March 2006 Archives

2006-03-30 18:13:56

Apache httpd 2.2.1 finally on the way?

Now that apr 1.2.6 has been announced, Paul Querna has said that he plans on tagging 2.2.1 from the 2.2.x branch on Friday. With a little luck, we could have 2.2.1 by early next week.
There is still a few patches to vote on and backport before then.

Posted by Mads | Permanent Link | Categories: httpd

2006-03-30 12:43:47

You Are the Swedish Chef

You Are the Swedish Chef
"Bork! Bork! Bork!"
Your happy and energetic - with borderline manic tendencies.
No one really gets you. And frankly, you don't even get you.
But, you sure can whip up a great chocolate mousse

Okay, perhaps I cheated a bit to make it say Swedish Chef rather than the original suggestion of Animal or Scooter. I know it is a silly thing to waste time on, but staring at a Solaris install that doesn't get anywhere isn't much fun in itself.

Posted by Mads | Permanent Link | Categories: soulfood, cooking, food

2006-03-28 23:32:11

Dtrace support in non-global zones

Dan Price has just announced support for dtrace in non-global zones. The mail went to dtrace discuss.

Well, I guess this is as good a time as any to announce that I've
integrated initial support for DTrace inside of Containers (a.k.a.
non-global zones) as of Friday, Mar 24, 2006.  This means that in
future Solaris Express and Community Express builds (those based on
Nevada B37 or higher), you can use a subset of DTrace functionality
inside of non-global zones.

Here's how to use this functionality:

        # zonecfg -z myzone
        zonecfg:myzone> set limitpriv=default,dtrace_proc,dtrace_user
        zonecfg:myzone> ^D

        # zoneadm -z myzone boot

        # zlogin myzone
        myzone# dtrace -l

        myzone# plockstat -Ap `pgrep startd`

Note that either or both of the dtrace_proc and dtrace_user privileges
may be granted to a zone, but dtrace_kernel may not be (zoneadm will
enforce this).  The lack of dtrace_kernel means that not every DTrace
script will work, since kernel state is not available to DTrace inside
of a zone; but we think this represents a good start.

Additional virtualization work has been done to ensure that data from
other zones is not visible inside the zone, and to ensure that the
interactions with other relevant privileges (proc_owner and proc_zone)
behave as expected.


The whole thread is here.

I'm really looking forward to getting this in a release so that we can bring it onto the ASF zones server.

Posted by Mads | Permanent Link | Categories: asf, solaris, sun

2006-03-28 14:26:38

Nevada at 37

Dan Price has a really interesting set of slides about Solaris Nevada and the features that are in it or on the way in the near future.
A few highlights:

  • ~7,500 bug fixes / RFEs (since S10)
  • Performance
    • Sparc: RSA in the kernel is now about twice as fast as before
    • x86/64: Much faster memmove, strcpy and more
  • Networking: too many things to mention
  • In kernel SSL proxy - not something I've been able to find much info on, but there's a few parameters for it in this SPECweb2005 config.
  • Trusted Extensions
  • NFS
    • 200 megabytes/sec (1.6Gbs) on x64/10Gbs gear
    • Future: async RPC, request scheduling. wirespeed!
  • x86/64: Many fixes and improvements in drivers and FMA
  • Zones
    • rename, move, clone
    • Attach, detach (migration)
    • Future?: dtrace_proc and dtrace_user
    • Future: dhcp and snoop support
  • Xen support
  • ZFS

There is a lot more, but these are just the features that makes this interesting to me with the day job and the bits of AMD based gear I run Solaris on outside of work.

Posted by Mads | Permanent Link | Categories: solaris, sun

2006-03-27 21:18:05

Solaris 10 U2-beta

I've just finished downloading the beta of Solaris 10 update 2. The list of new features is not overly exciting, but that doesn't matter too much. Small driver updates, various iSCSI updates and other bits and pieces seen in Solaris Express.
With a bit of luck, my new machine should be delivered tomorrow (it left SHG friday). While express and opensolaris can be fun, I want to give the beta a spin before getting back to work and a pile of sparc gear next week. Obviously it goes on the T2000, but maybe I can dig out an e25k domain or something.

