Sun SPOT and Project Looking Glass

by Mads
October 21, 2007 at 21:22 | categories: hardware, sun, solaris

Usually graphical noise such as Project Looking Glass really doesn't interest me one bit. And the first time I looked at it, I did find it rather pointless as it tends to make things rather confusing for something as simple as showing a couple of terms and a browser.

Sun SPOT or Sun Programmable Object Technology. A really cool programmable toy that I've often been wanting to buy (but can't because they don't ship outside .us). The downside of course being that programming them you have to use java, but I suppose it would be worth the pain to get access to the range of sensors such as accelerometers that Sun SPOTs have.

So, how does the two relate? (via).
The videos below show a demo of just how to put the two together:

If I wanted a Sun SPOT before, I really want one now!


Out with the old and in with the new.

by Mads
August 05, 2007 at 23:20 | categories: hardware, sun, solaris, asf, httpd

For quite some time, the infrastructure team at the ASF has been running our websites, mail-archives and wiki on a Sun Fire T2000 Server kindly donated by Sun. Along with the T2000 there's also a Dell SATA raid donated by ask.
Naturally, the machine is running Solaris 10 and that along with dtrace has already allowed us to find and correct pretty serious performance issue. Our load was hitting 500 and beyond and was close to knocking the machine over. Some digging around with DTRACE showd us an insane number of syscalls and almost all of them being reads.
More digging around with the following one-liner by Brendan Gregg:

# Read bytes by process,
dtrace -n 'sysinfo:::readch { @bytes[execname] = sum(arg0); }'

It gave a very clear picture that almost all reads were of 1k size and that allowed Joe Schaefer to create a patch for apr to Use buffered I/O with SDBM..
The current look of things is a lot better:

  httpd                                             
           value  ------------- Distribution ------------- count    
              -1 |                                         0        
               0 |                                         987      
               1 |                                         0        
               2 |                                         6        
               4 |                                         296      
               8 |                                         30       
              16 |                                         147      
              32 |                                         130      
              64 |                                         47       
             128 |                                         140      
             256 |                                         460      
             512 |                                         118      
            1024 |                                         19       
            2048 |                                         72       
            4096 |@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ 336511   
            8192 |                                         11       
           16384 |                                         3        
           32768 |                                         0        
           65536 |                                         8        
          131072 |                                         0        

With the change, our load has dropped from over 500 to somewhere between 5 and 10.

For a long time we've also been wanting to add some redundancy by placing a similar setup at our European site. The board approved our request to go shopping and after lots of hassle trying to buy the machine from Sun (being a small customer at Sun is rarely much fun and I think we were even more unlucky than usual). Eventually we got there and Sander along with Colm got the machines racked.

The pictures are by Colm
before

after

The upper picture show the old Itanic and a broken X-serve. Below is the "after" picture, showing Aurora which is now the European mirror of Eos. The machine above Aurora is a Sun Fire X2200 M2 Server that will serve as a mail frontend.

and so ends the tale of how the rising Sun replaced the sinking Itanic :)

Linux to Solaris Administrators Guide

by Mads
January 26, 2007 at 12:18 | categories: sun, solaris

Well worth a read: Linux to Solaris Administrators Guide. The competitors have long had Solaris to linux guids, so it is nice to finally see a guide leading people back in the right direction.
Also, there's plenty of other sysadmin documentation in Solaris 10 System Administrator Collection, in the How-To Guides and on Bigadmin.
Or for the really basic instructions, try the OpenSolaris Screencasts.


Solaris 11/06 has been released

by Mads
December 12, 2006 at 00:40 | categories: sun, solaris

The latest Solaris has just been released. I've had the pleasure of testing the beta for a few months, but now it is available for general download.
The release notes detail plenty of exciting new features. For me, the interesting bits are all the Zones and ZFS improvements, finally having "Secure by default" and I'm starting to think that Trusted Extensions would be well worth a look as well.
So, that's the first "christmas wish" come through - now if we could just get Cluster 3.2, that should be enough toys to keep me busy well into the new year ;)


Free Solaris media kit

by Mads
November 27, 2006 at 18:26 | categories: sun, solaris

Sun is giving away free media kits.
The kit includes:

For those wanting bleeding edge and not minding downloads, there's also the option of grabbing Sun Studio Express and Opensolaris.


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