Friday, July 23, 2010

UltraSPARC T3: Open Solaris Support

UltraSPARC T3: Open Solaris Support

There is news in the OpenSolaris front: new additions to OpenSolaris and formal naming of the new CoolThreads CPU from Oracle/Sun!

OpenSolaris PSARC/2010/274 is not published, but appeared on Twitter describing a new "-xtarget value for UltraSPARC T3".

For those of you who are unaware, the 16 core with 8 thread per core UltraSPARC T3 from Oracle appears to be the successor to the UltraSPARC T2+ from Sun.

Network Management Tie-In

What does this mean for Network Management?

The Register published a possible SPARC roadmap, showing the a 16 core 8 thread/core processor showing up just after mid 2010, so one might suspect the arrival is close.

Oracle OpenWorld starts September 20, 2010 - so we may have an announcement around then.

If you are building or expanding a NOC, it might be prudent to as for an NDA to determine best purchase time or wait a couple months (if you are a new customer) before striking a purchase, since the high performance UltraSPARC T3 may be just around the corner. Twice the throughput per socket may be worth the wait, if the cost is not significantly higher.

NFS, CIFS, and Zones

NFS, CIFS, and Zones

For years, users could not share NFS mounts from a Zone in Solaris. This may be about to change!

With PSARC/2010/280, there is a chance that we will see the ability to share NFS from a Zone, but I can only hope that we will be able to see overlapping shares, so we can share those same Zones shared from a Global Zone, simultaneously.

I hope we will be able to share the root zones via NFS from the global zone as well as directories separately from each individual zone. This is a great feature for hop-off servers.

Yes, the DMZ implementations do matter.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Solaris Crossbow Virtual Wire: Network in a Box

Solaris Crossbow Virtual Wire: Network in a Box


For 8 years, Sun has been re-developing the TCP/IP stack under Solaris. Nicolas Droux is involved as one of the core architects in Solaris in the process of re-architecting the TCP/IP stack. At the 23'rd Large Installation System Administration Conference (LISA-09), Nicolas presented over a short session describing the new features in Solaris TCP/IP from Project Crossbow.

  • Host Virtualilzation
  • Service Virtualization
Key Issues to Solve
  • Virtualizing Hardware NIC's
  • Zones Sharing a NIC
  • Maintain Performance
  • The desire is to allow the virtualized network stack to use as much of the hardware as possible.
  • Allow the Virtual Machines to understand how much bandwidth they are allowed to use, to keep zones from stepping on one another.
  • Management integrated into the stack itself, to avoid users having to look at multiple man pages.
  • Security to ensure badly behaved applications are not injecting bad packets on a shared network
8 Years of Development
  • Old code based upon Steams of solutions to resolve
  • closer integration of IP to TCP layers
  • data link, mac to IP
  • new interface to device drivers (Project Nemo)
  • IP QoS integrated, simplified, and made more efficient
  • Crossbow integrated at MAC layer
  • Requested more modern NIC features from hardware more hardware rings buffers, DMA Channels, and rich classifiers... building new features into the TCP/IP stack
Enablers & Key Opportunities
  • Server and Network Consolidation
  • Open Networking
  • Cloud Computing
  • Hardware Lanes, to assign traffic to virtual NIC's, buffers, kernel threads, interrupts, the CPU threads, Zones, and/or Virtual Machines!
  • Stack adjusts flow based upon server load or traffic load, with ability to adjust interrupts, so large chains of packets can be pulled from the NIC without an interrupt per packet penalty
  • Virtual NIC's, pseudo-MAC instances, can be configured with bandwidth, priorities, and link aggregation, and assign V-NIC's on top
  • Bind: VLAN and Priority Flow Control to a V-NIC; hardware lan to a Switch
  • Virtual switch built automatically whenever 2 VNIC's are assigned to a Data Link
  • Virtual Switch can be built on EtherStubs, isolated from real hardware
  • Assigning a CPU Pool to a VNIC is coming
Implications to Hardware
  • Zones can replace real machines in a model in a Solaris model on a laptop
  • Virtual Switches can replace real switches in a Solaris model on a laptop
  • Virtual Routers can replace real routers in a Solaris model on a laptop
  • The configuration can be deployed in a production data center
Implications to Services: Crossbow Flows
  • Flows describes a type of traffic moving through a network
  • Flows can be described by: Services, Transport, Port Number, etc.
  • Properties can be attached to flows: Bandwidth, CPU, Priorities, etc.
  • Flows can be created on NIC's an V-NIC's
Question & Answers
  • Bandwidth can be assigned to a NIC, Bandwidth Guarantees to allow bursting was on the roadmap in 2009.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Political Posturing Holding Up Solaris, But Coming!

Political Posturing Holding Up Solaris, But Coming!

Mika Borner, leader of the Switzerland OpenSolaris User Group, which is sponsored by the Advocacy Community Group, recently had a NDA discussion with Dan Roberts (Director of Solaris Product Management.) His impressions of the future of Solaris have been recorded for all to see:
Oracle is still working out, how Solaris/Solaris Next/OpenSolaris will play together. As I understood, this is the main reason why OpenSolaris 2010H? is delayed.
New Solaris and/or SPARC releases on the way.
I can't tell you about the future of Solaris, but I see it quite rosy. The promises Oracle has made about Solaris/SPARC have/will more or less be fulfilled. There will be some interesting announcements ;-)

My personal opinion is, that Oracle will invest more into (Open)Solaris
than they will in Oracle Unbreakable Linux. In the former Oracle has full control, while the latter has to follow RHEL development closely.

The biggest question at the moment is, will OpenSolaris 2010H? come out
at all, and if yes, when... Honestly I don't know, but Oracle Open World could be a good time to release it.

New Solaris Releases During OpenWorld?

The question seems to be WHEN and HOW will the latest releases be conducted, not necessarily IF. Speculation seems to point around Oracle Open World 2010 in September. How this seems to it in could be tied into the various agenda items.
Oracle and Fujitsu Keynote Addresses, for SPARC Solaris communities.
Oracle and Intel Keynote Addresses, for Intel Solaris (and Linux & Microsoft) communities.
While never attending an Oracle Open World in the past, one would certainly be interested attending the next one virtually!

New UltraSPARC T3 Release During OpenWorld?

What the SPARC community is waiting for, with much anticipation, is the arrival of UltraSPARC T3 processor. This processor will help the SPARC community jump ahead of the competition in the central processor community for the next few years again.

The UltraSPARC T2, while still competitive from an aggregate socket performance perspective, is a little weak on cost competitiveness. With the doubling of cores on the T3, cost competitiveness should be increased.