Posted by Mads | Permanent Link | Categories: solaris, sun

2006-03-26 11:57:19

Daylight saving time

Today it hit once again, and still makes no sense to me. Looking out the window, it is gray, dark and sure doesn't look much like spring. I'll spare you the rant about why I hate Daylight saving time and just leave you with the lyrics of the music I have playing in the background now.

Robert Johnson: Come on in my kitchen

Mmm... you better come on in my kitchen babe, 
it is goin to be rainin outdoors

The woman I love, took from my best friend
Some joker got lucky, stole her back again
You better come on in my kitchen babe, 
it is goin' to be rainin' outdoors

Oh, she's gone, I know she won't come back
I've taken the last nickel out of her nation sack
You better come on in my kitchen, babe, 
it is goin' to be rainin' outdoors

Oh, can't you hear that wind howl?

Can't you hear that wind howl?
You better come on in my kitchen, babe, 
it is goin' to be rainin' outdoors

When a woman gets in trouble, everybody throws her down
Lookin' for her good friend, none can't be found
You better come on in my kitchen, babe, 
it is goin' to be rainin' outdoors

Winter time's comin', it's goin' to be slow
You can make the winter, babe, that's dry long so
You better come on in my kitchen, 
'cause it is goin' to be rainin' outdoors

This entry (not the song) was written sitting in my kitchen, while looking out at the less than inviting weather and wondering if I should pack up and move me and my kitchen to another country.

Posted by Mads | Permanent Link | Categories: soulfood, misc

2006-03-24 11:16:18

T2000 Benchmarking

I said that I was going to take httpd for a spin and see how much it could do on a T2000, but Colm MacCarthaigh beat me to it with some impressive numbers.
Later discussion on irc show that the numbers could probably be even better! than what Colm found in his testing - having turning keepalives on makes a whole lot of difference.
So the testing opportunities aren't quite over for me yet. I want to hit the machine on a consistent high load and then start tweaking little bits and pieces to see what happens to resource usage. There's also the beta of Solaris 10 Update 2 which I've been wanting to test anyway.
Many of the ideas I have for tweaking solaris itself came from a tutorial by James Mauro and Richard McDougall at last years LISA where they spoke about "Solaris 10 Performance, Observability, and Debugging". I haven't seen the slides from that talk anywhere but on the conference cd, but has a similar set of slides with a few extras. If you ever get a chance to attend a similar tutorial, I highly recommend doing so as I thought it was well worth the whole trip to LISA.

I've written earlier about ideas for using a t2000 at the ASF. Lately we've seen some very heavy hitting of which has very many gigs of mails spread over quite a few files. A T2000 alone wouldn't do it, but a T2000 on top of a large number of disks (not so much for spaces as for spindles) might very well do the trick. That's another thing that I'm hoping to get a clearer picture of with the T2000 that arrived at work yesterday (worst timing ever as I've got a couple of weeks off) because we plan to hook it up to a spare Hitachi if we can find a couple of extra HBAs.

Unfortunately I'm also hit by the "So many shiny toys, so little time" problem.

Update: Anandtech gets some different numbers from their type of testing. Their numbers doesn't seem quite as favorable as Colms, but they're running a different type of workload.

Posted by Mads | Permanent Link | Categories: hardware, httpd, solaris, sun

2006-03-22 22:32:20

AMD X2 based box headed my way

I've been looking for a machine to run opensolaris on at home instead of having to fight for test machines at $work.
I wish it could have been a sparc based machine, but while Sun make some really sweet machines, they are neither cheap nor quiet. The release of the OpenSPARC T1 might solve the problem in the long run, but it is bound to take a while.
The solution for now is buying an AMD X2 based box and learning to live with the small deficiencies of Solaris on X86/64. It hasn't been easy though, because even with the Solaris HCL, there's very litte information to be found out there about what works and what doesn't.

My choice based on what I've found on blogs and really wanting a quiet machine is:

  • Asus A8N-SLI/Premium, nForce4, S939
  • AMD Athlon64 X2 3800+, S939, E6
  • Asus EN6600LE/SI/TD/256MB, PCI-E
  • Antec Performance P180
  • ThermalRight XP 90
  • Kingston DDR400, 2x1024 MB

It will be good to get a decent machine again to do some more playing around with opensolaris. Now I just hope that SHG will devliver it within a few days.

