A weekend with Solaris 10

I feel immensly satisfied to have spent the first weekend of this New Year talking on Solaris 10 New Features to some really enthusiastic bunch of guys from ANZ. Half a dozen months had elapsed since I last took up this course. Taking up this course has always been a challenge as it covers a wide range of topics in Solaris 10, without discussing anything in depth. And this time around, I was expected to complete this course in four days (04/Jan – 07/Jan) as against the normal five day time frame. Luckily, my good friends who spent their weekend with me to have a look at the New Features of this blockbuster OS were matured enough to understand what is relevant for them and extended their co-operation to the fullest extent in helping me complete my first assignment this New Year on a good note.

I have heard many mixed opinions about the contents of this course from various people. I don’t intend to express my personal opinion about this course here, but the men in the picture below should be able to give us their review about this course. Meanwhile, let me invite you all to have a look at the following courses on Solaris 10, which I think can rightly be called as an “upgrade course” on Solaris: Make the Transition to the Solaris 10 Operating System and Solaris 10 Containers.

Have a good week ahead:)

Happy New Year

As we prepare ourselves to welcome a New Year, it may well be the right time to take a stock of all that this wonderful life had to offer us during the year that’s passing by. In retrospection, I feel immensely satisfied to have been able to seize several opportunities to be a part and parcel of various events that in some way or the other brought us together and connected us. I’m dominated by a sense of gratitude towards that unseen force, from where the scheme of life originates, to have presented me with so many opportunities in life. In the process, the subtle lessons of life that I could learn was indeed a bonus. And at this juncture, when one more year and its events, both joyous and grievous, would become a part of our memory, I would wish to extend my thanks to each one of you for all good moments that you shared with me and also for several lessons that you taught me in this eventful journey of life, which I shall surely cherish for the rest of my life.

When this year would meet the next one, you wouldn’t certainly spot me partying around, for that’s not really in my nature for sure; I would rather position myself in a corner of my room and sit with a strong wish to be a part of a New Year full of promises and devoid of any disturbing event. Well, that’s just a hope; and life rests solely on such hopes.

May the cosmic power help us to evolve ourselves to such an extent as to change the environment itself to something that is conducive for our spiritual growth. I wish you all a very happy, prosperous and peaceful Year 2007.

Merry Christmas

Last evening I went away from this blog to celebrate the Christmas Eve in the backyard of my house here in Kerala. This was a humble attempt made by all of us here to drag all children in our family away from the digital world for some time at least and show them the power of being together. The most time consuming, but perhaps the most satisfying thing that we did prior to this celebration is what you would see in the photograph below. Merry Christmas.

There is ‘Rip Van Winkle’ in me as well.

Tomorrow is Christmas. And shamefully, tomorrow I complete my thirty days of silence in the Sun blogs too. Though I am in possession of a few reasons that I could list for this rather long sleep, it has more to do with my laziness than anything else, which kept me away from the web logs. I can only hope that the Rip Van Winkle in me doesn’t show up so regularly and keep me away from jotting down a few lines in my web logs for as long as a calendar month.

Let me take you back in time to tell you, on a quick note, what was going around me during the last thirty days or so. The week subsequent to my Singapore journey was spent in Bangalore, teaching a course on High Availability. Last time I took this course was around January this year and hence I wasn’t so sure about my fluency on this subject. But Sun Cluster concepts turned out to be too interesting to be forgotten. Consequently, things went quite smooth (though of course my voice started breaking towards the middle of the course), the credit for which, undoubtedly, belongs to the gentlemen in picture below.

The Sun Cluster Administration training ended on December 01 2006, Friday. I spent that weekend for a two day program on Solaris Operating System at the Indian Engineering Center for Professors and lecturers from various colleges in and around Bangalore. It was indeed a nervous affair to stand in front of the people, who make Engineers and talk about a subject as vast as Solaris Operating System. But they were extremely receptive to what I was speaking and I enjoyed my two days spent with them. The only thing that went wrong was my voice. On Saturday evening, my voice cracked. And on Sunday morning, I went absolutely voiceless. That was quite depressing to me as I had to push it for at least eight hours on that Sunday. I kept motivating myself thinking about some great incidents in cricket: one of which was about Sunil Gavaskar’s only century in Limited Overs Internationals, which was made when he was running on high fever. And when I started speaking on that day, Sunday the 03rd December, I was shocked that my voice never came out. For the first half an hour or so, I could only whisper to them in the class. Occasionally, with great effort, I could produce some voice, but as a result of the same, I felt extremely weak and giddy. Somehow I managed to cleanup everything satisfactorily and there was immense sense of satisfaction in me on my walk back home from my office. But I didn’t know then that a few days of medication was in store for me from the next day onwards. The photo below was taken during the two day program on Solaris at IEC. You could see me putting all my efforts to produce some sound in guiding the ‘photographer’ to capture this group photo.

The medication was mainly for high fever and severe throat infection. The strength of antibiotics put me to sleep most of the time during those days and I found it really hard to attend to my duties, even to respond to my E-mails. I hereby openly apologize to all those who sent me mails during that period and never heard from me back. My voice is back to normal. Looking back, I feel extremely satisfied to have been able to talk continuously for hours on that unfortunate day, in spite of no voice, well almost.

Cut to the present, I am stationed at my home in Kerala waiting for the celebrations to begin.

Home Sweet Home

After a week’s stay in Singapore, I have hit home in Bangalore. Woke up as early as 3:30 A.M. SST to catch my flight at 7:50 A.M. SST. While in flight, I had a quick flash back of my stay and training in Singapore. The streets in Singapore were all lit up as a part of the preparation for the Christmas celebrations. There were music all around the place. Shopping malls were overcrowded with people from different parts of the world. The impressions of all this were indelibly printed in my mind that I had dreams of being in there during my afternoon nap today at home. The only problem, if I may say so, that I had in Singapore was the difficulty in getting hold of some vegetarian food. But otherwise I enjoyed the stay there and more importantly the moments that I spent with those guys who had come down for the training from various places. Along with some good memories, I carried back with me the following photograph, which we took during one of those training days.

I must mention my thanks here to Dr. Rex Di Bona (the gentleman in yellow coloured T shirt) for taking some interesting sessions on Solaris Internals.

