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Comment: Re:It moves... (Score 1) 288

by Doc Hopper (#48953623) Attached to: VirtualBox Development At a Standstill

We outsource as fast as possible - We need more h1b visas! -- , kill off management that give a shit about employees, and bend over for our wall street masters and their corporate minions.

Let me translate your translation:

What's I've observed is that we've been onshoring jobs for nearly a decade; most of our offshore growth is from acquisitions and business growth, not replacement of US workers with offshore workers. They pay H1B workers market wages, and by law post the actual wage they are getting on the break room boards for several weeks when those are up for renewal or first hire. I wish I made as much as the handful of H1B guys in my office.

The typical management tenure I observe in Oracle is very long (well over a decade), and though they argue like old women sometimes they get a lot done and focus on their employee's well-being; we're in a knowledge industry, and employees must take care of themselves to remain productive. I argued that a lot of Sun management left for greener pastures pre-acquisition or immediately post-acquisition; many of those because of obvious redundancies, but many others not because of the reality of life with Oracle but because of the imagined bogeyman folks like you pretend exists.

My manager encourages me to get my exercise run in, to take extra time off for my family, to work from home when needed as long as critical coverage needs are met, to turn off my phone if I'm not on-call, to log hours diligently so I get paid overtime, double time, and on-call pay, and by and large makes my job really enjoyable yet challenging. And I get to play in a gigantic storage playground, all day, every day, solving problems and inventing solutions, collaborating with people way smarter than me, and making sure our users can get their work done.

Except when things break and the VP is unhappy. Then everybody's unhappy.

Larry E. resigned his position as President & CEO, appointed a pair of co-Presidents, and then took over as Chief Technology Officer. He did this -- as far as I can tell from my position very low on the totem pole -- because that's where his heart is: in creating great products with a solid revenue model in a sustainable way that fill needs customers don't even know they have yet, while keeping his talent happy and productive making more cool tech. And that focus is obvious in how Oracle treats its employees: pretty darn well.

Comment: It moves... (Score 4, Informative) 288

by Doc Hopper (#48943865) Attached to: VirtualBox Development At a Standstill

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle.

TL;DR: I am an Oracle employee. It's an awesome place to work with above market pay, superb benefits, and a demanding but rewarding engineering culture. Virtualbox is one project in a large and growing virtualization team, creating and improving some truly amazing cutting-edge technologies that make your virtualization life better.

I'm going to share some facts as I see them, and let you draw your own conclusions instead of drawing them for you.

1. The Oracle VM and Oracle VM Virtualbox teams are one and the same within Oracle. There's a lot of cross-pollination of ideas and effort, and the virtualization team is frakking huge: HUNDREDS of developers. Not "4", as some have asserted here!
2. There's a ton of stuff happening in virtualization at Oracle: https://blogs.oracle.com/virtu...
3. There's a substantial line-up of products that are demo'd to customers as part of "Virtualbox Appliances". Virtualbox demos are a key strategy for introducing many of our products to customers. http://www.oracle.com/technetw... .
Corrollary: I manage a lot of ZFS appliances. I like them; they make my job easier, particularly at the kind of scale at which one begins measuring one's storage in exabytes. You should download the Virtualbox-based Oracle ZFS Storage Simulator and check it out. Hint: Dig into the REST interfaces and ECMAscript workflows concepts. This kind of thing is Stored Procedures for enterprise-grade storage appliances with absolutely blistering scale, reliability, and performance, and if you don't yet understand how powerful that idea is, you might be insufficiently experienced in high-end storage and databases.
4. Wim Coekaerts is a smart, friendly, and communicative dude. He also happens to be SVP over our Linux & Virtualization efforts. If you're really interested in the details of virtualization development at Oracle, you should check out his blog: https://blogs.oracle.com/wim/

Next, my opinions. No longer facts!

VirtualBox is a mature, stable product that's doing its job and -- as a GPL project -- seems to me like more a vehicle for showcasing Oracle technology than a revenue generator in its own right. That doesn't mean development has ceased! It just means that, in general, Oracle engineering teams are laser-focused on how we can make money so we can stay employed so we can keep creating really unique and useful products for our customers. Responsibilities on teams shift as need demands, and with such an enormous knowledge base in virtualization on our Engineering staff, there's no question that if a product needs a feature to benefit customers, and a good case can be made that it'll pay off, it gets the engineering resources it needs to give it a try.

The Sun transition was tough for some employees. In advance of the merger, a lot of old-timers split. A lot of younger engineers went looking for somewhere hipper and younger to work than what would become a Fortune 500 company. Many Sun managers, sensing the change in the wind as Oracle's intensely results-oriented management team integrated with them, split for positions elsewhere.

I know and work with the survivors of the merger every day. And overwhelmingly, those who've integrated into Oracle culture, shown they belong here through their productivity and attitude, and produce results consistently have built success upon success, and are valued and rewarded.

They're also a bunch of brainiacs who routinely blow my mind with deep insights into operating systems, hardware, and performance optimization.