Posted by Mads | Permanent Link | Categories: hardware, solaris

2006-03-20 22:52:37

Gold Prag / Den Tatoverede Enke

I went out last Tuesday with a couple of friends from work to Gold Prag for dinner. It wasn't exactly the best goulash I've had and the "fresh from the freezer" potato rosti it was served with seemed a bit misplaced. No complaints about value for money though - at about EUR15 including a pint of urquell, it was quite reasonable.
After that, we went to Den Tatoverede Enke for some really good beer. I think I've more or less got a new favorite beer after drinking Liefmans Goudenband there. People tell me that Den Tatoverede Enke also serve some very good and rather expensive food. The food is made and served with good Belgian beer and looking at the menu right now has me thinking very hard trying to figure out a good excuse for going back.
Right now I'm drinking "Experimental brew no. 23 a" from Thisted Bryghus. It is a top fermented porter with a good strong taste of licorice and nice enough that I hope they will keep brewing them in the future.

All this talking of food and beer reminds me of a plan I've had a while to make "Carbonade Flamande". I know that I've got at least four different recipes for it and somewhere between my 200 cookbooks there has got to be a few more recipes. The trick is in choosing the right recipe and finding the courage to pour a good beer into the pot. Watch this space for more once I get around to cooking again.

Posted by Mads | Permanent Link | Categories: food

2006-03-20 21:53:09

More SunFire T2000

Another ASF committer Dan Diephouse has been running tests on a T2000 with 4x 1 Ghz cores. He has some interesting webservices related benchmarks showing good performance and concludes that "it gets more than 5 times the througput of my Intel 2GHz Dell".
It would be interesting to see what he could get out of it with enough clients and a decent network. Another thing I'd like to see is some graphs for resource usage while running these tests.

Sun sent mail last week to confirm that they'd shipped a T2000 to us. This 60 day trial isn't part of any official project, so it will just be a colleague and me running it through whatever tests we can dream up.
We haven't talked too much about what to test on it other than hooking it up to a couple of T Hitachi storage that a kind customer let us to borrow (thanks!). It will be fun to see what filebench can pull out of a dedicated Hitachi. Maybe not worth much in the greater picture, since this is an older model of Hitachi, but hopefully it will allow me to find some good measuring points with dtrace to deploy in production and use as an early warning system and a debugging aid when running into san performance problems. Another thing will be rolling a couple of customer systems onto the box to see how they behave on it and try to see if it can keep up with a v490.
Last but not least, I hope to take it for a test run of httpd with the event and worker mpms. Solaris is well known to benefit greatly from the worker mpm because of its great threading implementation, so it will be very interesting to see just how far I can take it.
Another couple of interesting things to test will be the in-kernel ssl proxy and the crypto accelerator that the t2000 has built in. Not that I expect to be able to scrape together enough gear to give it any real challenge, but there's the whole Apache httpd integration to take a closer look at. I wonder if either of the two are any good with client certificates and making the cert contents known to the backend.
With a little luck I'll be able to run most of the tests on the beta of Solaris 10 update 2.
Unfortunately I probably can't publish any figures with this being $work related :(

Posted by Mads | Permanent Link | Categories: hardware, httpd, solaris

2007-01-15 22:28:59

A birthday dinner

These are some pictures I took of the food I served at my last birthday.

Salad of marinated duck

Duck breast marinated in soy, orange, ginger and honey. Served with mixed lettuce and a good vinagrette. Sprinkled with crunchy ginger and rhubarb.

Salad of marinated duck

Spicy chicken in a pepper sauce

Chicken breast in a crumb mixture of green pepper and red lentils. Served with a herbed couscous and a red pepper sauce

Spicy chicken in a pepper sauce

Rhubarb Clafoutis

Classic clafoutis with rhubarb. Doesn't look its best because it fell before I could take the picture

Rhubarb Clafoutis

I'll add a recipe for the chicken dish just as soon as I have my "Elements of Taste" handy again

Update 2007-01-15: I finally got around to adding recipes.
Spicy chicken in a pepper sauce
Rhubarb Clafoutis

Posted by Mads | Permanent Link | Categories: cooking, food

2006-03-12 11:33:55

Sun Fire T2000

Information and first hand experience on the Sun Fire T2000 is slowly beginning to appear from other ASF people. Sun sparked it off with their 60 day free trial and now things are beginning to happen.

