Wednesday Morning Quarterback

These stories that Donald Trump won on the back of an angry white vote are just not true, in my opinion, and this will be proven in the analysis I believe.

The first sign I had that there was unexpected broad support for Trump was a black working-class Uber driver who told me during the ride how vehemently anti-Clinton he was. He spoke of deep mistrust and even said things like “ever notice how people who oppose the Clinton’s end up dead?” expressing not only a very surprising suspicion of Clinton but also actually a fear of Clinton which I found shocking. This driver wore a black “stocking-type” hair covering and very much looked like a regular black man-in-the-street and so since I believe first my own eyes and ears this told me that Trump had unexpected supporters that were non-white and that there was trouble brewing in Detroit for Hillary Clinton.

The next thing was that Hillary Clinton had no clear message at all that I could ever hear. The Clinton campaign went all-in on painting Donald Trump as unfit, but never had a message about what Hillary would do. Voters needed more than bashing they needed message and they never got anything more from Hillary than the sister who points her finger at her brother and says “Mommy, Jimmy’s being bad again!”. 

Finally, Clinton almost never gave any realistic opinion or policy statement on anything. She regularly said that a problem is “complicated and requires discussion.” or something like that. Unfortunately this kind of answer is not decisive enough for a president in the opinion of substantial numbers of voters of all races, creeds and genders. 

In the same vein her rather outlandish supposition that Donald Trump could not be trusted with “the football” nuclear launch codes was a dangerous gambit because it risked boomeranging on her and implying that she conversely would hesitate and not man-up to commit American military might in a crisis; that she would “freeze up” looking for consensus and approval in a crisis. Voter fear in a dangerous world I’m sorry to say worked counter to a woman who looked far too much like a consensus-builder and approval-seeker and not enough like an executive decision-maker.

The Huffington Post early in the election cycle sounded alarms that Clinton’s stunning defeat by Sanders in the Michigan democratic primary was being swept under the rug by the Democratic machine, while in fact it was a clarion call that the Democratic party machine should have recalibrated the messaging and at a minimum restructured the Clinton campaign and moreover should have halted the actually corrupt plan to derail the Sanders campaign and rush to market with an already previously side-swiped-by-Obama candidate. Democratic voices were sounding the alarm but it was ignored.

Also, Trump continued and built upon campaign strategies Obama had successfully used of being a change candidate, while Clinton suddenly improbably was painted as an establishment candidate by both the Trump campaign message and also by Bernie Sanders interaction and marginalization (and marginalizing Bernie resonated with voters themselves afraid of being marginalized – again – by a Democratic machine that took a lot smugly for granted).

In the end a preponderance of voters, were willing to overlook deep character flaws to elect a candidate with a strong stern message of change, while on the other hand were unwilling to elect a candidate with character flaws and a message that relied far too heavily on pointing the finger and saying “Mommy, Jimmy’s being bad again!” and little else.

Orabuntu-LXC 4.0-RC ChangeBlog

Haven’t done my changelog yet for the latest release of Orabuntu-LXC, but some mighty changes were brought into this release.

The dynamic DNS DHCP Server was moved itself into an LXC container (Xenial 16.04) so now Orabuntu_LXC doesn’t touch your existing bind9 or isc-dhcp-server configs at all. Also the Ubuntu LXC DNS DHCP container uses the faster image download too.

The required configs for sysctl.conf for Oracle on the Orabuntu_LXC host have been moved out of /etc/sysctl.conf and into /etc/sysctl.d/60-oracle.conf so sysctl.conf is now untouched too.

Same for /etc/limits.conf; it’s now updated via /etc/security/limits.d/70-oracle.conf so that limits.conf is not touched.

In fact, there are now only 3 files touched for Orabuntu_LXC install on the Ubuntu  LXC host, and one of them is /etc/NetworkManager/dnsmasq.d/local (see here for more info on that) so version 4.0-RC of Orabuntu-LXC represents an almost 100% transparent overlay of the Ubuntu host.

Orabuntu_LXC is also now totally re-runnable thanks to improvements such as iptables rule cleanups and many detailed improvements. Orabuntu_LXC re-runnable means that Orabuntu_LXC is like etch a sketch for multi-host multi-tier, RAC, multi-host Oracle EBS etc pilot projects. You can deploy as many Oracle-enterprise-software-install-ready fully-networked, all-Oracle-prequisites installed, Oracle Linux 5,6 or 7 containers (“hosts”) in literally less than 10 minutes to prototype something, and when done just blow them away and reset new in literally less than 10 minutes and optionally archive off your previous setups by just tar.gz’g your previous chroot container rootfs’s.

