Firesheep killed HTTP. Long Live HTTPS With Free SSL Acceleration, Courtesy of SPARC/Solaris!

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Before we continue our little Performance Analysis Series, let's look at some current news:

The Bad News: HTTP is dead. Get over it. The killer? It's called Firesheep, a free Firefox extension that makes it trivially easy for that kid sitting next to you in that Wifi hotspot to steal your Facebook, Twitter or other web services' identity.

The Victims: The first line of victims are of course millions of unsuspecting users that are sitting in WLAN areas, not knowing that their web identities can be stolen at the click of the button. But the real victims are hundreds, if not thousands of website owners, starting with the who-is-who of web companies, who are now (rightly so) faced with the challenge of upgrading their web infrastructure to HTTPS as soon as possible, preferably overnight.

The Good News: Adding encryption to your web servers used to be an additional burden on the CPU, negatively impacting performance by as much as 2-3x. Fortunately, the new SPARC T3 processors enable you to switch SSL encryption on for your web applications, without any performance impact. This is possible through built-in encryption engines at the core level. And thanks to the Oracle Solaris Cryptographic Framework, it's easy to take advantage of hardware encryption for any application that needs it.

Wanna learn more? Read on!

My Personal Oracle Solaris Performance Analysis Cheat Sheet

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Over time, you tend to learn a Solaris performance trick or two. Or three. Or more. That's cool, it's how stuff works: You learn, you do, you remember.

Performance analysis and tuning is just like that: You learn a trick from a person that is more senior than you are, you apply it, you feel like a hero, you learn the next trick.

But having a bag of tricks is not enough. Because then you start trying out stuff without a system, and spend useless time hunting that problem with a hit-and-miss approach, gut-based only.

Therefore, I'm always glad to listen to Ulrich Gräf when he does one of his famous performance tuning workshops (if you're lucky, you can catch Uli blogging in German here), because he'll give you the full view, the context and the system too, when it comes to performance analysis.

So here's my personal cheat sheet for Oracle Solaris Performance Analysis, including some guideance on how to systematically catch that elusive bottleneck.

Book Review: The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau

AONC book coverA guy I know once said: "If you follow the herd, you'll end up as lunch." (Actually, he said "Schnitzel", since he's German, but you get the idea).

Well, here's a guide, a manual if you wish, for avoiding the fate of leading a dull, boring and unremarkable life. This is not just a self-help or success guide type of book, it's much more. It's a manifesto for personal freedom that can apply to all of us, if we choose to follow it.

In some ways, it's like the red pill/blue pill thing from The Matrix: Do you want to stay in the normal world, do normal, boring things like getting a job, applying for a mortgage, going on vacation once or twice a year, and feeding the ducks in the park after you retire?

Or do you want to decide for yourself what to do with your life, create your own rules and live your life the way you want?

How To Easily Add HTML5 YouTube Videos to Your Drupal Site

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For my last article, I wanted to include a couple of videos from YouTube.

First, I pondered using the standard YouTube embed code, but I wanted a more simple, elegant solution. The Drupal RepTags module supports powerful macros and it comes with some pre-built YouTube macros, so that wasn't bad.

But I wanted more: HTML5. Read on and see how easily you can create your own Drupal RepTags, including the code I use to add HTML5 support for the Drupal YouTube RepTag.

Oracle Solaris 10 09/10: ZFS Highlights

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The recently announced Oracle Solaris 10, 09/10 release introduced a number of significant upgrades to the ZFS file system.

Ironically, Solaris 10 now comes with a higher ZFS pool version (19, at least) than OpenSolaris 2009.06 (14).

So let's look at some of the key ZFS improvements that came in this update and figure out why they're so useful.

In this article, you'll learn more about LUN Expansion, Snapshot Holds, Triple Parity RAID-Z, Log Device Improvements, Pool Recovery, Splitting Mirrors and we'll discover a new scheduler class!

And as a bonus, we'll get to watch some videos that explain these features in further detail.

Top 11 Things You Can Do Now To Prepare For Oracle Solaris 11

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Oracle Solaris 11 is the future of enterprise IT, that is now clear.

Still, we need to wait a year until it is officially released. What can we do now? Well, quite a lot, it turns out. Even if the preview version (due later this year) hasn't been relased yet, there are a lot of things you can do to prepare for the big OS upgrade.

Here's a list of 11 things you can do now to start enjoying the benefits of Solaris 11, get ahead of your system peers and be a part of the future of Solaris now!

How To Add Pre-/Post-Scripts to IPS Packages

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My last post about Solaris 11 triggered an interesting discussion with UX-admin about IPS and the lack of pre-/post-scripts for installation/removal.

Assuming that Solaris 11 will be based on IPS just like OpenSolaris, it is certain that sysadmins will have to change a lot in how they create and manage packages, because IPS is fundamentally different from the good old System V packaging system.

So let's explore the lack of scripting hooks in IPS and see if we can find some ways of working around them: