System News
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Articles for the keywords: SmartOS
22 Apr 2013 What's new in pkgsrc-2013Q1 [30646]
pkgsrc is a framework for building third-party software on UNIX-like systems

pkgsrc is a framework for building third-party software on NetBSD and other UNIX-like systems, currently containing over 12000 packages. It is used to enable freely available software to be configured and built easily on supported platforms.

The binary packages that are produced by pkgsrc can be used without having to compile everything from source. NetBSD already contains the necessary tools for managing binary packages, on other platforms you need to bootstrap pkgsrc to get the package management tools installed.

As usual there were many hundreds of changes which went into this quarterly release of pkgsrc. Here are some of the more interesting and useful changes.

  • OpenSSL 1.0.1 with AES-NI support
  • GCC Go support for SmartOS/illumos
  • Networking utilities on SmartOS
  • Major package versions

Read on for details.
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17 Jan 2013 Virtualization Performance on Joyent's Public Cloud: Zones, KVM, Xen [29391]
Assessing the Options with Brendan Gregg

Brendan Gregg explains the virtualization technologies Joyent uses to run its high performance public cloud: Zones and KVM on SmartOS. He considers the performance of these technologies from the aspects of characteristics, block diagrams, internals, and results, explaining that Zones adds no overhead, whereas Xen (no longer in use at Joyent) and KVM do, which could limit network throughput to as much as a quarter of its potential. Joyent customers are therefore encouraged to deploy on Zones to ensure better performance, observability and simplicity. This may entail compiling their applications for SmartOS or, if they insist on running Linux or Windows, employing hardware virtualization (KVM).
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21 Dec 2012 The USE Method: SmartOS Performance Checklist [28989]
Comprehensive System Performance Analysis Tool: Cloud, Physical Resources and Software

The USE Method, as Brendan Gregg describes it, provides a strategy for performing a complete check of system health, identifying common bottlenecks and errors. For each system resource, metrics for utilization, saturation and errors are identified and checked. Identified issues are then investigated further. Gregg provides check lists for cloud limits, physical resources and software resources. His example employs a USE-based metric list for use within a SmartOS SmartMachine (Zone), such as those provided by the Joyent Public Cloud. These use the illumos kernel, and so this list should also be mostly relevant for OmniOS Zones, and to a lesser degree, Solaris Zones.
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02 Nov 2012 Why 4K? – George Wilson’s ZFS Day Talk [28310]
The Task Is Getting a Handle on the Problem, then Removing the Culprit Code

Advanced Format. 4K Sectors. Are there problems? Well, yes, when drives present themselves as something they are not, creating problems that impact write performance and result in the need for read-modify-write operations for any misaligned or partial writes that are issued. Other storage platforms may also provide LUNs that present themselves as 512 byte addressable devices when, in fact, they use a 4K sector size internally. ZFS has built-in support for 4K sectors, but cannot automatically deal with the misrepresentations. George Wilson spoke at ZFS Day about methods that have been developed to work around these misrepresentations and discussed the challenges and drawbacks of using 4K sectors.
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15 Aug 2012 illumos tools for observing processes [27243]
tools useful to both developer and administrator

illumos, with Solaris before it, has a history of delivering rich tools for understanding the system, but discovering these tools can be difficult for new users. Sometimes, tools just have different names than people are used to. In many cases, users don’t even know such tools might exist.

In a recent post Dave Pacheco describes some tools he find most useful, both as a developer and an administrator. This is not intended to be a comprehensive reference, but more like part of an orientation for users new to illumos (and SmartOS in particular) but already familiar with other Unix systems. This post will likely be review for veteran illumos and Solaris users.
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