The SCST Linux SAN optional module has undergone major improvement as well. For Ubuntu kernels >= 2.6.30 there is NO custom kernel build required anymore for SCST thanks to Vladimir and Bart and the good people who bring us SCST as long as SCST branch 3.1.x is used. This has been incorporated into Orabuntu_LXC fully. The SCST SAN scripts build the entire file-backed iscsi Oracle ASM SAN in less than 10 minutes, configure all SCST groups, targets, devices, LUNs, etc, and there is a script that automatically builds your ASM LUNS (offers parameter [ external | normal | high] ASM redundancy build option) and  also configures the multipath.conf file automatically with all parameters, WWIDs, and aliases. Of course because it’s in bash, it’s easy to customize it to create your SAN in your own custom configuration.

Orabuntu_LXC uses iptables rules to provide WAN networking so your physical interfaces are untouched and remain fully independent of OpenvSwitch. 

There have also been enhancements to the Openvswitch-ovs design too. Orabuntu_LXC uses VLAN tagging to provide VLANs for the deployments. VirtualBox VMs can easily be added to the Openvswitch network using only the VBox GUI so LXC and  VMs can talk.

For the first time Orabuntu_LXC was designed to also be deployable in an Ubuntu VM so you can now build a multi-node Oracle app (eg RAC) in a single Ubuntu Linux VM which has its own integrated DNS DHCP. 

Orabuntu_LXC now supports user-supplied custom domain names and custom nameserver name. Orabuntu_LXC comes with a two-domain design so that its clear how to generalize to an n-domain design by editing the files and extending to n-domains.

Everything in Orabuntu_LXC is GNU3 Open Source license and written in straightforward bash code so you can fork Orabuntu_LXC and design it to suit your needs (remember to please share your tweaks, changes, improvements etc back to your fork please).

All this and much more! Try out 4.0-RC here (it’s not at the yet). Note that of course you can use Orabuntu-LXC to run anything you want in a container. Orabuntu-LXC provides Oracle Linux 5, 6 and 7 Containers, but you can create additional containers of other Linux distros at the LXC CLI, and, as long as you migrate them over to the OpenvSwitches the DNS DHCP uses those containers will also be in the same domain and network too. Support to deploy other non-Oracle-Linux distros directly from Orabuntu-LXC  is planned but does not have a roadmap date yet (because the primary goal of Orabuntu-LXC Is to enable running Oracle Enterprise software on Ubuntu Linux with NO hypervisor at bare metal network, compute, and storage performance). As always note that Oracle Corporation neither supports nor certifies Oracle on the Ubuntu Linux platform. 

Ubuntu Linux really turbocharged my career ever since I started working with Ubuntu 7 and 8 desktop back in my days as a TUSC Oracle consultant based in Chicago at the Butterfield Road HQ. Even then I had tried to build Oracle RAC on Ubuntu (pre-LXC) era, and I can only say LXC made my RAC-on-Ubuntu dream a straightforward no-hacks reality. Love; It’s what makes Ubuntu Ubuntu.

OTN Appreciation Day 2016

The main thing I love about OTN is that Oracle software can be downloaded from OTN freely with minimal fanfare (well you do have to check a couple of export restriction boxes). There are some exceptions such as Retek and archived versions of the database, but I can live with that and I understand the reasons for that. 

I’m also glad that OTN gives many of my favorite bloggers such as Jeffrey Hunter and Tim Hall and many newcomers too a venue for publication. When I first began working with Oracle on OpenvSwitch networks OTN picked up my posts on that topic and spotlighted them. 

Thanks OTN! 

Oracle Public Cloud: Me-Too on Steroids

That Oracle would trumpet at OOW 2016 a VM-based offering, the dense IO shape, is shocking, and disappointing, when Linux Container (LXC) technology offers order-of-magnitude better elasticity, density and performance relative to hypervisor-based VM technology.

Last year, I asked a certain founder of a company known the world over for its sturdy and magnificent Linux Desktop software at SCALE 14x conference if he felt container technology made the Xen-hypervisor-fork foundation technology of AWS obsolete, and his answer was no, and as I recall he cited full-isolation as the main reason for his answer. Still, that same company has staked a great deal on LXC technology, and has led, and continues to lead this field.

