Okay, finally have a moment to blog some of my thoughts about the class I took last week..
So last week I took SA-225 (Solaris 10 for Experienced System Administrators). This class is meant to be taken after the regular Solaris 10 SA1 and SA2 courses. It goes into further detail on some of the key features in Solaris 10 (WAN Boot, Zones, Resource Management, Kerberos, UFS, FMA, SMF, Dtrace, IPQoS, NFSv4, SCF, IpFilters, snmp, ZFS, and lots more!).
I've been beta testing Solaris 10 through the centercode program for over a year now and I've seen Solaris 10 through several key builds. During that time I tested out all sorts of features and filed bugs, surveys, and even RFE's. I was very involved in testing JDS 3, which was lots of fun;) So taking this class was to round out my Solaris 10 knowledge since there are soo many new features.. it's hard to keep up:) Also, since at work, I'm running a Solaris 10 pilot, this seemed a good choice.
Well, there were some sections that were totally lacking and others that were overboard with detail.
For example, the section on FMA/SMF was not very useful, because the labs didn't really present the full features of the framework. It would have been nice to have a lab where someone kills off init and get to see SMF save the day by restarting things properly. How about setting up an SMF service, like Apache? FMA is a really kewl feature, that deserved some real examples. Even Zones needed more exposure in the labs.. very difficult to setup a resource pool for a set of Zones on an Ultra 10 to see the usefulness! It would have been nice to have a larger box, like a 6800 for everyone to play with. Then when it came to ZFS, it was almost pointless since the version we saw was from almost a year ago and it was not even close to the current builds being tested. But not much to cry over since ZFS is still being worked on and won't show up until Update 1 or 2:(
In other cases, things like Dtrace were explored in all most too much detail. Even though I have read the "Solaris Internals" book, there is soo much that can be probed with Dtrace that it's probably better to take the actual Dtrace class to learn it properly. Reminds me that I have to finish reading the user guide for it. But the class gave a pretty detailed intro to it and I've already started to make more use of it on my test systems at work.
And in some cases, things were just glanced over.. like least privileges. This is a very important feature that allows a systems administrator to restrict specific rights from a user. For example, you can remove the ability to fork processes from a user. This is pretty handy for locking things down and it was not explored well at all. Then there are things like TCP_Wrappers in SMF, everything under /usr/sfw, patch management, JDS, changes for those using x86 gear, iSCSI, Infiniband, etc. that were not covered at all. Needless to say, it could have been better. But considered the amount of new features in Solaris 10, it would be hard to develope a 5 course to cram it all into.
Personally, I think the biggest thing that was lacking was how to bring all these new features together for *real world* situations. That would have been very useful for the other people attending the course. I could tell that many were frustrated and disappointed. I wasn't frustrated since I was already familiar with Solaris 10, but I was a little disappointed with the presentation and gaps in the matterial.
Now for what really bothered me..
I was taking the class in a building I use to support when I worked for Sun IT/Ops. It was soo empty and the campus I had built before I left Sun was empty. That was really sad to see after all the time and effort put forth back then. I definitely left Sun at a good time. It has been very rough for those who stayed the course. Many were laid off or moved to other groups.
What excites me..
Well Solaris 10 really excites me because it's a huge step forward for not only Solaris, but also for UNIX in general. I started out with Linux over 10 years ago and use to be involved with Slackware (AXP port..). But as time has passed by and I've worked in small and large environments, Linux just doesn't cut it for me anymore. Solaris 10 has features that you won't find in Linux. Sure there are things like Vserver and strace, but they fall short of what's delivered in Solaris 10.
The best way to see these features is to install it and use it! That's how I got into Linux and then UNIX.
I think I'll have to write about what I would have done at my last job with Solaris 10 if I had been given the chance.. that should be fun!
Friday, April 08, 2005
So I've been in a Solaris 10 class all week. The class is SA-225 "Solaris 10 for Experienced Administrators". Interesting class for me since I've been part of the centercode beta program for Solaris 10 for a year now. This course is definitely not for people looking for certifications. It's meant to be taken after the regular Solaris 10 sysadmin courses. I'm almost done with the course, so I'll have to do a little write up here about it tomorrow.