Sun - Week Fortytwo

Monday morning starts with us meeting a newtern for next year. Alex is down for a weeks experience to get used to working at sun. As a result, I’ve not actually done that much this week.

Monday morning begins with Alex coming in to the office, I start looking at a SunBlade 2000 which belongs to an engineer, the machine won’t boot, nothing out the graphics card, nothing out the serial port…Before I get any further with the machine, I got an email from Jonathan Schwartz. Sun has been bought by Oracle…I blogged about it too, found here. Feeling a little weird, we went off to lunch to come back to a meeting that afternoon. The meeting was the usual Monday afternoon affair, however, we all knew one note on the agenda was Oracle. Paul doesn’t know any more than we do, and confirmed that. After the meeting we tidied the lab as we have two student interviews and some guests coming for lab tours over the next few days.

Tuesday starts with me looking more into this SunBlade 2000, I debate with Paul as to whether we should sacrifice a lab box and just get this machine up and running. He agrees and I set about finding another box, thankfully there is one over in GMP02 lab. Since I was going over there, I took Alex with me to look at a problem, it would appear a PSU is playing up on one of the machines over there. I was sure that the power lead had been pulled out from PSU0, I was correct and plugged it back in…I recovered the SunBlade 2000 and took it over the GMP03 lab. The afternoon for dominated with a call by one of the executives. He wasn’t letting anything out the bag, it was basically a Q&A session, but he kept telling us he couldn’t answer this question, or that he couldn’t comment on rumors…It wasn’t so bad, someone had used the meeting room before us and ordered food from the canteen…We had platefuls of sandwiches and loads of things on sticks and baguette…

Wednesday was spent fixing up that SunBlade 2000, I took various bits from the old box, popped them in the new box and it seemed to work, this, however, took most of the morning…It wasn’t an easy task trying to troubleshoot some of the problems. I spent the afternoon with Alex looking at JLT and jump starting machines.

Thursday is here! It’s felt like a long week, although nothing official has been mentioned about the takeover, it’s still looming. I’ve spent most of the morning with Alex looking more at jumpstart and other UNIX bit and bobs, it’s currently lunch time, and I need to get some coding done before the end of Friday…

Friday came and went frankly…I spent the day doing some coding and surfing of the web, the Dennis forums went down last night :( We’ve set ourselves back up over on x404.co.uk! Also, Aled went to pick up my “new” iMac… I say new, it’s a CRT G3 iMac, 350MHz, 256MB RAM and a whopping 20GB hard drive, all for £15! Pictures of it here courtesy of Aled!

Opensolaris Live USB Creator

Just been alerted to this: clicky

Though if you don’t have access to a Windows box, but do already have access (or know someone with access) to an OpenSolaris box, then this method works too.

Oracle buys Sun Microsystems

Well, the news hit the two company sites at around 12:30 BST by my reckoning.  Sun.com and Oracle.com both reveled the news at around the same time (sun clicky and oracle clicky <- pics of the sites on the day).

I think this is a much better acquisition than what IBM offered, personally, I think IBM were looking to buy up competition, Oracle have a number of reasons to buy Sun as I see it:

  • Expanding the business into new markets means more fingers in more pies, hopefully those pies have got meat in them otherwise you’ve wasted your time.
  • Fishworks, the ability to create appliances.
  • A large base of customers running Oracle on Solaris and Sun kit.
  • Solaris technologies such as ZFS and DTrace The Oracle site has an amount of information for existing customers etc. It can be found here. There is a discussion over at opensolaris.org which echo’s some of my thoughts, found here.

We’ll have to wait and see what happens, but it’s going to be an odd couple of months these last two working for Sun/Oracle.  I’m glad this has happened while I was on an industrial year, I’ve gained the experience of a potential take-over and that of a take-over with little risks attached for me, far more than I can say if it happens in a couple of years time when I potentially have mouths to feed and a mortgage to pay!

