Five Resources to Stay in the Know With Solaris
Whether you’re deeply interested in Solaris, Sun and Sun hardware, or you just want to be informed about new developments and product offerings, there are a few convenient places you can look for Sun information. Sun-loving (or hating) sysadmins and managers alike can learn about new developments and innovations to be informed about their next purchases. So here are five resources that you may not have been aware of, and why you might want to read them on a regular basis.
Additionally, being informed about Sun’s roadmaps for various products may also drive strategic decision making at the company level. The perfect example is the x4500, or Thumper as it’s called. This ultra-powerful server with 48 1TB disks and the power of ZFS have changed the way people do many things, including video storage, database hosting, and iSCSI hosting of VMs. Since we brought up iSCSI Target support in Solaris 10, this is also a good time to mention that these resources are wonderful for keeping track of when your latest server-crippling bug has been addressed.
First, we have Sun Forums. The new, friendly support mechanism that doesn’t require you adhere to strict rules or partake in USENET. It’s a forum, like many other Web forums you’ve undoubtedly seen. The forums are well designed and quite helpful. You’ll find sections for nearly every topic you’re interested in, including Java, Systems Administration, Hardware, and more.
The Sun forums have a powerful community backing, and you’re likely to get answers to your questions there. In fact, you’re often likely to find forum threads whilst searching for Sun topics on Google. As with all forums and community-centric support mechanisms, remember to be critical of the advice you get, and don’t assume everyone is an expert. On the other hand, there are plenty of experts that frequent the forums, so don’t discount the worth of these wonderful forums.
Sun Managers is a peculiar mailing list; peculiar, but effective. It’s designed to provide a quick turnaround to aid people in real-time troubleshooting. Thousands of people read and respond to messages immediately, so chances are you can get a quick and accurate response within a few minutes.
Unlike other mailing lists where you’re inundated with posts, complaints, and responses, you only see the questions and resolutions on this list. The protocol is:
- Post your question.
- Receive private responses and determine which ones solved your issue.
- Post a response to the list with “summary” in the subject line, outlining what the possible resolutions were and give credit to those who helped you.
This is an incredibly effective system, and you’ll be amazed at the number of responses you get to most questions. It is always true that someone else has solved the problem you’re confronting, and his advice frequently leads to your resolution. The next time you have a Sun hardware or software problem or question, try posting it here. Once you’ve subscribe to the list, feel free to reply to some of the questions, even. If you’re wrong, the whole list doesn’t see it, just the person who asked.
Blastwave is not strictly a reference or reading resource, but it’s the most important site out there for Solaris users. Blastwave properly packages GNU tools for Solaris 8, 9, and 10. They are the only software resource that consistently provides current and correctly compiled applications for Solaris. Even huge systems like the KDE desktop can be installed with a single command using blastwave.
OpenSolaris is all about participation. Solaris has improved leaps and bounds in the last few years, due in large part of the opening of the OS. I addition to getting involved with OpenSolaris itself, the OpenSolaris Web site also offers a glimpse at upcoming projects.
For the longest time I was waiting for iSCSI Target support, and the best place to look for the status of this was the OpenSolaris iSCSI page. I was able to see how the coding was coming along, and once it was stable I was kept up to date on the status of it being backported to Solaris 10. The open source nature of Solaris is very helpful in planning: for example, do we wait for iSCSI Target support, or buy a NetApp?
If you want to know what’s coming in Solaris, or if you’re considering taking the plunge and running OpenSolaris on all your servers, you’ll need to spend some time taking advantage of these wonderful community resources.
Everyone loves blogs, even the CEO. It was very exciting to watch Sun’s and NetApp’s CEOs blogging back and forth responding to each other when the big lawsuit first started to unfold.
Aside from the entertainment value, blogs.sun.com is a wonderful way to stay in touch with Sun’s thought process, from the CEO down to kernel developers. You’ll find out about new features, hear how existing products are doing, and gain a little insight into what Sun is planning.
In summary, you can find tons of information to help you. Whether you’re trying to make business decisions or solve a technical problem, these five premiere resources are tremendously useful.