The world is small

What I enjoy the most in my profession is the opportunity that I have to meet so many people in such a short span of time. With the certain degree of open-mindedness that I possess, all my participants have been good teachers to me, giving subtle lessons on several aspects in life. Everytime I conclude a training program, I do so with a hope that I would, one day or the other, stumble upon my audience in some part of this globe. And I am taken to believe that there is nothing in this life as lovely as the wonderful moments of togetherness. Today, after a considerable gap of almost an year, I met up with a couple of my friends, who got introduced to me through the exciting world of Solaris. And this small note, is an expression of my gratitude to them to have taken time out from their busy schedule to come and meet me and then offer a lavish dinner in an Indian restuarant out here in Singapore.

An Evening to remember

Had no problem getting to my training venue this morning except that I got there a bit late and had five of them waiting for me to get started. Apart from me there are four more participants for this training. They are all from different parts of this globe: Singapore, United States, Indonesia and Japan. And my Instructor, Rex Di Bona, is from Sydney, Australia. We had a good start to the Solaris Internals course. Rex is well experienced in this field and I am dead sure to have four more interesting days with him.

In the Evening, my friend Yusuke from Sun, Japan and myself set out for a visit to the famous Little India in here. I had been to Little India last evening as well. Believe me, I walked all the way from my hotel to Little India and back to my hotel yesterday. And today, we took two trains to reach there. One from the City Hall MRT to Dhoby Ghaut and the second one from Dhoby Ghaut Interchange to Little India.Of all the things in Little India, what attracted my friend the most, I reckon, was theSri Veeramakaliamman Temple. We also got into one of those Indian restuarants to have some snacks. And here you see my friend enjoying the taste of a delicious South Indian food.

We then had a lengthy walk from the resturant to the Mustafa Centre, which was over crowded. But of course a good place to do some last minute shopping.

We then parted to our respective destinations. For all that we spoke about India, Japan and various other things, and for the long walk that we had through the busy streets of Little India, this evening in Singapore would go down as one of the memorable evenings in my life.

Welcome to the Lion City

In Singapore. Stationed at the 14th floor of a hotel located in the Stamford Road. Look below, and you would see what I see from my balcony here.

I am here to attend a Solaris Internals Training. The training center is in Ngee Ann City Tower B, Orchad Rd. I wanted to spot the training venue today itself so that I wouldn’t have to spend time tomorrow going through the map and searching for the place. So I used the MRT from the City Hall to Orchad in the North South Line. Reaching Orchad wasn’t a problem, but finding out the Sun Education Center in the Ngee Ann Tower was. It took me almost half an hour to figure out that the Sun Education Center was located in the 11th floor of the Ngee Ann Tower B. Now that I have found out the venue, I hope I can hit the place tomorrow early.

After three weeks full of events, it is rather boring to be finding myself alone in my hotel room. I hope things would be in place once I get to the class tomorrow. But for the time being, let me sit in my room and contemplate over the mysteries of life. For now, it’s bye.

Back to the basics

So after a of week of Advanced Deployment lessons on Sun Java System Identity Manager, this week I took the platform to talk about its fundamentals. And in the photograph below, you would see my friends who were my audience this week. Most of ’em knew this product and some of them are already working on it. They sneaked in just to know the missing links.

Not of all of them, who came to hear my lecture are in the picture above. And there is something in the snap above that makes me feel giddy on my continuous stare. This photo is slightly tilted, giving a feel that all of us stood on the deck of a sinking ship. That certainly is not the case as everyone seems to bear a happy face. But if you feel I look slighly tired in there, then probably you got something right. I am a bit tired and getting drenched in the rain last night has only made things worse. With your permission then, let me leave you with this short note, promising to see you soon; very soon.

Java Goes Open Source

Some moments are really special; and some dates, requires special mentioning. A few years from now, 13th November 2006, would be looked upon as a day, which marked the beginning of a new era in the evolution of a programming language, whose inception dates back to the early ’90s by a few engineers @ Sun. What could that programming language do to the world of Internet is a fact well-known to the public. And I would only be boring my dearest audience if I repeat the success stories of the wonderful programming language called Java. I would also be failing in my duty if I don’t tell you now what I am expected to say.

Today, on 13th November 2006, Sun Opens its very own Java Programming Language. Well, what more can I say other than to request you, very humbly, to watch the live event coverage of the same on Sun Website at 9:30 PST. I realize that I am not the person to authoritatively talk about this decision, but this gentleman certainly is. I can also guarantee that there would be a lot many people in here, who would express themselves on this decision of making Java open.

And if Java is made open, where does Joe Parlang’s creation stand? Well, even that goes open source!!

And finally before we part, let us also hear one more time to what the creator of Java has to say to the Java Community. Let’s read his open letter to the Java Community and then wait in anticipation to see what effect this decision would have in the years to follow.

The Sun Java System Identity Manager Boot Camp is Back

Not so long ago, there existed a boot camp on Sun’s leading User Provisioning Tool which is now replaced by a combination of two courses offered by Sun Learning Services viz. IDM 345 & IDM 4484. I have written elsewhere in this blog about the IDM 345 training program and my experience with different participants from different organizations in this corner of the globe. Hence that story needs no retelling. But to give you a brief one liner: these two courses covers the deployment of Sun Java System Identity Manager 5.5 version in a phased manner, the four phases (Regulatory Compliance & Self Service, Delegated Administration, Data Synchronization and Self Service) being distributed equally across the two courses, well almost. That means to say that the IDM 4484 training program titled “Sun Java System Identity Manager:Advanced Deployment” picks up from where IDM 345 stops. This implies, if not plainly expresses, that the audience of the second part of the IDM “boot camp” be thorough with the labs of IDM 345 training program.

And this of course was a cause of concern for me on my stroll towards the Sun Education Center here in Bangalore during the early hours of a fine morning on 06th the November 2006, that not all of my participants for the IDM 4484 training program had a chance to sit through the IDM 345 class conducted earlier. Yeah you rightly guessed that it was also the first ever delivery of Sun Java System Identity Manager: Advanced Deployment course, coded IDM 4484.