Those of us who champion container technology know that LXC smokes hypervisors on all metrics and features except complete isolation any day and twice on Sunday. I routinely build 6-node Oracle 12c multitenant ASM Flex clusters in LXC containers that perform at bare metal speed, turning in bare-metal SLOB benchmarks, which on a VM on the same hardware would choke, and probably be crashed by intensive SLOB tests .

So one such as I asks why did Oracle opt to go to market with what I would call a “me-too public cloud VM offering” rather than boldly use its reputed engineering prowess to solve the isolation problem and be a pure-play  “container-cloud” giant, a space under-represented by the “public cloud big-4” of AWS, Azure, Google, and IBM. Note, to be fair, Google has Kubernetes, Amazon has their EC2 Container Service, and Nardella over at Microsoft is strengthening it’s ties to Canonical Ltd. and has the Azure Container Service. But all these offerings tend to be oriented around Docker and underlying VM layers (i.e. Amazon Containers run ontop of EC2 VM layer). 

At OOW 16 yesterday, I popped over to the Oracle virtualization and container kiosks and found what I would describe as a lame offering that the Oracle reps described as effectively the “only” Oracle container offering which they  called “Bare Metal As A Service”. That’s BMaaS I guess, right? Smirk. They told me that that is the extent of Oracle’s container cloud offering…you can get BMaaS from Oracle Cloud and build whatever you want on it, including for example, LXC containers. You’d think Oracle could have built some GUI provisioning and management tools for LXC containers technology. However, to be fair, Oracle now fully supports Oracle 12c database in LXC containers provided you run a suitably recent version of Oracle Linux Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK).  Oracle for those who might not know, has its own fork of the RedHat-family of kernels called Oracle Linux. They offer this support for Oracle database 12c in LXC containers for both Oracle Linux 6 and Oracle Linux 7. And to be sure, since it’s a true bare-metal platform for LXC, it deserves mention here.

Oracle, like BlackBerry, missed the boat by about 10 years on Public Cloud just as BlackBerry denied reality about Apple iPhone. Oracle still had, and has, a chance to lead containerized clouds, but apparently lacks the will to spend on R&D to “make it so #1” and solve the challenging full-isolation issue holding container adoption back.

Therefore, I predict that like BlackBerry, the Oracle Public Cloud has a murky future at best. Currently the Oracle Public Cloud does not even make it into the 2016 Gartner Magic Quadrant. BlackBerry went multi-platform in recent years trying to catch up to Apple, but the new approach at BlackBerry also cannibalizes BlackBerry’s “Service Access Fees” which it loses every time someone junks their old BlackBerry handset. SAF for those who don’t know is per-phone, per-month fees BlackBerry used to collect from BlackBerry users. SAF is quickly eroding at BlackBerry and it remains to be seen if software and services products at BlackBerry can close the breach on vanishing SAF revenue. 

Similarly, Oracle is getting intense pressure on all sides about its exorbitant support fees for Oracle database, and to compete in the cloud yet preserve support fees Oracle has to somehow match AWS incremental cloud cost while not cannabalizing it’s own SAF-like support fees. 

This leads to a big clue about why Oracle eschewed superior LXC containers technology for its public cloud. Containers run at 10x the density of VM’s and hence Oracle likely did the math on what a container cloud would do to Oracle support revenue (which remember is processor/core based) and said to itself “let’s not go there”.

SLSO Opening Weekend 2016

The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra opened it’s 137th season this weekend with a bold gambit of a Charles Lindbergh themed evening celebrating the “Spirit of St. Louis”.  The program included Weill, Boulez and Debussy.  The St. Louis Symphony is a unique experience and more so this year.  Much more intimate than any other symphony orchestra, attendance has an unpretentiousness that I find no where else except the St. Louis Symphony.  The bold direction established by Maestro Robertson this opening weekend with these bold unorothodox opening performances unsheathes a double-edged sword which at the same time sets the St. Louis Symphony experience one unlike any other in its surprising and relaxing atmosphere of a simple gathering of great musicians who decided to get together of an evening and deliver fabulous performance of whatever they choose to play, while on the other edge of the sword a risk of dimishining the out-of-the-box stature that a symphony orchestra can claim simply through pretentiousness and set pieces, not to mention losing the core mature symphony-goers who gravitate to the traditional repetoire.

