D240 Disk’s story

Here is a story I’d like to share with your, my dear, reader. Couple days ago we finally found a remedy for a support case opened in Sun, which even a support engineer christened as “strange”. The problem was initially discovered whilst the root disk mirroring process was on-going. I noticed that it took flagrant amount of time to complete and once it was over I used dd and iostat tools to recreate the problem. And here what I found:

# dd if=/dev/rdsk/c10t0d0s2 of=/dev/null bs=128k &
# iostat -xnzM 5

                    extended device statistics              
    r/s    w/s   Mr/s   Mw/s wait actv wsvc_t asvc_t  %w  %b device
   20.4    0.0    2.6    0.0  0.0  1.0    0.0   48.9   0 100 c10t0d0
                    extended device statistics              
    r/s    w/s   Mr/s   Mw/s wait actv wsvc_t asvc_t  %w  %b device
   20.4    0.0    2.6    0.0  0.0  1.0    0.0   48.9   0 100 c10t0d0

Exactly the same output I got trying to write to the disk, so the issue was obvious – 2.6MB write/read was abysmally low even for D240 JBOD. Btw, our configuration was the following: SF6900 with Qlogic Ultra3 SCSI ISP10160 connected to D240. Whilst working on the problem we’ve tried to do many things:

  • Fiddle with system parameters, i.e.sd_max_throttle, and tried to switch from full to split bus configuration. Didn’t help.
  • Took another Qlogic Ultra3 SCSI ISP10160 – the problem was still there.
  • Connected D240 to a different HBA and couldn’t reproduce the original issue. So it looked like D240 wasn’t a perpetrator.
  • Plugged D240 back to the original HBA and tried to swap the slots in IO board – same issue.
  • Upgraded the disks’ firmware to the latest version (116370-15) – the problem persisted.

In the end the support engineer ordered a slightly different disk model than we originally had. Our Seagate (ST373307L) were replaced with ST373207L and the problem had finally disappeared.

                    extended device statistics              
    r/s    w/s   Mr/s   Mw/s wait actv wsvc_t asvc_t  %w  %b device
  291.4    0.0   36.4    0.0  0.0  1.0    0.0    3.4   0  98 c10t0d0
                    extended device statistics              
    r/s    w/s   Mr/s   Mw/s wait actv wsvc_t asvc_t  %w  %b device
  291.2    0.0   36.4    0.0  0.0  1.0    0.0    3.4   0  98 c10t0d0

Hazy miracle I hate. We still haven’t received any technical details but were promised to have the needed information as soon as it’s available from the PTS engineer situated in Sun European Competency Centre.

OpenSolaris, licensing, rumors and more

Right on the heels from the MOSUG meeting we had tonight I have something interesting to share with you. Mostly it relates to the most hot topics regarding the future of OpenSolaris, Solaris licensing and support. And so…

  1. As you’ve already heard or read in the mailing lists the latest OpenSolaris build has been frozen and eventually will become the so much anticipated next OpenSolaris release, presumably 2010.05
  2. As a developer or an ordinary user or whoever your are, you are welcome to download and use Solaris OS for free unless it’s not used for the production or any commercial purposes. There is a drawback, no patches available even security ones.
  3. There is no way to purchase a Solaris license only. Oracle doesn’t sell them. As of today, because tomorrow could bring something new, you could obtain Solaris license in different ways:
    • By purchasing the system as a whole from Oracle. In that case you’re going to receive a technical support from Oracle directly.
    • By buying the hardware and Solaris from third-party vendor, e.g. HP, IBM or DELL, but in that case the technical support would by provided by the same thrid-party vendors. That means, that if you buy a system with Solaris from HP then pester them in case of any issues.
  4. Tried to ask about recently spread Oracle-LSI rumors but didn’t receive a definite answer. Think that due to the Oracle’s policy so we will have to play a “wait and see” game.
  5. As far as I understood, Oracle is not going to make Oracle on Sun hardware cheeper than Oracle on HP iron and the bill will mostly be equivalent. But TCO and ROI would be more attractive in case of Sun/Oracle symbiosis.

Anther MOSUG meeting

Hi folks.
There is going to b anther meeting of MOSUG next Tuesday (27th of April). More details about the agenda could be found here. It’s expected that Frederic Pariente from Oracle would join us as well so there is a non-zero chance to fish out some news and future plans straight from the horse’s mouth.

Come and join.

Dop show

How to allow an ordinary user to executed an application or a script with the extended privileges or even as a root user? Having a strong Linux/BSD background the very first option that would come to my mind is – sudo. Solaris is more flexible in that regard due to the presence of RBAC. But what about TRU64? Since I’m not very fluent with it I turned my eyes to Google and typed something like “tru64 sudo”. Thankfully, I came to a forum where a poster was in a similar situation striving for a sudo binary for tru64 platform. But the final comment in this thread mentioned dop as an officially supported way. Hm, that rang a bell.

dop – Allows a user to execute a privileged program without knowing the root password. The dop command also modifies the action database.

