Friday, July 30, 2010

Continued Solaris support on HP/Dell

After some time of uncertainty Oracle have have now announced that Oracle Solaris will continue to be supported on HP and Dell system:

Oracle press release:
"Oracle today announced Dell and HP will certify and resell Oracle Solaris, Oracle Enterprise Linux and Oracle VM on their respective x86 platforms.

Customers will have full access to Oracle’s Premier Support for Oracle Solaris, Oracle Enterprise Linux and Oracle VM running on Dell and HP servers. This will enable fast and accurate issue resolution and reduced risk in a company’s operating environment.

Customers who subscribe to Oracle Premier Support will benefit from Oracle’s continuing investment in Oracle Solaris, Oracle Enterprise Linux and Oracle VM and the resulting innovation in future updates."

Notification enhancements

A common request from smaller shops or private users of Solaris is that they want email notifications when something is wrong with their system. This is most common with ZFS filers, they might not have any surveillance systems implemented but want to be sure to get a notification if something goes wrong with a zpool. A quick fix to this is of course a small script which can dump zpool or FMA errors over email but it is not a standardized or complete solution.

Now there have been a large putback in OpenSolaris that among other things delivers this functionality. FMA faults and SMF events can with these change be configured to deliver notifications over mail or SNMP. It also enables the fault management daemon in local zones so that they can deliver SMF state changes from within the zone. Using this framework you can also configure any of your own SMF services to deliver state change notification over any of these two protocols.

PSARC/2009/617 Software Events Notification Parameters CLI
PSARC/2009/618 snmp-notify: SNMP Notification Daemon for Software Events
PSARC/2009/619 smtp-notify: Email Notification Daemon for Software Events
PSARC/2010/225 fmd for non-global Solaris zones

SATA Trim command in B146

The SATA TRIM command have been implemented in the OpenSolaris source, build 146. This can be used by filesystems to prevent performance degradation over time on SSD:s by giving the garbage collector feedback on which blocks are no longer in use. This is bugid 6866610. It it still not implemented in ZFS but this is the ground stone for making that possible and there is a feature request for that also 6957655.

Looking into the future the similar SCSI UNMAP command would be of great use for thin provisioning, both for thin devices located on a ZFS LUN and for ZFS residing on a thinly provisioned LUN for example in a SAN.

The later is described in this bug report 6913905.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

New ZFS recovery option

Currently if you loose a non-redundant log device in your zpool it becomes impossible to import, there is no way to exclude the log device and import the rest of the pool. There are however light on the horizon, PSARC 2010/292 proposes a solution to this problem with a new switch for the zpool import command.

From the PSARC:
"This fast-track introduce a new command line flag to the
'zpool import' sub-command. This new option, '-m', allows
pools to import even when a log device is missing. The contents
of that log device are obviously discarded and the pool will
operate as if the log device were offlined."

PSARC 2010/292 zpool import despite missing log

This has now been implemented in the source, the changeset is here.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Good luck Bryan

There are many good engineers working with Solaris, but a few of them get noticed a bit more. Bryan Cantrill is one of those and sadly he is now leaving Sun/Oracle. Bryan is the inventor of DTrace which he created together with Mike Shapiro and Adam Leventhal and he have even kissed a girl. Once upon a time he was requited to Sun Microsystems by Jeff Bonwick, the father of ZFS. The last few years he was a vital part of the FishWorks team used in the S7000 storage series that uses DTrace to produce graphical analytics of performance data.

I wish Bryan the best whatever he decides to do. I will keep an eye out for his next endeavor.

The new home of Bryan's blog which also holds his last entry from the Sun/Oracle blog:

Bryan's profile at Sun Labs: Bryan Cantrill - Sun Labs

Thursday, July 22, 2010

NFS Instances/Zones with NFS shares

There is a PSARC awaiting approval for providing on of the most long standing enhancements requests for Solaris Zones: NFS Shares from within a local zone. This functionality will not be limited to NFS and will initially also support CIFS. It seems to be planned for Solaris Next only, so no backport to Solaris 10.

From the PSARC:
"Patch binding is requested; however, there are no plans to backport any of
the proposed changes.

The proposed changes are needed to support an NFS server in a non-global
zone; however, the changes are not specific to NFS. They would also be used
when enabling any file sharing protocol (ie. CIFS) server for non-global zones."


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Various ZFS news

Adam leventhal of the Fishwoks team have tested the DDRDrive X1 as a ZIL in the hybrid storage pool. It is 4GB of NV-RAM backed by flash, which is quite a good match for the ZIL requirements. You can read about his finding on his blog. For a good explanation on ZIL and synchronious writes go and read Constantin Gonzalez latest entry in his blog.

Mirrored root pools been available since the introduction of ZFS boot, but the step for writing the placing a boot block on the mirror to make it usable after a disk failure have remained a manual step, but the automatic fix for this have now mad it into on_145:

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Desktop updates for Solaris Next

Good things come to those who wait? I've seen some indication that the latest release of Gnome (2.30) have been integrated into the snv_140 build. It's tagged as OS-2010.06, but the OpenSolaris 2010.06 name seems to have been in use since April so that might not mean anything. Firefox also have been upgraded to 3.6.x in build 135 and onwards. Time slider have got an update which includes replication to external filesystems (PSARC/210/129). These updates are available in Solaris Next Development builds post snv_134 so they have not been released even in the development repository for OpenSolaris.

A desktop related thing that I've totally missed is that there are ongoing work for integrating Xorg 1.8.x. The source is available here.

It seems like Oracle still are aiming to reach developer and some desktop users with Solaris. I think this is good since people use what the know when comfortable and perhaps have seen the advantages they go on and use it on their servers. This is also good news for a future modern SunRay environment.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Thoughts on the future direction of Solaris

As a response in a discussion weather Oracle will invest more in Solaris 10 maybe to also use as base for Fishworks or what they doing I wrote something similiar to this in the opensolaris-discuss list:

Solaris 10 Update 9 will indeed contain some new features including a refresh of ZFS, but it will not replace the OpenSolaris kernel in Fishworks, backporting both the CIFS server and COMSTAR is far to much work.

I think Solaris 10 9/10 will be released at OpenWorld together with at least a preview of "Solaris Next", "Solaris 11" or whatever name it will get. Solaris 10 is too old to be doing major development work in, it is time to release a major version soon, some things can't be done without a new major release. This would look good for Oracle and their commitment to Solaris (not OpenSolaris), that they have a new major Solaris release where Sun just keep developing it for year after year (I'm not saying that was bad, but Oracle may put it like that, look at what Larry said about Rock).

What happens with OpenSolaris as a distribution is unclear, my opinion is that they should have released the second respin on 134 without support at least, now they just get bad will from the community, at least until something is released or they decide to spread some light on the situation.

Solaris next not OpenSolaris
Solaris 10 9/10 and second zfs refresh

Larry regarding Rock:
"At the start, ellison shut down one of schwartz’s pet projects -- development of the “rock” microprocessor for sun’s high-end sparc server line, a semiconductor that had struggled in development for five years as engineers sought to overcome a string of technical problems. “this processor had two incredible virtues: it was incredibly slow and it consumed vast amounts of energy. it was so hot that they had to put about 12 inches of cooling fans on top of it to cool the processor,” said ellison. “it was just madness to continue that project.”