October 10 2007, Wednesday

Home / Sun / October 10 2007, Wednesday

The date on the title of this post is history. But the memories of this day, the concluding day of CEC 2007, are still vivid.

The cab driver started a friendly conversation with me. Foolish me; I don’t recollect his name any more. That’s the problem if you postpone scribbling diary entries. The destination was the Best Buy. I wanted to pick up a few electronic gadgets for my people back home. Amongst several things that the cab driver asked me, here’s one that invoked curiosity in me:

Cab Driver: So you must be a business man, to come to a place like Las Vegas?
Myself: No, I work with Sun Microsystems and I am here for a conference. Have you heard of Sun?
Cab Driver: Oh yeah, they are the rival of Microsoft. Aren’t they?

I don’t quite remember how that topic ended and how our conversation drifted to various other topics before I found myself at my destination. But I do remember having so many flashy thoughts right after my cab driver made the aforesaid comment.

Is Sun really a rival of Microsoft? Not really. A healthy competitor? May be. The whole conversation about the relationship between Sun and Microsoft appeared relevant to me that afternoon, because in the first half of the day – the concluding day of CEC 2007 – I saw this personality seated among a few other distinguished gentlemen on the CEC stage, discussing about the Next Generation Data Center. Jim was the moderator for the event and the following were the other gentlemen who were participating in the event:

*Eric Billingsley
*Charles Bess
*Jeff Routledge

The discussion on the Next Generation Data Center was followed by Don Grantham addressing the crowd gathered for the CEC 2007. His energy, enthusiasm and charm is commendable.

Earlier that day,I attended the All Hands Meeting for Sun Learning Services, hosted by Dr. Karie Willyerd. She decided against using presentations and gave us all a chance to discuss about various aspects: both in context of CEC 2007 and some outside it. The discussion on the CEC 2007 mainly revolved around thanking all the crews, who worked to make the event successful and also discuss pros and cons of all the breakout sessions that happened at CEC 2007 and the steps that needs to be taken to improve the quality of the programs in the coming year. Dr. Karie Willyerd and the SLS leadership team took some time to thank Kate & Co. for all the hard work that they did for the CEC 2007. That was a nice gesture and it was great to see the SLS crews for CEC 2007 lined up together in a platform. Sun Learning Services, had a major presence in this years Customer Engineering Conference, clearly indicated by the stunning statistics of well over 450 CEC attendees appearing for various Sun Certification Exams in a span of 96 hours or so.

All in all, it was a remarkable event. CEC 2007, its last day and other related events may be a history now, but it shall remain in the basket of my memories, bearing a label, “High priority.”

The Leopard is Arriving

Home / General / The Leopard is Arriving

In just under a few hours, the new version of the Mac OS (10.5), popularly known as the Leopard would be launched in the market. I happened to see some of the previews on this new version of the Mac OS X and as expected, this one offers some really really cool features. Some features, however, requires additional accessories like an external hard disk, Apple Remote Control etc.

General requirements and additional requirements for installing Leopard can be found @ the following location:

Click here to view the System Requirements.

The new features of the Mac OS X Leopard can be viewed @ this location.

Canon PowerShot SD1000 Support in Ubuntu 6.06

Home / General / Canon PowerShot SD1000 Support in Ubuntu 6.06

When my cousin plugged his brand new Canon PowerShot SD1000 on his PC running Dapper Drake, the autoimport failed with the following error:

An error occurred in the io-library (‘Could not claim the USB device’): Could not claim interface 0 (Operation not permitted). Make sure no other program or kernel module (such as sdc2xx, stv680, spca50x) is using the device and you have read/write access to the device.

After googling for a while, the following is what I had to perform on his PC to get the autoimport feature working for him in Ubuntu 6.06.

jithu@jithu-desktop:~$ cat /etc/issue
Ubuntu 6.10 n l
jithu@jithu-desktop:~$ lsusb
Bus 001 Device 016: ID 04a9:314f Canon, Inc.
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
jithu@jithu-desktop:~$ sudo vi /etc/udev/rules.d/45-libgphoto2.rules
###Add the following line at the appropriate location in the above-mentioned file. The numbers 04a9 and 314f are obtained from the lsusb output.
SYSFS{idVendor}==”04a9″, SYSFS{idProduct}==”314f”, MODE=”0660″, GROUP=”plugdev”
jithu@jithu-desktop:~$ sudo /etc/init.d/udev restart

My hope is that someone out there could save their precious time with this small piece of information.

