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Oracle Software Linux

Oracle To Bring Dtrace To Linux 155

Posted by timothy
from the dplane-dplane-no-that's-fantasy-island dept.
mvar writes "Dtrace co-author Adam Leventhal writes on his blog about Dtrace for Linux: 'Yesterday (October 4, 2011) Oracle made the surprising announcement that they would be porting some key Solaris features, DTrace and Zones, to Oracle Enterprise Linux. As one of the original authors, the news about DTrace was particularly interesting to me, so I started digging. Even among Oracle employees, there's uncertainty about what was announced. Ed Screven gave us just a couple of bullet points in his keynote; Sergio Leunissen, the product manager for OEL, didn't have further details in his OpenWorld talk beyond it being a beta of limited functionality; and the entire Solaris team seemed completely taken by surprise. Leunissen stated that only the kernel components of DTrace are part of the port. It's unclear whether that means just fbt or includes sdt and the related providers. It sounds certain, though, that it won't pass the DTrace test suite which is the deciding criterion between a DTrace port and some sort of work in progress.'"
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Oracle To Bring Dtrace To Linux

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  • by eln (21727) on Friday October 07, 2011 @10:55PM (#37645710) Homepage
    So, are they porting Solaris functionality to OEL as a precursor to phasing out Solaris entirely? It would suck to see Solaris go from a nostalgia point of view, but it never made much sense to me why one company would continue to develop two Unix-like operating systems.
    • So, are they porting Solaris functionality to OEL as a precursor to phasing out Solaris entirely? It would suck to see Solaris go from a nostalgia point of view, but it never made much sense to me why one company would continue to develop two Unix-like operating systems.

      I think it's more that they want to continue to differentiate OEL from RHEL and provide a direct migration path for RedHat customers to a full Oracle system.

      Linux just doesn't make sense in my mind for the space Oracle's software competes in. It's not enterprise friendly. No stable driver ABI. No system interface stability standards. Nothing like Projects, iostat doesn't show tape drives, kernel and userland lack cohesion, to name few of my personal nitpicks, but overall... very little progress. A lo

      • Just some ideas that come to mind and show that actually Solaris isn't as innovative as the Linux camp...

        Linux kernel innovations which are more flexible than most alternatives:

        SELinux - label-based security which allows flexible controls over the privileges of objects and how they may interact with other labelled objects [Trusted Solaris]
        TOMOYO - pathname+history-based security which provides flexible controls over the privileges of processes and how they may interact with objects
        AppArmor - pathname based

      • by Fished (574624) <amphigory@gmail.ELIOTcom minus poet> on Saturday October 08, 2011 @09:11AM (#37647284)

        Yeah, Solaris has some pretty awesome features, but at the end of the day all that may be irrelevant in the face of Market Pressures. Sun for many years shot themselves in the foot by failing to deliver useful tools for things like patching/updating, mass installation of Solaris servers (yes, there is jumpstart/wanboot, but it is clearly deficient), and failing to deliver a decent native volume manager (ZFS) until Too Late, and then not having it support root filesystems until Way Too Late.

        The reality of Solaris is that there are all these features that look awesome in theory, until you actually have to implement them and discover the practical implications. Take Zones. Zone sounds great, in theory. But, ever tried to patch a server with zones? It's a nightmare. And heaven help you if you actually have a server with zones from multiple, different apps and you need to get outage windows from all the different app groups in order to patch. Or LDoms. Again, they sound awesome. That is, until you realize that there are no tools to manage migrations when a server goes down hard (the most common case for which you would want to do a migration!) So, you end up having to write a bunch of scripts to duplicate LDom xml files etc. to do this, because Sun/Oracle didn't really think through how their technology would be used in a real environment. I also use AIX virtualization technology, and it's much better, and VMWare (which is what we use for Linux servers) blows them both out of the water.

        Things like this are why a lot of major companies, including the one I work at, are leaving Solaris as fast as they can. The reality is that it takes twice as many SA's per server on Solaris as it does for any other platform, we have lower virtualization densities, and it therefore costs a lot more money to run. For the kind of money we're talking about, we can deal with a few echoes in the interface for SAN's.

        • by cthulhu11 (842924)

          Yeah, Solaris has some pretty awesome features, but at the end of the day all that may be irrelevant in the face of Market Pressures

          Sad but true. I remember the days when most freeware built and ran out of the box on SunOS/Solaris - now Linux-centrism is rampant, and a growing number of packages are difficult or impossible to build elsewhere.

          Sun for many years shot themselves in the foot by failing to deliver useful tools for things like patching/updating

          ORLY? Live Upgrade. It has its issues, but so far I've seen nothing close to it in the Linux world. When doing a big yum update, one has to cross fingers and hope everything still works afterwards, as there's no going back.

          mass installation of Solaris servers (yes, there is jumpstart/wanboot, but it is clearly deficient)

          Other than wanboot only working on (newer) SPARC systems and not x86/x64

          • by Fished (574624)

            ORLY? Live Upgrade. It has its issues, but so far I've seen nothing close to it in the Linux world. When doing a big yum update, one has to cross fingers and hope everything still works afterwards, as there's no going back.

