Monthly Archives: January 2012

Upgrading Solaris 10 to Solaris 11: things you should know

I used to have a soft spot for Sun. I cut my teeth on a Sun 3/50 running SunOS 4.1.1, marvelled at the crystal-clear screen of the SPARCstation SLC, struggled with the half-baked Solaris 2.1 x86, schlepped countless Ultra 10s around a big EDA shop, and ran lots of mid-range Sun hardware. However, since Oracle took over, in my view there has been a loss of interest in small- to medium-sized systems, and a significant regression in the quality of support. For me, it’s no longer a value proposition.

However, I have quite a few (what I now regard as) legacy systems running Solaris, so I have to keep my hand in. At the beginning of the year I decided that I should start playing with Solaris 11 with a view to upgrading my existing systems. Solaris has always been a bit quirky, but it had a few surprises in store for me. Hopefully this post will mitigate the shock of those planning a move to 11.
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No gas exchange allowed: Calor cynically locks in an entire village

For the majority of the UK population, it would be unthinkable to live somewhere untouched by the mains gas network. Most of the country benefits from a pool of aggressively competitive energy companies offering dual-fuel discounts, assorted tariffs, smart meters and other nice things. A plethora of price comparison websites plead for your business as the different companies jostle for position in this crowded market.

Surprisingly, one doesn’t need to venture too far from large towns to leave the mains gas grid behind. Take a drive into the country and you’ll see plenty of houses with their own bulk fuel tank, whether LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) or heating oil. There’s competition here, too; not as much as for the mains, but there are still quite a few companies offering tank rental and filling services. It works pretty well: they just turn up every so often and top up the tank.

There is a third category: so-called metered estates. These are typically new housing estates, built outwith the reach of mains gas, where the developer has arranged for a bulk LPG supplier to install large tanks that will feed the whole estate. Generally (although not always), the householders will have individual contracts with the supplier. Clearly this is an uncompetitive environment, as householders can’t switch suppliers, no matter what happens to their bills.
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Getting useful information out of Intel NICs under Windows via SNMP

For a ‘lifer’ Unix engineer like me, trying to diagnose subtle problems on a Windows box can be very frustrating. You know the data is in there somewhere, but getting it out can be very tricky. Recently I’ve had a problem with a 2008R2 server and I needed to know the error statistics on each of its many NICs. Most of them are made by Intel, which made things a bit easier, and had the side-effect of revealing data for a couple of Broadcom NICs too.
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