Dan Norris

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Pictures from the good ol’ days

Fri, 2016-04-22 07:44

My friends from childhood will know my dad. He was likely their high school principal (he was mine too) in a very small town (of about 2500 people on a good day). Those who knew our school may have seen the inside of his office; some were there because they stopped in for a nice visit, others were directed there by upset teachers. In either case, seeing the wall in his office was somewhat overwhelming. At peak, he had 70+ 8×10 photos framed and hanging on his wall. The pictures were of various sports teams and graduating classes from his tenure as principal.

I found those pictures in some old boxes recently. Almost 100% of them were taken by one of our high school math teachers, Jim Mikeworth, who was also a local photographer. Mr. Mike said he was fine with me posting the pictures, so I scanned all of them in and posted them online. If you have a facebook account, you may have already seen them, but if not, they are still accessible without a facebook account. You can find the pictures at https://www.facebook.com/franknorriswall. I hope you enjoy them!

My dad died almost 20 years ago and arguably was one of the most loved men in the history of Villa Grove. He would love for everyone to enjoy this shrine to his office wall of pictures–he was very proud of all the kids that passed through VGHS during his time there (1978-1993, I think).

Collaborate 16: My sessions

Thu, 2016-03-17 14:06

I’ll be at Collaborate 16 next month and looking forward to seeing lots of good friends, learning some new things, and sharing a little experience too. For the last of those, I’ll present 3 sessions, er, more like 2.2 sessions:

  • Wed, 13-Apr, 12:45-12:55pm: Oak Table World 10-minute Lightning talk “Tools used for security and compliance on Linux” [slides]
  • Wed, 13-Apr, 3-4pm: Oak Table World session “IPv6: What You Need to Know (with Linux & Exadata references)” [slides]
  • Thu, 14-Apr, 12:15-1:15pm (saving the best for the dead last slot in the conference?): “Exadata Database Machine Security” [slides]

I’ve spent a lot of the last year on security projects and related investigations, so you’ll notice that my topics also trend in that direction. Hopefully, the usually boring security stuff will be a little more fun or at least that’s one goal for my sessions.

Additionally, I’m one of the Oracle Liaisons for the Oracle Exadata Special Interest Group (a.k.a. Exadata SIG) and the group will also have a meeting at Collaborate.

  • Wed, 13-Apr, 4:15-5:15pm: Exadata SIG meeting

I’ll be at the conference all week, attending sessions, hopefully talking with some Exadata customers, and trying to learn a few things about topics foreign to me. Hope to see you there!

OOW 2015: my presentation

Mon, 2015-10-12 17:28

I don’t have an official OOW presentation in the conference this year. However, I am presenting a session at the Oak Table World 2015 event behind held concurrently with OOW 2015. My topic is “Exadata Database Machine Security” and I plan to review some of the newest updates to security for the Exadata Database Machine engineered system.

As the website indicates, the event is completely free and there is no pre-registration or enrollment required–just show up and come on in to hear some great speakers present on great topics. Hope to see you there on Monday, October 26, 2015!

Exadata Documentation Available

Fri, 2015-02-27 06:12

Please join me in welcoming the Exadata product documentation to the internet. It’s been a long time coming, but glad it’s finally made an appearance!

UKOUG Tech14 slides – Exadata Security Best Practices

Tue, 2014-12-09 04:54

I think 2 years is long enough to wait between posts!

Today I delivered a session about Oracle Exadata Database Machine Best Practices and promised to post the slides for it (though no one asked about them :). I’ve also posted them to the Tech14 agenda as well.

Direct download: UKOUG Tech14 Exadata Security slides

Movember 2012: The ‘stache returns!

Tue, 2012-10-30 08:16

In 2011, I joined many others in the Movember event for the first time. This is a fund-raising effort where participants grow a mustache for the month of November and collect donations to support men’s health, specifically prostate and testicular cancers. Individuals can participate on their own or as a team, but no matter what you donate, it all goes to the same place. In my first year, I managed to collect $754 from 15 donors! Hopefully, I’ll exceed my previous year’s fundraising this year…just not sure what mustache style will bring in the most money yet?!

To see photo updates of how my ‘stache is coming along and to make donations, go to my page on Movember. Thanks for any donation you can make!

OOW 2010 Plans and Anti-plans

Tue, 2010-08-31 00:24

I have plenty of things that are keeping me busy for OOW 2010 and you’ll all get to see the results at the event (if you’re there), but I only have one traditional technical session where I’ll be on stage. I’m presenting the following session jointly with an Oracle Database Machine customer:

Session ID: S316824
Title: Top 10 Lessons Learned in Deploying the Oracle Exadata
Tuesday, September 21, 12:30PM
Location: Moscone South, Rm 307

Check the OOW 2010 content catalog for updated room assignments and times.

Even better than a technical session is the interview and Q&A session I’m doing on Oracle Technology Network Live which is 30 minutes of pure technical talk about Exadata. The session is properly titled “Exadata for Geeks” and I’ll be joining Justin Kestelyn, editor of Oracle Technology Network at the OTN Lounge which is located in the Mason Street tent this year (*not* the previous location in Moscone West).

Significantly, this year I elected not to organize what would have been the 3rd annual pre-OOW scuba dive in Monterey Bay. Time and my work requirements are the primary reasons for this, but it also is a result of the fact that not a single person asked me about it, so apparently it was just for me after all :). Instead, I’m hoping that I might get to visit Alcatraz this year. I’ve been to SF so very many times in the past 12 years, but have yet to take that tour, so I think it’s time (I’ve heard it is a really interesting tour).

See you in SF!

unplumb (or unbinding) NICs on Linux

Fri, 2010-07-16 23:30

I’ve been quiet for a long time now, but this entry hopefully will shake the cobwebs off and get me back into the habit.