My weekly blog will continue, due Friday, I will expand on the other events of today and probably link to this article…

Sun Week Fortyone

This week starts on Tuesday, Monday being Easter Monday and a day dedicated to getting over a “chocolate hangover”, whatever one of those is…

Tuesday started with me trying to figure out how to send an email using Java. But before I sunk my teeth into it, I realised I had promised to change the hardware of the stable zones box for some engineers. The stable zones box is just a box which is set up to create and test Solaris zones on, the current machine (A Sun Blade 2000) was restarting every 24 hours, seemingly this has something to do with Solaris 10 update 5 and above…. So I got an Ultra 80, set up the zones stuff and made it ready to take the place of the current zones box. At 4pm I scheduled some downtime and swapped the boxes, they are heavy things, and powered up the Ultra 80. I had console access, I had changed the details in NIS+, and I just had to change the hostname, which was easy thanks to this page :D At 5pm an engineer decided he really want to play with domains on the stable 15K downstairs, the SC’s use our production password so I can’t give him access. On top of this, the console to the main SC was dead, it wasn’t allowing SSH or telnet connections and wouldn’t failover. I didn’t have time to look at it, so emailed the guy and left it for Wednesday

Wednesday! Feels like a normal Wednesday too, yesterday felt very much like two days… The morning was spent fixing that 15K, the console wasn’t broken, someone had consoled from the SC to an inactive domain, so I had to ~. out of that. After some investigating, it looked like NIS+ wasn’t running on the machine, this being Solaris 9 I’ve got no idea…I’ll have to grab David or James at some point…

Gyaaaargh! It’s only Thursday :( The morning went slow…I didn’t get any development done because an engineer wanted me to move a storage array and kept complaining that it didn’t work. In the end it was his fault for not enabling something or other… I also got a new email from the guy who I’m doing this programming for.

I’ll update this later to say how I got on…
I’ll update this later to say how I got on…
I’ll update this later to say how I got on…
I’ll update this later to say how I got on…
I’ll update this later to say how I got on…
I’ll update this later to say how I got on…
I’ll update this later to say how I got on…
I’ll update this later to say how I got on…
I’ll update this later to say how I got on…
I’ll update this later to say how I got on…
I’ll update this later to say how I got on…
I’ll update this later to say how I got on…
I’ll update this later to say how I got on…
I’ll update this later to say how I got on…
I’ll update this later to say how I got on…
I’ll update this later to say how I got on…
I’ll update this later to say how I got on…
I’ll update this later to say how I got on…
I’ll update this later to say how I got on…
I’ll update this later to say how I got on…
I’ll update this later to say how I got on…
I’ll update this later to say how I got on…
I’ll update this later to say how I got on…
say how I got on…

:wq

*note to self, Wordpress does not except Vim key bindings - FAIL!*

Sun - Week Forty

This week I’m going to try and finish that email script…A while ago I was assigned the task of writing a module for our booking system.

The Problem

Engineers can book hardware to escalation numbers (customer cases), however, we know that a number of engineers take advantage of this, and book systems for other, more personal, uses under the same escalation numbers. These bookings don’t end unless: 1) The engineer or a lab team member removes the booking, or 2) The customer case is closed.

The Solution

Create something that will check the database for bookings which have been active for more than X number of days and bug the engineer via email to see if they still need the system.

What I’m doing

So, after achieving this once in Perl (*spit*) and it being little good (because we want to trigger it from the database), I gave it another bash: This time I’m using a stored procedure (from now on referred to as an SP) which will collect a list of bookings. This will then run a Java application, passing in the booking number as an argument. The Java application will then connect to the database again and call another SP which will recover the booking details (I couldn’t pass them in as arguments as the method of calling external scripts from the database is limited to 255 characters).

