Sh*t Silicon Valley Says

Like she says, I miss seasons.

It’s like Pandora, for cats.

Sun/Oracle ends support for some UltraSPARC processors

So I was asked about upgrading some older Sun/Oracle hardware to Solaris 11. The systems in question are all currently running Solaris 10. Solaris 11 was introduced on November 9, 2011 so it hasn’t been around too long yet. But Solaris 10 has been around since 2005 which makes the Unix OS as old as some of our hardware. The full version of Solaris 11 no longer supports legacy processor architectures UltraSPARC I, II, IIe, III, IIIi, III+, IV and IV+. In the world of Sun/Oracle hardware, these don’t go to 11.

The list of our somewhat dated hardware currently running Solaris 10 includes:

System and Codename

Processor Type and Maximum Number

Sun Netra 440                        Chalupa 19

4x UltraSPARC IIIi

Sun Blade 150                Grover Plus

1x UltraSPARC IIi

Sun Fire V440                 Chalupa

4× UltraSPARC IIIi

Sun Fire V880                 Daktari

8× UltraSPARC III/III+

Sun Fire V890                 Silverstone

8× UltraSPARC IV/IV+

Sun Ultra 45                           Chicago

2x UltraSPARC IIIi

The processors are UltraSPARC IIi, UltraSPARC III/III+ and UltraSPARC IV/IV+, all of which are not supported in the production release of Solaris 11. (They were still supported in the ‘Express’ beta version of Solaris 11 released in November 2010.) Looks we are due for new hardware, which of course is what Larry Ellison wants. Racing sail boats can be expensive. 🙂

If you need to find out what version of Solaris you are running and what type of processors you have, use the uname –a and psrinfo –pv commands.

sunbox% uname -a

SunOS sunbox 5.10 Generic_127111-03 sun4u sparc SUNW,Sun-Fire-880

sunbox% psrinfo -pv

The physical processor has 1 virtual processor (0)

  UltraSPARC-III+ (portid 0 impl 0x15 ver 0xb0 clock 1200 MHz)

The physical processor has 1 virtual processor (2)

  UltraSPARC-III+ (portid 2 impl 0x15 ver 0xb0 clock 1200 MHz)

sunbox%

We are still using old iron in a standalone test environment that doesn’t have to meet the demands of real production servers. At least we aren’t still using the old ‘pizza box’ or the Sun E10K systems from the 1990’s.

Note that If you do try to install Solaris 11 or boot from a Solaris 11 DVD on unsupported hardware, you will get an error similar to this:

Error: 'SUNW,UltraSPARC-IIIi' is not supported by this release of Solaris.
Program terminated
{1} ok

Moving more legacy systems to linux anyone?

Google honors 125th anniversary of largest recorded snowflake with doodle

Despite the lack of winter weather here in the valley, Google brings another snowy themed doodle to their home page. This creative animated art piece honors the 125th anniversary of the largest recorded snowflake that fell on this day in 1887 in Montana. The flakes were said to be 15 inches across! Nothing like that has fallen on the slopes around Lake Tahoe this season.

google_doodle_125th_largest_snowflake

Enjoy this digital remembrance of snow. The forecast doesn’t call for any real snow in the near future.

Solaris 10 UNIX /var/audit logs full, workstation not responding…

So you have a UNIX system admin emergency:  A Solaris 10 workstation that was working and running is suddenly frozen and unresponsive.

Suspected culprit? Audit logs. If they have filled up and no other actions can be logged, all processes and attempted logins are stopped.

It is possible to get back into the frozen UNIX workstation and restore normal operation with a few steps:

Hit Stop-A to get to the Solaris OpenBoot PROM OK prompt. *

At the OpenBoot prompt, login to command mode with the firmware password if you have one set. (You should if you are worried about audit logs)

Type boot-s  to boot into single user mode. You’ll need the firmware and root password.

Run a df –h to see what is mounted. If /var/audit is not mounted, the partition is probably full.

Find the entry in your /etc/vfstab file for the disk device that contains /var/audit.

Mount the disk device (not the raw rdsk device) using the mount command with your disk device name such as:

mount /dev/dsk/c1t0d0s7 /var/audit

Run a df –h again just for a sanity check. /var/audit should show as mounted and at 100% capacity.

Change directory to /var/audit and run gzip on the largest audit files or move them according to your local security policy.

After gzip compression completes, (this may take a while if the files are large) run df –h again to check that /var/audit is under 80% capacity or so.

A test compression on the binary audit files using gzip on my system dropped the /var/audit partition from 100% to 5% capacity. Your results may vary.

While still in single user mode, type init 6 to reboot and go back to normal multi-user mode. All your normal drive partitions and network devices should be mounted and available.

*This works on Solaris SPARC machines, x86 machines have no built-in Open Boot PROM so you must use GRUB or other boot loader to boot to single user mode.

 

Musings on the Eve of 2012

2012 is a year which already has so much in store. It is the year of a monster U.S. presidential election. Though these days the presidential election has become more like choosing between a wolf and a coyote to determine who will watch your chickens. Both will devour your poultry, but the wolf has better hair. It is a leap year of 366 days in which to make a difference. It is a London Olympics year. 2012 is a year that will see the introduction of Google’s ‘iPad killer’ Android tablet. What will it be called? The ‘DroidTab’ or probably something more creative like ‘Tungsten Primavera’. 😛 It is also a year widely predicted by pseudo researchers to be the end of the world. But there appears to be no real reason for the apocalypse yet.

What will 2012 bring us? Will technology save the planet? Or just make the crumbling of society more entertaining? Lets hope the new year brings a chance of prosperity for many families that were hammered by 2011 and a positive sense of innovation for the betterment of the planet.

Raise your glass of Coke Zero or Peet’s Coffee or whatever you’re drinking to toast to a prosperous 2012!

SiliconCali

 

Internet Explorer 10 Testdrive

In an attempt to inject some buzz into their upcoming IE 10 browser, Microsoft has created some fun ‘testdrive’ pages that will measure your PC and browser’s performance.

Highlighting HTML5, Canvas, CSS3, and SVG, the “Let it Snow” page lets you adjust the number of snowflakes falling on your screen while measuring your FPS. Is this a snowball in the face of Google from Mr. Softy?

If you want to take a dip into the world of HTML 5 possibilities, try the “Fishbowl” testdrive page that lets you adjust the number of swimming gold fish and graphics layers. (These features are too new for IE 8 and audio does not yet work with Firefox 8, you’ll have to make your own fishbowl sounds)

There’s also a New Year’s Eve countdown page for different cities that displays your browser performance information at the bottom.

Seattle

Washington DC

New York

And if you’re ready for 2011 to be over, click on the “Can’t Wait?” button to watch the clock tick down to 2012 and trigger a fireworks display over the city of your choice.

Happy 2012 from SiliconCali.com!

The Speed of Santa

I’m always amazed at the speed of Santa as he zooms around the planet at nearly the speed of light.

 

Living and working in Silicon Valley