That’s looked promising and it turned out to be very easy to configure. My goal was to give an oes user a right to start Oracle Express server, which, for some strange reason, had been configured in a wacky way that only root user was able to start it up.

Back to dop configuration steps. The easiest way is to do everything from “sysman dopconfig” menu driven interface but since the list of built-in privileges wasn’t sufficient some manual intervention was inevitable.
Actually, there is already a built-in privilege called “SystemManagement” but from it’s description:

SystemManagement privilege allows configuration of kernel facilities such as kernel build, shutdown, cfgmgr, system services start/stop, and software asset management

it obvious that the list of rights is too broad. Not a big deal, because one could modify /etc/doprc file, presumably with vi editor, and add a privilege he/she likes. In my case, I added a new entry to /etc/doprc and named it OracleExpressManagement:

OracleExpressManagement {
        {description    { OracleExpressManagement privilege allows to start/stop Oracle Express Server}}

Next, with the help of /usr/sbin/dop utility I added a new action to the dop database:

dop -a OracleExpressManagement oracle_express "/sbin/init.d/express *"

If you look at /etc/doprc you would notice a new record added to the end of _Action section:

oracle_express {
            {privs {OracleExpressManagement}}
            {path {/sbin/init.d/express *}}

The last step, is to add our user to a list of who is allowed to run a dop action (oracle_express). This could be achieved in two ways: through sysman dopconfig and, again, by editing /etc/doprc. Whatever approach you prefer the net outcome would be the same – /etc/doprc will be updated slightly:

OracleExpressManagement {
        {users  { oes }}
        {description    { OracleExpressManagement privilege allows start/stop }}

That’s it and from now on oes user could run a simple command to start/stop Oracle Express:

/usr/sbin/dop oracle_express start
/usr/sbin/dop oracle_express stop

P.S. I used HP-UX tag purely because now TRU64 is in HP’s hands.

Rambling through Irkutsk

Here are some more photos I shoot during my short stay in Irkutsk. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to go and see the grand lake Baikal but even if I did I would’ve not seen anything since it’s still coated with ice.

And as usual there was a fly in the ointment. In Moscow security showed zero interest to my gillette gel and allowed me to take it on board. But here in Irkutsk I was asked to transfer it to a trash bin due to the security rules. That’s absolutely fine and I oblige to the rules especially when it could affect security but in that case these rules must work equally no matter the place they are being applied in. That means that if my gel is considered to be dangerous it should’ve been withdrawn the very first time I went through the security gates in Moscow otherwise what’s the point in the rules if they don’t work?! It’s funny but when I tried to argue with the staff I was asked a ridiculous question about my current occupation as if the rules could submit to one’s rank or status. I wonder, what they usually do with the confiscated goods?!

Prince Volkonsky’s house

Education on a walk

I’m sitting at the hotel’s lobby accompanied with a cup of cappuccino and preparing to visit Volkonsky’s house. As you may already know, Irkutsk was a place where Decembrists were exiled after a unsuccessful coup attempt in 1825 year. Since the internet connection here is quite unstable and sluggish I will post the photos once I return back to Moscow.

Back to my home town

It’s been awhile and in the end I’ve made time for a quick post to summarize the impressions from the last trip to Irkutsk. Actually what I’m going to post is just some unbound thoughts, garnished with few photos, I had written down whilst I was doing random stuff, i.e. waiting for a plain or sitting in a hotel’s lobby. There is a glitch in the WordPress’s engine which doesn’t allow to have several image galleries in a single post so I will have to split my post in separate parts which will be logically tied together.

Sweet and vivid

Yes, that’s exactly how I’m feeling sitting in a completely new Terminal D building of Sheremtyevo airport. It’s deeply hard to believe that in an hour one could found himself inside a cosy and partly friendly environment called Russian airport. Yes, I said partly and that wasn’t a misprint. You could easily understand what I mean if you have ever been peered down by a uniformed-personnel, who immensely miss words like “Hello”, “Thank you”, “You’re welcome” in their vocabulary.
That’s true, that Sheremtyevo airport has had a bad reputation for a rather long time and I used to feel embarrassed that all of us simply didn’t have other options because both two old terminals, Sheremtyevo-2 and Sheremetyevo-1 dedicated to international and local flights respectively, had a sorry sight and were nakedly poor.

But now, in Terminal D I can’t escape the feeling that I’m thousands kilometers away from Russia in one of the quite Europeans country. Seriously. It’s clean, it’s filled with sun-light through the massive from-wall-to-ceilling windows and there is no hassle and deuced rush at all and now it’s easy to just sit and enjoy the plains taking-off and landing. Going to ramble through it a bit to get a deeper grasp if all these changes are for good…

A bigger four and a smaller one

Yeah, it sounds awkward an at very least unusual but I don’t know how to express in other words that today is my son’s birthday – he has just turned four years young. Not old but young – it’s we who are getting old. What a day! But at the same time just two days ago his smaller sister stepped over the fourth month of her life. Congratulations to myself! ;-)