oracle solaris

How to Set Up a ZFS Root Pool Mirror in Oracle Solaris 11 Express

Mirroring the root pool with ZFS

One of the first things to do when setting up a new system is to mirror your boot disk. This protects you against system disk failures: If one of the two mirrored boot disks fails, the system can continue running from the other disk without downtime. You can even boot from the surviving mirror half and continue using the system normally, until you have replaced the failed half.

At the currently low prices for boot drive sized disks, this is a no-brainer for increasing your system's availability, even for a home server system.

Unfortunately, the steps to complete until you're running off a mirrored ZFS root pool are not yet a no-brainer. While there is a piece of documentation entitled How to Configure a Mirrored Root Pool, it only covers how to add a second disk to your root pool, it does not cover how to prepare and layout a fresh disk so Solaris will accept it as a bootable second half of an rpool mirror.

Which, for historic reasons, is slightly more complicated than just saying zpool attach.

Over the weekend, I sat down and played a bit with the current Oracle Solaris 11 Express release in VirtualBox and tested, re-tested and investigated all currently necessary steps to get your root pool mirrored, including some common issues and variations.

Here's a complete, step-by-step guide with background information on how to mirror your ZFS root pool:

Oracle Solaris 10 09/10: ZFS Highlights

Solaris10_0910.jpg

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.

What Communities Should Do (And What They Shouldn't)

IllumosCommunity.jpg

Ever since Oracle announced that they'll buy Sun, there has been a lot of discussion about the future (some would say "fate") of OpenSolaris in the "community".

In fact, the last 15 months have been very instructive in terms of how communities work, or how they don't.

Let's check out what a community is supposed to do, and what it is not supposed to do, in the light of the latest OpenSolaris announcement: Illumos.

Here Are The Ten Most Important Independent Solaris Blogs

201006Top10Blogs.jpg

One of the best information sources for any topic are blogs, and the Oracle Solaris operating system in all its variants (Solaris 10 and OpenSolaris) is no exception. Most of what I learned about OpenSolaris was through blogs, or through interacting with Solaris bloggers.

As a way of saying "Thank You", I did some research and came up with a list of the top ten Solaris related blogs with the highest traffic on the Internet.

But first, let's clear up some basic rules.

OpenSolaris DTrace for Home Media Servers, Revisited

NewMusicUpdate

A few weeks ago, we discussed using DTrace for automatically updating media servers when you upload new content.

Yesterday though, I discovered that my D script didn't work any more. I uploaded new songs to my home server, and expected the music daemon to re-scan the music directory, but nothing happened.

That teached me an important lesson about DTrace, and here's what I learned:

Ten Ways To Easily Improve Oracle Solaris ZFS Filesystem Performance

ZFS Performance

This is a long article, but I hope you'll still find it interesting to read. Let me know if you want me to break down future long articles into multiple parts instead.

One of the most frequently asked questions around ZFS is: "How can I improve ZFS performance?".

This is not to say that ZFS performance would be bad. ZFS can be a very fast file system. ZFS is mostly self-tuning and the inherent nature of the algorithms behind ZFS help you reach better performance than most RAID-controllers and RAID-boxes - but without the expensive "controller" part.

Most of the ZFS performance problems that I see are rooted in incorrect assumptions about the hardware, or just unrealistic expectations of the laws of physics.

So let's look at ten ways to easily improve ZFS performance that everyone can implement without being a ZFS expert.

OpenSolaris ZFS Deduplication: Everything You Need to Know

Deduplicaed Folders Illustration

Since November 1st, 2009, when ZFS Deduplication was integrated into OpenSolaris, a lot has happened: We learned how it worked, people got to play with it, used it in production and it became part of the Oracle Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage System.

Here's everything you need to know about ZFS Deduplication and a few links to help you dig deeper into the subject: