Saturday, September 18, 2010

Linux: Root Exploit Briefly Closed Finally Resolved

Security Alert - Upgrade Linux Systems Again...

Another Linux root exploit found last decade, briefly closed for a few months, has finally been closed.

The Linux kernel has been purged of a bug that gave root access to untrusted users – again.

The vulnerability in a component of the operating system that translates values from 64 bits to 32 bits (and vice versa) was fixed once before – in 2007 with the release of version But several months later, developers inadvertently rolled back the change, once again leaving the OS open to attacks that allow unprivileged users to gain full root access.

There are a lot of production systems which have been compromised by this defect over the past half-decade.

Network Management

Let's hope that affected systems are not runnning mission critical systems in your managed services environment that connect to tens of thousands of customer devices in a Network Management environment. It means another hit on availability and taking down the systems for yet another upgrade.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Microsoft Windows: The Target of Nearly All Malware

Microsoft Windows: The Target of Nearly All Malware

The Known

A short article from The Register delineates the concern for data centers.

The vast majority of malware - more than 99 per cent - targets Windows PCs, according to a new survey by German anti-virus firm G-Data.

G-Data reckons 99.4 per cent of all new malware of the first half of 2010 targeted Microsoft’s operating system.

Some would suggest that this is not news, but an understanding of what is already known.

The Predicted

With the increase of Windows viruses and worms up, the trend is expected to get much worse.
G-Data reckons the rate of virus production in 1H10 is 50 per cent up from the same period last year. It predicts 2010 as a whole will witness two million malware samples.
What is a Network Operation Center to do?

The Smart Road

Any reasonable Network Operation Center knows that exposing Microsoft Windows directly to other customer networks and directly to other supplier networks is an incredible security risk.

There are ways to mitigate that risk.
G-Data reckons the rate of virus production in 1H10 is 50 per cent up from the same period last year. It predicts 2010 as a whole will witness two million malware samples.
Deploying Microsoft Windows on customer and supplier facing networks is a risk that should be avoided when nearly all of the risk can be eliminated by deploying another operating system.

If mission critical software has to run in a business, the software runs under Solaris.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Solaris: Developer Licensing Update

Solaris: Developer Licensing Update
The News

The developers usage license for Oracle Solaris, Oracle Solaris Cluster, and Oracle Solaris Express has been clarified by Oracle:
we grant you a perpetual (unless terminated as provided in this agreement), nonexclusive, nontransferable, limited License to use the Programs only for the purpose of developing, testing, prototyping and demonstrating your applications
The Olds

Gone is the old 90 day clause, inserted after Oracle bought Sun.

Network Management

If you are building, modeling, or testing Network Management applications, Solaris is a good Operating System to continue using!

With being able to run Virtual Box with Solaris Crossbow, there is virtually nothing that you can not simulate when building, testing, and demonstrating Network Management Systems!

ZFS: NetApp and Oracle Agree to Dismiss Lawsuits

ZFS: NetApp and Oracle Agree to Dismiss Lawsuits

There has been a lot of Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt spewed around by marketing droids about the use of ZFS because of lawsuits filed between NetApp and Sun.

Since the purchase of Sun by Oracle, this seems to have come to an end. Both NetApp and Oracle agreed to dismiss lawsuits and people can use open-source ZFS free and clear of legal wranglings.

Network Management:
Performance management typically requires immense quantities of space that is needed to hold historical performance metrics of devices and communication links. ZFS is the best tool on the market to do this efficiently, cost effectively, and securely.

Now, there should be no inhibitions to making network management business run less expensively and more efficiently.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Solaris 10 Update 9 Is Here!

Solaris 10 Update 9 Is Here!

There are A LOT OF UPDATES in this latest version of Solaris 10, many of which will drive people to retrieve the free download!

Get Your Summary...

Some people want a management level view, want to read the document, or just want a technical take on it. Here is your selection:
Network Management Angle

From a Network Management perspective, there are a few features which look very interesting:
  • SPARC Solaris Install Time Updates

    Vendors will now be able to provide SPARC device drivers separate from regular releases.

    I personally wonder whether this will be beneficial to ISV communities to provide integration software on top of SPARC Solaris in the TelCo Market, so Network Management platforms can be delivered "on a disk" with minimal configuration.

  • Zone Virtualization Updates

    Upgrading zones by attaching them to an upgraded Global Zone gets better support: update a host in a cluster, move the zones to that new host, and run the "zoneadm attach -U" to update those zones which were newly attached to the global zone.

    Migration of a physical Solaris 10 machine into a Zone with support for the HostID in Update 9 will allow more network management platforms to be virtualized while still retaining their licensing features.

  • Oracle VM for SPARC (LDOM's) Update

    For Network Management platforms not certified to run in Zones (there are a few system calls which are not available), then these updates will be of interest to you.

    People should avoid vendors which take business down this route because they refuse to support Zones.

  • ZFS Enhancements

    There are substantial enhancements to the ZFS subsystem. Triple Parity RaidZ is now available, log devicperformance tuning [especially for databases], log device removal, mirror splitting & cloning, and recovery tools for power-off crashes of system using cheap drives (which don't really report reality when a transaction is supposed to be committed.) [This last category is especially useful for dealing with large performance management data sets cost-effectively.]

  • iSCSI Enhancements

    Some more tuning options, performance enhancements, and remote booting capabilities. Once again, great for Network Managment, especially deploying remote Solaris probes.

  • Crypto Enhancements

    The AES encryption engine in newer Intel processors is now supported, providing similar functionality in Intel Solaris to the crypto accelerator support traditionally only seen in the UltraSPARC T processor family under SPARC Solaris.

  • Power Management Enhancements

    Power Managment enhancement in select DRAM chips, RAID cards, and overall OS under the Intel architecture. This makes your network managment center cooler with Solaris.

  • Enhanced Hardware Support

    Enhancements for HP and Dell platforms for Intel Solaris. Additional gigabit ethernet card support. A variety of Infiniband enhancements. Fault Management Support for newer AMD processors.

  • Freeware Enhancements

    Newer versions of Firefox, Thunderbird, and other applications. Configure Network Management devices from older web browsers is often difficult, newer web browsers are ALWAYS welcome!

    Oracle SHOULD take the Solaris Web Client more seriously. A Web Browser is a SECURITY item, not a "freeware" item. Configuring thousands of remote devices from a Windows platform is a risk that a business should never take since Windows spyware could be capturing the information critical to securing a network infrastructure. Moving this type of work to Solaris infrastructure is MUCH safer alternative than using an MS Windows web browser.
Download your latest version of Solaris 10 Update 9 today!

Happy Network Managing!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Shake Up at Oracle

Shake Up at Oracle

Hurd is In,

Mark Hurd, a former CEO of a unified NCR & Teradata, who later went on to the systems giant HP, has now returned to a company who has a unified Data Warehousing and Systems giant... but Oracle is also an Applications giant, as well.

Hurd experienced an odd scandal at HP where he had an assistant who was formerly involved in not so savory movies. The accusations are not well disclosed. The sexual-harassment policy was not violated, but apparently HP's standards of business conduct were.

Phillips is Out

Phillips apparently expressed his desire to depart from Oracle after a scandel of his own. Over 8 years, cheating on his wife, to be expressed in billboards across the United States. An adulterer spurned by an adulteress.

Network Management Connection

Bringing a (possibly) strong systems CEO from HP to Sun could be good or bad for the Network Management arena.

While at NCR, Hurd had presided over a company which resold Solaris and SPARC systems and briefly resold Intel Solaris.

While at HP, Hurd's company had a relationship with Sun with reselling Solaris. That relationship was recently renewed.

While Hurd presided over Teradata at NCR, a port of Teradata from 32 bit Intel NCR UNIX to 64 bit SPARC Solaris or 32 bit Intel Solaris was never realized as some speculated or hoped.

SPARC RISC has traditionally been a strong player in the Telecommunications Industry, but HP has traditionally been a company to eliminate various competing RISC architectures internally.

It will be most curious what changes happen at Oracle in regard to the Sun SPARC and Solaris acquisitions, considering the history of the new President. With Solaris and SPARC being the traditional core of real network management applications, the impact may or may not be significant.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Need a Helping ARM?

I wish there was activity about the porting of Solaris to ARM for this gadget...

DBXTool Resurrected!

Resurection of DBXTool

Vijay Tatkar posted an encouraging node to his blog at Sun/Oracle. A well known tool from Sun's old SunView environment was reintroduced to Oracle Solaris Studio: dbxtool !!!

Vijay later released a short presentation of the changes occurring to dbxtool over the years, including a way to basically hide it after an IDE acquisition.

This is a great day!