On Wed, Feb 2, 2011 at 11:17 PM, Bob Hodges <***@rrhodges.com> wrote:
> .... snip ....
> What's the "Solaris Advantage" over Linux at this point?
> .... snip .....
Where'as a couple of years ago I spent almost 100% of my time interacting
with, developing on, administrating etc on Solaris boxes (mainly x86) - in
the past 18 months + I've probably typed a couple of dozen commands into a
Sol x86 box.
Do I miss zones, ZFS, DTrace and the OpenSolaris project and community -
you bet. But it was time to move on.
A couple of reasons why:
- Oracle does not give a snit about any company under a billion dollars (you
pick the number) in annual revenue.
- there is no-one to talk to at Oracle - no concept of a
conversation/discussion. No possibility of expressing an opinion; no
concept of opensource; no respect for technical excellence or ability.
Oracle has brought a large percentage of cash rich, name brand companies
back into the dark days of corporate computing and moved the industry 10
years backwards in time.
- I can't recommend Solaris to anyone I care about because its a dying
+ the brain drain of technical talent that was once Sun is well under way
+ multi-core SPARC based systems are frighteningly expensive and becoming
+ it's becoming very, very difficult to find Solaris expertise
+ almost all software innovation is happening elsewhere (mainly Linux)
+ opensource support for Solaris is scarce and dwindling by the hour
+ Solaris based systems are more expensive than the alternatives
+ there are just too many viable alternatives to justify running Solaris -
except in very specialized niches
So, what am I using for personal and professional computing today, and, am I
eating my own dog food?
a) I sit in front of a workstation (Intel i920) with a 30" Dell LCD panel
and it runs Ubuntu 10.10. Yep there are bugs that drive me crazy; yes I
have to apply patches at an annoying frequency and I find it disruptive.
But it works and allows me install almost any opensource tool or technology
in minutes. I run VMware workstation for windows instances which are fired
up only when needed. I try out other technology on VMware VMs.
b) I just put together a NAS system thats based on a mini ATX motherboard
with a single core AMD CPU. $60 for the motherboard/CPU combo. FreeNAS
works really well - I'm using it to provide iSCSI targets, Samba shares and
an AFS (Apple) share. FreeNAS is based on FreeBSD.
c) On my left is a "resurrected" Intel based iMac - plastic case, 20"
screen, Core Duo - one of the first Intel based iMacs. Runs surprisingly
well under Mac OS X 10.6.6 with only 2Gb of RAM. Everything just bloody
works!! And the upgrade to 10.6 cost me $29 for the DVD. While I was busy
with Solaris - guess what - MacOS grew up and is now part of an entire, user
d) as a single-point-of-entry (gateway) + file xfer machine, I run netBSD on
an Intel SBC - dual core Atom 330 with a compact flash card for the boot
filesystem and a single hard disk. Its been very, very reliable.
Performance sucks - but is adaquate for the intended use.
1) I built a kick ascii dev/production box based on a bare bones server from
a company in California (you may have heard of it) called Intel. It's
the Intel Modular Server Chassis (MFSYS25) with 14 2.5" slots (yes you get
the drive sleds and yes you can push in SAS or SATA drives[2). Everything
is front/back accessible, hot swap and "mostly" redundant. And it cost me a
little more than $500 over an equivalent Dell 2U server with the same
CPU/memory and I didn't have to use "only Dell drives" and buy Dell drives
to get the disk carriers. The original blade holds a 6-core 5660 (2.8GHz)
CPU and has 24Gb of Kingston memory installed and runs CentOS 5.5. And the
2nd CPU/memory slots are un-populated (Intel includes two CPU heatsinks - so
it'll take all of 10 minutes to remove that blade, install a 2nd CPU and
fill the remaining memory slots.)
1a The CentOS blade runs VMware workstation and runs a shitload of legacy
windows instances (various flavors) which allowed us to unplug the
corresponding legacy hardware platforms. We also encapsulate several
CentOS, Ubuntu and even a Fedora development "machines" as VMs. Performance
is awesome - who cares if Xen is faster or zones are so much nicer. VMware
is very, very good. 
2a Later we needed to run some more VMs - but were not concerned about
performance. So, pushed in a 2nd blade into the modular server, populated
with a (cheap) $200 4-core Xeon and 8Gb of RAM. Thats running (the now
free) VMware ESXi bare metal hypervisor and performance is good (not
awesome), but perfectly meets our needs.
2) The front-end ecommerce system now runs under ubuntu 10.04 on a Amazon
Web Services (AWS) EC2 large (reserved) instance. It's associated mySQL DB
is an AWS RDS instance. If/when our EC2 instance dies, we spin up a another
EC2 instance, run a script to install Ubuntu and all required tools, mount
the EBS volume that encapsulates the apps/data/config etc and our downtime
will be < 30 minutes (already tested). S3 for backups, Amazons Cloudfront
for our CDN, and route53 for our enterprise level DNS.
3) we use other "rented" machines - one from linode.com (awesome/fast
modern hardware - very cost effective).
4) we run a huge variety of mainly opensource tools and technologies and are
migrating the codebase from some really sucky stuff like Visual Basic and
stuff I'll bet money on that almost no-one on this list has ever heard of,
while replacing it with some state-of-the-art technology like Redis and
OK - so bottom line if you please:
- Oracle sucks, Solaris is dying, SPARC is too expensive
- loosing ZFS and zones sucks
- Innovation is all Linux based (today)
- choose your unix flavors best suited to solve your problems. My picks:
+ Amazons AMI (CentOS based) and Ubuntu in the cloud
+ Ubuntu and/or Mac OS on the desktop (Windows as a VM)
+ Ubuntu, CentOS for server type workloads
+ FreeBSD for niche applications (firewalling, NAS)
+ netBSD for high security, high reliability and (almost) zero maintenance
where security is paramount
- providing good performing and cost effective computer services requires
the modern practitioner to become something of a systems integrator.
 recent special from newegg.com
 with a $30 SAS->SATA converter thingy
 also has a free tool to create a VMware image of a running legacy box
 5.5Mb/sec for SCP.
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