Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Solaris 10 Update 6 wishlist

With only about two month left (lets say three) to the next update of Solaris 10, it would be interesting to know which changes will be incorporated in this release. All i have seen so far is that it will contain a large ZFS update including boot. I have made a little wish list with a few needed enhancements that probably could be part of it:

Zone update on attach (PSARC/2007/621)
Attach/dettach between sun4u and sun4v (6480464)

This will make life a lot easier for us that have deployed large amounts of zones, making it easier to move and make incremental updates to zones. Today a zone must be upgraded/patched together with a global zone, with update on attach you could have a move zones to a already upgraded node and attach them, one by one, thereby minimizing total downtime per zone. This can be quite handy in a environment with 20+ zones per node (live upgrade is not always a option).

This one i am not so sure will make it, but we can always hope for the best and prepare for the worst ;)

Network Vanity naming (PSARC 2006/499)

Vanity naming would be great for moving detached zones to a new host, today you will have to change the zone configuration if the new host have another NIC or the NIC configured differently. With vanity naming the zone could just bind to the names public and backup instead of e.g. bge3 and bge8.

And a long standing bug fix would also be greatly appreciated:

6637869 zone attach doesn't handle obsolete patches correctly

I've had problems with this bug when moving zones from a upgraded Solaris 10U4 to a freshly installed S10U4, a clean attach will currently not work.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I used to think that the day would never come

SNV90 with ZFS boot is finally here, i've already installed it on a x64-system and tomorrow its is time for my SB1000 to get a new filesystem for root.

Some screenshots from the x64 installation: 1 2 3 4
And here is my SPARC workstation cleanly installed:
$ uname -a
SunOS precursor 5.11 snv_90 sun4u sparc SUNW,Sun-Blade-1000
$ zfs list
rpool 10.9G 56.1G 64K /rpool
rpool/ROOT 5.87G 56.1G 18K legacy
rpool/ROOT/snv_90 5.87G 56.1G 5.87G /
rpool/dump 2.00G 56.1G 2.00G -
rpool/export 38K 56.1G 20K /export
rpool/export/home 18K 56.1G 18K /export/home
rpool/swap 2G 58.1G 2.68M -

This is now a full ZFS boot configuration unlike the one previously available in OpenSolaris 2008.05, where swap is still located on a separate slice. Now ZFS should be able to enable write cache since the whole disk is used for ZFS. The disk configuration is also much cleaner and simpler. Another nice thing is that you are able to change the size of the swap as easy as `zfs set volsize=96G' rpool/swap` albeit with the need for a reboot or possible add and remove of the swap device before it is effective.

I tested to create a live upgrade boot environment, one command and a few seconds later i had a alternate boot environment ready for upgrades, patches or other changes. lucreate did a snapshot of my current root filesystem and created a entry in GRUB. So besides the installation parts live upgrade also fully understands ZFS filesystems now.
I used to think that the day would never come
I'd see delight in the shade of the morning sun
My morning sun is the drug that brings me near
To the childhood I lost, replaced by fear
I used to think that the day would never come
That my life would depend on the morning sun...
True Fait - New Order

Monday, June 2, 2008

ZFS boot!

Looks like ZFS boot is finally coming to Solaris 10, and with that wonderful, secure upgrades and patching. The zfs root support have been available for some time for Solaris Nevada [X86|X64|IPE] as already seen in use in project Indiana (OpenSolaris 2008.05). It is now soaking into Nevada for Sparc also, the last ZFS boot parts was integrated in SNV88 and the support in the non-opensource parts (installer) is supposed to be available in SNV90, which is due in a week or so.

Even better, it looks like Solars 10 Update 6 will contain this functionality, according to a Sun presentation:

ZFS Root (S10 Update 6)
● Brings all the ZFS goodness to /
● Checksums, compression, replication, snapshots and clones
● Boot from any dataset
● Patching becomes safe
● Take snapshot, apply patch... rollback if you don't like it
● Live upgrade becomes fast
● Create clone (instant), upgrade, boot from clone
● No “extra partition”
● 10U6:Based on new Solaris boot arch.
● ZFS can easily create multiple boot environments
● GRUB can easily manage them

The whole presentation is here.

I cant wait to to apply my first set of patches, or perform a upgrade on a ZFS snapshot. Or why not daily snapshot of / and perhaps before you install that 3rd party software....

Easy, cheap, fast and safe modifications to the OS and boot environment!