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