I was an instructor at SNW this year at the JW Marriott hotel in Orlando, Florida. Along with fellow Oracle co-worker Ray Clarke, we represented the ZFS Storage Appliance in a hands-on environment that allowed storage administrators and industry experts to demo our product in a simulated environment.

Rather than haul physical equipment to the convention, we setup an array of Windows 7 virtual machine sessions paired with a ZFS simulator running on Virtual Box across two remote X4270 machines. This let us create a classroom environment of 24 stations (48 VM sessions) that created a superb replica of the 7000 product that each user could toy around with as they completed the storage exercises we devised.

If you missed the opportunity to demo our product, or would like to download and play with the simulator in your own environment, feel free to check out the following links to get started.

posted by paulie
14:51 PST - October 12, 2011

I use alpine as my primary e-mail client. In order to get it compiled for Solaris 11 (snv_166 and later), you will need to make a few changes to the source.
[paulie@adrenaline ~]$ uname -orv
5.11 snv_166 Solaris
[paulie@adrenaline ~]$ ./configure --with-ssl-include-dir=
[paulie@adrenaline ~]$ gmake
We run into a problem ...
In file included from osdep.c:66:
scandir.c: In function `Scandir':
scandir.c:45: error: structure has no member named `dd_fd'
Let's investigate:
[paulie@adrenaline ~]$ vi /usr/include/dirent.h
#if defined(__USE_LEGACY_PROTOTYPES__)
/* traditional SVR4 definition */
typedef struct {
        int     dd_fd;          /* file descriptor */
        int     dd_loc;         /* offset in block */
        int     dd_size;        /* amount of valid data */
        char    *dd_buf;        /* directory block */
} DIR;                          /* stream data from opendir()
/* default definition (POSIX conformant) */
typedef struct {
        int     d_fd;           /* file descriptor */
        int     d_loc;          /* offset in block */
        int     d_size;         /* amount of valid data */
        char    *d_buf;         /* directory block */
} DIR;                          /* stream data from opendir()
#endif  /* __USE_LEGACY_PROTOTYPES__ */
Interesting, so alpine *should* be using POSIX instead of the older UNIX SVR4 definitions. Let's make a change to the scandir.c file, which is located in alpine-2.00/imap/c-client/scandir.c. On line 45 I see the following use of dd_fd:
if ((!dirp) || (fstat (dirp->dd_fd,&stb) < 0)) return -1;
Let's change that dd_fd to d_fd.
if ((!dirp) || (fstat (dirp->d_fd,&stb) < 0)) return -1;
After recompile, everything works as expected. I'm sure there is a better way of fixing this problem, but considering how trivial this issue is, a small edit is sufficient.

posted by paulie
8:40 PST - May 31, 2011

For some reason the driver on my Creative X-Fi sound card disables the 'Microphone +20dB Boost' option after every reboot. I wrote a script to automatically enable it every time the system boots up.
var WshShell = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell");

WshShell.Run("Control.exe mmsys.cpl,@0,1")
WshShell.SendKeys(" ");
Save this script as micboost.js, or download it here. Drag the file into your Start->All Programs->Startup directory. This should work on Vista and 7, but probably not on previous versions of Windows.

posted by paulie
18:30 PST - May 14, 2011

USB memory sticks are easily lost, so to keep your data safe, it's best to use the new encryption feature of ZFS available since snv_149 (ZFS version 30). Here's how to take advantage of it.
[paulie@adrenaline ~]$ uname -a
SunOS adrenaline 5.11 snv_155 i86pc i386 i86pc Solaris
Get the device id for the USB stick using rmformat.
[paulie@adrenaline ~]$ rmformat
Looking for devices...
     1. Logical Node: /dev/rdsk/c11t0d0p0
        Physical Node: /pci@0,0/pci108e,534a@2/hub@4/
        Connected Device: SanDisk  U3 Cruzer Micro  8.02
        Device Type: Removable
	Bus: USB
	Size: 1.9 GB
	Label: Unknown
	Access permissions: Medium is not write protected.
The device id is c11t0d0p0. Using this id, we can make a pool on the device called 'secret'. You can call yours whatever you want.
[paulie@adrenaline ~]# zpool create -O encryption=on secret
Enter passphrase for 'secret': 
Enter again: 
Let's create a random 128MB file in the new pool called file.enc.
[paulie@adrenaline ~]$ cd /secret; mkfile 128m file.enc
Now, let's make sure it works by exporting and importing the secret pool and hope it asks for a password.
[paulie@adrenaline ~]# zpool export secret
[paulie@adrenaline ~]# zpool import secret
Enter passphrase for 'secret': 
It works as expected. Let's check for the created file.
[paulie@adrenaline ~]$ ls /secret
We can also check the encryption of any zfs filesystem by using the following command:
[paulie@adrenaline ~]$ zfs get encryption secret
secret  encryption  on           local
For more information visit:

posted by paulie
9:03 PST - January 3, 2011

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