Cool Gilles

Home / Sun / Cool Gilles

Congratulations Gilles Gravier! Please know that I am saying this standing a bit backward in time on the concluding day of Customer Engineering Conference 2007. I felt Gilles’ presentation at the CEC 2007 deserved appreciation and he was rightly judged as one of the two best speakers of CEC 2007 on Day 02.

We could all pick up from the atmosphere, after his presentation, that everyone out there who listened to him, without exception, enjoyed his talk thorougly. At least that’s what the long lasting ovations after his speech suggested me. Let me share with you what I liked the most about Gilles’ session:

* Firstly, Gilles had a casual conversation with us before his actual presentation, which made all of us feel very comfortable and this particular act of his, I am sure, would have helped him get the pulse of the audience.
* It wasn’t a mere slideshow. He showed us only a couple of slides and then went on to perform ten cool demonstration, some of which produced “wow” from at least a few of us.
* Gilles’ session was more of a dialouge than monologue and his eye contact with the audience was very critical.
* The contents of his presentation, unlike many other sessions, wasn’t rocket science, fit perfectly in the allotted time and was appropriate for a large variety of audience with different bandwidth.
* More importantly, we came out of the venue with an unfamiliar feeling of confidence that would help us approach the customers, community and comrades to speak about the cool features of Solaris 10 OS and it adoption.

Well, all I can say is, “Cool job, Gilles.”

Good Morning Bangalore

Home / Sun / Good Morning Bangalore

After a week full of fun, excitement and learning at CEC 2007 held at Las Vegas, I have hit Bangalore this morning. Naturally, one would expect me to be feeling happy to have reached home. But that’s not really the case. After I landed in Bangalore, it was informed to me and a few others that our baggages were missing . They have promised us to deliver it in a days time. And I really hope they do it. Before I travelled to US, there were many who talked to me about the baggage losses in British Airways. Not that I discarded their advice completely, but then I thought it would never happen to me (Why am I thinking nonsense?). And it happened.

I have several things to write about CEC 2007 that concluded on 10th October 2007. I shall be doing that in a couple of days or so. This evening I am traveling back to my home town to join the preparation for an important family function the coming week. Officially, I am on leave. But I might come online occasionally. So please send in those E-mails, but then you may not get a reply promptly. Please bear with me for that.

Well, my weekend did not start on a very promising note. But I wish all of you have a restful weekend

Breakout Sessions at CEC 2007 [Day 02] – Some Notes

Home / Sun / Breakout Sessions at CEC 2007 [Day 02] – Some Notes

[Published on 10/October/2007 at 3:20 A.M. localtime]

Session 1: Some Cool Things Available on Solaris, Thanks to Sun’s Open Source Activities
Speaker: Gilles Gravier
When I stepped into the venue to attend this session, I thought I got it wrong. There was music in the background and I felt I landed up in a wrong location. But then soon realized that Gilles was playing that cool music in Rhythm Box on Solaris Nevada Build 74 (Does it work??? Yes it does and I saw it working. Gilles’s approach of taking up the session in the form of demonstration, rather than a more slide show was commendable and the audience responded to it positively; quite evident from the fact that the applaud after the end of session lasted for a few seconds! Honestly, I was stunned to see many of the cool things working on Solaris. May be, I might consider going back home and install Solaris Nevada (build 74) on top of the existing Ubuntu installation. Believe, Solaris is catching up for sure. Now, the following are what Gilles demonstrated to us (and it worked).

(1) Native support (joint work with Logitech and the author of Video4Linux2) of USB-VC webcams (QuickCamTeam & USB WebCams at OpenSolaris). Gilled showed us the webcam working in Ekiga.
(2) Compiz (3D Effects on the Desktop). Download the script from this location, install it and it works. Looks cool.
(3) Video Conferencing on Ekiga, and making phone calls using VOIP with Skype(not open source) in a BrandZ (opensource) zone.
(4) Building open source applications (PIGDIN, OTR, CUPS, VIM, SUDO and more) easily using “./configure;make;make install.” Gilles thanked Sun Studio for this, for he says this was a suffering some three months back or so.
(5) USB attached cell phones as modems. There are a couple of files that you might want to keep in mind here (/etc/ppp/evdo-chat and /etc/ppp/peers/evdo).
(6) Google Earth runs on Linux, but not on Solaris (Gilles demonstrated this in the BrandZ though)
(7)Gobi7 SunRay laptop with VPN (not open source, but still way cool). More information about it here

An interesting piece of information from Gilles:” If you boot a Linux distro, by the time you boot to the login manager, you see more codes written by Sun than anyone else. Sun is one who wrote the maximum amount of code for GNOME.

