Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Solaris 11, illumos and the source

Over a year ago Oracle closed the source for OpenSolaris, leaving contributors outside of Oracle left in the cold. That was a huge problem for the adoption of Solaris which had finally begun to rise again. Recently Solaris 11 was released, but without the source, this was likewise a huge problem, but now also for enterprise customers who are using and paying for Solaris. DTrace have lost part of it's value for Solaris 11 compared to the now dead OpenSolaris.

A perhaps even large problem is that when Oracle closed Solaris, many, many of the core developers left Oracle. Several of them now works outside of Oracle contributing to illumos, but these changes can not be ported back into Solaris 11 as long as Oracle keeps the source closed.

Solaris 11 has features not available in illlumos, but I chose to use illumos instead of Solaris 11 since I have access to the source and I am not locked to one OS-distribution. Also the licensing for Solaris 11 does not allow me to use it for small deployments without buying a whole support contract. If I "upgrade" a zpool to use new features available only in Solaris 11 I will be unable to import the pool using the free ZFS implementation that in illumos based distributions such as OpenIndiana or Nexenta or other operating systems such as FreeBSD.

I think this is a terrible move by Oracle, not only are the alienating new customers, they are also locking out great engineers who have implemented revolutionary features into Solaris. As Bryan Cantrill pointed out in his LISA '11 speech, Oracle has not made any official announcement about what they have done to OpenSolaris or what their future plans for the source are, this is very troubling and ignorant.

Solaris 11 is a great OS but it being treated terribly by Oracle, Oracle seems to think that the best way to make a profit out of Solaris is to keep it closed for everyone else, I don't agree.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Solaris history and illumos

A great presentation by Bryan Cantrill from LISA11 is now available. Besides describing the illumos project it is also a good insight in the history of Solaris and what happened after Oracle acquired Sun. A must read for anyone interested in illumos or Solaris in general.

Update: The video is now also available.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

LDOM supported by Oracle

Oracle VM for SPARC is finally supported by Oracle, you can now partition a system with with logical domains and license hardware available to the domain. This is something Oracle customers have been wanting for a while now and I must say I believed it would have been solved the day Oracle acquired Sun. Nevertheless it's now finally supported at the same time the first T4 systems are being delivered to customers, which must be considered good timing.

Server/Hardware Partitioning
Important change regarding OVM/SPARC and Licensing

Thursday, November 10, 2011

First impressions of Solaris 11 11/11

I have had a few hours to try the final Solaris 11 release, overall I think it is far more stable and polished than the previous "Early Adaptors" release. Besides the fact that I am unable to use semi-old SPARC gear to test the release since only the latest generations of hardware are supported I have found few real problem so far.

The new packaging system finally fixes what I believe have been the biggest problem for Solaris the last five years or so, it is now repository based and it is simple to install software and dependencies are automatically solved. No more hassle of downloading and installing multiple software packages from SunFreeware to resolve dependencies. This also makes packaging faster and safer, brining the whole system to a known level and always with a safe recover option since it is used in conjunction with ZFS clones.

Zones are a fantastic tool for security/workload separation and virtualization so it's good to see that so many enhancements have been done in this area. The perhaps most noticeable is of corse that they now also use the new IPS system for packages and that makes a vanilla zones very lightweight without the hassle of a sparse zone. NFS service can now finally be provided from inside a zone. There is a tight integration with the new crossbow network virtualization making is possible to limit bandwidth to zones, use DHCP in a zone without having a separate NIC and build internal networks between zones inside a single Solaris 11 instance.

Imagine the power and flexibility of an T4-4 with 256 CPU threads and 1TB of memory running 50 zones with several high bandwidth/low latency networks inside the machine with no latency or overhead caused by virtualization.

Unfortunately the X86 version with the graphical desktop seems to be somewhat unstable compared to the Express release, I think it's related to the upgrade of the X server. I have been unable to use my laptop with to displays with the final release.

Solaris 11 is however focused on usage in servers and it seems stable for that, I have only found one disturbing problem so far, sharing ZFS filesystems does not seem to work ( zfs set -o sharenfs=on), but you can share each individual filesystem with the share command. Sadly if you are evaluating this you will probably have to wait until next year when there is a full release of Solaris since no updates are provided without a service contract. If you work for Oracle this is something you might want to fix for everyone, or tell me what I'm doing wrong.

Solaris 11 have many other new features such as per-user encryption of home directories with ZFS crypto, a new mirror/raidz hybrid bloc allocator for ZFS, numerous security enhancements among other thinks. I have only named a few of the changes I will probably keep posting Solaris 11 stuff as I find something interesting that is not directly highlighted it Oracle own what's new documents.

Update: As pointed out in the comments sharing of NFS together with ZFS works a bit differently now. If you share an existing dataset you have to set the share property. However if you set the sharenfs property when creating the dataset it works as in previous versions of Solaris 11 Express, OpenSolaris etc. Move information available in the documentation here.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Solaris 11 released

Solaris 11 is available for download "SunOS Release 5.11 Version 11.0", based on build snv_175b.

There are of course many changes since Solaris 10, most of them have been available in the latest build of OpenSolaris but there are some new that are unique to the final release of Solaris 11.

Install images are available for download and works on all current SPARC machines which is the T and M-series. There are also images available for X86-based machines which also can be used in VirtualBox. Here is a quick reference for the brand new packaging system: IPS one liners.

I will post more detailed follow-up after I've had time to test it for more than a few hours.

Oracle Solaris 11 11/11 – What’s new
Download Oracle Solaris 11
Future features of Solaris 11

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Solaris 11 release and webcast

Solaris 11 will be release 2011/11/09 (2011/11/11 was not optimal for some reason).

Oracle will host a launch event in New York and you can register to attend to the live webcast.

Even if I have abandoned Solaris 11 for OpenIndiana for storage related installations, Solaris 11 have it's obvious place on bigger iron in the datacenter or for any mission critical workload that needs enterprise support. I would gladly have continued to use Solaris 11 for storage but the change made by Oracle to ditch the community and move to closed source and stricter licensing prevents that.

This will make fantastic features such as crossbow, IPS, Native CIFS and COMSTAR available for use in production environments. Many enhancements for zones have also been made, they can for example be NFS servers in Solaris 11.

Also if you want to make the most use of the new SPARC T4, Solaris 11 is the best choice since not every change usable to the T4 have been ported back to Solaris 10 8/11.

If you pay for support of Solaris 11, please demand that Oracle gives you access to the source, DTrace will loose it's value otherwise and I think Oracle needs to hear that.

Oracle Solaris 11 Launch webcast

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

ZFS is 10 years!