            Running LiveUpgrade in a large-scale production environment is kind of like baby-sitting someone else's four-year-old. When everything's going well you say to yourself, "wow, this is pretty nice! Maybe I'll even have one of these of my own someday!" Then the four-year-old has a meltdo

            • by cthulhu11 (842924)

              Running LiveUpgrade in a large-scale production environment is kind of like baby-sitting someone else's four-year-old.

              Perhaps. I did say that it has its issues, eg. the expansion of sparse files that I submitted a bug for. I ran an LU on a specific system that had .dir/.pag files, and was startled when the new /var filled. Sun eventually put out an LU patch to address that with a new cpio, and then months later finally followed with x86.

              When it doesn't work, heaven help you, because Oracle can't/won't fix it or give you any reasonable support in any reasonable period of time.

              That's been an issue with Sun/Oracle for years, but it's been no le

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Hey Oracle,

    Cool now bring ZFS to linux!

    • by ZorinLynx (31751)

      I doubt they would. ZFS is one of the last remaining reasons to run Solaris, pay for Solaris maint, etc... If they port ZFS to Linux they will lose quite a bit of that revenue stream.

      We all want it; ZFS is a beautiful thing, we run it at our site and practically worship its awesomeness....but it probably won't happen.

    • oracle is working on btrfs [wikipedia.org] which has ifs features without replacing the entire fs/lvm/raid stack.
      • by hedwards (940851)

        Well, whether or not that has any bearing on ZFS, unless they change the license on ZFS, they wouldn't have the ability to do it anyways. Or at least not without violating the terms of at least one of the involved licenses.

      • by hjf (703092) on Saturday October 08, 2011 @12:47AM (#37646046) Homepage

        And why do you want to keep the raid and LVM stack?

        If you're creating a filesystem and you can make it aware of its own backing storage (and adjust stuff like block size - cause you know, there are disks with 4K sectors now), and have it manage caching by itself (and thus, be aware of how much memory the has, and how much of it is actually RAM and not virtual), and have it check for redundancy and do online checks and repairs - which you realize it's just awesome if you ever try to do fsck on a 20TB filesystem (and because it knows how much data it's actually used, have it only check what's used, instead of blindly regenerating blank space for an array of disks). And variable strip size, and thin provisioning, CoW and free snapshots and clones, and a lot of other stuff ZFS does because it doesn't need to "respect its elders" LVM and md.

        • ZFS basically does everything I would want in a server file system (hell: any filesystem) and it's a crime that it hasn't been ported to Linux (and that OpenSolaris is sufficiently dead now that you can't run it on newer hardware at all).

          We live in an age of 4-core CPUs being commodity items - ANY system can spare the cycles to ensure it's own data integrity since what else are you going to do with them? (alternately: if you need them, then why does that particular machine deal with having a hard disk anywa

          • (..) it's a crime that it hasn't been ported to Linux

            http://zfsonlinux.org/ [zfsonlinux.org]

            • The POSIX layer isn't stable yet.

              ZFS really comes into it's own when you can mount all your home directories as filesystems and use cheap snapshots for upto the minute backups for your user accounts.

              That said, I will take another run at it sometime soon I suspect.

          • OpenSolaris may be dead, but FreeBSD now ships with version 28 of ZFS, which includes nice things like deduplication. iXSystems, which sells storage appliances based on FreeBSD, is funding ongoing development work, so ZFS on FreeBSD is going to stay actively maintained irrespective of whether Oracle makes future versions of the code available. FreeBSD also got the ability to boot from ZFS before Solaris and integrates ZFS very nicely into the existing storage stack (it works as a GEOM consumer and provide
      • I WANT to replace the entire fs/lvm/raid stack! It sucks! It's complicated, limits functionality and is a nightmare to maintain. ZFS is simple, flexible and powerful.

    • by Luckster7 (234417)

      It is on Linux: http://zfsonlinux.org/

      I've been using Nexenta to get ZFS for about 5 years, however earlier this year I switched my new installs to Linux. ZFS on Linux has been working great for me and my clients. This is not to be confused with fuse ZFS.

      • I'm running with this version, and it is working great for me on my first test machine (8T raid-z with an L2-ARC)

  • by bdgregg (744616) on Saturday October 08, 2011 @12:30AM (#37646006) Homepage

    This is a great technology story - even if only for one version of Linux so far. DTrace will bring tremendous value for troubleshooting and performance analysis, and is a technology I use (almost) every day.

