Archive for April, 2010

Solaris Licensing Changes: The Real Story

April 14th, 2010

As you should already know, Sun was purchased by Oracle. Not too long ago, someone noticed a licensing change on the Solaris license website. A slow rumble of rumors has been building up about what those changes mean. Well, I contacted our Sun account manager to get the definitive answer, and here it is:

  1. The old Solaris subscriptions, the way people got software support for 3rd party hardware, are no longer available for purchase. Existing contracts are honored.
  2. Solaris support now comes through a contract on the hardware (Oracle SUN hardware)
  3. The license and accompanying entitlement from the web, without a contract and without hardware, only entitle the downloader to non-commercial, non-production, or personal use in perpetuity. Production use and evaluation for production are good for 90 days.
  4. When you purchase hardware, you receive an addendum to the entitlement that grants that piece of hardware perpetual, non-transferable license and entitlement to Solaris.
  5. For hardware purchasers, this is the same (in net effect) as always.
  6. For non-hardware purchasers – 3rd party, gray market, etc. – there is no legal way to obtain a permanent entitlement or to obtain support.

Personal Use

So lets get the easy one out of the way first. Solaris is still free for personal use. So that should satisfy the 0.0001% (yes, that number is an anatomical extraction) of the Solaris users that use Solaris for non-commercial activity.

Non-Sun Servers

Let’s move on to people that run Solaris on non-Sun servers: No Solaris for you, not yours! Items 1 and 6 make it clear that there is no possible way to legally run Solaris on non-Sun servers. Period. End of story.

Sun Servers without a Support Contract

Now lets talk about people that run Solaris on Sun servers, but do not purchase a hardware support contract: Some Solaris for you, but only a little! Item 4 says (and I clarified it with them), that purchasing new Sun hardware gives you a binary license only for the version of Solaris that’s available at the time of the hardware purchase. It does not entitle you to future upgrades or updates.

Sun Servers with a Support Contract

For people running Solaris on Sun hardware with a Sun hardware support contract, your support contract grants you rights to run future versions of Solaris.


nVidia Overscan Correction fixed in Latest Drivers

April 1st, 2010

My solution for fixing overscan on nvidia cards is obsolete! I did find out just a few days ago that my solution does actually work.

The person that I was originally helping with this problem decided to give Linux another shot. He tested it out and reported that it did indeed fix his overscan problems.

However… for no particular reason I decided to check out the nVidia settings control panel again. When I opened it up in Ubuntu 10.04, I noticed this (and tested it to make sure it works, which it does):

Screenshot-NVIDIA X Server Settings

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Solaris ZFS vs. Linux with Hardware Raid

April 1st, 2010

I’ve had to start using Xen virtualization for a current project we’re working on. I always hate switching back to Linux servers because all of our fancy tools and scripts for automation are written for Solaris since we only have a handful of Linux servers.

At any rate, I’ve got Xen all figured out and really started to dig into Linux’s LVM for the first time. There’s some similarities between LVM and ZFS, but most noticeably LVM doesn’t deal with RAID at all. You have to set up manual Linux software RAID and put a VolumeGroup on the RAID meta-device. So I set up a nice software RAID5 device, created a VolumeGroup, and off I went.

The write performance was horrendous.

So I begrudgingly went into the RAID controller BIOS and set up hardware RAID5 and put LVM on top of that. After the installation, I decided to see how fast this was compared to ZFS raid1z (which is more or less RAID5).

The machines are identical:

  • Dual 6 Core Opteron
  • Sun STK RAID Controller (Adaptec) — 256MB cache, write-back cache mode enabled
  • 16 Gigs of memory

Here’s the results:

Linux — 21GB Write

# time dd if=/dev/zero of=/root/test bs=10240 count=2009600
2009600+0 records in
2009600+0 records out
20578304000 bytes (21 GB) copied, 146.226 seconds, 141 MB/s

real    2m26.377s
user    0m4.068s
sys     1m53.823s

Linux — 1GB Write

# time dd if=/dev/zero of=/root/test bs=10240 count=102400
102400+0 records in
102400+0 records out
1048576000 bytes (1.0 GB) copied, 2.69437 seconds, 389 MB/s

real    0m2.702s
user    0m0.108s
sys     0m2.584s

Solaris — 21GB Write

# time dd if=/dev/zero of=/zonepool/test bs=10240 count=2009600
2009600+0 records in
2009600+0 records out
20578304000 bytes (21 GB) copied, 55.3566 s, 372 MB/s

real    0m55.412s
user    0m0.913s
sys     0m27.012s

Solaris — 1GB Write

# time dd if=/dev/zero of=/zonepool/test bs=10240 count=102400
102400+0 records in
102400+0 records out
1048576000 bytes (1.0 GB) copied, 1.25254 s, 837 MB/s

real    0m1.257s
user    0m0.046s
sys     0m1.211s

837MB/s for burst writes on raidz1! ZFS is too awesome.

Here’s the controller configurations:

Linux Controller Configuration
Solaris Controller Configuration

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