Thank you.


I started this blog less than a week ago, and I wrote a niche article about SmartOS that I expected to get a few dozen views on over a period of days or weeks. It’s been a little over a full day, and I definitely got a lot more eyes on it than I was expecting. Thank you all so much! This really tells me that there is an interest out there in better SmartOS content. I heard you, and I’m planning on answering that.

I’m doing some research now on SmartOS packaging for a series of articles aimed at users first, and then at packagers. This seems to be one area where SmartOS is hurting. If you want to use new paradigm software like Riak or node.js, you’re probably going to be pretty happy with the packages that are available today. If, however, you’re moving legacy UNIX applications like Postfix and Dovecot (as I am doing for my personal mail server), you’re going to have to either work with older packages or make some new ones. I’d very much like to see more people packaging and maintaining packages for this platform, and as it turns out it’s not that hard to do.

I’m a sysadmin by profession, spending part of my time in a traditional IT department and part of my time on a naturally formed DevOps team. As such, I’m personally quite interested in automated provisioning, configuration management, continuous integration / continuous deployment, etc. Expect more content about applying SmartOS in those areas, too.

There is an air of mystery about SmartOS, not because it’s complicated or hard to manage, but perhaps because of a number of smaller factors like lack of good PR (Slashdot, where are you?), the docs are a bit rough, and maybe some other factors. What I’ve found is that the platform is surprisingly easy to deploy and manage, and that the community surrounding it is friendly and helpful. I’ll be sure to write more about the community aspect of SmartOS, as well.

Feel free to leave me comments on what other things you’d like to learn about SmartOS.

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4 comments

  1. I want to find out how i can create iscsi targets on one install and then launch virtual servers on another install with the disk volume from the first server (accessed over iscsi). Or should I not try to abuse SmartOS for this? 😛

    Im looking at an openstack deploy and it would be awesome to use smartos for the nova compute nodes and for something like persistant network storage. Or maybe should just snap and zfs send/receive the volumes to others hosts regularly.

    1. I believe you can actually present the same native ZFS filesystem to multiple zones to achieve the same end result without the mess of iSCSI. I seem to remember seeing something about this in the man page for vmadm. I’m pretty sure this is a standard function of a Solaris zone in any Solaris or Illumos based OS.

  2. Packaging documentation and automated provisioning is where SmartOS is really hurting right now.

    Downloading an ISO is easy. Then what? The JSON zone configuration syntax might make sense to a web developer, but I have a sneaking suspicion a lot of the SmartOS audience right now are system administrators and system engineers… SmartOS will have a high barrier to entry until these issues are addressed by quality documentation (ala docs.sun.com) first and foremost, and comprehensive suite of lights out and automated provisioning tools second. How much of that is currently documented on the Wiki?

    Right now in terms of documentation and barrier to entry, it is a “free-for-all, everybody get shotguns”.

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