The St. Louis Symphony under David Robertson and Helene-Marie Bernard’s leadership has opted to take the symphony in a direction which I find unlike any other symphony experience available anywhere, and very refreshing, innovative, friendly and memorable.  It remains to be seen if the symphony can simultaneously be bold and experimental in its cozy Powell Hall space without diminishing textbook stature.  For myself, I think the direction chosen is the right direction.  The SLSO at Powell Hall has always had an approachable unorchestra orchestra feel to it which in earlier years threatened in fact to somehow diminish the orchestra.  Nevermind that this orchestra has won grammys in the very recent past for it’s stellar recordings and nevermind that at 137 years it’s the second oldest elder statesperson of American symphony orchestras.  No, there’s no denying that the SLSO has a dangerously approachable feel to it – and the appreciative St. Louis audiences who are so generous with the standing ovations don’t help matters much (this is a friendly joke – I love our St. Louis audiences and I think soloists who visit us must have St. Louis marked as  a “feel good” destination) and contribute to the risk of diminishing the just-add-a-big-hall-and-a-hard-to-please-audience that a say, NYPhil automatically employs.  NYPhil has “Barry Diller” hall and at least some people still know who he is, but does anyone know who Powell Hall is named after?  I don’t.

I think the new direction of the symphony celebrates what is great about the SLSO and builds on it’s strengths rather than trying to out-nyphil-the-nyphil.  Keep up the good work SLSO!

No blog post for this season of the SLSO would be complete in my opinion without noting the passing of Jack Taylor, founder of Enterprise Rent-A-Car who donated beyond generously to the tune of 10’s of millions of dollars to the SLSO.  Jack Taylor will be very much missed by the SLSO family but his legacy of generosity to the SLSO and to this city truly is consistent with “The Spirit of St. Louis” theme of this opening weekend.  Jack’s relatives and the greater Taylor Clan continue to support the SLSO generously, and I thank them for that most sincerely.

The Winding Road to OOW 2016

It’s definitely been an interesting chain of events that takes me ultimately this year to Oracle Open World 2016 next week. I had not planned to attend this year. I was busy working several consulting gigs when Sushil Kumar, Chief Marketing Officer at Robin Systems, reached out to me over LinkedIn. I learned finally where that consistent San Jose hit showing up in Google Analytics Geo on my Google Sites blog at had originated; it was from Robin Systems. My blogging on my techniques for putting Oracle in LXC had caught their attention.

Robin Systems is a startup which emerged from stealth in April of this year. Robin has developed an Application-Defined LXC Linux Container software platform with extensions for Docker and exciting QoS, snapshot, and time-travel features, all running on an OpenvSwitch SDN.

I’m at the St. Louis airport right now waiting for my flight to New York. I am honored and very pleased to have had my abstract Oracle Linux Container Update selected for presentation at the quarterly general meeting of the NYOUG today, September 14. I’m making a quick day trip in and out no hotel so it’s a 6:00 AM departure. The NYOUG Preso is boxcars to OOW this year which makes for a lot of work and travel.  I’m writing this blog on my BlackBerry Z30 OS10 device with true multitasking and microkernel architecture on-the-fly. 

So, in early August my wife and I flew out to Robin Systems to learn more about what it is that they are doing and what is being built at their Silicon Valley HQ in San Jose, and also to discuss a collaborative effort.  In other words I was interviewed by Robin Systems.  We also flew out together to squeeze in a long-overdue weekend at the wonderful Monterey Tides Resort right on the beach at Monterey Bay before Yelena started her school year as Professor of Russian Language at St. Louis University.

I’ve been working on Oracle Enterprise software in LXC Linux containers for about two years and have my own open source project for running Oracle Enterprise software on Ubuntu kernels (no hypervisor) in GA. Even before that, in 2012, I was blogging right here at WordPress about putting virtualized Oracle systems on OpenvSwitch networks. I was excited about the work and challenges at Robin Systems so I was very happy to be invited to join the team just ahead of Oracle Open World 2016.

As a result, I’ve been crisscrossing the USA from coast-to-coast frequently over the past month, and the acceptance of the abstract at NYOUG added a couple more legs to my sudden return to the jet set after being anchored for about a year with light travel.

So, it’s a swing to NYC today, then right back to STL home base tonight on the last non-stop, and then several full speed hectic days of system architecture hands-on building for OOW 2016, leading up to the exciting days of my third consecutive OOW.

This new position at Robin and the writing of this blog has precipitated the renewed use of my long-dormant WordPress account. Thanks WordPress for not deleting my account. “They also serve who only stand wait.”