Tag: Sun Microsystems

Sun Oracle Webcast Wrap Up

Last night I watched almost the entire 5 hour live webcast announcing Oracle’s strategies regarding the Sun Microsystems acquisition. As a near-evangelist for Sun and Solaris, I’m very happy with the deal finally going through and even happier that most of what Oracle said makes sense to me as a customer.

What I liked:

  • The clear commitment to the SPARC roadmap especially the T series. I honestly don’t know what I would have done if the T series servers disappeared. I’m very happy that they put raising the clock speed into the roadmap because some applications just can’t be deployed on these servers.
  • The clear commitment to making waves in Enterprise Storage. NetApp was specifically mentioned and obviously the 7000 series arrays are best suited to compete with the NetApp arrays but I hope they will draw some EMC blood as well. I like the plans for integrating backup capabilities.
  • The plans to integrate really great Solaris tech into Oracle applications like DTrace, and RBAC
  • The plans to offer direct support. Honestly this was one of the most annoying parts of working with Sun was having to work with different support providers in every location.
  • The plans to change the supply chain and ship direct- no more out of stock excuses.
  • The plans to integrate Ops Center with Oracle Enterprise Manager.
  • Larry Ellison’s stand up comedy
  • And completely unrelated- the flashing disk lights on the Exadata V2 🙂

I didn’t like:

  • The obvious cut planned for the x64 line of hardware. While they are keeping x64 where convenient (storage appliances, database machines, various other “clusters”) it looks like Oracle has no plans for dealing in x64 server business as a server business. I’m not a big user of the x64 stuff for servers but Sun doesn’t really offer anything reasonable for entry level anymore except the x64 line. This brings me to my next point-
  • The SPARC roadmap is slightly sucky as in how much processing power do you really want inside a single box.  According to the roadmap, their next plan is to double the amount of cores in a T3 processor so you’ll have one cpu with 16 cores and 128 threads. Their going to put two in a machine? four?  Here is how I see the servers they have today:
    • T1000- useless poorly designed server
    • T2000- ok server but a waste of rack space at 2RU
    • T5120- ok server but a waste of rack space considering I could put a T5140 in the same space
    • T5220- worse than the T5120 at 2RU
    • T5140- The best server ever built with exactly the right amount of everything
    • T5240- 2RU again???
    • T5440- I could serve ~8.64 billion web requests per day from one of these but I’d need a 1.6Gbit uplink and two servers for redundancy = 8RU, or else use 4 T5140 machines, deliver the same performance, and use 4RU?- maybe 5RU including n+1 redundancy.
    • NONEXISTANT – little SPARC machine for backup/monitoring/insert your SPARC only app that doesn’t deserve a minimum of 32 threads and 2RU  here.

    At some point, you just want more smaller machines for less points of failure. I really have uses for low end SPARC machines and they don’t make them any more.

  • I don’t really like the “server phone home” idea.
  • No mention of OpenSolaris- I’m not really a user but I didn’t like that it wasn’t mentioned- What does that mean??
  • No mention of Webstack. I really like Sun Webstack as an idea. I’m not sure what is happening to it now?
  • No mention of how Oracle will be combining the knowledge bases? Sunsolve? Bigadmin? docs.sun.com? forums.sun.com (looks like this already had an Oracle makeover :?)

One thing I’m not sure about is the integration of Sun virtualization technologies into Oracle VM. On one hand it sounds good, on the other hand, I think this was the only part of the presentation where I noticed there were no due dates. Virtualization is super important to me so I really want to know where things stand.

Obviously, it is easy to  get up and say everything will integrate but doing it is much harder. Just getting past the internal politics of this will be a major issue. Now we can only wait and see if Oracle can pull it off.

I used to get upset with “Oracle people” for always thinking that Oracle was the solution to every problem. If they pull off this acquisition, I much just become an “Oracle person” myself.

Sun’s Predicament

I’ve been working with Unix for a fairly long time now- about 13 years.

I’ll admit that I started with Linux and thought it was light years ahead of SunOS 4.x running on those old SPARC machines- I mean who had heard of SPARC processors? I remember my boss trying to explain to me that even an older SPARC processor was more powerful than a newer Intel Pentium processor. I didn’t really believe him. In time, I convinced them to get rid of most of their SPARC/Solaris in favor of the hip, free, and cheap Intel/Linux combination.

Now I see that I couldn’t have been more wrong. I realize that SunOS 4.x probably still has features which I don’t know how to use properly. When I look at Solaris 10, ZFS, Zones, LDOMS, DTrace, etc. I not really sure you could pay me to work with Linux (that would be soo depressing). That isn’t even mentioning the SPARC hardware it runs on- Can any Intel server compare to a T5140???

That’s why the current situation with Sun absolutely SUCKS (pardon my french)! I’m sure there are a lot of admins out there who feel the same way. If this Oracle deal doesn’t go through and Sun disappears because of it, it will be our loss. We’ll be stuck with mediocre operating systems and commodity hardware and I really hope it doesn’t happen.

That said, I’d like to say thanks to all the people at Sun who are still turning out crazy cool technologies despite the problems.

