Tuesday, June 4, 2019

The Business Plan for Sun Microsystems

[Sun Microsystems Logo]

The Business Plan for Sun Microsystems

Have you ever wondered what the business plan looked like for a tech startup which becomes a multi-billion dollar international corporation?

Well, this is an example Business Plan for Sun Microsystems, from back in 1982!

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Fujitsu SPARC M10 and M12 Physical Partitions

[SPARC Logo, courtesy SPARC International]

Fujitsu SPARC M10 and M12 Physical Partitions


A conversation occurred recently, with a marketing expert regarding, whether an OS instance could span multiple chassis. At the time, this author indicated that it was not possible, but capabilities of the Fujitsu SPARC products were not well advertised. Fujitsu published a presentation describing the capabilities.
[Solaris Logo, courtesy Oracle and Sun Microsystems]

Oracle Solaris

There is an off-the-shelf OS, which has the ability to span multiple chassis, but you have to have the right chassis. Fujitsu has long engineered high-end servers with mainframe reliability. Fujitsu had also supplied SPARC hardware for Solaris, from the days f the first SPARC processors! When engineered correctly, Solaris can span chassis.

 An example slide which shows a Physical Partition on individual chassis or spanning 2 chassis.
[Fujitsu Logo, Courtesy Fujitsu]

Building Blocks

One may ask, how this physically works?
Fujitsu offers a system with an expandable chassis, where there is an external crossbar, attaching multiple chassis together, similar to the way cards in a traditional Oracle chassis uses a crossbar inside the same chassis.

An example slide of physical Building Blocks illustrated above.


SPARC Solaris continues to have unusual features, which are not common in other equipment vendor equipment. Had this author been aware of this capability, cloud building may have been done a different way... providing a seamless way to expand clouds by merely adding one chassis at a time and never having to worry if an OS instance needs to grow large.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Oracle: OpsCenter 12.3.3

Oracle: OpsCenter 12.3.3

What is OpsCenter?

Oracle support remote systems management tool, offered from Oracle for their hardware & OS's. It is available for gratis. It is referred to as Oracle Enterprise Manager OpsCenter.

What does OpsCenter do?

OpsCenter will provision OS's on bare-metal, as well as distribute patches via a GUI tool,

What makes OpsCenter different from Oracle Enterprise Manager?

OpsCenter will manage all the way down to the hardware ILOM, without an OS agent, something which Oracle Enterprise Manager does not do.

Where can I get it?

You can  download OpsCenter from Oracle's web site.

What is the latest version?

As of this writing, the latest version is 12.3.3 and requires a JIDR for the most recent Oracle Hardware and Operating System support.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Fujitsu: Run Solaris 10 & 11 Natively on New Bare Metal

[Fujitsu Logo, courtesy Fujitsu Ltd.]

Fujitsu: Run Solaris 10 & 11 Natively on New Bare Metal


Sun Microsystems originally designed the SPARC processor and merged AT&T and BSD UNIX together to form Solaris. Fujitsu tarted developing clone hardware, which provided a second manufacturing source, fufilling military applications requirements. Oracle purchased Sun and later ended the native support of Solaris 10 on newer SPARC platforms. Fujitsu continues to support Solaris 10 & 11 on native Fujitsu SPARC M12 Platform.

[Fujitsu SPARC64

The M12

In 2017, Fujitsu released the SPARC64 XII processor, reaching the fastest performance in the industry, of all processors in the market.  This processor was placed in a chassis named the M12. Unlike the newer Oracle chassis, these platforms can run native Solaris 10 or 11, without virtualization.

This chassis comes in 2 flavors: M12-2 and M12-2S. The M12-2S is perhaps, the most interesting: the 2S can scale be adding up to a total of 12 chassis in a system to provide 32 sockets and support over 3000 threads by merely adding one chassis at a time!

[Solaris Logo, courtesy of Sun Microsystems, now Oracle]

Solaris 10

It should be noted, Solaris 10 does have a definitive life expectancy. New features are not expected, as the OS is now in Extended Support. Extended support offered Solaris 10 Patch Clusters. April 17 in 2018 marked the first set of Extended Support Patches, in Classic Solaris. As of this publishing, Oracle released another set of Solaris 10 Patches in January 9, 2019. The details for most current Recommended Solaris 10 Patch Set can be found by following the link. The final set of Extended patches will be released in January 2021. There is an uplift for Solaris 10 Extended Support, while Solaris 11 is a free update... and this is preferable!


