Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Sun's Blackbox

Sun announced project blackbox today:

Excellent idea. Not sure how many people will buy it, but it's an excellent idea. DR and spike capaticy will be it's key markets. They tout some others on the website, but I don't think they'll take off so much. The remote datacenter locations idea is intriguing. The oil rig example, for instance. Questing is, is the container or the bandwidth more expensive? The DR target is a no brainer. I'd bet Sungard and DR-services companies like that buy a few hundred of these. I like it from a spike capacity perspective too. Imagine if your CNN and you know you're about to get creamed from a computing perspective this November for the election... 1-800-sun-0404 to the rescue. Especially with their AMD offerings. 7 racks loaded up with 8-socket/16-core AMD boxes with VMware ESX. I'm giddy just thinking about it.

The comments on digg.com were pretty good.


"This is brilliant! Way to go sun. I think I'll purchase one, bury it in my backyard, create a nice little sewer tunnel down to it and really truly work from home"


"Did they make room for a sleeping bag between the racks?

If so i wonder how many geeks will trade their house in."


"Yeah imagine how easy these would be to steal! You know if you happen to have a flat-bed truck with a small crane and some where nice and safe to store it.

Heh - good idea though, it's kind of like a really large blade(tm) for the internet. Just connect a bunch of these together and you're good to go."

Slashdot had it's usual gems:

"One week ago, Jonathan Schwartz (CEO of Sun) declared the death of the datacenter [sun.com], as discussed on Slashdot [slashdot.org].

Now they've put in a box for burial?"

My apologies to the comment writers, I'm to lazy to attribute or link directly....

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Revisiting what I said about Grids last year

Last year I said that Grids would be huge... in ten years and I still think I'm right. Two more articles that kind of agree with me:
Byte and Switch: Gridding My Teeth
Byte and Switch:
Enterprises Still Not Sold on Grid

They say things along the lines that I was trying to say last year. No one is buying it yet. The SDLC isn't there yet to support it. People aren't willing to trust the 3rd party with their data, etc..
Anyway, 9 years and counting.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Got more than 1 digg!

How's this for little joys in life: I submitted a digg story that got more than 1 digg! Holy crap! Its only 7 diggs, but that's 6 more than 1 Whoo hoo! I'm a diggin' maching!

Here's the post:

and the digg:

Where' s my $1,000 a month?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Video: Hijacking a Macbook in 60 Seconds or Less

Here's the video to go along with the previous "hijacking" story. Interesting to note, they attack a 3rd party driver, but don't mention if the built in wi-fi is also susceptible.

read more | digg story

The other articles about this mention the reason they choose the Mac as the target:

Still, the presenters said they ultimately decided to run the demo against a Mac due to what Maynor called the "Mac user base aura of smugness on security."

"We're not picking specifically on Macs here, but if you watch those 'Get a Mac' commercials enough, it eventually makes you want to stab one of those users in the eye with a lit cigarette or something," Maynor said.
(quoted from: http://blog.washingtonpost.com/securityfix/2006/08/hijacking_a_macbook_in_60_seco_1.html

Yeah... I also think they chose the mac because of the 'ho-hum, another windows sploit...'
factor. It's just plain sexier to say you remotely popped a mac.

On top of that, they attacked a 3rd party card, not the built in wifi.... Smells fishy to me.

TAGS: macbook apple security

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Solaris ZFS on intel imac via parallels

Started playing with Solaris ZFS on Solaris 10 for x86 today.

I have a solaris 10 x86 install on parallels VM on my intel iMac and I wanted to see if I could create a ZFS filesystem using two 1gb virtual hard disks. Parallels only allows 4 virtual IDE devices and since I have the DVD and the boot drive, I only have 2 devices to play with. But it would appear that the devices aren't easily used.

