Thursday, August 31, 2006

ZFS - Another way to recover from a screw up... :)

Doug Burns wrote in his blog how he accidentally messed up some of his Oracle database development environments. Doug, I remember that a little while back, we had a short chat over at Christo Kutrovsky's follow-up blog entry to my ZFS post.

If you've had the chance to install Solaris 10 update 2 (6/06 release), it would be a good time to try ZFS, specially on development environments. ZFS has a snapshot feature and this is one of the ZFS features that I really love.

For example, I use this to create snapshots of entire filesystems. In your case, if there was a snapshot of /ora/data2, recovering the data from the snapshot would have been very f-a-s-t (most likely seconds). I routinely do this with my development environments.

I also use ZFS snapshots in place of the OS-level copy command when doing Oracle hot backups. When done this way, hot backups can be completed in seconds no matter how big the datafiles are.

Another place where I use ZFS snapshots is when I upgrade Oracle or any other software that is mounted under ZFS. If something does not work as I expect, a zfs rollback will quickly (again, seconds) bring order to a messy situation. :)

But my favorite use of ZFS snapshots is to snapshot entire Solaris 10 zones. Sometimes, these zones host Oracle databases. If something gets messed up, I simply issue a zfs rollback command and the entire zone goes back to its state when the snapshot was taken. Very fast and very neat. :)

I've been meaning to make a more detailed post about this for a while now, complete with examples for Oracle. Maybe now is a good time for me to do that. I hope I can make time to write something soon.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

2 suggestions for Boston

My family and I were just in Boston for the first time as part of our summer vacation.

Boston is a beatiful city. Of course, different people have different tastes, but to me, Boston is easily one of the most beatiful American cities I've seen. Great architecture, people, and of course, food!

I love to walk and I take public trasportation when I can because doing so gives me the opportunity to have a closer interaction with the people. 'Up close and personal' is what others would say. :) So I was happy when I learned that Boston has a good subway system and that it is a city that encourages walking. They have walking tours and they also have 'Walking Boston' maps and guides.

We all had a great time but taking Boston's subway system and walking its city tours made me think that even great cities like Boston can make small changes that can make the experience even better. So here are my two small suggestions for Boston:

1. Please stop selling those automated subway tickets specially to tourists. Why? Because not all the subway stations have machines to process those tickets. Before we bought our subway tickets, I spoke with a subway employee and he advised us to get the automated tickets. I asked if that kind of ticket would be honored in all stations and he said yes. But he was wrong; there are several stations that don't have machines to process those tickets. We were forced to buy additional tokens at one station even if our tickets were not yet completely used up because the attendant simply refused to let us through. He said something like: "We are aware that it is a problem but we were told that we are not supposed to let people with automated tickets through". Huh?? Fortunately, attendants at other stations were willing to "bend the rules" and they let us through.

So, Boston... at the very least, please put big signs on automated ticket dispensers saying that the automated tickets won't work everywhere. And if there are readers who are planning to take the subway to go around Boston, I think it is a lot better to just buy the subway tokens instead of the automated tickets.

2. I'm not sure how much Boston embraces recycling but if they do embrace it, I think they should put more recycling bins specially along the walking trails and subway stations. Majority of people who love to walk will be carrying some form of drink with them. I held on to my empty water bottle for around one hour hoping that I will see a recycling bin. I did not see one and when I finally made the decision to toss it to a garbage bin, I noticed that the garbage bin had a lot of empty plastic bottles in it. Now, I'm not saying that there were no recycling bins at all. I'm just saying that if there were, I did not see them despite the fact that I was consciously looking for them.

That said, I have to say again that Boston is a very beatiful city. There are other parts of the city that I want to see that's why I'm looking forward to my business trip there in a couple of weeks.

Friday, August 04, 2006

A tough day @ Sun

Today was a very tough day at Sun. Once more, I see some friends affected by the announced reduction in force of up to 5,000 employees worldwide.

To my colleagues who have lost their jobs, hats off to you. Please take care of yourselves and keep in touch.

It's not clear if it is all over. Anything can still happen.

And with this, I unplug myself from this blog for a couple of weeks of vacation.