    For example, yesterday I had a CPU bound workload with an unexpected level of variation, and used DTrace to measure the effect of CPU thread affinity and interrupt activity on that workload. I used DTrace to pull the runtime along with other details: number of scheduling events for that thread, along with the CPUs that the thread ran on; also, for preemption, the pre-emptor thread (to see why) along with both its user-level and kernel stack traces; also the interrupt thread and device. I fairly quickly showed that the runtime variation was caused by network interface interrupts from an entirely different application. This analysis would take quite a lot longer without DTrace, and may be prohibitively difficult to complete.

    Many of my uses of DTrace are much more straightforward than that; including identifying file system latency for applications, application response time, and CPU dispatcher queue latency. I've listed many more examples in the DTrace book (http://www.dtracebook.com). It should be a great resource of ideas for those looking to use DTrace on Linux - since the hardest part for people has been knowing where to start, given the ability to see everything.

    • I suspect Oracle is trying for another cash grab. Port the parts of DTrace that have to be in the kernel and open source them, then sell an add-on package (perhaps only for their Linux) with the rest of the functionality. Let's face it -- Oracle is much more focused and effective at monetizing technology than Sun ever was.

      • by WorBlux (1751716)
        I don't think they'll convince anyone at the Linux foundation to maintain their hooks in the kernel, So I only see it as an extra feature you get should you use their long-term kernel release and buy their support.
      • by drolli (522659)

        I guess Oracle wants to sell complete Boxes with Hardware to Database included. If the customer asks why the box does not perform ask predicted, with the total price, there may be a reliable answer required. So if the customer wants to run the box on linux, the mechanisms to answer these questions must be available in linux.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      The main question is, is it really feasible? And the other question is, what would dtrace give us that we don't already have with systemtap, besides compatibility with slowlaris? The first question tells us if we should pay attention and the second one tells us if we should care.

  • This story appeared yesterday on Linux Today. And it's not even close to the first time this has happened. If we can read about this first on Linux Today then what's the point of coming to Slashdot? Especially 24 hours late.

  • How does it compare against ETW?
  • Btrfs seems to have been in development forever, and the developers on the one hand say that it's mostly stable, but on the other there are still some pretty scare bugs. It doesn't make a terrible amount of sense for Oracle to develop two next-gen CoW filesystems.

    • Porting ZFS would take more effort than completing Btrfs, while Dtrace provides functionality that doesn't exist at all. I wouldn't mind a ZFS port, since after using both, I kinda prefer it to Btrfs, but it's better to first port what's new and doesn't exist at all, and then go to porting things that are already there.

  • After bringing DTrace to Linux, they are then likely going to turn around and sue people somehow; kind of like they did with Java.

    Don't use anything from Oracle; they are worse than Microsoft.

    • by WorBlux (1751716)
      Google ran into problems because they didn't want to touch the GPL'ed sun code. If google had just used that code, modified it for their own use and re-named it they would have been protected by the implicit patent license in the GPL code and wouldn't have been sued. It was Andy Rubin's fear of the GPL that put Google in the position of being sued over Java.
  • Yesterday (October 4, 2011) Oracle made the surprising announcement that they would be porting some key Solaris features, DTrace and Zones, to Oracle Enterprise Linux. As one of the original authors, the news about DTrace was particularly interesting to me, so I started digging. Even among Oracle employees, there's uncertainty about what was announced.

    This sounds like a typical PHB decision: make a crazy choice without consulting the engineers as to whether it's a good idea, possible or even wanted, and c

  • I wouldn't expect this to see the light of kernel mainline ever, or at least not until Oracle stops selling their Enterprise Linux offering.

    DTrace on Linux will probably be something like Ksplice where it's available only to paying customer (last I checked, correct me if I'm wrong).

    Good thing this opens the doors within Oracle to consider migrating more of the Solaris features to Linux, even if it's only for OEL for the time being. Personally, while being a Solaris sysadmin, I'm not wasting my time on
  • by sgt scrub (869860) <saintium@@@yahoo...com> on Saturday October 08, 2011 @10:02AM (#37647542)

    It has been available for Linux since 2008. 02-Aug-2008 Work in progress port of Sun's DTrace system for Linux. It is actively maintained. http://www.crisp.demon.co.uk/tools.html [demon.co.uk] I don't see anything new to the table outside of keyboard, mouse, and framebuffer recording. I'm not sure a lot of Linux users would find that an attractive addition.

    Built-in instruments can track

            User events, such as keyboard keys pressed and mouse moves and clicks with exact time.
            CPU activity of processes and threads.
            Memory allocation and release, garbage collection and memory leaks.
            File reads, writes, locks.
            Network activity and traffic.
            Graphics and inner workings of OpenGL.

  • Oracle To Bring Disgrace to Linux ? Just saying, is all.

  • Let's be clear here. The Sun division of Oracle is being run by Mark Hurd, who was last seen gutting HP and screwing his staff member. Oracle will kill off all things Sun, either now or later. Solaris and Java are the only things they seem to care about, and both of those are still rather endangered.

    Solaris still has some great advantages over Linux--enough to actually keep a handful of people on it despite Oracle. I assume that they're going to get those necessary features into Linux, and then dump Solaris

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