It's been 10 years (31 Oct) since the first ZFS prototype was run inside of Sun Microsystems, 4 years later it was integrated in OpenSolaris and available to everyone to test. I've been using ZFS since 2004 and I must say that while I have always been impressed by ZFS it took until 2010 before the last bits where in place to make it really usable in demanding environments without problems. It takes time for a complex and critical system to grow mature, that's why I think ZFS will be the best option for a few years to come even if other systems could provide the same functionality. Today ZFS is available in both commercial and free operating systems as well as the foundation of several commercial storage products such as the Sun ZFS storage appliance and NexentaStor.

Some of the latest ZFS features are only available in the closed version of ZFS owned by Oracle and distributed with Solaris but the free version is also going forward. It 's being developed by the illumos community with companies such as Nexenta, Joeyent and Delphix. The illumos branch of ZFS is also stable and used by the companies developing it in their own commercial products.

ZFS 10 year anniversary
ZFS: Live after Oracle
ZFS working group

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fast upgrades, with zones

I've been working with a sub-optimal solution with zones for a few years. The zones are located on SAN and movable between hosts which is good, but they are also located on an a filesystem which is not ZFS and not even UFS. This have made upgrades and patching terribly hard and slow, especially with more than 20 zones per host. All local zones earlier had to be upgraded at the same time as a global zone and all they had to be down for the entire operation (sometimes over 8 hours).

After a testing upgrade-on-attach for a while and combining it with Turbocharged SVr4 packages I now have a solution which brings the downtime to under one hour for an entire upgrade including local zones.

Everything would have been even easier if we had all root filesystems on ZFS. Since migrating several terabytes of data at the same time as the upgrade was not an option this was a good solution:
  • Detach all local zones
  • Add Live upgrade and Turbocharge patches
    (119254-70,121428-13,121430-40,124630-28 or later, included in S10u8)
  • lucreate to a ZFS rpool
  • luupgrade to S10U10 and add additional patches
  • luactivate and reboot
  • $(zoneadm attach -U) all zones in parallel
This solution is dependent on good I/O and perhaps even a separate disk/LUN for every zone root plus sufficient CPU resources on the system.

There you go, Solaris 10 8/11 is ready for the SPARC T4!

Patches for "Turbo-Charging SVR4 Package Install" are now available

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Data corruption

Today I had an interesting experience on how bad things are on platforms that lacks ZFS. For an upgrade I was dumb enough to store a ISO image on a non-ZFS filesystem for a while. Later when performing upgrade tests I begun to get all sorts of strange errors from live upgrade.

The image had been corrupted on the disks or somewhere between the plates and the memory, before I verified it with md5 it was not found by any layer of the storage system.

I would normally never store anything important on a filesystem which is unable to protect data, and this time I was lucky since I found the corruption after a day instead of after a few months.

If feels good to know that even my data at home is protected by ZFS.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

SPARC presentations from OOW

The presentations from OOW are now online, two are very interesting from a SPARC perspective. One of them is a somewhat deeper technical review of the new SPARC T4. The second states that the next generation M-systems are currently being tested together with the 28nm 16-core T5 that testing should start this October and they have marked that processor as being delivered "early".

Since there should be few differences between a T4 and T5 besides the 28nm shrink, double the cores and possibly a frequency bump it seems like it could be possible squeeze the time to market for that design. (With few differences I mean that the core itself is ready)

Next Generation SPARC Processor, An In-Depth Technical Review
SPARC Strategy

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A new dawn for SPARC

I think latest news and release surrounding SPARC changes the economy quite a bit. You will now get Virtualization with LDOM and Zones, Solaris and management with OpCenter included in your support contract.

This comes as the same time as the SPARC T4 is released with is suitable for a wide range of workloads contrary to the previous generations on T-series. The new T4 systems are also much cheeper compared to M-series with the same amount of compute power.

The included encryption also seems to be the fastest currently available in a common processor, so you can get the benefit of encrypting your filesystem/database/network with a very small performance penalty.

Compared to a few month ago the list of good news is quite impressive:
  • SPARC T4 with 5x the single thread performance of SPARC T3
  • 2-3x times faster encryption compared to T3 (which already was fast)
  • Live migration of LDOMs
  • OpCenter included in support contact
  • Live migration between T2,T3 and T4 in the near future
  • T4 supports 256GB memory per socket (1TB for the 5U T4-4)
  • A engineered system is available, the SPARC SuperCluster
  • Solaris 11 will be released shortly
Compared to other virtualization technologies Solaris Zones has no overhead and VM for SPARC (LDOM) have no overhead for CPU or memory. Some presentations at OOW claimed that zones had 4x less latency than KVM and 15x lower overhead compared to VMWare.

The next generation of T-processor is also being developed and should arrive next year. They will double the number of cores to 16 per CPU. A possible T5-4 would have 64 cores and 512 threads in one 5U enclosure.

I know there is a lot of talk about supporting the whole stack, but you will have one single vendor to blame for problems with the server, virtualization and management. Perhaps more importantly it will not cost more than the hardware itself and the support contract.

More news from OOW 2011

Another quick update of things I've found out so far, I will write more when I find some spare time:
  • There will be a Solaris 11 release event the 9th of November
  • The final Solaris 11 release should be based on build snv_175
  • The next version of OpCenter (12C) will be able to manage existing zones (brown field)
  • The next update of Solaris 10 (in 2012) will be the last Solaris 10 update
  • Solaris developers claimed that part of the reason for not supporting older sun4u machines was due to the way cache was handled which was not optimal.
  • While Solaris 10 supports the SPARC T4 you will get optimal performance using Solaris 11 since some changes could not be backported.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

First days of OOW

A quick summary of he most interesting news from the first days of Oracle Open World that are related to Solaris/SPARC.

  • Solaris 11 is slightly ahead of schedule, it was supposed to be released by the end of the year.
  • OpCenter is now included in your support contract for no additional cost, including virtualization!
  • A new Oracle VM for SPARC will be release (3.0) that supports live migration between processors with diffent clock frequency and even between T2 and T3.
  • Future releases of Oracle VM for SPARC will try to remove limitations, for example enable live migration while using dedicated PCI hardware in guest domans.
  • Some work on Solaris 12 have already been started
  • Solaris 11 will have more focus on virtualization/cloud
  • SPARC super cluster will support exadata instances (one per T4-4)

Now i'm of to a new session, a deep technical review of the SPARC T4.

Friday, September 30, 2011

OpenWorld and Solaris reunion

I'm going to San Francisco and Oracle OpenWorld now. In the coming week will dig into the details of Solaris 11 and the new SPARC T4 processor among other things. Mark Hurd will probably deliver an updated roadmap for Solaris and SPARC, perhaps we will even get some kind of confirmation on the release date of Solaris 11.