Ian Holsman signed up for the trial and started his SunFire Fanatics forum to discuss ideas about benchmaking the T2000s.

Colm MacCarthaigh already got his T2000 and is putting it through some heavy testing. He says that it "can probably comfortably saturate a 10Gigabit/sec interface" which is not bad at all - I'm looking forward to seeing what other numbers will emerge from his benchmarking because Heanet move an impressive amount of data through their mirrors.

The people got one too and Ask Bjørn Hansen has been blogging about it. It will be interesting to see what they make of it as I imagine their workload matches what we see at the ASF.

We're not signed up for the trial at the ASF. We've got enough other things to do on the infrastructure side that playing with new hardware isn't really an option. If anything, I would be tempted to sign up myself just to prove that HTTPD would really fly with event and worker mpm rather than prefork that is shipping with Solaris. I could easily see a use for a couple or more of T2000s if we could get them on a permanent basis. Splitting services between .us and .eu would greatly improve our infrastructure and with our current setup of having no hands on site, having hardware covered by a service contract would be a great improvement.
Thinking with my "enterprise HA" hat on, it would be interesting to see how far a pair of T2000s set up with shared storage and Sun cluster could go hosting our services seperated into zones. Zone Migration is another thing that fits nicely into the picture and would make moving or cloning services between locations a whole lot easier.

It will be interesting to see what the future brings and wether there is any truth in the latest rumors from The Register about an upcomming four-way UltraSPARC T1.

Posted by Mads | Permanent Link | Categories: hardware, solaris, sun

2006-03-09 23:46:29

interview - followup

In the interview, I mentioned that lots of the things I felt was missing is already in the works. Reading an interesting piece by Dan Price about Zones Development: You're invited I found a link to some of the Zones Project Documents - looking at that page, they've already covered one of my wishes with "Zones move and clone" and "Zones migration (attach/detach)". The other zones related feature I'd love to see is dtrace within zones, which is listed as being in development. All in all, things are looking good to me and I've got my fingers crossed hoping that all of it will be in Update 2.

Another interesting bit arrived on zones-discuss (at) just as I was typing this:

From: Dan Price
Subject: [zones-discuss] The migration is on...

As of right now, we've completed a move of our Sun-internal
zones-interest list to zones-discuss (at)


Please join me in welcoming the 417 new members of this mailing list!

Posted by Mads | Permanent Link | Categories: asf, solaris, sun

2006-03-08 16:17:05


Tim Bray from Sun interviewed me about our use of Solaris zones at the ASF. Sun deserve a lot of credit for donating the machine to us, it is doing a lot of good for many projects there.

UPDATE: A few people have been blogging about this interview already

Justin Mason - We Win
David Reid - credit where credit is due
Bertrand Delcretaz - Behind the scenes of the ASF zones server
Alan Hargreaves - Apache Software Foundation and Solaris 10

Posted by Mads | Permanent Link | Categories: asf, solaris, sun

2006-03-08 13:36:57

First post

Welcome to! Before you ask about the name, I've got to admit that I've forgotten why I wanted that name. I saw it maybe 3 or 4 years ago on the list of unused / suspended domains and figured it would be a really cool domain, unfortunately the bill was paid for another couple of years and I didn't see it again till recently. Now I don't remember what idea I originally had for the domain, but it probably had something to do with my cooking blog.

It has been a while since I last had a blog, and I've been wanting to start one again for quite a while. The original idea was to hack up a simple thing that would generate a static site and no more fancy stuff than that - I might still do it eventually, but so far nanoblogger looks as if it will do the trick.

Time will tell what sort of content ends up here, but I've got a few recipes along with pictures to share and expect to be adding various asf, httpd, and OpenSolaris related bits here.

Posted by Mads | Permanent Link | Categories: soulfood, misc