A quick recap of IDM 345 was a need of the hour even for those who have had a feel of the same and hence half a day of day one of IDM 4484 went in that fashion. And in the afternoon on day one, we stepped into the discussion on Flat File Active Sync aka FFAS and in turn into the labs. In a few minutes time it was clear to them, my participants, that they would have to write their own Rules from the psuedo code mentioned in the lab exercises book, unlike the step by step lab instructions in the IDM 345 course and that wasn’t all that easy job. And when they started getting the feel of the intriguing lab exercises in IDM 4484, they wondered if it was feasible to extend the training program by one day from four days to five days. But their request was turned down immediately, much to their disappointment of course. On day one, a few of them stayed till 8:30 P.M. to complete the labs. Well, that was to become a routine on the subsequent days of this training.

The intensity of the atmosphere within the classroom on all the days can hardly be reproduced in writing. It was agreed by one and all that the course and the labs were extremely good, but tough. And when it came to the modules on workflows, they literally were sitting on the edge of their seats trying to figure out what could have caused those funny errors, all kinds of them, preventing them from moving ahead with the course. Amazingly, most of them raised themselves to a different level, worked together wholeheartedly and solved majority of the problems that popped up during the exhaustive lab sessions. I must congratulate them to have displayed extreme professionalism in employing their minds to perform all the labs very diligently. I need not mention here that the maturity of audience is a major factor in the successful completion of any training program and these bunch of guys whom you see in the snap below with apparently happy faces are the ones, who made my first IDM 4484 course delivery not only a grand success, but memorable. Thank you so much folks and good luck with your Sun Java System Identity Manager projects.

I was looking forward for my first delivery on this course and I am extremely happy and satisfied that it went through fine. Well, if anyone of you wishes to know the real meaning of the word “boot camp,” I invite them to register for the energy sapping sessions on IDM 4484 and I bet my life, they would realise the meaning of it in just a few moments time. But before you do so, make sure you pick up a few lessons on Sun’s Identity Manager through IDM 345, for otherwise, you might find yourself at sea trying to catch up with the lessons in the Identity Manager Advanced Deployment Course.

Ssssssssssssssh…

I was silent for quite some time because I was asked to remain silent. The Mumbai journey for the IDM 345 unfortunately gifted me a sore throat. And I cosulted with one of the ENT specialist in a famous hospital in this part of the world and what he told me incidentally is the title of this log entry. My condition was so bad that the doctor advised me to carry a pen and paper to communicate! Luckily, I journeyed home for a week and worked from there for a couple of days. My plan was not to say a word during my stay at home. But with my parents and talkative sister around, keeping quiet of course was next to an impossible mission. And as if it wasn’t enough, one of those days my cousin, my friend and myself set out for a journey to the Kuttalam waterfalls, which is located in the state of Tamil Nadu. We had to go for my friend’s enagement and from there we travelled to the aforesaid place. The journey onward was excellent: full of fun and rain all the way. But the backward journey was really pathetic due to bad roads. I am sure it wasn’t really a pleasant experience for my cousin to drive all the way through those really bad road. I here unto append a photograph taken at one of the view points en route Kuttalam waterfalls. The gentleman alongside me is my cousin who drove the car all through our trip and then fell sick the following day

.

After a week stay at home, I travelled to Hyderabad to deliver an Advanced Administration Training on Solaris 10 Operating Environment to the folks at UBS. I was told that the UBS building, which was also my training venue last week came up in a few months time in a deserted place full of rocks. I had a few smooth sessions on Solaris in there in spite of the fact that I was delivering a Solaris training after quite some time. My throat problem continued to bother me and I ended up buying a big pack of salt, which I used at my hotel to gargle with hot water!

I happened to mention to my participants about the Project Blackbox and one of those guys couldn’t help but laugh his heart out, when stumbled upon the amazing photographs on Project Blackbox. I am sure he reacted so because he was wonder-struck by such a simple, yet extraordinary idea of packaging a datacenter in a self contained container. I don’t blame him, for my reaction wasn’t any different from his, when I first came to know about this project not so long ago.

For security reasons, I couldn’t carry my camera in UBS campus. But a participant of mine was kind enough to get hold of a camera official and took a few photographs, one of which is presented below:

Not all the participants are present in that photograph. Some of them were very busy with calls and conferences. So I couldn’t get hold of them on time for this snap. Sorry about that folks.

Yesterday I spent the whole day in Sun Education lab preparing the lab for the next weeks class. Well, that’s a surprise about which I will talk only in a few days time. All I can tell you now is that I am quit excited, at the same time a bit nervous, about this forthcoming assignment. Everything, I believe, has its own time and until the time comes to talk about this new assignment of mine, let me put my lips to silence.

Project Blackbox – A Revolutionary Data Center

This morning I received a series of E-mails on Project Blackbox. And after having a look at the photographs of Project Blackbox, I was in a retrospective mood to look back to my days in an organization, where I had to spent a few hours in the cold temperature of a datacenter ,even on some weekends, trying to figure out what caused a machine to go down all of a sudden, giving several employees a paid vacation at office, or to bring up a certain server as per the standard stack in the organization. Honestly, it was tough and I only have bad memories about the same. And I was all the more shocked, when I learned that the organization used to pay a heavy price as rental to keep those servers (it was a hetrogenous environment consisting of hundreds of servers) in that data center. To tax such a lot of money just for the space to keep those machines in shape…well, don’t we have a better solution?

Sun’s innovative ideas have always amazed me even during my college days and this time around it is no different. My dear long suffering readers, I think I have bored your enough talking to you a lot. Now, let me take my insignificant personality away and invite you all to have a look at Sun’s “extraordinarily simple idea” and then sneak into this picture gallary. And when you come back to me, if at all you will, and if you do not find me on my desk, well don’t get surprised, I might just be busy setting up my own data center either in the backyard or the attic of my house:)

A Shaky start, a Smooth sail, a Satisfying finish and now a Sore throat

Reached Bangalore yesterday morning. Didn’t feel like doing anything yesterday as my throat was in a really bad shape and I wasn’t feeling all that great. Today I feel much better. I do have a sense of satisfaction to have completed my training on a good note. And considering the fact that I had my heart in my mouth on last Sunday while doing the lab set up for IDM 345, I greatly feared that I would come across lot of trouble during the entire training program. But the folks whom you would see in the photograph below raised themselves to the occasion and helped me in brining up the machines to the ‘start state’ of the training program and got themselves very quickly equipped with the necessary working knowledge on Solaris Operating System to get on with their job of performing the lab exercises. As I mentioned elsewhere this course is very lab intensive and it requires enormous amount of patience from the participants to walk through the entire lab materials and they all did exactly that with no major hiccups.

