Sun - Week One

After the weeks in Ireland and sitting around at home, I have finally arrived in Surrey and completed my first week at Sun Microsystems. It’s been a busy and hectic week, with lots of TOI’s (transfers of information), but I am happy with it, I have learnt a lot about the tools I’m going to use over the next year, and looked at some of the machines I’ll be using too. Here’s a quick summary of the week:


We were welcomed into the company by Paul Humphreys first thing in the morning, he told us the do’s and don’ts, company structure, among other things. Later in the afternoon Paul gave us the H&S talk about working in the lab, things like putting the feet out so server cabinets don’t go flying and how to tidy cables away, you know, the mundane yet vitally necessary details. In essence, keep it tidy, don’t be stupid, the usual common sense stuff.


David Cole (DC), gave us the talk on JLT (Java Lab Tool) first thing in the morning. JLT is a program that has a database of all the kit in our lab, as well as others. It enables you to book systems and to attach PCI cards and the like to servers etc. It is an important tool to keep track of where all the equipment is and who might be using it. The afternoon saw us being told about Console by Michael Clark. It’s basically a telnet in a wrapper. It allows us to gain access to a servers serial port and see exactly what is going on! It’s a nifty tool, and a jolly shame it’s not implemented as default in Solaris!


Liam McBrian (see blog1 and blog2) told us about js_config, the configuration tool for jump starting machines. A handy tool indeed. The next few hours saw the bookings out of many systems in the lab and a mixture of Solaris versions being installed onto each. After lunch, David Wilkinson (DW), talked to us about power. He told us about RPower, the tool for ‘pulling the plug’ on various pieces of kit. Only some devices have these contraptions, and not many that I chose to have a shot at did. More investigating me thinks…


This morning we learnt about the production servers and the lab networking, James Legg gave us talk. He talked about a great many things that we didn’t know, presuming that we did, then went back and filled in the gaps :P The network is split up in several ways, which I can’t remember and will be bugging him when I need to know again (watch out James!) . The production cage (or the production cave as I always say), holds the servers that run the campus, servers that run the SunRays, the backend database for for JLT and js_config, among others.


Today went quite slowly, going down to the lab to do the odd job here and there. Next week we are on training, oh what fun!