Jul 26 22:59:31 solaris scsi: [ID 107833 kern.warning] WARNING: /pci@0,0/pci-ide@1f,1/ide@1 (ata1):
Jul 26 22:59:31 solaris timeout: abort device, target=0 lun=0
Jul 26 22:59:31 solaris scsi: [ID 107833 kern.warning] WARNING: /pci@0,0/pci-ide@1f,1/ide@1 (ata1):
Jul 26 22:59:31 solaris timeout: reset target, target=0 lun=0
Jul 26 22:59:31 solaris scsi: [ID 107833 kern.warning] WARNING: /pci@0,0/pci-ide@1f,1/ide@1 (ata1):
Jul 26 22:59:31 solaris timeout: reset bus, target=0 lun=0
Jul 26 22:59:31 solaris gda: [ID 107833 kern.warning] WARNING: /pci@0,0/pci-ide@1f,1/ide@1/cmdk@0,0 (Disk1):
Jul 26 22:59:31 solaris Error for command 'read sector' Error Level: Informational
Jul 26 22:59:31 solaris gda: [ID 107833 kern.notice] Sense Key: aborted command
Jul 26 22:59:31 solaris gda: [ID 107833 kern.notice] Vendor 'Gen-ATA ' error code: 0x3
Jul 26 23:00:06 solaris scsi: [ID 107833 kern.warning] WARNING: /pci@0,0/pci-ide@1f,1/ide@1 (ata1):
Jul 26 23:00:06 solaris timeout: abort request, target=0 lun=0
Jul 26 23:00:06 solaris scsi: [ID 107833 kern.warning] WARNING: /pci@0,0/pci-ide@1f,1/ide@1 (ata1):
Jul 26 23:00:06 solaris timeout: abort device, target=0 lun=0
Jul 26 23:00:06 solaris scsi: [ID 107833 kern.warning] WARNING: /pci@0,0/pci-ide@1f,1/ide@1 (ata1):
Jul 26 23:00:06 solaris timeout: reset target, target=0 lun=0
Jul 26 23:00:06 solaris scsi: [ID 107833 kern.warning] WARNING: /pci@0,0/pci-ide@1f,1/ide@1 (ata1):
Jul 26 23:00:06 solaris timeout: reset bus, target=0 lun=0
Jul 26 23:00:06 solaris gda: [ID 107833 kern.warning] WARNING: /pci@0,0/pci-ide@1f,1/ide@1/cmdk@0,0 (Disk1):
Jul 26 23:00:06 solaris Error for command 'read sector' Error Level: Informational
Jul 26 23:00:06 solaris gda: [ID 107833 kern.notice] Sense Key: aborted command
Jul 26 23:00:06 solaris gda: [ID 107833 kern.notice] Vendor 'Gen-ATA ' error code: 0x3

A search of the parallels forum tells me I'm not alone.


Well, if I get it to work, I'm going to use:
docs.sun.com: Solaris ZFS Administration Guide
To play with it.... Here's hoping.

Tags: Solaris ZFS Parallels

Monday, July 24, 2006

Microsoft, Zen and VMWare... the Reg has it wrong, sorta.

In it's article: Microsoft so very, very proud of its ties to open source Xen


Ashlee Vancen contends that the spat between VMWare and Microsoft is getting nasty and Xen. It probably is. But I don't think Microsoft's shocking backing of Xen is soley designed to undermine VMWare as Ashlee contends:

"We're betting that Microsoft hopes XenSource can slow the VMware juggernaut, giving the coders in Redmond enough time to cram Viridian into Longhorn Server. Microsoft is betting that putting its name behind XenSource now will boost the start-up's near-term chances. And it would seem VMware knows what Microsoft is up to."

I think Microsoft wants to keep the Virtulization market growing and not allow VMWare to control it for sure, but this is a win vs win big senario for Microsoft, not a win vs lose. Virtual servers need software licenses just like real servers. So anything Microsoft can do to increase the server population is a win for them. If Xen opens the playing field and Viridian can be released on time and be on-par with the contemporary VMWare products when it comes out, then Microsoft wins big. They get to sell us the server license and the virtualization product. But anyway you slice it Microsoft gets their money. I think the spat has more to do with Microsoft not wanting to take orders from anyone. They want to do the ordering.

Ashlee isn't totally wrong, I just think Microsoft isn't out to beat VMWare, just compete so they can get more cash from their customers.

Anyway, just my thoughts


TAGS: VMWare Microsoft Xen Viridian

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Article: Tucci: EMC's Problems 'Self-Induced'


Over at www.byteandswitch.com the have an interesting article about EMC missing its quarterly numbers. The CEO actually is taking some responsibility for it. I'm fairly impressed.

A snippit:

What went wrong? According to Tucci, the company misjudged demand for the Symmetrix DMX-3 high-end SAN system it launched in January. (See EMC Makes Good on DMX-3.) He said more orders came in for the DMX-3 and fewer for the older DMX-2 than expected late in the quarter, and EMC didn't have enough DMX-3 systems built to fill the orders. He vowed that EMC will make future product transitions faster and smoother.

"This issue was a self-induced execution failure on our part. There is no excuse," Tucci said.

So they couldn't get them out the door fast enough it seems. Although considering the delta between the DMX-2 and DMX-3 it's not surprising to me. The DMX-3 makes the DMX-2 look a bit like day old bread. Yeah, you could eat it, but why would you?


TAGS: EMC Storage

Friday, July 14, 2006

blabbering about N1 or grid computing....

I've relocated this post from my 360.yahoo.com page to here so I can keep all this stuff in one place.

As long as I'm rambling about grid computing, Solaris 10 and Veritas, I want to put this into print. I have this vision floating in my head and I need to start writing it down so I can mold it and shape it into something real when the technologies mature.

