Welcome to 2012!

Hi all, happy New Year!

Just thought I’ll take a few minutes to welcome you to the new year and to thank you once again for staying with the Solaris Blog for so long!

My plans for this blog are quite humble in the view of Solaris not being a primary Unix-like OS at work anymore, but I’m still quite curious about a few things and would gladly share knowledge and answer your questions to my best ability.

So far, the following topics appear to be most useful:

  • Anything to do with SSH (stay tuned and take a minute to become RSS reader of my Unix Tutorial blog – I plan on releasing an SSH eBook later this year which many of you will find useful) – yes, it will cover passwordless SSH and will have some of the best X11 forwarding recipes
  • DTrace tips – still my favorite from Solaris 10 times, DTrace is truly amazing. I’m both surprised and glad that it made its way into many other operating systems. If anything, I’ll be sharing occasional tips on DTrace in Mac OSX. I will assume you’ve all seen Brendan Gregg’s excellent DTrace Tools kit!
  • ZFS – this proved to be so useful and revolutionary at the time that ZFS can now be found in a number of appliances and OS distros for NAS storage management (hello ZFS Build, Nexenta and Zena Box!)

I plan to expand sections of the blog covering these topics, but will gladly add anything you may find useful enough to flag in the comments section.

I’m really looking forward to 2012, and hope there will be more than one occasion when you will find my tips useful and readily applicable. Talk soon!


Solaris 10 update 7 (5/09) release

Last week yet another update of Solaris 10 OS was released: Solaris 10u7.

What’s new in Solaris 10 update 7?

  • ZFS support when cloning a Solaris zone – quite a useful tool for someone who always copied the files of Solaris zones. I personally did similar cloning myself, but it’s handy that now ZFS cloning is supported in the zoneadm command itself.
  • IPsec – SMF services – Service Management Framework now manages all the necessary IPsec functionality with traditionally thorough approach: interface consistency, restarting anf fault-tracking are all provided. SMF services for IPsec are: ipsec/policy, ipsec/ike, ipsec/manual-key and ipsec/ipsecalgs.
  • SunSSH with OpenSSL PKCS#11 Engine support – this opens way for more optimal use of hardware crypto accelerators.
  • iSCSI Target improvements – greatly improved iSNS (Internet Storage Name Service) support, updates for improved interoperability. Most common iSCSI initiators are now supported
  • NetXen 10-GigE driver – a new NIC driver called ntxn will make it possible to use 10-Gigabit cards on your x86 platform
  • New locale support – greetings go to Kazakhstan and Ukraine which are now fully supported

This isn’t a full list of improvements, so if you’re interested in all the details – please read the official What’s New in Solaris 10 update 7 doc.

Solaris 10 u7 screenshots gallery

I’ve uploaded a few screenshots for you, nothing revolutionary but will still give you an idea if you have never seen Solaris 10 before:

See also:

ZFS: managing filesystems

It’s been quite a while since I’ve cleared one of internal disks in my Netra t105 to bring it under ZFS control. As a result, I now have a 33Gb zfs-pool to experiment with. Today I had some spare time, so I decided to share with you the very basics of managing ZFS filesystems.

So this is the ZFS pool I have:

solaris# zpool list
NAME                    SIZE    USED   AVAIL    CAP  HEALTH     ALTROOT
stock                  33.8G   2.40G   31.4G     7%  ONLINE     -

[Read more…]

Basic ZFS example

I just couldn’t wait any longer, and decided to try something with ZFS. And what do you know? I’ve found a very useful advice from Ben Rockwood, which allows us use regular files created with mkfile as virtual disks for ZFS. VERY useful, especially when you really want to play with such a great technology and maybe try various configurations, but there are no spare physical disks for such experiments.

I will, of course, read and understand all the inner workings of ZFS later, but the first impression of it is this – too easy to be true! 🙂

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What’s new in Solaris 10?

Here are just some of the revolutionary changes introduced in Solaris 10:

DTrace – dynamic tracing

DTrace allows you to dynamically trace anything and everything in real time. You can observe processes both in userland and kernel space, watch them as closely as you want and this all with virtually no performance impact. This allows DTrace to be used on a production system being absolutely sure it’s not going to considerably slow the system down or crash it.
I think it’s one of the best Solaris 10 innovations – all the administrators and developers will like it.

ZFS file system (zettabyte file system)

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ZFS: commands emulation

I’m considering getting myself an x86 server with Solaris for home use, and today I’ve decided to play around with ZFS on my old Sparc-box.

I believe those of you who are just getting started with ZFS will really like the -n command line option for zfs and zpool, which allows you to see what result would a certain command yield, while there is nothing actually done to your disks.

So, if you’re thinking of creating a new storage pool, you don’t have to actually create it just to see how it will look – you can use -n option instead:

solaris# zpool create -n mypool raidz /export/vdev/d1 /export/vdev/d2 /export/vdev/d3 /export/vdev/d4

ZFS features: RAID-Z

I started slowly building up my knowledge of ZFS, and have decided to start with the most tasty things. One of them is a RAID-Z approach.

Jeff Bonwick – a ZFS author and one of newly created OpenSolaris ZFS community leaders, wrote a wonderful article on RAID-Z where he thoroughly explains what’s new and cool about RAID-Z compared to RAID-5. Please read this masterpiece here.

Cool things about RAID-Z

  1. A traditional weakness of parity-based RAID schemes – write hole – is fixed
  2. There’s quite a performance improvement because now we have dynamic length stripes – any small amount of data will be treated as a data block of a full-stripe size, and therefore it will be immediately and fully written onto disks.
  3. Data integrity improved – in addition to traditional XORs to validate data based on parity knowledge, each RAID-Z block is validated with a 256-bit checksum.
  4. ZFS has a self-healing functionality built-in. If one of data disks returns corrupted data, ZFS restores the correct data with parity, compares checksums to validate the result, returns this correct data to the disk operation which requested it, and fixes corrupted data on the disk which gave us the corrupted data. Must be really useful!

That’s all for now. Soon there will be new ZFS presentations – and I hope they will have even more information on RAID-Z.

ZFS: filesystem properties

There is quite a number of ZFS filesystems properties, and I will cover most useful ones today.

I’ll begin with refreshing your knowledge a bit. As I’ve told before, I’m going to create a number of ZFS filesystems on my server for the next few blog entires on ZFS. So, right now I have the following:

solaris# zfs list
stock                 2.40G  31.1G  8.50K  /stock
stock/oracle          2.32G   693M  2.32G  /stock/oracle
stock/try                8K   512M     8K  /try

[Read more…]