Thursday, January 25, 2007


I've been watching Physics course teached by Richard Muller at the University of California at Berkeley. The course is called Physics for future Presidents (PffP) or Physics10. If you want to refresh your knowledge about atom bombs, relativity or quantum physics without going into much details and math but rather to understand the idea behind the PffP is for you. I promise you will learn something even if you've studied physics - actually you'll probably learn more than during studies :) The most important thing about this course is you'll learn a lot about real world problems, you'll get answers to questions you've always had in your mind.

I must say that Richard Muller is a GREAT teacher, one in a million, I wish I had such teachers during my studies. He's one of those guys who are really passionate about what they are doing and at the same time they have that gift to share their knowledge and passion in such a way you just learn and enjoy the whole experience.

There're 26 lectures during a semester each about 1h long. All lectures are available online on PffP page or you can watch them directly on Berkeley pages here. Right now new semester started so if you want to watch a whole semester quicker just see last one here.

Just give it a try, I'm sure you won't regret it.

update: why

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

IP Instances

IP Instances project has been just integrated. Basically it lets you set special parameter to a local zone so IP stack will be virtualized for it and you will be able to configure network interfaces from inside the zone, configure routing, ipfilter, etc. See the latest changelog.

ps. it also looks like some code for Xen was integrated - so perhaps we'll see Xen integrated soon

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Sun sells Intel CPUs again

Sun will sell servers and workstations with Intel CPUs in addition to AMD and SPARC chips. Generally more choice given to customers is good. Official announcement here.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Solaris 10 on IBM LS21

We did install Solaris 10 on LS20 blades some time ago without any problems - it just works. However when LS21 blades arrived later despite that IBM lists Solaris 10 as supported system we couldn't get it working - Solaris didn't want to even boot a kernel. That was bad. So we asked IBM how to install Solaris 10 on its blades as it's supported by them. Just in case I also asked on Solaris-x86 mailing list. Almost immediately Mike Riley from Sun offered his help - he asked internal Sun people who were testing Solaris on IBM's blades how they did it. Next day I got the solution forwarded by Mike and it worked! Thank you very much.

Only two weeks later I got an answer from IBM that despite Solaris 10 is listed as supported it's not yet supported on LS21 and it should be early 2007. Well I had it already working for two weeks then.

So in order to install Solaris 10 on LS21 you need to go to BIOS and:
1) Select "Advanced Setup", and then "PCI Bus Control" and then select the
"PCI Enhanced Configuration Access" option.
2) Press the <> or to select "Enabled".
3) Select "Save Settings"

You also need bnx driver to get network working. Driver is provided by IBM on a CD or you can download it directly from Broadcom here. I added it to jumpstart install and then we could install system using jumpstart over the network.

U_MTTDL vs Space

Another great blog entry from Richard. A must-read for all x4500 users.

Friday, January 12, 2007

MTTDL vs Space

Really nice and informational blog entry about Mean Time To Data Loss (MTTDL) for different RAID levels.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Funny Sun Commercials

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4

Is EMC affraid of ZFS?

While adding ZFS support to VCS wouldn't be hard it's not there yet and I guess it won't be there for some time. I don't think it's a good strategy to lock-in customers. Ok, this entry was supposed to be about EMC. I was looking into EMC Support Matrix today and was surprised. Look at page #698 and reference #22 (document dated 12/29/2006) or just search for ZFS and you will find: "EMC supports ZFS Version 3 or higher without Snapshot and Clone features.". Now that's really interesting. In what sense their support ZFS on DMX or Clariion boxes? Since when they care about which file system you're going to put on their arrays? Not to mention specific features of those file systems. Or maybe it's just that in many situations ZFS's snapshots and clones make similar functionalities on their hardware obsolete? And of course when using ZFS you don't have to pay another licenses fees for Time Finder, etc. and buy more disks.

I can understand they are afraid that because of ZFS in some cases people will spend less money on buying hardware and some propertiary software, and they are right. Their hardware really doesn't matter what file system you put on it and features are you going to use of that file system.

Don't get me wrong - EMC makes really good hardware and software to manage it, they have also excellent support. But putting such restrictions is just plain stupid - I understand they want to force people to pay for Time Finder even if ZFS would be good enough or better not to mention cheaper (ZFS is free).

On the other hand if vendors like EMC starts to notice ZFS just after 6 months it went into stable Solaris it is good and probably means customers are asking for it.

ps. of course ZFS's snapshots and clones work perfectly with Symmetrix boxes and Clariions

update: in latest EMC's support matrix EMC now says:

EMC supports ZFS in Solaris 10 11/06 or later. Snapshot and Clone features are supported only through Sun.
That's a good news.

Friday, January 05, 2007


Dominic Kay has posted some nice benchmarks for ZFS vs VxFS (1 2). He also showed the difference between managing VxVM/VxFS and ZFS. Believe me ZFS is easiest enterprise Volume Manager + File System on the market. When you've got to create few dozen file systems on an array or you've got to create some file systems but you're really not sure how much space assign to each one then ZFS is your only friend.

ps. I don't know which Solaris version was used - and it can make some difference when it comes to ZFS