The Dev environment:

So, my ideal for Veritas, grid and Solaris 10 (or 11, 12, what ever it ends up being supported in) is to have, a say, three node 4 socket, 2 (or more) core cluster with a crap load of ram for development. It would run Veritas’ next generation cluster. It’s dependant on that to do some of the neat stuff I’d like to do. It would be attached to the SAN and containers would be built and developed on these two. You have three nodes so you can test OS and veritas patches on one node and still have a ‘grid’ on the other two. You pile the environments on these two boxes. Over subscribe the CPU’s like crazy. And over subscribe the ram a bit too, but that can be detrimental, especially considering RAM size to price. By using the VCS-NGC you can move a zone from box to box ‘live’. That’s right; I believe Veritas will have the ability to migrate a zone, state and all, between two hosts. They already demoed the ability to move a running PeopleSoft environment between hosts. The pieces are there. N1 or Grid should only serve to make this even easier. Now you can do neat stuff with resource allocation. You can move ‘idle’ dev zones around to maximize CPU (which is why you over-subscribe them). You can move everybody off of some boxes to do some performance testing. The posiblities are endless. VMWare already has the ability to vmotion VM’s between ESX servers. This isn’t anything new, just can’t quite be done in Sun land yet. Anyway, back to the life cycle. At some point, a 'golden master' is built. It could simply be a direct copy of the dev container, or it could be a separate build. Doesn't really matter really, it's more dependant on how the dev shop works. But a release is cut, tagged, branched, what ever you want to call it. An in-array copy is made of this environment (BCV, snapclone, shadow copy, flash snap, call it what you want). Promote that copy to the test environment.

The test environment:

Test is a scaled back version of dev, but it’s still a clustere/grid type environment. you should test the HA features of the grid/zone/container away. So the BCV is copied onto the test environment. You could simply use the BCV volumes, or you could copy down to ‘real storage’ to get a better performance picture. It depends on your testing philosophy really. Me, I plunk it back down to real storage. The environment doesn’t need to be too big because you never have as many testers as you have developers working at the same time. The release is passed! YAY! Now we BCV it again, TWICE! One goes to the training environment (We all have those right???), the other becomes the container that will become production.

On to production:

Here’s where I’m fuzzy on what to do. Ideally, I would love to contract this part out to a ‘grid service provider.’ I simply need a way to get my ‘zone’ onto the grid via some fat pipe between my shop and the provider. I’m not all that psyched about just turning it over to someone I don’t even know however, so maybe the production grid is in house. I go back and forth on this a lot. Depends on how many problems I’ve had with our production environment I guess. If our prod is giving me fits, then I say ‘outsource the whole shit-can!’ but then I read an article about lax security in hiring or how cleaning crews have basically unlimited access to buildings and think twice (that’s going to be a subject for another time… ‘if I were a corporate spy…’). Anyway, the big thing for me, is the entire environment gets promoted the entire way. Not just the code, or the directory tree, but the entire thing. No need to worry about missing libraries. No more forgotten /etc/system parameters (well there aren’t many of those that are left anymore, but you get the idea). The process also goes full circle. The production environment is still in dev! How easy is it to test upgrades?

This idea will work today with today’s shipping tech by the way. If a zone is created on a discrete, clone-able volume on the array, there’s nothing stopping you from doing this today. You have to do some things by hand, and it has to go offline to switch boxes in dev, but you can do it all. In fact, you really only need Solaris 10 I guess. But I’m a veritas fan-boy so I’m not going to consider that option. I mean I can walk the 10 miles to work rather than drive, but I don’t. The car (and for Solaris boxes Veritas products) is a more elegant solution. I’ll get there at some point. That’s really the whole point of this blog I guess. How do I get there from here (Solaris 8, tarring dirs between hosts, dev, test and prod not matching at all…)? And how do I keep track of how I did get there.

Anyway, I’ve rambled enough. Hopefully I can circle back and make these fragments into a more cohesive and realistic plan.

Tags: Solaris Sun containers grid computing

Sun blueprint on containers and the niagra chip...


More good stuff. Going to have to steal the picture diagrams as a template for future docs I write. Figure 1 on page 6 has a simple, clear way of illustrating the containers.

Tag: Solaris Sun containers

Solaris 10 on BigAdmin


Solaris 10 section of bigadmin... good starting point


Japan Darth Vader

A funny starwars parody clip from japan

Thursday, July 13, 2006

more playing...

Now I'm trying to link to my wordpress.com site to see how that works.

rwhiffen on wordpress.com talking about the genius of Free VMWare

Not sure about how this trackback type stuff works...


just playing with blogger.com

I don't think I'm ever going to be a blogger, but I thought I would play around with it just the same. Kind of a 'dear diary' kind of thing for me. I'm trying this post via email to see how it works. I'm sure there will be quite a few more after it as I test little things.