Joyent will also host a Solaris family reunion event on tuesday:

"There’s been a lot of news in the past few months about the progeny of Solaris: Illumos, SmartOS, OpenIndiana, and the forthcoming Oracle Solaris 11. Since many of our old friends/colleagues will be in town for Oracle Open World, we of the Illumos / SmartOS / OI community thought it would be a nice opportunity to get together, hoist a few beers, talk about old times, and maybe share our visions of the future."

Solaris family reunion
Oracle OpenWorld

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Besides the new core and cache layout the SPARC T4 is very similar to the SPARC T3 in I/O and memory design. It also supports 16 DDR3 DIMMs with two controllers, built on 40nm technology, uses 6 * 9.6GB/s coherency links, Dual PCIe Gen2 interface and dual on-chip 10GbE interfaces.

The new S3 core is whats sets the SPARC T4 apart from previous T-processors. It has several features that greatly improves the performance compared to the T2/T3:
  • Out-oforder execution
  • Dual instruction issue
  • Data/instruction prefetch
  • Deeper pipeline
  • MMU Page size up to 2GB
  • Level 3 cache
"All of these characteristics in the SPARC T4 have yielded improvements in single-thread performance by 5X while retaining networking and throughput performance equal to that of previous multicore processors from Sun/Oracle."

The crypto graphic units (SPU, previously MAU) have also been moved into the pipeline so there is no longer any need to managed crypto units be individually. They provide high performance crypto acceleration for the supported algorithms:

"The SPU is designed to achieve wire-speed encryption and decryption on the processor’s 10 GbE ports. "
"These accelerators support 16 industry standard security ciphers and enable high speed encryption at rates 3 to 5 times that of competing processors."

The T4 has the ability to execute critical threads exclusively on a core. This is done by issuing a system call but it can also be handled from the command line by raising the thread priority to above 60. This means that existing applications can take advantage of this feature without rewrite. Applications that depend on a single high performance thread this thread can be declared as critical while other threads can take advantage of the highly threaded design of the T4 allowing great throughput while still providing the needed single-thread performance.

(I think what they should have been more specific in the first sentence by writing Oracle Solaris 10 and 11)
"Oracle 10 now and 11 (initial release) will have the ability to permit either a user or programmer to allow the Oracle Solaris Scheduler to recognize a 'critical thread' by means of raising its priority to 60 or above through the use of either the Command Line Interface or system calls to a function. If this is done, that thread will run by itself on a single core, garnering all resources of that core for itself. The one condition that would prevent this single thread from executing on a single core is when there are more runnable threads than available CPUs. This limit was put into place to prevent resource starvation to other threads. There will be further enhancements to Critical Thread Optimization done for Oracle Solaris 11 initial release)."

For many organization the high single thread performance of the T4 will enable the T-series to be used as a general platform for SPARC virtualization. Previously you could mix zones or dynamic domains on the M-series with LDOM on the T-series but there was not good solution for general workloads due to the weaker performance of the T2/T3 cores. Solaris zones are still useful tool for virtualization that has it advantages but the built-in virtualization in the T-series can provide better separation and live migration between hosts (which in turn can contain zones).

Besides the new processor the SPARC T4 systems comes pretty much the same chassis as the T3, they do however support the double amount of memory using 16GB DIMMs.

Oracle announces SPARC T4 servers

Oracle have now announced the new line of servers based on the T4 processor. They come in three configuration ranging from 1 CPU/8cores with up to 256GB memory to 4 processors and up to 1TB of memory. There is also a blade version which has one processor and up to 256GB memory. The T4-1 and T4-2 processors are running at 2.85GHz and processors in the T4-4 are running at 3.0GHz.

Oracle claims a 5 times increase in single thread performance compared to previous T-processors while keeping the same high thread count and cryptographic acceleration. All the new systems support Oracle VM for SPARC, previously known as Logical domains (LDOMs). LDOMs will finally be an option for general workloads, and the supported version 2.1 also support live migration.

Supported Solaris releases are Solaris 10 8/11, Solaris 11 or Solaris 10 9/10,10/09 with 10 8/11 Patch Bundle.

SPARC T-Series
Oracle's SPARC T4-1, SPARC T4-2, SPARC T4-4, and SPARC T4-1B Server Architecture
SPARC T4 announcement

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

T4 focus in new S10 8/11 KUP

As expected Oracle is focusing on the yet to be released SPARC T4 processor in maintenance patches for Solaris 10 8/11. The recently released kernel patch has several changes specific for the new platform. All we need now is the hardware itself.

From patch 147440-02:
6994535: watchdog timeouts seen on small subset of T3/T4 systems
7014100: Solaris cpu-mondo queue filling up on T3/T4 systems
7040407: T4 should not advertise cspare hwcap
7045829: libc_psr memmove needs to avoid use of block init store for T4
7045836: memcpy on T4 could run substantially faster
7047568: perf counter changes for T4 1.2
7079983: T4 memcpy triggers compiler CR 7076485

Patch details 147440-02 - SunOS 5.10: Solaris kernel patch

Friday, September 16, 2011

Solaris 10 8/11 released

Solaris 10 8/11 (update 10) has now been released and is available for download.

A short summary of some of the changes since last update besides support for the SPARC T4:
  • Support for Two-Terabyte Memory Systems
  • You can install Oracle Solaris on systems with more than 2 TB of memory.
  • ZFS Enhancements such as ZFS diff, ZIL synchronicity, RADIZ/mirror hybrid allocator and read-only import.
  • diskinfo Utility
  • The diskinfo command-line utility enables system administrators to see the relationship between logical disk names (cXtYdZ) and bays in a JBOD or blade chassis.
  • Shared Memory Enhancements
  • Changes in creating, locking, unlocking, and destroying Intimate Shared Memory (ISM) and Dynamic Intimate Shared Memory (DISM) have resulted in significant performance improvement in the startup and shutdown of the Oracle database.
  • SPARC: Support for Fast Reboot
  • The integration of the Fast Reboot feature of Oracle Solaris on the SPARC platform enables the -f option to be used with the reboot command to accelerate the boot process by skipping certain POST tests.
  • libmtmalloc Improvements
  • libmtmalloc has undergone a performance improvement that specially targets 64-bit applications with a large number of threads.
  • LDAP Name Service
  • This section summarizes enhancements that have been made to the LDAP name service in this release. LDAP name service stand-alone support – This enhancement enables the LDAP name service tools ldapclient, ldapaddent, and ldaplist to populate and test an LDAP directory without having to configure the name service switch to use LDAP.
  • Samba Upgrade to Version 3.5.8
    Samba, which provides file and print services to SMB/CIFS (Server Message Block/Common Internet File System) clients, has been upgraded to version 3.5.8.