Those who don't deal well with rapid change, high expectations, and a dogged focus on constantly improving our products at an increasing pace while doing more with less don't tend to thrive here.

From my point of view, Oracle's a great place to work. The focus is always on delivering new benefits -- not just features! -- for our customers. The pace is hectic, every product we work with internally is "eating our own dogfood" to try to figure out why our customers will love or hate it (third content management system in five years, blech!!!), we typically pay above market rate, and we expect a high degree of professionalism, intelligence, cooperation, and problem-solving ability. I'm a busy dad of four with a triathlon habit, and the work-life balance usually comes out just right.

If you think you have what it takes to keep changing the world for the better as fast as you possibly can, check us out at http://www.oracle.com/careers/ .

Comment: Write it! (Score 1) 430

I was really concerned about the sorry state of the Bugzilla documentation a decade ago. So I wrote first an unofficial FAQ, and then later a book called "The Bugzilla Guide" and submitted it to the CVS repository under my own copyright. A few years later when I felt it was in a reasonable state, I released the documentation to the Mozilla Foundation and washed my hands of the project. They've done a pretty good job keeping it updated; SOMEBODY has to do the groundwork to create a framework for the documentation to hang together. It's either a labor of love or a labor of money. Lucky for me in writing The Bugzilla Guide, I had both: first was paid to work on it part-time as part of my job, and then for several years with no remuneration. Eventually I stopped using the product professionally, so therefore had no need to revisit and update any further. The tale is the same for many of us, I believe. I parlayed that experience into a series of lucrative contracts that leveraged the fact that I was the guy who "wrote the book on Bugzilla". These days, I have largely stopped doing contract work on the basis of that anymore; my full-time job -- that, not coincidentally, involves writing a lot of documentation! -- is way too interesting for me to spend more time on that :-) So in short: find a personal or professional reason to use a product and write the docs. If you don't do it, who will?

Comment: Re:Better ideas anyone? (Score 1) 393

by Doc Hopper (#46128629) Attached to: Confessions Of an Ex-TSA Agent: Secrets Of the I.O. Room
The myth of explosive decompression from a bullet hole has been long since busted; there's no "suddenly" about it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... . The hole would just make a whistling noise until someone put some duct tape over it, and the pilot would probably ask everyone to put on their oxygen masks as a precaution while he brings the plane below 11,000 feet. Now if you equipped everyone with some plastic explosive to blow holes in the side of the plane, your concern would be legitimate. Not saying I think we should equip everyone with guns, but an officer or two on every plane carrying standard police-issue sidearms would be effective and safer than what we're doing today.

Comment: Re: maybe (Score 1) 267

by Doc Hopper (#45589221) Attached to: How the LHC Is Reviving Magnetic Tape
Several other people in the thread also mentioned you can pick up 4TB SATA drives for around $150. I was referring to 4TB SAS drives which retail for more like $350-$450 as of this writing. It's a more apples-to-apples comparison; even though SAS is several orders of magnitude worse than tape for bit errors, it's an order of magnitude better than SATA.

Comment: Re:but what about cheap disk? (Score 1) 267

by Doc Hopper (#45585497) Attached to: How the LHC Is Reviving Magnetic Tape
I'm going to disagree; have you seen the ZFS appliance sales figures, including as part of the Exalogic and Supercluster bundles? It's kind of phenomenal, from last place to nipping at the heels of Netapp & EMC now. Admittedly, closing new updates to the code was unpopular both internally & externally, but has proven to be a pretty solid business decision from a sales perspective.

Comment: Re:maybe (Score 1) 267

by Doc Hopper (#45581591) Attached to: How the LHC Is Reviving Magnetic Tape

My name's Matthew Barnson. I'm happy to talk storage and tape technologies any time, and am pretty certain I'm not a pathological liar. But, you know, I could be lying about that. I live in Utah, and work in a pretty large data center nearby. It's my job to know what I'm talking about, and I've lived and breathed this stuff for a number of years. That said, I can always be mistaken.

Nice to meet you, Anonymous Coward. Feel free to send me an email (firstname@lastname.org) and we can talk use cases where tape is the obvious and better choice, and those where disk is the obvious and better choice. I'm a storage and backup admin working in the industry for nearly twenty years, and have had discussions similar to this over coffee tables, water coolers, and in board rooms. The discussions end up being about things like performance, ROI, archival needs, reliability, typical use case, auditability, and more. Depending on which angle you look at it, some technologies win and others lose.

The point of THIS discussion was some writer who assumed tape was dead learned otherwise. I allege tape is not dead, and has never been over the past six decades, for numerous good reasons (and some bad ones). That said, I have no particular attachment to it other than that it is often the right solution for enterprise needs when other solutions -- like finicky, unreliable optical media -- will not do.

