Transcript

Intro to VM Server (Solaris Logical Domains) and Core Multi-Threaded (CMT) Ultrasparc

Installing Oracle VM Server formerly Solaris Logical Domains on SPARC T-Series Servers Part 1

 

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>> Mick: Logical domains are basically a virtualization that’s on a specific version of the Sun’s SPARC processor known as the sun4v architecture and referred to as core multithreaded.

 

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You may have seen previous mentions of it as something called the core thread server. And over the past four or five years there have been a number of different processes available, in particular starting at T1 and the T2, T2+ and then the current T3 which is being superseded very shortly by the T4 which should start shipping in December.

 

These processors have a very large capacity in terms of the cores and the associated threads. So a typical core that we have a look at on the machine that I have here – the processor has eight cores, each of which has eight threads. The operating would see that as 64 different processors.

 

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There are ways of telling on a given T-series system exactly what physical resources are available. When it comes to creating domains, it’s quite straightforward to actually allocate resources between your different domain systems.

 

We’re using something called the T5120 to do this demonstration. Of course, this system also has other resources as such as memory, hard disk, PCI bus which can be split between various devices, and of course network interfaces as well as whatever things you might like to add like [2:17 inaudible] for example to connect to the SAN.

 

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This is what we’re going to look at during this demonstration. First of all, a little bit of positioning. Typical server uses and a little bit of a look at the server firmware which is a vital component of actually creating the domains and managing the systems, the firmware being the piece of software that is installed in the factory and sits between the hardware and the operating system.

 

The OpenBoot PROM, for example, in the POST (power-on self-test) software, and you’ll see how that works very shortly.

 

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Then we’ll quickly move on and look at the interesting aspects with practical demonstration of how you came about configuring the T-series server on installing Solaris although it does come preinstalled. Installing and obtaining the Logical Domain software, which is as Dave mentioned, now known as Oracle VM Server for SPARC.

 

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The types of Logical Domain that can be created. Creating something called the Control Domain which, if you like, is the controlling operating system from which you create and maintain the other domains which are typically known as guest domains. It’s within the guest domains that you create and run your applications.

 

We’ve pitched this webinar assuming that most of you will have had some Solaris admin experience. So I’m going to mention things like install Solaris but without actually explaining too much of how to do it and assume that you would have the skills from the past to understand what I’m saying.

 

Of course, there will be times when you can pitch in with some questions. Please do so at the appropriate times.

 

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As Dave mentioned also, SkillBuilders have been involved for quite some time now in selling, installing, configuring, maintaining T-series servers with some fairly complex configurations, one of which I’ll show you shortly to give you an idea of the level of complexity that you can reach.

 

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It’s a virtualization facility that allows you to divide hardware resources and run each system as a truly independent operating system. So it’s not like the zones or containers. It’s not a software feature. It relies on the firmware to create the logical divisions. You use the Logical Domain Manager software to instruct the firmware basically as to how to divide up the hardware resources.

 

It also has some fairly amazing facilities like being able to dynamically change the resources. In the latest version, you can dynamically change even the memory allocation of a system while the host is running. Not to mention assigning more CPUs if you think that’s necessary without having to do any reboots. So it’s quite an amazing technology. It sits somewhere between a software technology like Solaris containers or zones and something like the old SunFire Dynamic Domains that you may have come across in the past.

 

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You can run Solaris on a Logical Domain, of course. That’s the 11/06 release onwards. You can also run Linux and OpenBSD systems. There are a couple of links there in the notes for downloads if you’re interested. Obviously, the range of applications that you’d be running up the Linux being SPARC version would be slightly less that you would normally expect on a perhaps NIS servers. But nonetheless, you can run a Linux version.

 

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If you have any Legacy Solaris 8 or 9 systems, you cannot run them directly in a Logical Domain because they do not support the Sun4v architecture. But you can create zones via a container inside a Logical Domain and then you can run your Solaris 8 and 9 Legacy systems within that. And of course, with containers you have resource controls so you can assign a number of the CPUs of the system and the map of memory and so forth. So you can do some really good consolidations of an existing Solaris setup within your Logical Domain’s machine.

 

The machines have been referred to as a data center in a box. Take all your servers, put them into a T3 or T4 and then you’ve only got one physical system to worry about.

 

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Some of these are fairly obvious.

 

Oracle recommend small to medium size applications and databases. There are things like web financials, main services, departmental databases, good candidates, and development and testing environments. Remember that because you have physically separate systems with physically separate operating systems, you can patch them to different levels, which is very difficult or nearly impossible with a Solaris Container.

 

Of course, you have less physical hardware so restricting physical access can often be much more simple with something like one of these servers.

 

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The system firmware is a highly important part of a system like this and it’s called an ILOM (Integrated Lights Out Manager) and that maintains the components that you would normally be familiar with on the SPARC system like the power-on self test facilities and the OpenBoot PROM.

 

But basically what you do, you install Solaris on your T-series server and then you add the Logical Domains Manager. Using commands within that, you then establish the actual domains that are divided into the firmware.

 

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There are certain issues about versions of the Oracle VM Server software and its compatibility with the current version of the firmware. But when you download the software and you look at the associated read-me files, it will quite clearly explain the patch levels that you need and also the firmware revisions.

 

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