Sun Webstack 1.4 – Packages on Crack

I am a huge fan of Sun Microsystems.
I love Solaris 10.
I love ZFS.
I love RBAC.
I love zones.
I really love T2/T2+ processors.
I especially love the T5140 and X4450 servers.

One thing I cannot figure out though, is why Sun lets obviously delirious cocaine addicts package their software. Maybe I’m exaggerating but I think that many will agree that Sun’s packages leave much to be desired in general. On top of that, Sun seems to have a constant need to move software around and invent new paths- to boldy go where no sysadmin has gone before????

Our journey begins with the mythic /usr/ucb/ directory- a true treasure chest for those making the adjustment from Linux. We’ll continue to /usr/local/ ala sun freeware (actually the most normal place we will visit but not actually supported by sun) and then arrive at the more recent /usr/sfw.

On your right, we’ll be passing the Coolstack project (Not Officially Supported by Sun) located reasonably in /opt/coolstack. Notice the configuration files in /opt/coolstack/etc, apache located comfortably in /opt/coolstack/apache2, mysql located in /opt/coolstack/mysql. Can anyone guess where the SMF manifests are? My first guess would have been /opt/coolstack/var/svc… similar to the native manifests but I would be wrong because that would make too much sense or be too easy. Anyway- they are hiding in /opt/coolstack/lib/svc…

Wait- what’s that ahead? Coolstack is falling into disrepair, no longer to be updated. Instead, there will be a new neighborhood called Webstack and it WILL be officially supported by Sun- Time to get high. Can’t figure out where anything is? I’ll give you some hints:

Looking for configuration files? Don’t try /etc or /opt/webstack/etc. You should be looking in /etc/opt/webstack ??!?! Since when does that directory even exist?

Looking for your MySQL data directory? Don’t try /opt/webstack/mysql/data (similar to the existing structure in coolstack). Bet you wouldn’t have guessed /var/opt/webstack/mysql/5.0/data – /var/opt ??!?! What is that? Maybe for the 1.5 release they could put it in /usr/ucb/opt/usr/local/var/spool/sfw/webstack/mysql/5.0/data?

How about your default DocumentRoot for Apache? You must have guessed it by now: /var/opt/webstack/apache2/2.2/htdocs

Anyone here running webstack on Linux? In that case all the directories are different. I guess Sun wanted to make it difficult to run their stack on heterogenous environments?

Seriously- I really hope Sun wises up and fixes this before they hope for widespread adoption of the 1.5 release.

Sparc Solaris 10 Jumpstart Flar DVD – Part 1

The Solaris Flash installation feature enables you to use a single reference installation of the Solaris OS on a system, which is called the master system. Then, you can replicate that installation on a number of systems, which are called clone systems. You can replicate clone systems with a Solaris Flash initial installation that overwrites all files on the system or with a Solaris Flash update that only includes the differences between two system images. A differential update changes only the files that are specified and is restricted to systems that contain software consistent with the old master image.

By combining Flash installation with Custom Jumpstart, and packaging all that on a re-mastered Solaris installation DVD, you can create very fast and efficient, standalone, and automated installation media.

I ran into several issues trying to create such a DVD when following the standard Google results so I thought I’d summarize my experiences. This is a work in progress- I might hit a brick wall at some point, but I hope not.

First, I built the prototype system. I’m running Solaris 10 11/06 with one non-global zone based entirely on a ZFS file system. This will make things challenging since Solaris Flash Archives are not completely compatible (or even supported) for these kinds of configurations and Jumpstart is not ZFS aware.

Creating the Flash Archive

  1. Make sure you have the right packages installed (SUNWinst, SUNWadmc, SUNWadmfw, SUNWbtool) Theoretically, you should install platform support for all possible hardware- I forget the name of the cluster- but if you will only be installing on the same hardware, this isn’t necessary. NOTE- If you try to install packages from inside single user mode with non-global zones it will give you issues.
  2. Put the prototype system into single user mode
  3. Create a text file, called for example ‘exclude’, with the directories not to include in the flash archive (man flarcreate)
  4. flarcreate -n system -X exclude -c system.flar
    Full Flash
    Checking integrity...
    Integrity OK.
    Running precreation scripts...
    Precreation scripts done.
    Determining the size of the archive...
    cpio: File size of "etc/mnttab" has decreased by 136
    2259925 blocks
    1 error(s)
    The archive will be approximately 764.41MB.
    Creating the archive...
    2259925 blocks
    Archive creation complete.
    Running postcreation scripts...
    Postcreation scripts done.

    Running pre-exit scripts...
    Pre-exit scripts done.
  5. Verify your archive: flar info -l system.flar

More to come…

showrev(1M) missing on Solaris 10

Today I realized I was missing the showrev command on a Solaris 10 machine I installed.
I found it in the SUNWadmc package but recieved the following error:

ld.so.1: showrev: fatal: libadmapm.so.2: open failed: No such file or directory

Then I found the following page:
showrev(1M) missing on Solaris 8
Adding the SUNWadmfw package as mentioned still left me with the following error:

ld.so.1: showrev: fatal: libadmutil.so.2: open failed: No such file or directory

It turns out I was missing the SUNWadmlib-sysid package.

SUMMARY

If you are missing showrev check if you have the following packages:
SUNWadmlib-sysid SUNWadmc SUNWadmfw

Good luck!