Update: This release could provide better ZFS performance besides the new features, around 7-20% for reads and 10-15% for writes. The tests where done with a few simple dd(1) instances but interesting anyway, read more here.

What's New in the Oracle Solaris 10 8/11 Release
Oracle Solaris Downloads
Solaris 10 update 10 ZFS refresh
Solaris 10 update 10 update
Solaris 10 update 10

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Solaris 11 EA

A much updated pre-release of Solaris 11 is now available on OTN, it is supposed to contain all the final functionality of Solaris 11. Text installer for SPARC/X64 is available. live-CD for X64 as well as repository images.

This release should work all the same (64-bit) X86 systems as Solaris 11 Express, but on for SPARC you must have a T or M-series class machine, support for older UltraSPARC based system has been removed.

Thanks to Craig S. Bell for pointing this out in previous comments, I did not expect any new release before Oracle World.

Update: The build of this release is snv_171, the Solaris 11 Express release was based on snv_151a.

Solaris 11 Early Adopter Program

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

OpenIndiana 151a released

The free successor to the OpenSolaris distribution have released OpenIndiana 151a, exactly one year after their first release. The new release is based on illumos and has the new KVM, several ZFS enhancements and support for new hardware.

It's sill considered a development release, I have however found it quite stable for my private storage node which has been running build of 151a for well over a month. A stable released based on 151a is expected later this year.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Solaris 10 8/11 KUP

The first sustaining kernel patch for Solaris 10 8/11 (update 10) is now available: 147440-01. But Solaris 8/11 is yet to be released, they could be waiting until Oracle world for the release or they are having trouble with the release. The patch does not contain many changes but another interesting patch that requires the update 10 kernel patch was also just released:

147159-01: T4 crypto performance patch
7030953: AES CBC mode code path spends 50% time in non-encryption operations
7032670: AES-128-ECB 16KB encryption on T4 can be significantly better
7032698: AES-128-CFB128 16KB encryption (via ucrypto API) on T4 can be significantly better
7033814: assertion failure in OpenSSL speed RSA-4096 test via pkcs11 engine on T4
7036405: heavy mutex contention in libumem results in negative scaling of multi-threaded RSA test
7048794: 64-bit libsoftcrypto not enabled for T4
This is is the second proof that Solaris 10 will indeed support the new SPARC T4 processor.

Update: The final release of Solaris 10 8/11 have the the first sustaining kernel patch already installed (147440-01/147441-01).

Monday, August 29, 2011

IDG SPARC T4 article

A interesting article about the upcoming SPARC T4 is available from IDG but only with an subscription. The article is also available in text form on a Danish Oracle blog.

Excerpts from the article:
"The new T4 processor, running at 3GHz or more, has features that will also allow T4-based systems to take on some workloads that today are going to Intel Xeon processors, which today perform faster on single-thread workloads than do the T3- series of SPARC processors."

"At the Hot Chips 2011 conference, an IEEE technical conference held at Stanford University from August 17-19, 2011, Oracle systems engineers described the top features of the new T4 processors, including a 16-stage integer instruction pipeline and enhanced cryptographic performance. Among the business benefits associated with the new design will be: double the amount of per-thread throughput performance, compared to T3 – and a range of 2 to 7 times more single-thread performance for business workloads than T3 processors. Given the binary-compatibility of T3 and T4, this means that the same Oracle Solaris applications that have been running on T3 will see considerable speedup on T4, without recompilation."

Nyt om næste generation SPARC T-series
(Only a short introduction in Danish, article in English)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Oracle OpenWorld 2011

I will try to attend Oracle OpenWorld 2011, it will my first time and I think this year will have a lot of information regarding the SPARC T4 and Solaris 11. It has been almost a year since we saw the last bits of the Solaris 11 development so I expect there have been substantial changes. Maybe the Solaris 10 Update 10 release will be kept unannounced until the conference, it's already been several weeks since the KUP was released on MOS.

Expect regular updates if i manage to attend the event.

Solaris 10 update in 2012
Solaris release dates reminder
SPARC T4 information and beta program
Oracle OpenWorld 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011

First impressions of SmartOS/illumos KVM

A live image of SmartOS from Joyent with KVM was released today together with the source for the whole illumos KVM implementation. Much effort have been put into this by the Joyent team and the illumos community is blessed to have such great contributors. This is the first major feature that stands out from OpenSolaris/Solaris 11 Express.

This does not only makes illumos capable of running various fully virtualized guests, it also provides several other unique features for the guest compared to other virtualization hosts. First the security is better than vanilla KVM since there is a specific zone brand for KVM instances that also isolates it inside a zone even if a bug is exploited in KVM. Add to that the fully virtualized network stack with QOS that crossbow provides, all the features of ZFS (with bandwidth throttling in SmartOS) and DTrace!

This will bring most of the features of natives zones on illumos to a variety of other guest operating systems running under KVM and all common operating systems are already working including Windows, FreeBSD and Linux.

Have a look at Bryans slides from the presentation at KVM summit 2011, especially those with visualized DTrace statistics from KVM instances! There are also some screenshots of various guests running under KVM.

SmartOS (Live ISO image)
KVM on illumos

KVM for illumos getting closer

illumos has very powerful virtualization for network with crossbow, storage with ZFS and workloads with zones. Using these technologies together with XEN (xVM) in OpenSolaris had several synergies and allowed virtualization of other operating systems than Solaris. That project was sadly abandoned even before Oracle closed the OpenSolaris source.

Joyent are however developing KVM for illumos that could fill the gap. Signs of the implementation have can now be found in the illumos source and more in the Joyent branch which has a KDM brand for zones.

Bryan Cantrill will hold a presentation at KVM forum 2011 today named "Experiences porting KVM to SmartOS" (SmartOS is based on illumos) and he had a KVM related post on his blog a few days ago that was protected by a password. I'm sure more information will be available in the coming weeks.

Bryan have now posted the KVM entry in his blog publicly: KVM on illumos, the source is also available and there are SmartOS live images to try. I will post write another post when I get a spare hour to look at all this.

Feature #1362 add kvmstat for monitoring of KVM statistics
KVM Forum 2011
[HVM-556] add cores dataset to kvm brand zones and size based on VM RAM.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Joyent illumos August update

Joyent have released a bunch of enhancements and fixes they have made to their illumos-joyent code branch. Everything is available in their public repository and most are awaiting for someone to integrate into illumos.