It is interesting to know that immense amount of development is happening in the field of OpenSolaris to make it more userfriendly. Way to go!

Session 2: Solaris Adoption in a GEM
Speakers: Franz Haberhauer & Uwe Strahlendorf
I don’t know if the very nature of this topic gives me enough freedom to publish the contents of this particular website to the public. Well, I don’t really want to violate this.

During the presentation, Franz suggested us a book titled Crossing the Chasm authored by Geoffrey A Moore. You might want to pick this up and read it know more on Technology adoption. And by the way, this book is available as an E-book at Netlibrary.

Session 3: A Biometric Authentication Integrated with JES in a systemic Security Architecture
Speakers: Domenico Minchella & Giuseppe Russo
Honestly, I couldn’t quite digest the first half of this session, as the topic covered was something that I wasn’t really familiar with. The speaker continuously emphasized on the security features of Solaris 10 Operating System, which they recommended to their clients at Italy. Towards the end of this session, they demonstrated a finger print authentication using Access Manager Interface and a custom authentication module. The token card that they used had a finger print reader in-built into it. The demonstration was really cool I must say.

I have been getting many queries on the biometric authentication using Access Manager, probably now I have some answers to those queries. I’m quite clear about the flow of the process.

Session 4: Logical Domains: How to install, configure, user and position them
Speaker: Jeff Savit
Jeff appeared quite dynamic. The way he dealt with the questions that popped up from the audience and the way he made the difference between different virtualization solutions (like zones, VMWare, LDoms), clearly demonstrated his authority on this subject. The following is what Jeff said on one of his slides:

How to create Logical Domains?
(a) Firstly, get T1000 or T2000 servers.
(b) Install Solaris 10 u3, build 8 or later
(c) Update firmware to support LDoms
(d) Reboot the system
(d) Install the appropriate packages and patches.
(e) Ensure that the necessary services are running.
(f) Create LDom
You are done!

I know it was a very high level, shall I say, checklist in creating an LDom. Of course there is more to it and some information you may find it here as well. Look out for me, it appears to be a good virtualization solution.

Session 5: Dynamic Resource Pools in Solaris 10
Speaker: Scott Dickson
Scott helped me clear some of my basic doubts about the man behind the curtains for the Dynamic Pools in Solaris – poold. It is a big Java program responsible for making decision about allocation of CPUs in pools. That’s to say the least. A few poins about poold that I can remember from Scott’s discussion are jotted down below:

*Each move (processor) is tested to see if it might help, or whether the move helped in the past.
* If poold decides that objectives aren’t met, it models possible configuration changes that might meet objectives or show improvement.
* A single, best move is selected and carried out.
* Only one processor is moved at a time.

What was most amazing to me was the information on the improvement in pool allocation for a zone in Solaris 10, from Update 4 (8/07 Release) onwards. Scott quickly ran through the following snippet:

# zonecfg -z z1
zonecfg:z1>add dedicated-cpu
zonecfg:z1:dedicated-cpu>set nepus=2-6

The simple commands above would create a processor set and associate the pool with the processor set!! Isn’t this amazingly simple. I am sure people who have done the same thing, in the earlier releases of Solaris 10, using the poolcfg command would agree with me completely. From now on, no processor set configuration, no pool association; a completely hassle free configuration. I am sure it is going to get better.

Thanks Scott for such an enlightening session at CEC 2007.

The Winner Takes It All

Home / Sun / The Winner Takes It All

[Published on 10/October/2007 at 02:00 A.M. localtime]

We are told that the number of Sun Certifications completed during the CEC 2007 event (two days, mind you) touched around 267 and is still growing! That’s amazing statistics! If you are one among of those who haven’t done it yet, don’t wait any longer, do it right away. There are folks who completed four certification exams (Glenn Brunette & Richard Wright) and one gentleman named Hugo Raposo scored the maximum (a perfect 100%). Congratulations folks!And all the best if you plan to do more of those

Some of them (see the picture below) managed to win themselves an Ultra Sparc T2 System each!!! Aren’t they the lucky ones.