This is basically where I am now, at the end of the week. Next week I’ll need to find a way to get the Java application to email the user of the system, and maybe look at a better way of passing in a list of booking numbers, as having loads of these processes running could seriously slow things down…

I will, at some point, blog about connecting to a Sybase database using Java, this should be fairly generic, I just found other documentation for doing this very poor :(

Sun - Week Thirtynine

Monday morning is here, we are an hour ahead of last week with the clocks going forward. It seems really sunny today, shame that my day starts off with unblocking the toilet, yuch. Anyhoo, I get into the office as usual, grab a coffee from the Java cafe and spend most of the morning setting up some of the French kit. I’ve set up console entries in JLT, and all console connections appear to work. I’ve just got to set up IP addresses for the kit and their SP’s, configure all the SP’s to work on this network and boot net the hosts. However I must configure boot net for any hosts that are booked, but not jump start them…Something which is very tempting! The afternoon was spent in a meting, and finding three machines. I want to test some thign out: we have had complaints that from Solaris 10 machines, people can’t access one of our share through /net though Nevada machines seem to be unaffected…I have three v210’s which I have installed Solaris 10 update 4 and 6, and Nevada build 110 on, I have found that I can reproduce the issue, just a case of finding out why!

Tuesday came and went with me looking over the machines again, and looking into some problems as to why an engineer couldn’t get console to work.

Wednesday, 1st April…April fools day… Again, I mainly looked at kit, labeling them up etc today. I also fixed an issue in the states where an engineer couldn’t boot net - install a machine, because they had changed the devalias’ in OBP sigh*

Thursday morning was spent fixing some console connections to those French machines, they are doing my head in! There are still two to fix :( The afternoon was more exciting, to an extent….An engineer wanted to customise a boot image, I had done this on Solaris 10 update 5, but in update 6, the game had changed…. We had to unpack the minitroot, apply the patch, the repackage the minroot…I’ll post the steps later in a separate entry I think…

Friday! End of the week! I spent today catching up on some other bits and bobs, as well as sorting a couple of bookings for engineers.

My blog, here in 1969!

As you can see from the image (below), I have the stats for my blog on Thursday, 1st January 1970!  I also have stats for ‘yesterday’ presumably meaning Wednesday, 31st December 1969!

Obviously those of you that are more observant, anyone can claim this: simply put an invalid date into the address bar!  Though interestingly, 2009-04-31 give you the date: 1st May 2009.

Just something to blog about before bed!

rm -rf tragedy

It happened a couple of weeks ago now.  I plugged in my external hard drive “POCKET” and OpenSolaris mounted it under /media/POCKET.  I was going to copy my films and TV series over to POCKET as I was travelling up to see Faye in Aber. 

I started the copy from my Mac, however halfway through my Mac crashed :(  After a restart I decided to start the copy again.  So, my plan was to cd to POCKET and `rm -rf` everything…However, by some horrible fate, I typed the path to my media folder by default and went ahead with `rm -rf *`.

I only noticed about 30 seconds later what was happening…Bit by bit, my data was being de-referenced, left for ZFS to write over it with something else…My first thought was “It’s OK, I’ve got a mirror!”, however, the mirror is, of course, in real time…My second thought was “ZFS snapshots!”, however, they are not enabled by default :(

I have spent the last few weeks slowly re-ripping my collection (though thanks to James as he had copies of a lot of content), I’ve still got a few to do, but I’m mostly there.  I turned on ZFS snapshots too.  I access my server though SSH from my Mac, so here’s what I did:

ben@faegilath>$ ssh -X beleg-ia -l admin Password: admin@beleg-ia:~$ time-slider-setup

I was then presented with the screen on the left

As you can see, you can just tick the box saying “enable time slider” and the choose to snapshot all filesystems or select what filesystems you do want to snapshot.

Sun - Week Thirtyeight

Monday I was back in the office, Steve was out coming home from a weekend in Aber and James had started a week of touring the UK. I picked up a few tickets and knuckled down to get them done. I had one which was to simply check if some connections between a storage array and a host was OK and to provide feedback on how they were configured. Another was to do some testing on our lab tool “js_config”, the developer has updated the current version and logged about 25 tickets to test the new and old features out. I picked one which had me installing a SPARC machine with the latest Nevada build, everything seemed to go OK. I spent the afternoon moving a cryto card from a stable system and putting it in to a T1000, and back again, and then back again, finally placing it back in the stable system…I still have the original crypto card from the T1000 on my desk actually…

Tuesday came and it felt like Monday again :( I spent a lot of time in the very warm GMP02 lab working with the 15K over there. I had picked up a ticket which involved getting a starcat domain up running with similar hardware to a customer setup. I found a board with the same CPU’s, and changed the memory configuration to match too. I then had problems booting the domain, but I needed to leave it as I had other work that was more urgent. I had to detach the host from the array and put it back again. I also fixed a problem with the host which stopped it from jumpstarting.

Wednesday felt a lot like Thursday… I gave the morning to the 15K, it wasn’t booting, then when it did boot it wouldn’t plumb the network card. I figured this was because I reconfigured it to use a different IO boat (I had swapped the boats to match the customer config more closely). Firstly, I looked at the RAM, and found I had configured it wrong, I put this right and moved onto the whole network thing…I decided to net boot it as OBP could see the network. This worked and I handed the domain to the engineer, I also set up a place for him to put a Flash Archive which was taken from the customer system. I also did some more things with that host and array. There was some customer 10g fibre cards in our 25K, so I pulled them out and gave them back to the relevant engineer, I’ve still got to find some replacements… An engineer came to me asking why his desktop wouldn’t boot, it kept timing out. We finally whittled this down to the fact he was on the wrong network, he has been moved over now and all is OK. I also gave blood! The blood people were at work so went to donate.

Thursday is here and I’m sure it’s supposed to be holiday time… I woke up this morning feeling really cold and had a horrid neck ache, to make matters worse the shower was cold as someone had turned off the heating. I felt generally miserable and unmotivated all day :( I mainly did more work on the host and array, adding remote power to the array which would mean I have less to do with it later in the week/next week. I’ve got to look at James’ racks from France this afternoon, joy of joys! they aren’t full, so hopefully between today and tomorrow I’ll get some done! I’ve know I’ve really got to keep this blog more up to date, I’ve got a load of OpenSolaris stuff to blog about, some important lessons to be learned and stuff like that…Will try and do that tonight…

Well, it’s finally Friday! It’s been an odd old week. Today I spent the morning documenting some of the stuff from the French lab, I’ve moved all the machines into out lab group, and have determined whether they have asset and serial numbers, I’ve collected missing serial numbers and need to find some asset stickers… Lunch was spent updating this entry actually…And sprucing up my CV for position I’m hoping to get next year. More of that if I get the job ;) After lunch I went back to documenting the servers again, it’s a horribly boring task, and fiddly, one slip up and you’ve got to start again…Maybe that’s just my ‘accounting’ though. I also managed to get an x4100 to boot OpenSolaris 2008.11! I had to flash the firmware as when I found the machine, it had really old firmware, and no disks which was odd…Though I learned how to set up a TFTP server :D

Sun - Week Thirty Seven

This week was brilliant! I was on a training course: Solaris Internals. It was great for two reasons, firstly because I missed the French lab moving over to our lab (although now I wish I had been there), and secondly, I was the only person on the course! I had an instructor all to myself, again great, but I had to make sure I paid attention as I was the only person to answer questions :P

The course focussed on kernel structure, we did a lot of stuff about memory and virtual memory and tracing it through the kernel using the modular debugger (mdb). We also looked at file systems, including a small amount on ZFS, though it was old material as the course had been written before source code was released as part of the OpenSolaris project.

All in all, it was a great week, and made even better by Faye coming down on Wednesday evening and spending the week with me :D