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