Not only did they perform the labs very diligently, but also took the ‘teach back’ assignment very seriously to display some good presentations on the final day of the training program.

Guys, wish you good luck with your projects and my apologies to have made you run through the tedius installation procedures to bring up the machines to the ‘start state’ of this course.

A bolt from the blue

In Mumbai. In fact, in the venue where I would be talking about Sun Java System Identity Manager tomorrow. This place is going to be my platform for the next five days time.

Landed in Mumbai airport at around 11:00 A.M. this morning. The flight journey was made interesting by a sailor sitting next to me (sorry that I am unable to recollect his name). In just under half an hour time he briefed me on his experiences travelling all around the world and how miserable life could be in a ship with only 21 sailors managing the whole ship. It seems, at times, they don’t see a glimpse of land for 3 months at stretch. Quite a scary thought I believe.

I checked in at the hotel at around 11:45 A.M or so and reached here (training venue) at 12:30 sharp. I came here to set up the lab for tomorrows class. I have done this several times before. And I was (over)confident to complete my job in a couple of hours time. I expected a text book installation, but didn’t have a clue that a surprise was in store for me and I were to have a very tiring and tension filled afternoon. Let me explain:

Generally I carry a Flash Archive in my laptop to the training venues so that I could install all the lab bundles for the course on the student machines. And the flash archive for IDM 345 course contained Solaris 9 Operating Environment, mysql installed and the lab bundles for the course. And a clean installation (read extraction) of this archive ensures a smooth take off for this course , since all the student machines would be in a ‘ready to go’ mode. And I was confident that my Flash Installation would not take more than two hours time. I had ten Sun Blade 1500 machines at my disposal for performing this installation and I chose one of them to be my jumpstart server. Let me also mention here that the archive that I had in my laptop was created on an Ultra 10 machine. I have had arguments with my training participants on several occasions on archive installation on machines with varying architecture. And until this afternoon I was under the strong impression that an archive created on one architecture could be installed on any architecture without any problem. It didn’t take much time for me to create a jumpstart server and I was using a Solaris 10 CD as the boot CD on the jumpstart server so that the clients could boot from the CD on the jumpstart server. The installation procedure appeared faster than ever and I was busy thinking on my agenda for the evening once I reach my hotel after what appeared to me as a clean installation process. It was a joy to watch nine machines extracting my the flash archive from my jumpstart server. Once the installation got over, one machine rebooted and then it crashed with an error indicating that the root filesystem is corrupted and needs fsck. I felt slightly shocked, but had the confidence that I would be able to repair the problem. But then I saw even the rest of the machines crashing one by one. It was a depressing sight to see each of those machine going into the maintenance mode one after the other. Perhaps it was an early Diwali dhamaka. I immediately called up Samson Selwyn, a very senior colleague of mine on his hand phone. Well, this is certainly not the first time that I spoiled his weekends. I have done that before and done it on several occasions. So I think he’s used to it now. He gave me a few tips to somehow get out of the bad situation that I was in. I was feeling very tired and hungry and hence went out to gobble something. Back in my mind, this was really bothering me, for IDM 345 is a lab intensive course and any minor upset in the lab setup would spoil my next five days.

I came back and tried booting the clients using CD and very soon discovered that the system was behaving very abnormal. The format command gave me “No disks found” error. I found myself at sea and the only solution that I could think of was to create an archive of Solaris 10 OS of my Jumpstart Server (Sun Blade 1500) and use the same to install the OS ‘at least’ on all the client machines. By this time, I had already reached a conclusion (whether right or wrong, I don’t know) that an archive created on one architecture may not work on other architecture. Well, at least this time the installation of the OS went through fine. So now all the machines in here are installed with Solaris 10 OS. Now I will have to request my participants to carefully install the other softwares tomorrow while doing the lab. That will tax a lot of our time, but then I don’t seem to have a choice. And I really hope that things work fine tomorrow. It has been a very tiring and exhaustive day and all I feel now is to somehow get back to my hotel and take some rest.

An Expensive Love Affair With Apple

Well, it appears to be a busy weekend for me. I seem to have lot of things to do. But still haven’t prioritized the tasks. I was spamming my participants over the last couple of hours over lot of stuff. And it shall continue the whole day today. It was a productive week, last week. I was sitting through the LVC for ZFS. Jeff Ferreria was speaking on ZFS from his place. And for that, everyday he was up till 1:00 A.M his local time. I am sure that would have been really tough for him. Still, he did an excellent job and went out of the box to give us a “bootcamp” session on 3510 storage (Well, we were duing the ZFS labs using a 3510)! Personally, I was benefitted to have an informal training on iChat from Jeff:) I had never bothered to use iChat ever. And during one of those days, when I stepped into the “classroom” an hour early or so, Jeff was in there and we had a chat using the iChat tool. Believe me, it’s coool. Well, that was a free training from Jeff:) And now my only buddy in iChat is Jeff Ferreria. Let me see if I can pull in lot of other people as well and create a new network.

Just when I thought Jeff’s training on iChat was cool and was free, a price came for that from a different direction:) I sneaked into a local Apple Service Center on Thursday to sort out the problem with my keypad (If you are still kept in the dark on what my Apple PowerBook G4 keypad did to me, click here) and it didn’t take much time for me to discover that I was getting into an expensive affair. Well, my Apple PowerBook G4 was outside the Apple Care Protection Plan (which is one year) and hence was billed, royally, for diagnosis and the spare (keypad). I have raised a request for the spare and I shall be getting that in a week or so. But the fact is that by Indian standards, the bill that I got from the folks at Apple was a little high. So my advice to the Apple lovers in India is that next time you decide to pick up an aesthetically pleasing piece of an Apple product, just ensure that you extend the Apple Care Protection Plan (you need to do so before your one year warranty expires) or reserve a few bucks in your pocket to shell out at the Apple Service Center, in case your product behaves a little different than what you expect.

I am heading to Mumbai tomorrow morning for delivering a training on Sun Java System Identity Manager (course coded IDM 345) and I am looking forward for an eventful week full of fun and learning.