Product Launch at CEC 2007

Home / Sun / Product Launch at CEC 2007

[Published on 10/October/2007 at 1:40 A.M. local time]
She gave you this ‘heads-up’ and if still you didn’t watch, then that’s your problem. We the lucky ones got to see it live at Paris Hotel in Las Vegas on the second day of CEC 2007. Sun’s New Ultra Sparc T2 Systems are launched. John Fowler, Andy Bechtolsheim and Rick Hetherington, after which John Fowler gave us details about so many benchmarks. Those are figures and it wouldn’t show up in my mind, when the clock on my desk display an insane hour. I am sure that would be avaible in the appropriate website for reference. As sleep is slowing getting better off me, coupled with the fact that I am feeling a bit lazy to write anything, let me rely on the old proverb which says, “Pictures speaks a thousand words.”

Out of the several messages that popped up for John Fowler & Co. after this product launch, Andy read a particular question which said, “When is Sun planning to come up with a T2 based laptop?” Though is invoked laughter in all us, there was a tinge of seriousness in the way Andy reacted to it and I am sure I would be forgiven to imagine that probably the great Andy would sit on this weekend and design a laptop based on T2!! We have all read and heard about Andy. Tell me, isn’t he capable of doing that?

The Three Questions

Home / Sun / The Three Questions

[Published on 10/Oct/2007 at 12:50 A.M. local time]

Came the hour, came the man; with an enigmatic smile, walking briskly across the stage, commenting on the T shirt that the CEC host had worn, he addressed all of us on the second day of the Customer Engineering Conference 2007. Many would have read his thought provoking blogs, but many wouldn’t get a chance to see him speak in stage. As expected, his speech had some elements on the vision of Sun, some elements on the its direction, some elements of motivation and more importantly some elements of humour. No wonder he bears the highest office in Sun.

Johnathan Schwartz’s speech revolved around three questions, three questions that he answered himself. The three questions that he put forward to us pops up from the fact that Sun spends a few billion dollars on Research and Development and the obvious questions that Johnathan displayed on his slide were:

* In What (are we investing)?
* For whom?
* How?

What was more attention grabbing was his answer to the second question, wherein he put a slide on the screen with a photograph of Richard Stallman on the left hand side and the logos of some corporate customers on the right hand side. He then asked us all if we paid for Intellectual properties while at College, and none of us had a positive answer there. He then went on to throw more clarity on the two distinct markets that Sun is serving viz community(who will not pay for the softwares) and corporate customers (who is more than willing to pay for the softwares, for the downtime of their business dwarfs the services fee charged) and the role that each of them would play in having a positive impact on Sun’s growth. Jonathan then showed us his favourite photo, more favourite than his family photo and told us he could spot a Solaris user in Antartica(!) without having a Sales force there. That’s precisely what a community involvment can do to a software. Johnathan was also interested in showing us the pink dots for the other softwares as well.

Johnathan answered a few questions that showed up on the web page as well as a couple of them asked by the audience. Needless to mention, it was a great session.

Earlier today, Dave Douglas, Vice President, Eco Responsibility made his entry into the stage and spoke at length on the measures that we are taking at Sun to ensure that we don’t spoil the planet that we are in. He, being the VP of Eco Responsibility could show us slides like this, ensuring that none of us sent a feedback about his presentation(a fear that he admitted)By the way, please click right here to read Sun’s 2007 CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Report.

Among several things that Dave discussed, he emphasized a lot on “eco friendly” features of Sun’s Open Work Practice such as keeping a lot of people out of the road by encouraging them to work from their homes (Ask me, I love the idea of working from home). Sun’s products, as you would know, are also increasingly becoming environmental friendly.

Well, do you know that there is an open source tool help participants assess, track, and compare business energy performance, share proven best practices to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and encourage sustainable innovation. Well, I didn’t know until Dave shared it with us this morning. If you want to know about it, go for it and save our Earth.

Our Earth

Home / Sun / Our Earth

The central theme of the second day at CEC 2007 is Our Earth. The beautiful home of ours would turn out something like this if we do nothing about it. Sun is doing all that is possible to maintain an eco friendly environment and that attempt shall continue in all directions, in full swing. Let’s Go Green, for us and for the sake of generations to follow.

