useful

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:

My Personal Oracle Solaris Performance Analysis Cheat Sheet

Bottleneck.jpg

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.

How To Automatically Update Your Home Media Server Library With DTrace

New Music!

Before we continue with our Home Server Scripting Series, let's throw in a simple but useful DTrace hack.

One of the most typical uses for a home server is to serve music or videos to home entertainment equipment. In my case, I'm using the Firefly Media Server to serve music to my Roku Soundbridge and Mediatomb for videos.

The Media Server Update Problem

Whenever I upload new music or videos to my OpenSolaris home server (typically by rsync-ing my laptop home directory), both Firefly and Mediatomb need to be restarted so they detect that new files are sitting in their directories, waiting to be served.

Spring Cleaning Part 2: Clearing Up Your Home Directory

My empty OpenSolaris Desktop at work.

Yesterday, I cleaned up my home directory at work. I went from ca. 15 GB of data down to 1.1 GB. And I only stopped there, because I didn't want to spend too much more time cleaning up. Here's how to do it.

In the previous post of this mini-series, we looked at why it's important to have our emails and files organized, then attacked our INBOX to reach zero-message-nirvana. I'm happy to see that others are living by these principles, too. Thanks, Gregor!

Now let's look at that other dark spot in our IT lives: Our Desktop and file system. If you're like me, you see this very often, too: Cluttered desktops with so many files and folders and downloads and icons and stuff, you can barely make out the underlying desktop background.

Spring Cleaning Part 1: How to Tidy Up Your Email INBOX and File Email Away in One Keystroke

A tidy desktop with a zero email INBOX

Spring's around the corner and the Easter weekend is upon us, giving us some time to sit back, relax and do some spring cleaning!

This also applies to your data, in particular your Email folders and your home directories. In this two-part series, we'll clean up our email INBOX to zero (yes: null, nada, zip) emails, simplify email folders, then clean up our home directory file structure. That'll save us time, help us find peace of mind and make us more efficient so we can concentrate our energies on what really matters to us.

OpenSolaris Home Server Scripting 2: Setting Up Power Management

Power Management Scripting

Last week, we looked at how essential scripting is for administering home servers (one of the 7 tips for home server bliss) and we wrote us a little script for enabling automatic snapshots.

Another thing that you'll almost certainly want to do on your OpenSolaris home server is enabling power management. This will ensure your server spends as little power as possible when idle, while still being powerful when needed.

OpenSolaris Home Server Scripting Howto Part One: Intro and a Simple ZFS Auto-Snapshot Enabling Script

ScriptingHomeserver.jpg

One of my OpenSolaris Home Server Tips is to script everything. That triggered quite some interest. So let's start a short series around OpenSolaris home server scripting.

Today, we'll talk a little bit about the "why?" of home server scripting, then run into a small surprise while we write a small script that will enable/disable the OpenSolaris ZFS Auto-Snapshot Service for us.