First Roll Out of Sun Java System Access Manager

As I write this note I have a small, yet serious problem with my Apple PowerBook G4. I have been using this for more than a year now and it has been serving me really well. But of late its keypad has started to behave very strange and very often I end up striking the keys really hard to echo on to the screen. This problem is not permanent though! It requires some really hard work on my part to key in certain characters esp. “u.” So everytime you see a word in this article which has a “u” in it, understand that I managed to put it in using the classic “CTRL + C” & “CTRL + V” method. It is indeed quite annoying to have a problem like this. For those of you who had sent me several E-mails over the last few days and still didn’t hear from me, kindly know that I am finding it slightly difficult to draft a mail to you because of this keypad problem. This morning I went to the Apple Service center in Bangalore, only to find them not working on a Saturday (Foolish me to think that Saturdays are off days only for me). I wouldn’t be able to fix up an appointment with the service center until next Tuesday, for Monday is a National holiday. I sincerly hope I can resolve this issue as early as possible.

I feel very serene today. This is a long weekend and I intend to take some good rest. I have not been keeping up well over the last one week and more importantly I was engaged in an all important assignment: the first roll out of Sun Java System Access Manager in India. I have been preparing for this for a couple of weeks and I am personally satisfied with the job I did last week. At the same time, I must also confess that this wasn’t really the best of training programs that I delivered. During the five days training program, I witnessed a couple of CPUs and monitors “blowing up’ right in front of me. The labs of this course were quite sensitive (in the sense that it worked fine only a specific version of the Solaris 10 Operating system and that we had lot of issues using certain browsers while testing the Policy Agents in the SJS Access Manager) and I found it a little difficult to manage 17 participants who sat through this course. There were moments in this training program, wherein I felt I lost control of the situation and I really hate to find myself in such situations. Nonethless, I managed to convey all that I wanted to convey to a bunch of people who travelled from various parts of this country to participate in this training program. In the next couple of days time, I would analyse the situation and probably find out different methods of improving upon the quality of the delivery. Well, life is all about accepting the mistake and eliminating them. Probably, such lab intensive course should slightly have lesser strength. Now that I have realized the situation I should able to give some valuable inputs to my Management. That would be helpful to decide upon several factors while scheduling the JES training programs. Having said all this, as usual I enjoyed every bit of my time that I spent with this people. What makes me moving is this exposure to various human beings with varying nature. For me, such an exposure is something that I rate much above the exposure to any technology.. It has been a pleasant experience to know several people and learn some good lessons from them and I am certain it shall continue to be so. Everyone would have a few things to share. And probably whatever they share would have great significance in the long run. All that is required an openmindedness to listen keenly to what others have to say.In this context my Master used to say,”Even a dead clock is correct twice a day.” So it was fun to be with another bunch of people, a proof of which you would find below:

I must express my gratitude to Edward and Gary (Sun Education Team, Australia) to provide some timely help in order to ensure that all the lab files for this course were in place and also to Manikandan to have spent some time, very patiently, on the phone throwing some light on various issues that generally pop up when we install policy agents on Web Server.

Last two weeks have been really really tough, esp after having some serious problems with my throat and chest. One of those nights I was finding it difficult t o speak and ended up spending a few minutes gargling some hot water with salt (traditional method of getting over throat problem). Another incident that is worthy of attention is a narrow escape from an accident yesterday morning. I was walking, very peacefully, towards the venue of the training and I was doing so on the footpath (obviously). And suddenly I saw a tempo traveller jumping on to the footpath from the road and the driver losing complete control over the same. I have a gut feeling that the driver dozed off in between. If it was a few meters behind, then I am sure it would have run over me. This prompted me to brood over various mysteries of life for which this is not the best time to discuss.

I don’t seem to have anything more to write for the time being. I look forward to my LVC on ZFS next week. But before that, I need some good rest. So if you have reached this far reading through the entire note, please remember that every “u” you came across in this article was produced as a result of two key strokes and not one.

International Day of Peace

Tomorrow is September 21. The United Nations designates the day as the International Day of Peace. Ten days earlier to this date we observed the fifth anniversary of the tragic 9/11 incident, an incident that certainly left some traces of fear in all of us. The New York tragedy perhaps flagged off a new era in the history of mankind, for over the last four years or so there have been several heart breaking incidents of such nature in different parts of this world, in different forms, executed by different people, taking the lives of innocent human beings like you and me. On several occasions I have pondered over the reasons behind orchestration of such brutal activities. And when I don’t get answers to such questions, what dominates in me is a feeling of helplessness. What could I do, if a couple of planes crash on to a twin tower, bringing down the huge tower in split of a second and killing several people in it? And what I could do if there is a series of bomb blasts in the heart of Financial Capital of India,blowing up a few hundred middle class people eagerly journeying to get back to their home in the evening? Well; watch helplessly all the pictures that are captured by the television crew – risking their life- and then sympathise with the victims, occasionally blaming the culprits with a strong feeling of hatredness. But what’s the point? By doing so, I know very clearly that I don’t contribute to the world peace. But then, what else could I do? Perhaps, look to a higher authority, whose essence is within me, whom we may call as God or by any other name for that matter and then appeal to Him, with folded hands and with a heart full of love and devotion, to bring peace on planet Earth and make it a wonderful home for all of us to evolve spiritually. I believe if such thoughts, which are noble in nature, constantly emanates from mind and are strong enough, then perhaps it could make a huge difference.

United Nations Organization has chosen September the 21st as the Internal Day of Peace. The least we should all do tomorrow is to sit in silence for a few minutes, giving out a strong suggestion that one day, not far from now, peace will prevail on this third planet from Sun.

Italian Grand Prix witnesses a great moment

I got hooked on to the TV this evening to watch the Italian Grand Prix. Micheal Shumacher was second in the pole position. As always, my bet was on him. To my excitement, and to the delight of millions of his fans, he did it one more time , he did it in style. And what he achieved today is an unprecedented ninety Grand Prix titles. He has raised his bar so high that his successor would require to display a special show to reach anywhere near him.