If you are a CEC attentee and you are keen to attempt any of the Sun Certification Exams absolutely free of cost, please consider stepping into the Bronze 4 of Ballys Hotel. If you don’t have a prometric id, create one there, the process is absolutely hassle free. Good luck and good day

CEC 2007 Breakout Sessions in a Nutshell

Home / Sun / CEC 2007 Breakout Sessions in a Nutshell

A split personality disorder would have probably helped me sneak into different rooms to attend as many technical sessions as possible, perhaps simultaneously! I know that’s asking for too much. But then technical sessions that induced interest in me clashed and I had to drop one or two of them for the other. A few hundred hours of sessions on various technical topics are happening in Paris and Ballys, spread over two days. I chose a set of them from the schedule builder tool that was there on the offical CEC 2007 website and here is a summary about some of the sessions that I attended today.

Session 1: DTrace & Java: Spanning the Observability Gap
Speakers: John Haslam & Simon Ritter
The one-liner summary of this session would say, “Using DTrace to look at Java Applications.” It appears that the speakers were misinformed about the venue and they had to run around figure out their actual venue for the talk. There was a slight delay in starting up the program. I wanted to know more on DTrace and that is why I chose to sit through this session. Well, this session wasn’t fully about the DTrace tool, but about leveraging the power of DTrace to observe/debug a Java Application. Do I didn’t fully get what I actually wanted. But to say the least, I got some of my DTrace fundamentals straight after attending this session. The presenters repeatedly pointed out that the tools like Netbeans do have a powerful profiling mechanisms to count the number of methods and objects in an application, but was limited to that and could not cut across the entire software stack and reach the Kernel to figure out what Kernel is doing when an application is running. They demonstrated this feature by running a game and occasionally showing us the piece of code written in D script to scrutinize this application.

Another interesting aspect of this session was the introduction to DTrace grapher. I had not seen something of that sort before. The presenters pulled up a program to create rectangular boxes, and each attempt to create a rectangular box, resulted in a massive amount of calls in the Kernel. The same was displayed in something like a state transition diagram, which looked quite scary. Simon showed us a printed copy of one such diagram, which spanned a chart, bigger than a architectural plan for a star rated hotel (a little bit of exaggeration, I hope is forgiven)!!

Session 2: How to take advantage of the Dynamic Reconfiguration of the Sun SPARC Enterprise Mx000 (OPL) Servers
Speakers: Stephane DUTILLEUL & Ramon Garcia
This was of course a session that wasn’t in my agenda. I got inside the venue for this session, only because I had some time at hand before I attended my next session. I didn’t have much background on the High End Servers and for that reason, it was difficult for me to pay undivided attention to what the speakers had to say. From whatever I understood, the following is what I inferred: Dynamic Reconfiguration is not so pretty in Mx000 in this point of time, but it is likely to get better in the next few weeks. I know this information isn’t going to help any, but I am afraid that’s all I can provide from my side.

Session 3: Directory Server 6- Tips, Tricks and Secrets
Speakers: Ludovic Poitou & Terry Sigle
This was a session that I was looking forward to attend and I must say that I was very satisfied with the contents of this session. The presenters dealt the session with extreme professionalism and was very careful in discussing the basics about the Directory Server before getting into its internal. And if you want to verify my attendance for this session, you could check out the blogs of one of the presenters here and you would see me in the photograph

A few key points that I would wish to share here is that the DB technology underneath the Directory Server is sleepy cat (precisely the version 4.4), which is open source (Berkeley DB) database, now acquired by Oracle(an attempt to access the site sleepycat.com would redirect one to the Oracle website). It, however, continues to be OpenSource.The speakers referred about a tool db_stat which is a sleepy cat utility, but unbundled with the Directory Server EE 6.0. If required, this could be downloaded and used. A word of caution: the version of this has to be same as that of the DS. I recall the command syntax as:
db_stat -N -d filename

Some other recommendation that the presenters mentioned in their presentation include:
* When you design the schema, make the attribute name short
* Spaces in the DN (after each comma) are not recommended though it an accepted syntax
*Avoid duplications with different representation
*XML and non-ASCII values are base 64 encoded (+33% in size)

I felt the executive summary of the session on Directory Server 6.0 this afternoon was: For a successful deployment of Directory Server, understanding its internals is a must. And this session certainly provided some valuable pointers to achieve that objective. Should you feel interested in attening an SLS course on Directory Server, please go through the course description and contents here

