, Solaris logical domains. So I decided to learn it and get comfortable with it. My paper is a result of my efforts in that direction.

So, what makes ZFS so cool? (Part I: high level overview)

Don't get me wrong, ZFS is really cool. But it isn't exactly new technology, it's been around for a while now, the first implementations in 2003, included in Solaris 10 since S10 Update 2 in 2006. Everyone has heard about it being awesome, but every now and then I get the question for details: So tell me, what really makes ZFS so cool?

Tips for Maintaining Oracle Solaris 11 Systems with Support Repository Updates

The Oracle Support Repository contains a number of bug fixes and critical security fixes that can be applied to existing Oracle Solaris 11 installations helping to ensure that systems run without a hitch in the data center. The Support Repository is updated on a monthly basis, and these updates are called Support Repository Updates (SRU). Unlike Oracle Solaris Update releases, which include a wide range of new operating system features, the Oracle Support Repository is available only to systems under a support contract and includes a smaller set of critical changes.

building an appliance? physical ? virtual? production quality? use Oracle Linux

One Enterprise Linux distribution, for all of the above. We make it easy for you. Grab the code, binaries and source, use it, distribute it, build your environments with it, freely, no contracts needed. Need our help, get a support subscription. Choice, open. Virtual, physical, cloud. Not just obfuscated tar balls. No license or activation key, good consistent SLAs for releasing security updates, well tested,... Run Oracle Linux in-house in test and development environments, run it in production environments, use it for customer systems, distribute it, any or all of the above. One distribution that you can manage across all the use cases. No need to manage different versions even if they're similar, no need to make different distribution choices based on your use case and pay/not pay.

How to Deploy Oracle RAC On Zone Clusters

How to create an Oracle Solaris Zone cluster, install and configure Oracle Grid Infrastructure and Oracle Real Application Clusters in the zone cluster, and create an Oracle Solaris Cluster resource for Oracle RAC.


Whenever you use some virtual memory, there has to be some mapping from the virtual addresses to the real addresses. However to prevent the CPU to look again and again in - from CPU cycles perspective - distant memory areas, there are little caches in modern processors called translation lookaside buffer or short TLB. This TLBs are rather small, a T4 core has 128 entries. While sounding small, the TLB with such a number of entries has an astonishing high hit rate.

How to Upgrade to Oracle Solaris Cluster 4.0

This multi-part article provides a step-by-step example of how a single-instance cold-failover Oracle database can be upgraded from an Oracle Solaris 10 and Oracle Solaris Cluster 3.3 5/11 cluster to a new Oracle Solaris 11 and Oracle Solaris Cluster 4.0 cluster. Note: There is no "in place" upgrade path (that is, no direct path using the same hardware) to Oracle Solaris 11 and Oracle Solaris Cluster 4.0.

Summary: What's new with Solaris 11 since the launch?

There was a great online forum titled: Solaris 11: What's new since the launch? last week, and it has brought quite an amount of update and information about what indeed is going on on the Solaris 11 roadmap and how Solaris interacts and extends other products. I recommend you to watch it (just register, or if you have registered, after providing the registered mailaddress you can re-watch the recorded session.). For the ones lacking the time to watch the videos, allow me to attempt a summary.

Announcing Oracle VM Server for SPARC 2.2 Release

The new release delivers significant enhancements that improve workload agility and performance, maximize the availability of business-critical applications, and increase flexibility in provisioning and deployment. Oracle VM Server for SPARC takes advantage of the massive thread scale offered by SPARC T-Series servers and the Oracle Solaris operating system.

How to Get Started Configuring Your Network in Oracle Solaris 11

The Oracle Solaris 11 network architecture is significantly different from previous releases of Oracle Solaris. Not only has the implementation changed, but so have the names of network interfaces and the commands and methods for administering and configuring them.

These changes were introduced to bring a more consistent and integrated experience to network administration, particularly as administrators add more-complex configurations including link aggregation, bridging, load balancing, or virtual networks. In addition to the traditional fixed networking configuration, Oracle Solaris 11 introduced automatic network configuration through network profiles.

How to Create Multiple Internal Repositories for Oracle Solaris 11

Some customers connect directly to hosted Oracle Solaris package repositories to get the latest fixes, but most customers set up a local repository due to network restrictions or the desire to control which updates their systems have access to. This article provides best practices for managing local repositories through the complete software lifecycle from development and testing to production deployment.

Benefits of using Ops Center to deploy and manage Solaris 11

One of the more significant new features in Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12c is the ability to install Ops Center on Oracle Solaris 11, and to deploy and manage systems running Solaris 11. The Solaris 11 capabilities are in addition to the analogous features for Solaris 10 and Linux, which can all be handled from the same Ops Center infrastructure.

Tuesday 1 May 2012

Press Review #10

Here is a little press review around Oracle technologies, and Solaris in particular:

IOPS and latency are not related - HDD performance explored

Today, we routinely hear people carrying on about IOPS-this and IOPS-that. Mostly this seems to come from marketing people: 1.5 million IOPS-this, billion IOPS-that. Right off the bat, a billion IOPS is not hard to do, the metric lends itself rather well to parallelization...