There are a lot of changes, the majority of them are related to zones or trace. Here a short list of some interesting change sets:

OS-359 want local zone TCP kstats in the global zone
OS-433 load average should be virtualized for zones
OS-424 want kstats for per-zone cpu usage
OS-11 rcapd behaves poorly when under extreme load
OS-486 DTrace needs toupper()/tolower() subroutines

A more complete list is available in the announcement mail from John Sonnenschein to illumos-devel: Illumos Joyent August 2011 update

Monday, August 8, 2011

Solaris 10 Update 10 KUP

The kernel patch for Solaris 10 8/11 (Update 10) have been released on OTN, the patch information is available here. This indicates that the new Solaris update is due for release quite soon. The patch metadata confirms my previous speculations regarding updated ZFS functionality that even includes the new hybrid block allocator.

One of the most interesting things is that it includes support for upcoming SPARC T4.
6946852: Solaris support for SPARC T4 platforms

As always it contains numerous bug fixes and other enhancements, follow the links bellow for previous posts about new features in this update. More information will be posted when full images of the update have been released.

The ISO images seems to have been available briefly from Oracle but have now been pulled for some reason, you can still see the links in googles cache but the full page is not available.

Solaris 10 update 10 update
Solaris 10 update 10 ZFS refresh
Solaris 10 update 10

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Nexenta Core Platform 3.1

Nexenta is about to release version 3.1 of NCP (Nexenta Core Platform), existing installations can already be upgraded but there are no install images available yet. NCP 3.1 is used as the foundation for NexentaStor 3.1, Nexentas latest release of their software storage appliance.

The new 3.1 version is still based on a patched OpenSolaris 134 codebase, changes in this released include an updated ZFS pool version (28), write same/unmap support and probably many bug fixes.

The 4.0 release of NCP which is currently under development will be based on illumos that contains many additional features.

NexentaStor 3.1 available now

Monday, July 25, 2011

c0t0d0s0 closes down

The well know Solaris blow c0t0d0s0 run by Oracle employee Joerg Moellenkamp is now closed. Joerg gives no exact explanation why it is shut down, but there is a list of reasons that was not behind the decision.

It sad to see a good Solaris releated blog go away, we served very much the the same interest-group. I would not be surprised if Oracle has something to do with all this, it all feels a bit unclear and sudden. They have never been very found unstructured information being released out from the company. Before the acquisition Joerg used to write posts about upcoming Solaris features, much the same as I do when that kind of information is released in any public way.

Thanks for these year Joerg!

The LKSF book (Less Know Solaris Features) will be kept online here.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

SPARC T4 information and Beta program

Oracle have announced an beta program för the upcoming SPARC T4 processor which Oracle perviously have disclosed should provide three to five times the single thread performance of current T3 systems.

"The aim here was to develop a processor core that would provide high-speed, single-thread performance while also addressing the needs of applications that benefit from the high efficiency and throughput of multithreaded cores. The SPARC T4 is up to five times faster than the SPARC T3 for single-threaded functions," says Rick Hetherington, vice president of hardware development at Oracle. "It's breakthrough technology for us."

This in combination with on-chip crypto acceleration, massive thread count and LDOM capability it looks like it will be the most interesting SPARC processor since the never released UltraSparc RK, Rock.

The new processor will also dedicate cores to critical software thread with a new Solaris API:
"The new systems use "critical thread API", or the ability of the Solaris operating system to recognize critical threads in applications and assign them, by themselves, to a single processor core. This allows the critical threads to run at the very highest performance levels without competing with other less critical threads. This delivers faster overall performance by accelerating the more critical components in threaded applications. "

Hopefully these advancements, at least in combination, will deliver broader on the T2/T3 promise of massive throughput without sacrificing or be limited by single thread performance. This would then make the T4 a very suitable general purpose processor with the advantages of handling massive amounts of load.

Be the First to Test Next-Gen SPARC Systems
Conversations with Oracle Innovators, Rick Hetherington
What's Inside the New SPARC T-Series Processors?
Oracle SPARC roadmap

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Cheap, fast and secure storage

This post if about how I protect important data at home. There are a lot of appliances out there with nice front ends but most of them do not store data on ZFS or something with the same level of data protection. Also, if you have anything but trivial space requirements they tend to get expensive fast and don't have the option to easily enhance performance by for example adding an SSD as file cache or adding other hardware. I've built my ZFS storage server based on an quad core AMD CPU, 8GB of ECC memory, a SAS HBA and a bunch of large SATA disks in hot-swap bays.

All my data now lives in this storage server protected against accidental delete, bit rot, disk failures and fire. I use NFS/CIFS for ordinary file data and iSCSI for my Aperture photo libraries and time machine backups.

All data is stored in one large raidz2 pool, so there are two parity disks allowing any two disks to fail without data loss. Since ZFS checksums all data I know it is intact when read and after bi-weekly data scrubs. The most important reason for using raidz2 is that disks have now become so big that there is now a real risk that there will be an unrecoverable read error during a resilver when all data is read, using another parity disk makes this highly unlikely. Snapshots makes it possible to do a quick rollback if any person or software should damage or remove data, this is also very useful when transforming large amounts of data with uncertain outcome. This will keep data safe from most user errors, disks errors and controller errors but fire and major user errors/sabotage (zfs destroy -r) could still make me loose data.

To avoid the later two scenarios I mark my most important datasets with a flag and a script streams them using ZFS send/receive to external disks over eSATA. The disks are then transferred to a second physical location. I can currently fit all critical data on one large SATA disk which makes this cheap and easy. I exclude ISO images and virtual machine disks that I only use for testing. A full backup of critical data takes about 3 hours today, that depends on the backup disks which can write data at about 80-90MB/s. By using incremental ZFS send the time goes down considerably as only the delta between the snapshots need to be transferred.

To be able to recover individual files and recover parts of data even if the disk have errors the streams are sent to a zpool on the backup disk. By using several disks I have at least one at another location and it also gives me multiple backup versions. I was considering placing encrypted ZFS streams on the disks but it is then not possible to recover individual files and if the stream is damaged it becomes useless.

In an ideal world I would have another node set up that receives the incremental ZFS streams over the net, but that is overkill for my current usage and I have no secondary site with good bandwidth (and another storage server).

This setup gives me the following redundancy:
  • Integrity of all data is verified every two weeks
  • Data has several read-only snapshots from different times
  • Data is protected by two disk parity raidz2
  • Accessed data is always verified by checksums
  • Offsite backups allow disaster recovery
  • Backups are also checksummed
  • Memory is ECC protected to prevent data corruption
This is all fine, but there is still one single point of failure, if a serious error would creep into the ZFS code it could be replicated to all snapshots and pools, but given the amount of testing ZFS has gone trough it seems unlikely. Here tape backups over NDMP would be of good use but since I do not have any tape hardware all important data is copied with rsync to a disk with an old-school filesystem once every other month.