Anyway, if you want to argue about raw vs. compressed capacity, that's fine. We compress data on our ZFS storage appliances because it improves performance, not just capacity. Same with tape. I routinely shove more than 10GB of uncompressed data at the 5TB at my T10K T2 tapes, and seamlessly/transparently pull 10GB of uncompressed data off of them. The fact it was compressed in between is relevant, perhaps, but what's also relevant is that we usually fit in excess of 10TB of data per tape. If you're willing to play by real names, I can provide some stats to back up the claim that most modern tape drives easily and typically achieve their rated compressed capacity figures.

We see that with LZJB compression on our storage appliances as well: about 1.7 to 2.4:1 compression, on average. It varies by what you're storing, of course. Our patch repository, for instance, sees pretty terrible compression ratios as it's trying to compress gzipped and zipped data. On the other hand, general-purpose file storage can see considerably better results.

I maintain that tape is a key sell for customers who audit us regularly. The fact that data is stored on tape, shipped to a secure facility for storage in an EM-resistant container and cage, and retained for a specific period is a revenue driver in the post-9/11, Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA era. I have to provide evidence on this to auditors regularly. Among other things, customers who care about their data often aren't satisfied with many pure on-disk solutions: they want data guarantees of timeliness, throughput, encryption and the keys for decryption, and timely windows for restoration of data in case of disaster or "oops". Yet these same customers often aren't willing to pay what it costs to have a fully redundant, disaster-tolerant environment that could weather another 9/11 and come up in an alternate location instantly. In that great land of the "in between" is one gigantic area where tape shines at a reasonable cost.

Tape has its share of problems, to be sure. But there are many cases where it is simply the best solution, providing a solution to common data transport and archival challenges like it has for the past sixty years.

Comment: Re:No shit Sherlock (Score 1) 267

by Doc Hopper (#45579655) Attached to: How the LHC Is Reviving Magnetic Tape
Yeah, I was comparing enterprise-grade tape storage to enterprise-grade hard disk storage where the cost per terabyte is much higher. A 4TB 7200RPM SAS drive compared to your typical home-oriented 4900RPM SATA drive has several times more remapping sectors available, better ball bearings, wider temperature alert thresholds, higher quality control, etc. Unless it's Seagate... I don't use their SAS offerings anymore if I can avoid it due to enduring QC problems in their enterprise storage line from 2009 to present (late 2013). Their SATA stuff is actually higher reliability, and that's not saying much. For the home user, tape storage died a decade ago. For the enterprise, it's just kept growing. For good reasons.

Comment: Re:but what about cheap disk? (Score 1) 267

by Doc Hopper (#45579607) Attached to: How the LHC Is Reviving Magnetic Tape
I'm a big believer that SSD vs. rotating disk is not an either/or thing. Check out ZFS Hybrid Storage Pools. We've done a ton of testing on this, and basically beyond a certain point (and that point moves over time!), shoving in more SSDs doesn't buy you very much at all performance-wise over using the SSD as ZFS intent log and L2ARC (read cache, more or less). A 15,000RPM drive (or 10,000 in small-form-factor disk) with fast read SSDs and fast write-optimized SLC NAND SSDs is really the best of both worlds right now: massive capacity and massive speed. You can try this out on your home Linux or BSD box. Split one SSD into two partitions, set one as the intent log and the other as L2ARC. For IOPS-oriented transactions, this kind of setup is really the cat's meow. For throughput? SSD absolutely, positively SUCKS. Spinning disk has better throughput... and tape, better throughput still :)

Comment: Re:I wish that they looked like the old ones (Score 1) 267

by Doc Hopper (#45579327) Attached to: How the LHC Is Reviving Magnetic Tape

The size of storage has continued doubling with surprising regularity. Not quite Moore's Law-ish, but close. For 7200RPM SAS drives:
2009: 600GB drives in common use.
2010: 1TB drives in common use.
2011: 2TB drives in common use.
2012: 3TB drives in common use.
2013: 4TB drives shipped, not quite common.
2014: 6TB drives are shipping Real Soon Now (gotta get the cash out of the new 4TB drives)
2015: 6TB drives will be common.

Today's average single-rack storage appliance runs a little over half a petabyte raw capacity, and three-quarter petabyte single-racks are shipping today. I think we'll see "a petabyte in 1 rack" by year-end 2014 as 6TB 7200RPM disks start arriving (looks like we'll be skipping 5TB completely). Where I work, filesystems still tend to be smaller than that, more-or-less governed by the compressed size of tape that services them. So an average filesystem runs about 2TB-17TB depending on the tape tech backing it up. To back up a 17TB filesystem on a single tape still takes about 15-16 hours; to transfer it onto another hard drive, still longer!

Comment: Re: maybe (Score 1) 267

by Doc Hopper (#45578949) Attached to: How the LHC Is Reviving Magnetic Tape
What's missing from your comparison is Scale. For small-scale solutions such as you suggest -- 16TB is TEENY, TINY STORAGE -- I absolutely would advocate disk-to-disk kind of stuff. Cheap, fast, easy. Sync it over the cloud. It's small. 16TB is just statistical noise from an enterprise storage perspective. Tape is pretty much mandatory when you need to figure out how to deal with a few hundred petabytes... not a few dozen terabytes.

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