I wasn’t really interested in Motor racing until I came across an article in The Hindu Newspaper written my Nirmal Shekar. And then on, I was educated by a friend of mine on the jargons like pit stop, back markers etc. I have not missed much Grand Prix races after that. And every time I sit to watch a motor race I sit with a surety that the red Ferrari with Schumi in full control of it would hit the chequered flag first. And today at around 7:20 IST Micheal Shumacher sat for a press conference prompting all of his fans to hold their breaths to listen to the much awaited revelations about his future plan. As always, he maintained his calm as he revealed to the world that he wouldn’t race after this season. My friend sitting near me produced a sigh of depression and waved his hand as if he lost something really precious. He then said to me, “Why is he doing that man? He is at the peak of his career.” Well, I do not know. Schumi would know it better. Perhaps he now knows that not a common man could achieve what he achieved in Formula One. Perhaps he doesn’t want to be a spoil sport winning all the races that he participates in and giving no one else a chance to touch the Championship trophy. Or may be he felt that it is not possible to improve upon the perfection that he already achieved in the art of driving. Whatever may be the reason, Formula One fans would find it difficult to accept the reality that when the next season would start, they wouldn’t see the handsome Micheal Schumacher on the track. Thank you Schumi for all the wonderful moments that you gave to all of us out here.

My favourite newspaper in digital format

The following is an extract from my autobiographical account:

Roughly speaking, Sport seems to be a trivial pursuit. But it wouldn’t be fair on my part to say that Sport has given me nothing. It has been the root cause of some of my productive habits like reading newspapers on a regular basis, particularly The Hindu. A sport scriber named R Mohan, who worked with The Hindu was the first one to ignite in me a passion for reading the articles published in that daily. From then on, I began to carefully read through the reports and comments of various journalists working with The Hindu. The role that The Hindu played in helping me improve my reading abilities as well as standard in English has to be underlined.

My favourite newspaper has taken one step forward in providing the news and articles in the form of an E-book. Well, three editions are available at this point of time: Chennai, Hyderabad and Delhi. The Hindu’s digital editions are available for viewing from 6:00 A.M. IST everyday. Access is free for now but users are required to register online.

When will this ever end?

Yet another terrorist act in the state of Maharashtra in India. This time, thirty-one people were killed and over 100 injured in two bomb blasts in Malegaon in Nashik district of Maharashra on Friday. Don’t we all deserve a better situation on earth? What are “they” gaining from blowing up a few innocent human beings like us? Don’t stare at me; I am as clueless as you are. And I know of only one person whom we could all send an appeal to see these activities come to a full stop: and that’s God.
A couple of months back a series of bomb blasts had shocked the people in Mumbai. The impact of that devastating incidents in Mumbai was so huge that I couldn’t sleep the whole night until I completed drafting the following note that I sent to all my acquaintances the next day:

E-mail dated 12/July/2006.

Dear friends,

It is quite hard to greet you all this morning after those terrifying events that took place in different parts of Mumbai last evening. For me, like anyone else away from the city of Mumbai, it was just another story of horror. May be, I only felt a fraction of its intensity; yet it had its impact on me at least to an extent to make my sleep a miserable one. It is difficult then to imagine what the people in Mumbai are going through at this point in time.

I saw my father shell-shocked and speechless while watching those clippings on T.V. I sat beside him viewing those pictures live from various spots in Mumbai, occasionally glancing at my father only to find his face display a mixed feeling of sorrow, helplessness and strangely, but understandably anger. I don’t think he has any friends in Mumbai; not even a person whom he could exchange formal greetings with. Still, the whole story affected him deeply for sure. For me, my father’s reaction was one more evidence of how common we all humans are and how much we all are bounded regardless of all the differences in caste, creed, colour and even the geographical boundaries. Yet there are some people out there who do not realize how valuable a human life is. I wonder what they achieved by mercilessly blowing up a few hundred people, who were on the move with an eagerness to get back to their homes after their days activities. Well, it’s insane even to think that there can be any reason for such a nasty orchestrated operation. It can only be madness at the highest level. Oh God, can any one do such a thing even to his foes? I don’t think so; not certainly anyone with a stable state of mind. Damn those who did this.

By the very courageous nature of the people in Mumbai, it is quite natural to expect that the normalcy would be returned in the city not many days from now. But there are several families whose loss can never be compensated for. What on earth could ever compensate for a human life? I sincerely pray with my folded hands for a better home, devoid of any more of these heart throbbing chapters and would wish all of you to participate in such a prayer, for when we unite in pursuit of a noble cause, our appeal will reach where it has to reach and probably would wipe out evil from the surface of earth, giving us an environment conducive for our evolution.

With prayers,

affectionately yours,

–R Rajesh

Happy Onam

Tomorrow is Onam. Onam, considered to be the most popular festival in Kerala (the southern state of India), is celebrated every year in memory of an Asura King Mahabali, who was pushed down to the core of the earth by ‘little’ Vamana, an avatar of Vishnu. In Hindu religion, they believe in a Trinity, who are in charge of the three main processes of creation, protection and destruction. Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are the trio, who are entitled to perform the acts of creation, protection and destruction respectively. All other Gods in Hindu religion – thousands of them – are supposed to be either their descendants or an alternate form of one of them. In fact the term ‘GOD’ itself is considered to be an acronym for Generator, Operator and Destructor. Coming back to the story behind the Onam celebrations, Kerala was once ruled by the Asura king Mahabali, under whom the land prospered, much to the envy of Gods. They all wanted to terminate the asura king and for that they seeked the help of Lord Vishnu – one of the Trinity. Lord Vishnu assumed the form of a small brahmin Vamana and went to Mahabali requesting for three footsteps of land. Mahabali, out of his generosity, offered him the same without a second thought. At that point of time, the little Vamana grew physically in such a manner that his two footsteps covered the universe in its entirety. He did not find any more space for his third footstep. Mahabali, with an intention not to break his promise to Vamana, bowed before the brahmin and offered his head as a place for his third footstep. Vamana placed his foot on Mahabali’s head and pushed him down to the core of the earth forever. However, Lord Vishnu was kind enough to grant the asura King, the privilege of visiting his people once in every year. And so he comes to the land of Kerala, every year, on the day of Onam. I’m sure, as always, the people in Kerala would be welcoming Mahabali with the same pomp and show as they have been doing for long long years. I would miss the show being away from home. But that’s okay. Happy Onam!

Another dozen folks join the Sun Java System Identity Manager club

Next time you see anyone of these gentlemen in the following snap, know them to be equipped with one of the Sun’s hottest technology: Sun Java System Identity Manager.