On top of this I also take advantage of other ZFS features, a cheap SSD is used as L2ARC to accelerate various workloads and compression/de-duplication is as always available with ZFS. It is also possible to add new hardware to the setup without buying a different server or license, 10GbE, Fibre channel, more SSD caches and more RAM for cache/dedup can easily be added, that would probably not be possible with a pre-built NAS appliance or at least not as cheap.

I am evaluating the beta of OpenIndiana 151 on the storage server after upgrading from the now dead OpenSolaris distribution (I would not have tested a beta release without all these backups in place), so far everything works fine. Solaris 11 Express can also be used but that requires a license from Oracle that costs about $1000/year but it will give you ZFS crypto and a few other ZFS features not available in the open ZFS code base.

All the technical features are better than most storage appliances but OpenIndiana/Solaris 11 Express provides no web based administration, there are however add-on software such as nap-it available and commercial ZFS software appliances such as NexentaStor which has a free community edition for up to 18TB of used storage.

I have worked with designing and implementing various similar solutions from small office filers to larger data archives with 96-disk. I work part time as a consultant so I am available to assist in similar projects.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Solaris dskinfo utility

Solaris and it's derivatives are perhaps the best general OS for storage thanks to ZFS, COMSTAR and the native CIFS implementation. It lacks however a single tool for managing disks before they are part of a ZFS pool, disk group or filesystem. With a few disks it's somewhat manageable but when you have tens or hundreds of disks on a system it's hard to get a good overview. This becomes even harder if MPxIO is used or the disks are LUNs from a SAN so that you want to see the logical unit numbers.

You can manually map the MPxIO names against logical unit numbers with luxadm, see the size with format or iostat and find used disks with zpool status, mount or some other. This does require many different commands and you will not get all the information listed in once place.

A while ago I wrote a utility to collect and present disk information in Solaris that I called dskinfo. It relies heavily on existing commands in Solaris and parses their output but have worked very well for me in many different environments.

This initial version is best suited for systems using ZFS since it can only show the usage of disks part of a zpool (exported or imported). It can still be used to get a summary of all disks on the system and later version might add additional filesystems and volume managers as well. I have labeled this version 0.9 and I will use feedback to create a 1.0 version before I look into adding more functionality.

dskinfo displays disk information with four subcommands: list, list-long, list-full or list-parsable. The two first commands will output data on a single line with different number of fields, list-full will display all data on two lines per disk and list-parsable will display all data on one line with fields separated by a colon.

I have tested dskinfo on Solaris 10, Solaris 11, OpenIndiana and Nexenta with both local, iSCSI and fiber channel attached disks.

Example, I have only included the shortest type of list since the formatting here makes the other look terrible, they all look good in 80 columns:
$ dskinfo list                          
disk size use type
c5t0d0 149G rpool disk
c5t2d0 37G - disk
c6t0d0 1.4T zpool01 disk
c6t1d0 1.4T zpool01 disk
c6t2d0 1.4T zpool01 disk

A better formatted text file with additional listing options can be viewed here: dskinfo-example.txt

Please let me know if you find dskinfo useful or have any problems, I will try to fix them when I have time.

Version 1.0 is available for download here: dskinfo

Update: Version 1.0 is now available, it contains bug fixes, warning if SVM is used or VxVM is installed. It can also output driver and instance names and tries harder to acquire the serial number from disks. A quiet options is also available to remove warnings.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

ZFS working group

While catching up in zfs-discuss I read an interesting announcement from the ZFS working group. They have created a new versioning method for ZFS allowing different efforts to create new versions of the on-disk format without incompatibility in versioning. This is a thing I myself have been a bit worried about, how differences between different ZFS implementations be handled.

It it good to see efforts to implementing new features for the free ZFS implementation outside of Oracle. Even better is that people like Matthew Ahrens are involved, he was in the ZFS core team at Sun but now works for Delphix. Matthew even worked with implementing BP rewrite which is probably the most requested feature in ZFS.

The ZFS working group are currently working on the future of open ZFS behind closed doors, as described by Garret D'Amore earlier this year:

"There is ZFS development happening outside of Oracle. Many of the
active ZFS developers at a *variety* of organizations are collaborating
within the illumos community using a private e-mail list much like an
standards body Working Group (we even call ourselves the ZFS Working
Group). And not all of the participants here are coming from Solaris
backgrounds -- we have Linux, FreeBSD, and MacOS represented.
(Privacy is important to keep the discussions focused and technical.
And some participants would prefer to keep their participation

I hope we will see more from this group in a near future, it seems likely the open implementation of ZFS will get new features such as a hybrid block allocator and new compression algorithms. With great minds from Nexenta, Delphix and Joyent among others working with illumos I'm sure great things will come.

In the meantime you can use Solaris 11 Express to try out the latest ZFS feature available or OpenIndiana oi_151 which is the open distribution that has the most recent ZFS implementation from illumos.

[zfs-discuss] ZFS working group and feature flags proposal

Monday, June 13, 2011

Free Solaris patch metadata

I think there are a few people out there frustrated with the availability of Solaris patch information these days. Even if you have a support contract with access to all patches it can be a hassle to get good overview of new Solaris patches in My Oracle Support and even harder if you want to link to that information.

I have just found a fantastic site that provides patch metadata for Solaris in a format easy to view and search. It is also available to the public.

This is their reason for creating the site:
"When the merge of Sun and Oracle has been made, we lost a lot of tools that were present on the famous SunSolve. Like the ability to search efficiently for patches, bugids, sun alerts and so on. This website has the aim to provide part of this informations by indexing all the patches and bugids that we could gather publicly. We want to allow easy search to ease the life of solaris sysadmins."


Thursday, June 9, 2011

LDOM 2.1 with Live migration

Oracle VM 2.1 (previously LDOM, Logical domains) was released yesterday, it finally has the ability to perform live migration of domains, much like VMWare vMotion. It is supported on T2 and T3 servers, it should also work on the T4 when it's released this fall (or at least an updated version).