While bare metal may be appealing to some applications, such as dedicated clustered solutions where redundancy is built at the application layer, most engineers prefer the portability of LDoms on a chassis cluster, where LDoms can be live migrated onto another chassis as planned maintenance is conducted on the drained chassis. The Solaris 10 bare metal support offered by Fujitsu provides large scale users, who desire bare metal performance the least amount of complexity, an option offered by no other SPARC vendor.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Solaris 11: Hardware Compatibility List - 2019q1

Solaris 11: Hardware Compatibility List - 2019q1


For those who are covering the life of real UNIX systems, a good place to track the progress of Solaris has been the Hardware Compatibility List. For the Q1 quarter of 2019, it may be helpful for readers to understand what the latest hardware is, that has been certified for Oracle Solaris, to execute 2019 purchases.

[Oracle Logo, courtesy Oracle Corporation]

Oracle's Submissions

Oracle's most recent submission - SPARC M8-8 on 2018-09-07 for Solaris 11.3 & 11.4.

Fujitsu's Submissions

Fujitsu's most recent submission - SPARC M-12 on 2017-07-10 for Solaris 11.3 & 11.4.
Interestingly enough, also certified is Solaris 10 1/13 [aka Solaris 10 Update 11]!

[Dell Logo, courtesy Dell Corporation]

Dell Additions

Dell continues to submit hardware into the Hardware Compatibility List.
They included 3x submissions:
  1. 2018-11-14 PowerEdge R640 - 2x socket, 8x cores/socket, Intel Bronze 3106 CPU @ 1.70GHz
  2. 2018-12-20 PowerEdge R840 - 4x socket, 4x cores/socket, Intel Gold 5122 CPU @ 3.60GHz
  3. 2019-01-15 PowerEdge R740 - 2x socket, 14x cores/socket, Intel Gold 5120 CPU @ 2.20GHz
All of these were for Solaris 11.4.

The Odd Man Out

There is a Chinese outsourcing company which also appears on the HCL, called Inspur.
They have 2x submissions:
  1. 2018-11-08 NF5280M5 - 2x socket 8x core/socket, Intel Silver 4110
  2. 2018-11-15 NF5180M5 - 2x socket, 24x core/socket, Intel Platinum 8176
 Inspur was certifying for Solaris 11.4.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Oracle: Un-Publishes SPARC Solaris Roadmap?

Oracle: Un-Publishes SPARC Solaris Roadmap?

It has been the tradition of Oracle to maintain a public roadmap for the SPARC Solaris product line, since  the purchase of Sun Microsystems.


As of 2018, Oracle had been promoting a roadmap which illustrated a 2020 SPARC M8+.

Fujitsu Today

Fujitsu is still promoting, in 2019 on a roadmap, a new SPARC Server in 2020, as of Feb 25, 2019.

Oracle Today

The "Assets" link was previously available. The "Servers-Storage" link was also previously available. Today, they are no longer available. They had disappears, approximately in January 2019. Oracle's 2018 roadmap was available from  around May 25th.

It should be noted, Oracle's web site had gone through a re-design, with different base URL's now being available, so this could have just been an oversight.


Network Management had traditionally not listened to rumors in the industry, regarding layoffs, but had traditionally depended upon hard evidence such as documents, hiring announcements, code releases, etc. There is a degree of concern, in the industry, what Oracle intends on doing with SPARC & Solaris. Oracle continues to release updates for hardware management software, like OpsCenter, and Fujitsu appears to be holding on to it's roadmap.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

DoD: Security Technical Implementation Guides (STIGs)


The US Department of Defense [DoD] released a document in regard to issued instruction 6500.01 which declared Defense Information Systems Agency [DISA] "develops and maintains control... security technical implementation guides (STIGs)... that implement and are consistent with DoD cybersecurity policies, standards, architectures, security controls, and validation procedures, with the support of the NA/CSS, using input from stakeholders". This resulted in the release of such documents.


Security demands the rigorous standards which must abide by, uniformly, since security is only as good as it's weakest link. The DoD offers Oracle Solaris UNIX Operating System Security Technical Implementation Guides, for SPARC & Intel, as well as for Solaris 10 & 11. 