How to Use the Power Management Controls on SPARC Servers

SPARC T-Series systems have power-saving features designed into the hardware and software. These features allow you to reduce server power consumption, which leads to a cost reduction for environmental cooling and reduced power usage by other infrastructure components. The SPARC T-Series power management (PM) interfaces make it easy to manage these PM features.

Solaris: What comes next?

As you probably know by now, a few months ago, we released Solaris 11 after years of development. That of course means we now need to figure out what comes next - if Solaris 11 is “The First Cloud OS”, then what do we need to make future releases of Solaris be, to be modern and competitive when they're released? So we've been having planning and brainstorming meetings, and I've captured some notes here from just one of those we held a couple weeks ago with a number of the Silicon Valley based engineers.

Solaris 11 features: nscfg

As you may have noticed many configuration tasks around name services have moved into the SMF in Solaris 11. However you don't have to use the svccfg command in order to configure them, you could still use the old files. However you can't just edit them, you have to import the data into the SMF repository. There are many reasons for this need but the ultimate one is in the start method. I will explain that later. In this article i want to explain, how nscfg can help you with with the naming service configuration of your system.

New Oracle VM Hardware Certifications

We've received inquiries from the community on certification of Oracle VM 3.0 on HP Proliant systems. We're pleased to update that we've recently completed certification of the HP Proliant systems for Oracle VM 3.0.

Oracle’s SPARC SuperCluster is now Supported by SAP

Oracle’s SPARC SuperCluster now runs the Oracle Database, the SAP central instance, application or web server, and Oracle Enterprise Manager management software along with all your SAP applications.

POWER, AMD, Itanium, and SPARC

The addition of compression engines (in the T5), in addition to the well-know crypto engines in the SPARC T Series will be a welcome capability addition for general purpose computing. Fewer proprietary crypto cards, proprietary network devices with crypto engines, and proprietary disk arrays (sporting compression, encryption, and dedup) will be needed - to achieve outstanding performance of general purpose applications running under SPARC.

How the SPARC T4 Processor Optimizes Throughput Capacity: A Case Study

Latency is the time delay between when a request is sent and the moment the result of the request is delivered. Such delays can be found between many components within a computer system and can have a significant impact on performance.

In this paper, the focus is on instruction-level latencies, which are usually expressed in processor cycles. Many instructions have a fixed latency, but there are also instructions with a latency that depends on the runtime conditions or data type format.

AIX to Oracle Solaris 11 Evaluation

The following guide gives an overview of some of the technologies included in Oracle Solaris 11 and the direct benefit you can get by using some of these features. This guide also provides a similar technology mapping, where possible, between IBM AIX and Oracle Solaris 11, so that administrators with knowledge in the former can kick start their learning experience if planning deploy the latter.

dtrace.conf(12) wrap-up

For the second time in as many quadrennial dtrace.confs, I was impressed at how well the unconference format worked out. Sharing coffee with the DTrace community, it was great to see some of the oldest friends of DTrace — Jarod Jenson, Stephen O’Grady, Jonathan Adams to name a few — and to put faces to names — Scott Fritchie, Dustin Sallings, Blake Irvin, etc — of the many new additions to the DTrace community. You can see all the slides and videos; these are my thoughts and notes on the day.

Ksplice: Kernal Update Without Reboot

Operating Systems normally comprise two distinct layers: the kernel and the user space. Normally, updating the kernel would require a reboot, so the OS can apply a new kernel module. Operating Systems like Solaris created a mechanism called "live update" to update OS Kernel, OS User Space, or even third-party applications (not to mention provide rollback) with merely a reboot. Oracle Solaris 11 facilitates virtually unlimited patch/rollback cycles leveraging ZFS. The new Ksplice tool from Oracle allows for Linux to get closer to Solaris uptime requirements by providing for kernel updates without reboot, leaving OS User Space and Applications to normal reboot or application restart cycles.

How to Avoid Your Next 12-Month Science Project

Could it be there's more going on behind the scenes than merely putting together a bunch of servers, a storage array and an InfiniBand network into a rack? Let's explore some of the special sauce that makes Exalogic unique and un-copyable, so you can save yourself from your next 6- to 12-month science project that distracts you from doing real work that adds value to your company.

How to Update Oracle Solaris 11 Systems Using Support Repository Updates

Oracle Solaris 11 includes a new package management system that greatly simplifies the process of managing system software helping to reduce the risk of operating system maintenance, including planned and unplanned system downtime. Image Packaging System (IPS) takes much of the complexity out of software administration with its ability to automatically calculate dependencies, and it merges both the package and patch management into a single administrative interface.

This article steps through updating an Oracle Solaris 11 system with software packages that are provided with an active Oracle support agreement. In the process, it covers some of the basics that you should know to ensure an update goes successfully and safely.