Session 4: Project Indiana
Presenter: Glynn Foster
This was a very cool session. Firstly, Glynn accepted the fact that there are a lot of people out there who are struggling with the installation of Solaris 10. Then he went on and talked about the history of OpenSolaris a bit after which he discussed about tomorrows opportunity. Three key points from tomorrows opportunity includes the following:
* Ease of Access
* Developer Familiarity
*User Community – Approachability for new users

Glynn summarized the goals of Project Indiana (re-distributable version on Open Solaris expected in the future):
* An OpenSolaris binary distribution
*Focuses on Solaris unique features
*Easy to acquire
*More familiar and discoverable
*Built by community
*Single CD install image
* Core OS
>Kernel, System Libraries, System utilities
* Network based package management system
*Desktop Environment
* ZFS as default filesystem
Glynn kindly demonstrated to us a quick installation of Solaris Express DE using the new installer (boy, that was super fast and invoked ovation) and also the package management system.

All the while Glynn addressed the audience for OpenSolaris as Developers, which prompted on of the attendees to ask this question: “You have been repeatedly mentioning the audience of OpenSolaris as Developers. What about the 14 year old – 15 year old folks, who are the future developers? When would they be able to use OpenSolaris?” Glynn just smiled and said, “Well, I don’t know.” Neither do I. So let’s leave that topic there and move on.

Session 5: Solaris 10 Security Features/Futures
Speakers: Valerie Fenwick & Christoph Schuba
I must confess that I didn’t have the sufficient background to sit through this session and hence the take back from this session for me was minimal. But both of the speakers kept the event lively and talk eloquently about the improvements in the Cryptography Framework and also the plans for Virtualization in Solaris (Christoph took up the second part). One of the important points that I could pick up from Valerie’s presentation was the major developments in the field of Kerberos including the ease of set up. I wish I could read a bit more about the Cryptography framework, then I wouldn’t been able to follow lot many things in this session. So here is an advise to myself: Have sufficient background information before listening to the authorities of specific subjects. Oh by the way, SLS offers you an exam on Solaris 10 Security Administrator, the objectives of which you may find here. Should you feel interested in taking up an SLS course on Solaris Security Administrator, have a look at the course description on this website

I am looking forward to the other exciting sessions tomorrow.

The Curtain Raiser

Home / Sun / The Curtain Raiser

I had a grin on my face, when I stepped into the CEC registration section, the reason for which is already written about. The queue there was long. The counters were many. It wasn’t a long wait for me. Went over there, keyed in my E-mail address and got my badge printed. And that’s my access to everything that CEC 2007 would offer in the next three days.

I thought I wouldn’t have to stand in anymore queue. But then there was another queue, rather long one, for some goodies to be picked up as souvenirs. You think I would mind that! Know what we all got: a decent bag, a nice T Shirt with a truth written on it, a useful USB thumb drive with Sun Logo (wanted to get hold of something like this for quite some time) and a CD containing StorageTek Enterprise Software Backup Software (I’m going to have to figure out where would I use this).
Enter SLS, offering us all a kewl water bottle to carry back.It holds 230oz and has an attention-grabbing colour (that’s personal, some may not like such colours).

A welcome dinner awaited us in the Ballys‘ pavilion (truth is, we waited for it, an occasion that helped us chance upon some good old friends. With loads of champagne bottles around, I am sure most of them would have enjoyed their evening, the first day at CEC 2007. Honestly, being a strict vegeterian there was nothing in the buffet that fascinated. So I went around capturing pictures.

A number of Sunray machines were set up in the Pavilion for accessing the Internet. I am sure it would have required a good amount of work to set up those machines and I have read a bit about it in here.
The pavilion was also a stage to showcase some new technologies. Stalls of Sun and many of its partners (including Intel, IBM, Safari Books Online, Wipro, Brocade, HCL ,HP to name a few). I went around viewing those demonstrations and listening carefully to what they had to say. I managed to capture some of those moments. To publish all of those photographs in this post would look ugly. So I am conveniently uploading them on to a web location and you may kindly view it here.

So that’s it from me for the time being, but you will hear from me soon. It is 12:06 local time and I better get some sleep.

I still bear a fat pocket. Thank you CEC!

Home / Sun / I still bear a fat pocket. Thank you CEC!

By this time, it is known to my readers that the CEC is at Las Vegas, a place well-known for its casinos. There’s gambling even at the Vegas airport! May be, there are some who turn rich in the process. Easy money! But elders say, refrain from gambling. And I wouldn’t want to close my ears to their advice. So, no gambling.

