Archive for January, 2011

Solaris to Linux: A Well-Traveled Road, But…

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Although the Solaris to Linux migration path is well traveled, so is the path up Mount Everest. And yet a mountaineer would be foolish not to take a local guide on the climb.

Migrating from Sun servers to Linux is a detailed, lengthy process with months of planning leading up to the actual transition that can take only a few hours. In addition, post migration requires months of monitoring to be sure the new system is aptly meeting the organization’s needs.

In order to prevent problems from arising during the migration, concerns should be addressed prior to the actual event. A skilled professional can help identify these problems, providing a proven process that ensures nothing is overlooked. A migration specialist can also help your business maximize long-term benefits such as reduced costs, improved control over the IT environment, and enhanced, easier manageability.

Contracting with a third-party IT consulting team may seem like a more expensive option but in reality it is far cheaper than the alternative. Self-directed Solaris to Linux migrations can lead to outages and downtime, leaving servers offline for hours, even days. How much is that going to cost your organization?

By partnering with a knowledgeable migration expert, data corruption, confusion over new processes or responsibilities, and unforeseen compatibility problems are just a few of the issues that can be avoided.

Do your business a favor and take the first step down the Solaris to Linux migration path by contacting an experienced, tenured migration specialist today. Don’t climb that mountain alone!

Don’t Forget Snow and Ice Plans in Your BC/DR Strategy

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

It’s only January and areas of the Northeast have experienced Snowmagedden I and II. And in the Atlanta region, my neck of the woods, we’re currently in the midst of Icemaggadden.  These events, while not considered disasters on the level of major hurricanes or other significant natural disasters, should still be accounted for when developing not only your organizations’ business continuity plan, but personal disaster plans for employees.

From a business perspective does your  BC/DR plan have the following?

  • A dial-in number that employees can call to check on company closures and conditions.
  • An accurate call tree to alert critical team members of their roles and responsibilities during an outage.
  • An updated crisis management plan that deals with unexpected weather conditions. 
  • Plans to deal with business processes when employees are unable to make it to work for extended periods of time due to road conditions.
  • In the South – having appropriate snow and ice removal tools and strategies in place to ensure safety of employees and guests.
  • A travel and expense policy for extended stays at hotels while employees are out of town on company business, unable to return home due to conditions or for employees at work, unable to get home due to road conditions.

From a personal perspective does your personal disaster recovery plan have the following?

  • Shovels, sand, salt to remove snow and ice from walkways and driveways.  Even in the South you need these things as I have discovered this week.  Many homes have steep driveways and unless you have the tools necessary to remove ice and snow, you are at the mercy of Mother Nature.
  • Food and water at home to allow you to stay put for a week.  My family has been ice-bound for five days so far and although we have enough food to make it through the week, we know others who do not.
  • Flashlights and candles to provide light in the event of a power outage. 
  • A maintenance schedule for your fireplace (if you have a wood burning one) to ensure safety.  An out of control chimney fire can destroy a home in a very short period of time. 
  • Cash on hand to pay for food delivery or unexpected expenses when credit cards are not an option.

Take the time now to update your personal and corporate business continuity plans. After all, it’s only January. Who knows what the rest of the winter will bring.

Patrick R. Dunn, CISSP, CBCP
Practice Manager – Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity
President – Association of Contingency Planners – Atlanta Chapter (2011- )
Vice Chairman – Contingency Planning Association of the Carolinas (2010 – )

Seven Reasons to Migrate from Solaris to Linux

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems at the beginning of 2010 may not have been a huge surprise for us techies, but it was for some IT departments — Sun’s products are the backbone of many corporate IT operations. And some are still grappling with what to do a year later given an uncertain product roadmap and ever restrictive maintenance and support programs

Do you stick with Sun’s uncertain future, or start migrating from proprietary SPARC/Solaris to more scalable, widespread open source options that offer more flexibility and lower TCO?

Here, we offer a little help to further your decision by listing reasons why migrating from Solaris to Linux is a good idea.

1)  Freedom from hardware vendor lock-in. Solaris may run in your current environment, but may not be supported on non-sun systems and components.  A majority of the non-sun systems and components on Sun’s hardware compatibility list state “reported to work,” but are not actually supported.

2)  Freedom from software vendor lock-in. Solaris x86 ISVs are 2000 fewer in number than Solaris SPARC. Plus, many more thousands of open source applications will never be available on Solaris x86 but are already available on Linux.

3)  Access to a global community of development resources. Sun has added zero put-backs into the Solaris code stream, and relies totally on their own few hundred Solaris engineers to develop new features and fix bugs. The Linux and open source community of developers number in the tens of thousands. 

4)  Linux can be virtualized under VMware, whereas SPARC-based Solaris cannot. This is a huge advantage. Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), for example, has been integrating Xen and VMware virtualization for years.

5)  More features available and supported at no extra charge on RHEL. RHEL-Advanced Platform comes with support for high-availability clustering and virtualization capabilities as part of its subscription.  These are add-on support plans for Solaris.

6)  Support for all OS versions all the time, on all platforms.  A RHEL subscription is good for ALL versions of RHEL and supports upgrades and downgrades at any time and as many times as customers like.  Sun requires license fees per server AND support plans for Solaris 8 & 9 plus requires a subscription for Solaris 10.

7)  Linux is the preferred platform for Microsoft replacement developers. The open source community is actively creating free and subscription-based solutions on Linux to offer customers an alternative to the expensive and restrictive licensing of Microsoft.  Solaris is not the primary platform for any of this work.

What is the future of Sun SPARC/Solaris? No one but Larry Ellison knows for sure. However, Sun options from Oracle are already becoming more restrictive and less cost-effective. Will you bet your company’s future on the Oracle Sun/Solaris roadmap?