IBM Launches Hybrid, Flexible Systems Into The Data Center

It takes a little time and a lot of money to roll out a new server architecture, and even a company as large as IBM can't do it very often. The System/360 in 1964. The System/38 in 1979 and its follow-on, the AS/400, in 1988. The RS/6000 in 1990. The BladeCenter in 2002, and the Sequent-inspired clustered server nodes in the xSeries and pSeries in the mid-2000s. iDataplex in 2008. And now the PureSystem converged infrastructure launched last week, in 2012.

OmniOS builds on Illumos to make a complete operating system

"OmniOS is our vision of what OpenSolaris could have been had it remained in the open. It runs better, faster and has more innovations," continued Schlossnagle. "OmniTI did not want to lose the benefits that OpenSolaris technologies brought to customers, so we decided to pursue the continuation of the OS on our own. [...]"

Latency and I/O Size: Cars vs Trains

A legacy view of system performance is that bigger I/O is better than smaller I/O. This has led many to worry about things like "jumbo" frames for Ethernet or setting the maximum I/O size for SANs. Is this worry justified? Let's take a look...

PureSystems Giving You Job Jitters? The Doctor is In!

Will these IBM PureSystems put me out of a job?

After all, you've had a successful career configuring systems, tuning them, rebuilding them, finding performance bottlenecks, writing scripts, and juggling high user expectations with a budget that would starve a mouse. Now there are these new systems that are configured in the blink of an eye, tune themselves and (you may be thinking), don't need you.

Well, before you sign the extinction certificate and set up the world's first museum for experienced AIX sys admins, have a think about the number of reasons your career is not doomed as of 11 April 2012, the day the new IBM PureSystems were launched.

How I Decide Which Virtualization Technology to Use

When the time comes to update your hardware, some workloads that were comfortably ensconced in their own hardware need to be consolidated onto systems with virtual environments. But how do you choose between the various methods of virtualization? For instance, Oracle Solaris lets you create a virtual network. And virtual storage. You can allocate memory and CPUs to workloads in interesting ways. Oracle Solaris Zones (previously called Oracle Solaris Containers) lets you virtualize entire systems. You also have different hypervisors to choose from. And what about the hardware virtualization options in SPARC and x86 platforms -- how do they add to your options, and when should you use them?

Performability Analysis

Modern systems are continuing to evolve and become more tolerant to failures. For many systems today, a simple performance or availability analysis does not reveal how well a system will operate when in a degraded mode. A performability analysis can help answer these questions for complex systems. In this blog, an updated version of an old blog post on performability, I'll show one of the methods we use for performability analysis.

How to Live Install from Oracle Solaris 10 to Oracle Solaris 11 11/11

First, you create a set of ZFS send archives—golden image—on an Oracle Solaris 11 11/11 system that is the same model as your Oracle Solaris 10 system. Then you install this golden image on an unused disk of the system running Oracle Solaris 10 to enable it to be rebooted into Oracle Solaris 11 11/11. The basic system configuration parameters from the Oracle Solaris 10 image are stored and applied to the Oracle Solaris 11 11/11 image.

Get Ready to Change your Job

As new IT concepts like virtualization, Engineered Systems, Cloud Computing, DevOps, new services, patterns and languages emerge, they force IT organizations to re-think and adapt roles, responsibilities and jobs to the new reality. Change is a constant in IT, and the current times are likely to see a lot more change than we have seen before.

Enable DTrace hooks in GENERIC

This commit enables DTrace in FreeBSD-10 GENERIC kernel!

Thursday 12 April 2012

Séminaire Oracle SPARC SuperCluster

I had the great opportunity to assist to the french event Séminaire Oracle SPARC SuperCluster: Le premier système intégré Oracle multi-fonctions, which took place in Paris last Tuesday, April 5, 2012.

Follow the slides corresponding to this event.

Title: Introduction Harry Zarrouk

Speaker: Harry Zarrouk, Managing Director, Oracle Systems France

URL: (fr) (1.4 MB)

Title: Présentation Oracle SPARC SuperCluster

Speaker: Jean-Yves Migeon, Business Development Manager

URL: (fr) (1.5 MB)

Title: Solutions optimisées Oracle sur SPARC SuperCluster

Speaker: Eric Bezille, CTO Oracle Hardware France

URL: (fr) (1.4 MB)

Title: Illustration avec Oracle PeopleSoft HCM/Scenarii d'intégration

Speaker: Nathalie Sabatte, Principal Sales Consultant Applications

Speaker: Eric Bezille, CTO Oracle Hardware France

URL: (fr) (1.2 MB)

Title: SPARC SuperCluster, un système "Production Ready"

Speaker: Pascal Guy, Solution Architect, EMEA Expert Server Group

URL: (fr) (2.4 MB)

Title: SPARC SuperCluster: retour d'expérience clients

Speaker: Dario Wiser, Sr.Manager, SuperCluster Business Development

URL: (fr) (0.4 MB)

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