Some say Sun Certification Exams aren’t all that cheap. Should I disagree? May be, may be not. Each Sun exam could cost you USD 150. By Indian standards, that’s some amount to be spent. At the same time, that’s certainly not awfully high. And if you wish to pass two such exams, then it of course calls for some planning and more importantly savings.

At CEC, Sun Learning Services (SLS) offers free certification exams to its attendees. All the attendees can appear for most of the Sun Certification Exams, absolutely free of cost. I would call this a jackpot. So my dear friends, get out of the Casinos, step into the Testing center at the venues and try out your luck. But yeah, be prepared.

Well, in a matter of 120 minutes, I managed to get through two certification exams, the significant one being Sun Cluster 3.2 Administration exam. But $250 odd is still in my wallet . Thank you SLS. Thanks CEC.

The Big Bang Theory

Home / Sun / The Big Bang Theory

No I wasn’t reading Stephen Hawkin’s book last evening to have inspired myself to post a blog on topics in astrophysics. The Big Bang talks about the ever expanding Universe, our Universe. Our Universe– That’s the central theme of the first day of CEC 2007.

When I first read about Project Blackbox, the whole idea seemed very exciting and promising. Today I got to see a Project Blackbox in the Pavilion where breakfast was served. Trust me, it looks awesome. If you are a customer, who wants to cut down the cost of data center operations, you might want to consider buying one of those Project Blackbox. It looks compact (by the way, it is a data center and not a high end server; hence the word compact) and it looks cool.

Breakfast was followed by the General Session. As we got into the venue for the general session, we could hear music in the background. The lighting wasn’t bright (intentional). The hall had the capacity to hold all of us(as many as 4000 attendees), which was great.

Before the host of CEC 2007 took the stage, some artists performed a mime on Sun’s role in the ever expanding market.

The Master of Ceremony had no problems whatsoever in capturing the attention of the audience. He did so by showing us all a funny video. He shared with a stunning statitics of a hundred attentees getting Sun Certified on a Sunday (there is a prometric center set up at CEC 2007 as I mentioned here) and is counting. As his speech progressed, he began to talk about some serious and interesting stuff and his main focus of talk revolved around the new product cetwo (Customer Engineer 2.0). What shall I say? Once in place, cetwo is THE most convenient system to get to the informaton (or rather the information gets to us). It could be treated as a one stop place where the information is aggregated from various locations (internal to Sun as well as external web sites) and is displayed on a single page. This technology is not site centric, but user centric. Aggregated information (useful ones) arrives at the users desktop. Isn’t that cool?

The next couple of speakers spoke about the innovations that Sun has done and the pace at which Sun is growing. Growth was the primary theme of one of the speeches and the gist of the other talk was Sun’s wide array of products to the market and speed at which it is being launched.

It was Marc’s turn next and he spoke eloquently about the roadmap of Processors that’s Sun is planning. Boy, isn’t he coming up with an amazing set of products that will raise the bar so high that Sun’s competitors would take years to catch up with its Processor product line. His words, “I have been working with Sun for the last 16 years and I have never been so optimistic about the prospects of Sun ever as I am now,” summed up his vision on the product line that he is in charge of.

I am putting up here, what Marc showed us during his concluding words:

* We picked the right direction
* We are ahead
* We will be ahead for a few years
* We are working on the next big things
* We will succeed as a system company

Have a look at the picture below and guess what’s it all about:

Those are the questions raised by the viewers to the speakers. It popped up in a webpage and Marc patiently answered some of them. You could use pages, instant messengers and even E-mails to shoot questions to the presenter. Some Thanks Giving messages also came up for Marc.

In came a legend, quite calm and serene, drooping his head down, bearing a charming smile, talking soft about Sun’s plan on Intel and AMD boxes. This is the same man, who gave away Hundred Thousand dollars to ,Larry and Sergey to start up a company which we now know as Google Inc. He bears the Employee No. 1 at Sun and he’s the man behind Sun Constellation System, Sun’s answer to Super Computing. Andreas Bechtolsheim, a co-founder of Sun, needs no introduction. He spoke about about Sun Blades, HPC and towards the end a little about corrupt data (basically about the advantage of using ZFS). Andy answered quite a few questions and there was a touch of humour in the way he answered some of them. Felt great to watch some great people on the stage, live.

Good start to the Customer Engineering Conference 2007.