[html] Index
[zip] STIG - Solaris 10 SPARC Version  1 Release 24
[zip] STIG - Solaris 10 x86 Version  1 Release 24
[zip] STIG - Solaris 10 SPARC Version  1 Release 16
[zip] STIG - Solaris 10 x86 Version  1 Release 16


Solaris, for both SPARC and Intel Platforms, continue to be the safest platforms for implementing systems on, in the world. It should be noted that Solaris 10 is fast approaching end-of-life, therefore Solaris 11 should be considered a primary platform for implementation.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

SPARC: Lift & Shift Solaris 10 ZFS RPool

SPARC: Lift & Shift Solaris 10 ZFS RPool


Since the adoption of SMP (Symmetric Multi Processing) by Sun Microsystems, there has been a shift in consolidation on chassis: co-hosting applications on a common OS instance, applications leveraging limited protections with "chroot", hosting multiple OS's on the same chassis through PDoms (Physical Domains), hosting multiple OS's via LDoms (Logical Domains), hosting applications in Solaris Containers (Zones). Sun had created techniques to lift-and-shift UFS based Solaris instances to LDoms, but had not provided a way forward for virtualization of ZFS bsed Solaris 10 systems... until days ago.

Solaris 10 P2V With ZFS Root

With Solaris 10 coming "end of life" and the push to Solaris 11 going strong, there is still a need to consolidate older model chassis. There is a guide called "Lift and Shift". Sekhar Lakkapragada, Senior Principal Software Engineer at Oracle, wrote an article on  how to accomplish this very task:


Sekhar posted a tool to accomplish this very activity, to the Oracle Solaris Blog. A short synopsis:
We are happy to announce that we now offer a new tool called ldmp2vz(1M) that can migrate Oracle Solaris 10 source systems with ZFS root. This tool has two commands; ldmp2vz_collect(1M) and ldmp2vz_convert(1M). These two commands enable migration of a sun4u or a sun4v Oracle Solaris 10 physical machine to an Oracle Solaris 10 guest domain on a system running Oracle Solaris 11 in the control domain as shown in this diagram.
In short, it is a 3 step process, not dissimilar from the ldmp2v tool:
  1. Collection: Run ldmp2vz_collect(1M) on the source for system image and configuration
  2. Preparation:  Create a new Oracle Solaris 10 SPARC guest domain using ovmtdeploy(8), Jumpstart, or DVD.
  3.  Conversion: Run ldmp2vz_convert(1M) from prepared Solaris 10 guest domain using Live Upgrade technology.


This has been a long time coming, but it is welcome, none the less.

Friday, January 11, 2019

ZFS Primer for Solaris 11.3

ZFS Primer for Solaris 11.3

What is ZFS?

ZFS is a flattened Volume Management & File System infrastructure that takes care of just about any basic OS needs. With 32 bit filesystems running out of steam, ZFS was created as a 128 bit filesystem to last for the

What are the features?

Basic features include:
- basic file system
- multiple file systems sharing a single pool of storage
- concatenation/striping to extend pools of storage
- mirroring to protect pools of storage
- hot-sparing of storage
- RAID to affordably protect a pool of storage (should use battery backup)
- RAIDZ to affordably protect a pool of storage (without battery backup)
- automatic silent data corruption correction
- on-line silent data corruption search & correction
- double Parity RAID to survive a dual disk failure
- snapshot, for read-only point-in-time data consistency
- scheduled snapshots, to provide rollback from user level data corruption 
- diff, to determine differences between snapshots
- clones, to make snapshots read-write
- promotion, to make a clone the record of reference
- rollback, to restore a snapshot to become the record of reference
- send, to backup a pool or filesystem to an alternate location
- receive, to restore a pool or filesystem from an alternate location
- deduplication, to make it an exquisite repository for massive VM repositories
- compression, to speed I/O and store more data
- encryption, to secure data
- sharing storage over NFS natively
- sharing storage over CIFS natively
- sharing storage over iSCSI natively

Is it Stable?

It was introduced in 2005, very stable.

Where is it used?

It is used as the default file system for Solaris 11, newer Operating Systems, storage appliances, and was even introduced into older operating systems (like Solaris 10 or Linux) as optional root disk storage.

Where can I find out more?

In December 2016, Fujitsu released a document called the "ZFS Implementation and Operations Guide". It is about the best introduction to ZFS that this author had ever seen. It is well worth the read!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

SPARC Solaris Upgrades Continue - US AirForce

SPARC Solaris Upgrades Continue - US Air Force

The US Air Force is contracting with Stellar Innovations & Solutions, Inc is contracting to upgrade Sun T15140 Chassis to T7-1 Chassis, across the nation!
[Sun SPARC T5140]
This is a full time job for about 4 engineers with experience. Engineers will unbox, install, wire, label, and make sure the project manager & customer are aware of the progress.

[Oracle SPARC T7-1]
This is a great opportunity to execute on your Solaris & SPARC Skills!