Five days of learning and good fun I had with these guys. Unlike the last batch, where we all the participants were working really hard on the lab sessions because of the very nature of the course (it was IDM 345 last week), we had some lighter sessions this week (IDM 2525). I think the difference was primarily due to the platform on which we installed the Sun Java System Identity Manager product. Last week, the participants had to work on Solaris boxes, which wasn’t really a pleasing experience for them, but this week the training was conducted on a more familiar Windows environment and hence had no major surprises during the five weeks. However, I have emphasized to them the importance of Unix and its flavours in the computing world and I am sure they would – at least one of them – would go back home and install their Intel machine with the best OS on earth. Time is not far when we would see people trying to save their notepad files using the ESC + wq! commands. I was pleased that each of my participant signed up for the SDN so that they could access the Forum on Identity Manager. Well, in case while reading through this note of mine, if my dear readers also feel the urgency to be a part and parcel of the Sun Developer Network, I hereby provide you the link for the same.

SDN Profile Management

Also, in case any of you are interested in Sun Java System Identity Manager related Forum, THIS is the place to go.

Well, I am satisfied with the way things went on all the five days; it went according to my plan and more importantly quite smoothly. And as usual there was this online test for my participants followed by a teach back session. Thank you guys for your co-operation and five valuable days with Sun Education. Good luck for your assignments. Now I am looking forward to have a very peaceful weekend and start fresh this coming week.

Oh, for a new telephone connection…

Thank God that a night separates the day. And I hope tomorrow is not like today. Nope; my depressing state has nothing to do with the training I am delivering now. Well, I am delivering an Identity Manager training program (this time it is not IDM 345, but IDM 2525) at Sun Education Center, Bangalore. And in between, during the lunch break, I set out for an adventure. Before I talk about what the adventure, let me give you a oneliner background on the same. Of late, I have been thinking about a new telephone connection from BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd.) so that I could take a broadband Internet connection at home. Having understood from the call center that the payment mode to get a new connection is only through a Demand Draft (they still live in some old century I believe), I went to my bank to make a demand draft. Unfortunately, the machine was non-functional (of course not the first time). Then I went to another bank, which has been in exsitence in our country for quite a long time now. Don’t they look very lazy out there? Yes, they did and it was really an experience in itself to get hold of a Demand Draft from there. Time then was 12:50 P.M. Took an auto and reached the BSNL office to submit an application form for a new connection. It was 1:10 P.M. then.I was told that they open only between 10:00 A.M. to 3:30 P.M. (a very convenient time for other employees to visit the BSNL office !!!). And I was the the last in the queue, which had only three people! The lady there at the counter was keying in the details from the application form to the computer very slowly and carefully. That’s understandable. I was getting a bit restless because I had to reach back the Sun lab at 2:00 P.M. for my afternoon session. At around 1:30 P.M. (well, exactly at 1:30 P.M. rather), that lady told me rather harshly to get back to her at 2:30 P.M. after her lunch break. I wonder whether she thought that the people who went to BSNL to submit the forms are unemployed and had no other work than sneaking in at the BSNL counters as and when they tell. By all means I had reached there much in advance to their lunch break and hence had all right to request her to spend another five minutes to accept my application form and give me the acknowledgement. She mercilessly rejected that. Well, I felt really annoyed and walked out of the BSNL office immediately. Well, who cares. Afterall they don’t get anything if a new connection is requested for.

I came back to my office and during the tea break wrote an E-mail to all reachable authorities at BSNL on this issue. I have absolutely no idea whether they would be generous enough to read through my E-mail at least. But I have decided to cancel my Demand Draft tomorrow and try to get a broadband connection from some other private companies who offer this service. I am sure they wouldn’t be harsh like this BSNL people. Having had this personal experience, it is no surprise to me now why these private parties are flourishing in our Nation in spite of allegations like hidden charges etc. Well, service matters. It’s high time that the Government organization learn about it and make appropriate amendments to their working model. Need some good sleep today to get over this frustration.

One more IDM 345 training reaches the chequered flag

It was an exhausting five days of training sessions. One more Sun Java System Identity Manager Deployment training got over this evening (course coded IDM 345). I have taken quite a few batches of this course before, and all of them have been a wonderful learning experience for me as well. I love this particular course for several reasons: one of course it is conducted on my favourite Solaris Operating Environment (unlike the previous course on Sun Java System Identity Manager); and secondly it has around 32 hours of lab, which makes the trainer and the participantes occuppied all through the day on all five days of the training program. I have heard my participants murmering to me, towards the end of the training, “You are putting us under a lot of pressure.” This course covers this provisioning product of Sun in detail and is in fact designed based on Sun’s actual experience of deploying this product in an organization.

My participants were very co-operative. You would see all of ’em below in the picture (and the blurred handwriting that you would see on the while board in this picture is my handwriting and what’s written there is an XPRESS code to generate an E-mail address from the account id of a user in Sun Java System Identity Manager)



As usual, after four and a half day of exhaustive theory and lab sessions I continued to “torture” my participants by conducting an online test and asking ’em to “teach me back” the modules in the course. I must mention here that the gentlemen, whom you see in the snap took my request on “teach back” very seriously and I happened to witness some very good presentations on the course. Good job folks.

I have the same product training next week as well and the participants are from the same organization; but the course is slightly different and is very “light” as compared to the IDM 345. Before I leave, let me clarify here that Sun Java System Identity Manager is not referred to as “SIM,” as I happend to hear from several participants of mine.