The Entertainment Capital of the World

Home / Sun / The Entertainment Capital of the World

As I write this note, I am stationed at the 31st floor of the famous Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. CEC 2007 kicks off here this afternoon.

I was hoping to write about my journey from Bangalore to Las Vegas during my flight stoppages at London and Chicago, but the slight delays in the aircrafts gave me no room for a relaxed session at the airport. Never mind, here are my recollections: Boarded the British Airways flight from Bangalore at around 6:30 A.M IST, which landed in London at around 13:30 local time. It took quite a while before we could disembark from the flight at London and thereafter there was a marathon towards the security area to board the connecting flight to Chicago. Back home, I knew my people would be wanting to hear from me. My boss had kindly advised to pick an Airtel world calling card, which I did and it worked magically (of course it was expected to work). The process to call home was simple: Dial a toll free number (specific for the country as mentioned in a supplementary catalog that comes with the card), dial the World Calling Card No.(need to scratch the card to get this) and finally dial the number in India. The connectivity was fast and it was clear! Trust me, it isn’t a bad idea to pick up those on a travel like this.

The flight to Chicago from London took around 7 hours and 45 minutes and landed in Chicago at 18:45 local time. The immigration process took very little time and I found myself seated in the Chicago domestic airport to board a flight to Las Vegas at 21:15 local time. The flight to Vegasf took just o’er 3 hours, which meant when we landed at Vegas the clocks displayed 00:15 local time. The weather then was 68° F (I felt cold).

All said and done, when you travel miles away from your home town, there is always a bit of worry in the back of your mind until you reach the destination safely. At Las Vegas airport, we were informed earlier that we could spot Sun Volunteers with the placard “CEC 2007.” But looking at the clock while at the Vegas airport, I thought I would end up hiring a taxi to my hotel. At the baggage claim area, a gentleman wearing a red T Shirt, bearing a placard that displayed “CEC 2007” brought immense calmness to the otherwise wandering mind of mine. And then I spot a few other volunteers wearing this uniform. I knew then, that I had no problems to sort out.

I must congratulate the organizers of the CEC 2007 for the Herculean task they have done in ensuring a smooth process to be in place, even in the minute aspects like picking up the attendees from the airports in a thoroughly disciplined fashion. A shuttle (this is how my mobile camera saw this shuttle) took us from the Vegas airport at around 01:20 local time to the Bally’s and the Paris hotel.

There was a slight bit of confusion at the reservation deck for assigning me a room and finally I landed in a Presidential suite because of the unavailability of standard rooms in the hotel. Well, who’s going to complain about this suncec2007

Customer Engineering Conference 2007

Home / Sun / Customer Engineering Conference 2007

In the next few hours, get into an aircraft (well, how would you do that??) flying towards Latitude 36° 11′ 39″ N & Longitude 115° 13′ 19″ W, and you’ll find at least one Sun employee sitting in it. (I wish my Geography teacher reads this post, for she would then be really proud of a student, who wasn’t her favourite). A statistics of interest: well over 3,500 Sun Employees would meet up at the above geographical location mainly for a serious reason and partly for fun.

Customer Engineering Conference a.k.a CEC is an annual Sun event at different locations intended to gear up the skill sets of employees and its partners. Speakers from different streams of technology would share their knowledge during this event. We get to see, live, many exciting projects of Sun of which we have only heard about or read about. It is also an opportunity to learn about Sun Executive Perspectives.

There are many people in Sun, working in different locations with whom I have worked with on various projects, but have never met. Wouldn’t it be great to finally meet up with them at a neutral venue so as to be able to associate a face with their voice? When such a massive number of people meet up at a single location, it calls for a party and no one said there isn’t any party at CEC. I feel there is no harm in saying, “It’s party time!”

The Countdown

Home / Sun / The Countdown

In just o’er a couple of days time, a good number of Sun Employees, including yours truly, would hit an exciting location on this globe for an annual event of Sun Microsystems. It is not always that you get to hear, straight from the Horse’s mouth on the mission and vision of an org; the fortcoming event is one such occasion. Let no one tell you that it’s only a few thousand people who would get to hear and see where Sun is headed. All others, who wouldn’t board a flight for this event would watch things, live, in the luxury of their parlour through Second Life. It is going to be informative, it is going to be exciting . On this note, let me vanish from here for now and I shall be back, very soon, with a commentary on the sequence of events at a bizarre location on the third planet from Sun.