From the press release:
  • Live migration: Enables users to migrate an active domain to another host machine while maintaining application services to users. Live migrations are as simple as point and click using Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center’s console.
  • Secure, encrypted migration included: On-chip cryptographic accelerators deliver secure, wire speed encryption capabilities for live migration – without any additional hardware investments.
  • Dynamic Resource Management (DRM) between domains: Ensures that domains running the most important workloads get priority for CPU access over domains with less critical workloads.
  • Increased maximum number of virtual networks per domain: Permits a dramatic increase in external access to domains.
  • Lower-overhead, higher scalability networking for Oracle Solaris 11 Express: Allows virtual network devices to use shared memory to exchange network packets, enabling improved performance and scalability.
  • Support for Virtual Device Service Validation: Immediately validates the name and path for a specified network device or virtual disk, greatly reducing the risk of incorrectly configured I/O.
  • Integrated Dynamic Reconfiguration (DR) of Cryptographic units and virtual CPUs: Cryptographic units and CPUs are dynamically reconfigured together to simplify operations and ensure consistent performance.
  • Enhanced Management Information Base (MIB): Enables the SNMP MIB to use the latest Logical Domains Manager XML interface, permitting third party management software to access the new features and resource properties.
  • P2V tool enhancements: Bring more flexibility to quickly convert an existing SPARC server running Oracle Solaris 8, 9 or 10 into a virtualized Oracle Solaris image to run on SPARC T-series servers."

Oracle Announces Latest Version of Oracle VM Server for SPARC
Oracle VM Server for SPARC 2.1 Release Notes

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Solaris release dates reminder

As other sources also have now also found out that the next release of Solaris will be named Solaris 10 8/11 which indicates a August release. As written previously we should expect Solaris 11 around Oracle World 2011, a more precise date have been disclosed in Joerg's blog: November 2011, a year after the Solaris 11 Express release. He also speculates in a 11/11/11 release driven by marketing. I will be very interesting to se what the last year of engineering under Oracles guidance have to deliver in the final Solaris 11 release.

Last but not least the OpenIndiana project is just about to release build 151. Update: there are even beta images available here.

Solaris 10 update 10 ZFS refresh

Sunday, May 29, 2011

No more public bug information

A tremendously useful site for Solaris/OpenSolaris/Solaris 11 operators, users and developers have been bugs.opensolaris.org. I don't know how many problems I have solved by using this site and I am sad to report that it has now been down for a well over a month. Now even I have given up hope that Oracle will restore the service, all information available is the message on the site: "This service is temporarily unavailable.". It no longer seems like a temporary outage and I would not be surprised if Oracle have cut this source of information too and is trying to do it quietly without any announcement. If that is not the case I love to be proven wrong.

This is another change that will make it harder for me to promote future Solaris releases and write about interesting technical details.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Solaris updates in 2012

In the Solaris online forum last week there where refereces to another scheduled Solaris 10 update, update 11 (s10u11), schedule for release the second half of 2012.

There where no other information regarding the release but it's good to see that Solaris 10 will continue to be updated a while after Solaris 11 have been released.

The scheduled also included the expected Solaris 10 8/11 release and the Solaris 11 release which probably will be available at Oracle World 2011. There was also an update scheduled for Solaris 11 the first half of 2012.

Update: You can look at the roadmap here.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Joyent illumos tree

Joyent which builds their cloud service on zones and ZFS just announced a new repository with patches against illumos that provides new features and bug fixes:

"Some highlights of the illumos-joyent tree include:
* ZFS I/O fair-share scheduling for zones
* the Joyent brand, which can be used as a template for other non-SysVR4 or IPS zone brands
* Reintroduction of sparse zone images
* Crossbow vnics on demand for zones & non-unique vnic naming (unique per zone, not per system)
* svcs enhancements ( svcs -Z/-z for interrogating zone services, -L for outputting log files directly (no more ls /var/svc/log | grep... ))
* vfsstat and iostat tweaks and ziostat, iostat(1M) for ZFS I/O
* more per-zone IO kstats
* the zonemon utility for zone kernel state troubleshooting
* DTrace enhancements such as llquantize"

I'll guess many of these changes will find it's way into illumos in a near feature. The whole mail from John Sonnenschein can be read here.

Joyent have always been an interesting company and have recruited very talented people after Sun settled. Both Bryan Cantrill and Brendan Gregg are now employed by Joyent so I would not be surprised if they will become one of the larges contributors to illumos.

illumos-joyent at github

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Solaris Online forum

A rare opportunity is coming April 14, Oracle is sharing information on their Solaris strategy and upcoming Solaris 11 features.

The agenda taken from the registration site:

"9:00 a.m. - 9:45 a.m. PT
Oracle Solaris Strategy Overview
Bill Nesheim, VP Oracle Solaris Engineering

9:45 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. PT
An Industry Analyst's View of the Operating System Market
Gary Chen, IDC

10:00 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. PT
Manage Your Deployments With Image Packaging System and the Automated Installer
Bart Smaalders, Oracle Solaris Engineering
Dave Miner, Oracle Solaris Engineering
Glynn Foster, Oracle Solaris Product Management
Isaac Rozenfeld, Oracle Solaris Product Management

10:45 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. PT
Get More out of Your Oracle Solaris Environments With Virtualization
Dan Price, Oracle Solaris Engineering
Nicolas Droux, Oracle Solaris Engineering
Duncan Hardie, Oracle Solaris Product Management

11:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. PT
Learn How All New Features in Oracle Solaris 11 Raise The Bar For Operating Systems
Markus Flierl, Sr. Director Oracle Solaris Engineering
Liane Praza, Oracle Solaris Engineering
Joost Pronk, Oracle Solaris Product Management

Register and get more information here.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sort memory capping out

I had a curios problem today, on a otherwise lightly loaded machine with plenty of memory left login as the Oracle user took tens of seconds to complete. Since it was the souring of a shell script that was stalling identify where the time was spent:

$ set -x
$ . /path/to/oraenv
+ nawk { print $2 }
+ sort

The whole delay was spent in sort(1) for no obvious reason. Truss shows the system call:
24.8167 sysconfig(_CONFIG_AVPHYS_PAGES) = 1500736
0.0011 sysconfig(_CONFIG_PAGESIZE) = 8192
0.0008 getpid() = 24178 [24177]

It took 24 seconds to get the number of available memory pages, a operation that worked fine in the global zone. The sysconfig source shows us that the call is very different for a global zone and for a memory capped zone:

if (!INGLOBALZONE(curproc) &&
curproc->p_zone->zone_phys_mcap != 0) {
pgcnt_t cap, rss, free;
vmusage_t in_use;
size_t cnt = 1;

cap = btop(curproc->p_zone->zone_phys_mcap);
if (cap > physinstalled)
return (freemem);

if (vm_getusage(VMUSAGE_ZONE, 1, &in_use, &cnt,
FKIOCTL) != 0)

If there is a physical memory capping set for the zone that is less than the amount of physical memory in the machine vm_getusage will be called, it will in turn look at every memory segment for every process , this can take quite a while on larger if the zone is a heavy allocator of memory, in this case the zone was using about 50GB of memory. This is not something you want to do every time a shell script calls $(sort). If you have ever used prstat -Z with large local zones you have seen the effects of this, it can take a long time.