Back to College

Woke up quite early; at around 3:30 A.M. and had to catch a flight from Bangalore at around 6:30 A.M. The destination was Hyderabad. After one hour’s flight journey, I had my breakfast from Greenpark restaurant (a decent one I must add) along with another Sun fellow Raju Alluri and the Chairman of the Holy Mary’s Institute of Technology and Science(http://www.hitscoe.ac.in). In fact the main and the only purpose of my journey to Hyderabad was to conduct a seminar on Java at the aforesaid college. After having the breakfast we travelled towards the college. It was a good one hour drive from the Green Park restaurant. It appears to be me that the college was located in an isolated area and kept wondering how the students commuted. But then, later realized that the college had a dozen buses from the city to carry their students. We were welcomed by the Principal of the college. It was nice to be back in a college; a cherished, nourished and protected environment. Raju gave a wonderful presentation on various Sun technologies that mainly revolved around Solaris 10 and Sun servers. I felt that the initial few minutes were tough for me as the students, who attended the seminar took some time to get into the groove. Raju ran through several slides that talked about some important features of Solaris 10 (that included ZFS, DTrace, FMA and SMF). He gave some good examples of the various ranges of Server that is marketed by Sun. I heard a sigh of wonder from the audience, when Raju discussed about the 25K server. I liked the way he handled the questions from the audience (to my surprise there were lot of questions from the student community). The way he answered the questions clearly reflected the decades of experience he has in the field of Information Technology. A few questions that I am able to recollect are mentioned below:

a) Why should someone prefer Solaris/Linux to Windows?
b) On a scale of five how would rate Solaris, Linux and Windows (in terms of Virus attack?
c) How feasible is to assemble a Sun Server by buying its parts?
d) Is Open Office available for Windows operating system?
e) How would a Sun Technology help an Electrical & Electronics Engineering Student?

My session started at around 2:30 P.M. I was in no mood to have lunch. So I had only a short lunch and rushed to the venue. Students assembled by around 2:30 P.M. As usual I had no plans. But the flow I feel was good and I was personally satisfied towards the end of the presentation. My seminar emphasized on the application of Java Programming Language, its scope and more importantly on the importance of getting Sun certified. I could speak the latter aspect from my heart because I myself got certified on Java Programming Language, when I was in my 7th semester in Engineering College. And I know the level of confidence that I achieved after that. Perhaps, it is that calculated risk of bunking several sessions during my seventh semester and focussing myself on Java Technology and getting myself certified in the same laid the foundation of getting into Sun Microsystems. I know I spoke truthfully and spoke from the heart and I only hope that at least a handful of my younger friends get benefitted by the same and focus themselves for a productive career. I felt really exhausted towards the end of the presentation. Raju and myself rushed back to the City. I was early in the airport. Thank God my flight was on time.

A Dream Come True

Well, I have been associated with Sun Microsystems for more an a couple of years as an external consultant for Sun Learning Services and now I am quite excited to be on board with the Standford University Network and to be a part of fun@sun. I have been maintaining a habit of writing diaries for several years now and have printed out a majority of my personal writings only to keep it in a wooden box (my paternal grand mother’s property) in my small bedroom-library in Kochi, Kerala (a southern state in India popularly known as the ‘God’s own country). But those writings are quite personal and I don’t intend to make it public in the near future (you rightly guessed that it would also contain all embarrassing moments in my life as well). Well in this blog site of Sun, which I believe is a wonderful initiative as it gives out the opinions of some major Sun fellows, I wish to write something that’s neither too personal nor too official. I like writing and I do write a lot, which only means that you would see me writing something or the other more than often in this blog. My only wish is that whatever I scribble down in the time that I get, my dear readers would derive something relevant out of it. So welcome to my blog and I sincerely request you let me know your comments and suggestions, if any, for I have been a firm believer of constantly improving the quality of activities that I indulge in.

Now, before I proceed further, I think it makes sense to give you a vague idea about me. Probably the best way to do so is to let you know my interests so that you could try to derive what kind of personality do I belong:

My main hobbies include reading books on English classics, on spirituality, writing diaries, letters and the likes, sketching (of late I have not been doing this; there was time in my life, when I had spent lot of money on buying mediums like pencil, charcoal etc), Graphology (I wouldn’t, of course, rate me high in this), mirror writing (inspired during the school days reading about Da Vinci) and playing Guitar (Well, I have a couple of instruments with me, which I generally use to figure out how to produce some “noise” that’s pleasant for a small family audience; as of now, I play Guitar for myself; it’s risky to play it for the public). Some of the books that I have read and which I believe to have changed me (either in improving my language or in the way I think) are mentioned below (list incomplete):

All the books by my spiritual guide (Shri P Rajagopalachari)
The Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes by Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle
The Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Wings of Fire by Dr. A P J Kalam (Honourable President of India)
Ignited Minds by Dr. A P J Kalam (Honourable President of India)
Guiding Souls by Dr. A P J Kalam (Honourable President of India)
Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda by Swami Vivekananda
Freedom at Midnight by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Practical Unix and Internet Security (Publisher: O’Reilly Publications)

Watching movies was a routine affair in the earlier days (these days the standard of all movies regardless of the language have come down drastically; that’s what I believe personally) and some of ’em that stays with me even now includes the following in no specific order(again the list is incomplete):

The Sixth Sense [English]
Nayakan [Tamil]
Parinda [Hindi]
Manichitrathazhu [Malayalam]
A Few Good Men [English]
Pingami [Malayalam]
Amrithavarshini [Kannada]
Dil Chahta Hai [Hindi]

I presume I have written sufficient to give out an idea of what my interests are and to some extent what type of personality do I belong to. Having introduced myself, I think i will take leave for the moment, hoping to come back with something more interesting, more informative in the days ahead.

Memoirs of a Lovely Evening at Little India.

It was in the month of November 2006 that I met Yusuke for the first time. We had landed at Singapore with a common interest of picking up some lessons on Solaris Internals. How much can you know about a person in just five days? May not be much. But at times it takes only a few minutes to develop a good rapport with someone. Else, how could it happen this way that a stranger from the Land Of Rising Sun offer to join for an outing to the streets in Singapore.

And thus on Monday, 20th November ’06 we set out for a journey to Little India in the late evening after our sessions. Some times, even such a short segment in life carry an impression that last quite a long period. So many months have passed, still those memories haven’t faded: walking through the busy streets, jostled by the men and women of all ages, trying to educate each other on the cultural differences between India and Japan, and finally getting into an Indian restaurant to gobble down some food at night.

It’s not that all of a sudden those memories just popped up and I decided to publish in the blogosphere. I’ve already written about that evening in here. The reason why those thoughts came up again is because Yusuke was here in Bangalore last week and I spent an entire Saturday with him moving around in the city. When I was confused about various destinations that I could take him to in Bangalore, he pulled out a Japanese book from his bag which had a map of India and detailed descriptions about top tourist destinations in and around Bangalore and other Indian cities. It is with that kind of preparations that these folks travel! He flew back to Tokyo the same night, but not before evoking in me the good old memories of that lovely evening spent together at Little India.

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