Comment from the source:
"This file implements the getvmusage() private system call.
getvmusage() counts the amount of resident memory pages and swap
reserved by the specified process collective. A "process collective" is
the set of processes owned by a particular, zone, project, task, or user."

The source of the problem in sort was in utility.c:
size_t phys_total = sysconf(_SC_PHYS_PAGES) * sysconf(_SC_PAGESIZE);
It seems like no other utilities in solaris uses sysconf(_SCPHYS_PAGES) which is why we had no other problems.

The short time solution was to disable the physical memory cap for these zones:
# rcapadm -z zone01 -m 0

Monday, February 21, 2011

FUSE in Solaris 11

It looks like the final version of Solaris 11 will get FUSE (PSARC 2010/456). It was previously under development for OpenSolaris but never integrated and the project has not been updated for at least year. It now seems like Oracle internally have resumed the FUSE development for Solaris 11 and plans to integrate it into the internal snv_163 build which opens in about a month.

"The FUSE project (PSARC/2010/456) introduces the UVFS file system so we need a uvfs.7fs to briefly describe this feature. Content will be provided by the
FUSE team.

Projected Nevada integration build is snv_163."

OpenSolaris FUSE project

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Future features of Solaris 11

There is not much available information on the ongoing development of Solaris 11. I have scanned the bug database and summarized the sparse information available. Much of the work remaining before a final Solaris 11 release is fixing bugs found in Solaris 11 Express and making the new packaging/install system fully production ready, but there will also be features added that are not available in the Express release. Here are a few of the more noticeable changes:
  • Zones should be able to be NFS servers
    Solaris 11 will be able to share NFS filsystems from within a local zone.
  • User names longer than 8 characters needed
    The Solaris kernel is already capable of user with names longer than 8 characters but userspace tools needs to be updated to support this.
  • EOF 32-bit x86 kernel support
    The final release of Solaris 11 will only support 64-bit x86 processors, this is already the case for SPARC since Solaris 10.
  • Xorg 1.9 integration
    The X Server will be updated from current 1.7 skipping version 1.8.

A list with bugid of other changes that have integrated or is about to become integrated including the above:
6981088 PSARC 2010/368 EOF 32-bit x86 kernel support
6983602 Xorg 1.9 integration [PSARC/2011/008]
6625651 Support flowadm from non global zone
7006556 need partitioning support for EFI system partition and BIOS boot partition
4109819 user names longer than 8 characters needed
6946425 reduced copy support to comstar iSCSI target
6982476 SCSI PassThrough in Solaris Local Zone
6714685 Intel Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX)
6802568 PCI-Express Framework support for SR-IOV
6944824 Intel e1000g NIC support for Leweisville (82579LM and 82579LF)
6828868 smbadm support to Display Server Service (SRVSVC)
6981644 Update bash to version 4.1
6394308 Multiple Connections / Session (MC/S) support for iscsi initiator
6946536 zvol support in non-global zones
6654408 Include FreeGLUT 2.4.0 in Nevada.
6957488 PSARC/2010/035 Support for GVRP (Dynamic VLAN)
6983112 Need a PAM module for mounting per user encrypted ZFS home directories
6516586 DMX support for Solaris x86 and SPARC [PSARC 2010/176]
6982811 64 bit Xvnc server and Tiger Vncviewer support
6940855 Zero-Copy for iSER

Samba 3.5.5 update for Solaris 10

Samba 3.5.5 is finally available for Solaris 10 in a supported way, SPARC patch 146363-01 and X86 patch 146364-01 updates the bundled Samba to version 3.5.5.

It should be available for download from support.oracle.com if you have a support contact. If you do not have that you could try out Solaris 11 Express which has the same version and also has native CIFS support in the kernel. A short summary of CIFS support in Solaris 8 through Solaris 11 Express presented at SNIA SDC 2010 can be viewed here: JiriSasek-CIFS_Map_Solaris.pdf.

Update: There is another patch available updating SAMBA to 3.5.8 with also fix at least one serious issue that prevents renaming of files on a ZFS filesystem. The new patch is 119757-20.

Solaris Samba update
Solaris 10 update 10 update

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Introduction to Virtual Networks

Project crossbow, the virtualized network stack is a gem of [Solaris11|Nexenta|OpenSolaris]. Jeff Victor has written a good three part introduction to the gains of virtual networks and examples on to how to use Crossbow together with zones, well worth a read:

Virtual networks part 1
Virtual networks part 2
Virtual networks part 3

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Oracle/Fujitsu expands SPARC partnership

Oracle and Fujitsu are expanding their partnership to help the development of the next generation of M-series servers. This will be done by increasing the joint engineering effort of the SPARC platform. Sale teams from both companies will also cooperate in selling SPARC Enterprise servers.

This gives credibility to why the roadmap had M-series represented even in 2014, it looks like we are going to see some large SPARC iron the next few years.

Fujitsu and Oracle Strengthen Decades-Long Relationship

Sunday, February 6, 2011

illumos news

There have been some news surrounding the illumos project, the community developed and maintained version of the OS/Net consolidation and future code base for Nexenta and OpenIndiana.

First Nexenta have hired three known developers from the OpenSolaris community. The development process have also been changed to become more scalable so that more developers can participate. This is done by having Advocates accepting and reviewing patches instead of giving commit access to all contributors:

"So now, rather than developers pushing changes directly to our mercurial tree, going forward Advocates will take patches from Contributors (either via hg export or patch file), verify that the content of the patch is what was reviewed, and will then be responsible for integrating those changes into our shared master."

It's encouraging to see that two of the three persons behind DTrace is active in the illumos project, Bryan Cantrill posted this to illumos-devel a few days ago:

"For whatever it's worth, I have some DTrace patches and some user-land SMF patches to send to whomever is most appropriate. (Both of these add new features, FWIW.)"

Welcome to new Nexentians
Change to illumos contribution process

Solaris 11 Express VBox images

If you want to try Solaris 11 Express without dedicating hardware or even spend time on an installation there are now VirtualBox images available for download from Oracle. The images have the VirtualBox guest additions pre-installed.

Instructions and download links are available at The Observatory

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Second OpenIndiana release

With the upcoming christmas and new year I had totally missed that OpenIndiana have had their second release, oi_148 which is based on the last publicly available OpenSolaris source. The OpenIndiana project is part of the illumos foundation and will use the illumos ON source in a later release.

Here are the release notes and download the images here.

Solaris 10 update 10 ZFS refresh

The internal builds of Solaris 10 8/11 (update 10) have had another refresh of the ZFS code. It is now be synced with snv_153 which is a even later build than Solaris 11 Express 2010.11 is based on. Also related to storage this update will support the LSI SAS 2308 HBA and the LSI SSS 6200 Solid State Storage.