I recently had a need to “unplumb” (from Solaris fame) or make interfaces on Linux “disappear” from the ifconfig list. It could be that I don’t know how to completely deconfigure an interface, but I didn’t find any methods to unassign an IP address from a Linux Ethernet interface after it was assigned. You can take interfaces down (ifconfig eth3 down) and reconfigure them to assign different addresses, but not remove the address completely.

After many searches and finding nothing that matched my need, I turned to my fellow Oakies (thanks, Mark!) who turned up this post from 2 years ago that hinted at a solution. It is driver-specific which is not ideal, but that makes sense given what I’m trying to do.

Here’s the generic version of the solution:

echo "<interface_name>" > /sys/bus/pci/drivers/<driver_name>/unbind

Determining the driver_name is pretty simple: check the /etc/modprobe.conf file (on OEL/RHEL 5.x). In that file, you’ll find things like this:

alias eth0 igb
alias eth1 igb
alias eth2 igb
alias eth3 igb

These lines indicate that the Ethernet driver used on this system by eth[0-3] is the igb driver. Now that you know the driver name, the tricky part is figuring out what the driver wants you to use as the interface name. I’ll give a few examples (and I haven’t figured out the scientific way to determine what the driver expects short of reading source code).

For the bnx2 driver, you can use the relatively simple ethernet interface name, like this:

echo "eth2" > /sys/bus/pci/drivers/bnx2/unbind

For my test system, the igb driver doesn’t use the “simple” Ethernet interface name like the bnx2 driver does. Instead, when trying that, it gives an error that the interface doesn’t exist. Time to dig in a little deeper.

On this system, the igb directory looks like this:

# ls -l /sys/bus/pci/drivers/igb/

So, knowing that I have 4 interfaces on the system, I made the correlation to the 4 addresses that appear as symlinks in the driver’s directory and expect that they indicate the interface name. Checking a couple of those (each symlink references a directory), I see this:

# ls -Ll /sys/bus/pci/drivers/igb/0000:01:00.0

You can see the directory with name “net:<interface_name>” as a subdirectory in each listing above. This tells us which interface from /sys/bus/pci/drivers/igb/0000* corresponds with which of the Linux Ethernet interface names. From this, we can see that eth2 is really 0000:07:00.0. So, in order to unbind this interface such that it no longer appears in the “ifconfig -a” output, we run this command:

echo "0000:07:00.0" > /sys/bus/pci/drivers/igb/unbind

and then it no longer appears in the “ifconfig -a” output. If you wanted to make this permanent, you should comment out the corresponding line from /etc/modprobe.conf so that it won’t be configured at boot time. Using the echo command above takes effect immediately, but won’t persist through a reboot (after reboot, the interface will return) unless the /etc/modprobe.conf changes are made.

Now, hopefully the next blog post after this one won’t require 14 more months of preparation!

New job, lots of exciting stuff

Tue, 2009-05-26 16:31

It’s been a week since I started my new job at Oracle Corporation. I’m a remote worker which means that the first day of work wasn’t the usual event since I just went to my home office and got on a concall with my new manager. After getting connectivity and accounts set up properly, I was able to pretty quickly work through the new hire checklist of forms and mandatory training.

My new Oracle-provided laptop arrived around mid-week and I realized that, at least for now, I’ll have to revert back to using the Windows-based laptop and (hopefully temporarily) put my MacBook Pro on the shelf. Actually, my wife is very excited since she’ll get the MBP to use now and we’ll do the usual “trickle down” to the kids so that the oldest computer in the “fleet” will get ditched.

I tried “upgrading” to a new DSL line (from cable modem) last week too, but that appears to have failed as the DSL modem drops my connection on a regular basis for a few seconds. That’s just long enough to break the VPN connection and make it appear that I’m bouncing off and on instant messaging every hour or so. Annoying.

I was excited to finally get on to some real technical work late last week and got to login to my first Exadata storage server. The chores were to re-image 4 servers and apply the latest patches to them. The real fun is starting now!

Of course, the most important part of any job (in my opinion) is people. I have had several virtual meetings with my peers and manager so far and, as expected, they’re all superb. I’m looking forward to working more with the team and others in our companion teams as well as the days roll ahead.

Scuba diving pre-ODTUG Kaleidoscope, Monterey, 21-June-2009

Tue, 2009-05-26 14:28

I’m very pleased to report that I will be able to meet up with ODTUG Kaleidoscope attendees at both the ODTUG Community Service Day (2nd Annual!) and my own scuba dive outing as well. If you can, I’d love for you to attend both events. If you’re not a certified scuba diver, then you can at least participate in the Community Service Day festivities and help out the local area while enjoying some California weather too!

For those certified scuba divers that will (or can) be in the Monterey Bay area on 21-June, I invite you to come diving with me. I’ve arranged some reserved spots on the Beachhopper II dive charter that I’ve dove with before. Brian and Mary Jo (the captain, crew, and bottle washers) are top notch and we had a great time last fall at the first annual pre-OpenWorld scuba event (look for more details on the 2nd annual event later this summer). The boat isn’t huge, but 10 divers is enough for a lot of fun.

The pre-Kaleidoscope dive day is Sunday, 21-June (Father’s Day). The boat will depart the K dock at Monterey Bay harbor at 8am, so load-up is 7:30am. We’ll have a nice morning, drain 2 tanks at some of the best sites you’ll see in northern California (specific sites will be determined that morning by the captain and diver requests), and then motor back to the harbor probably shortly after noon or 1pm. Mary Jo said that she’d also entertain the option of an afternoon 2-tank trip as well, if there is interest (I know I’m interested). Oh, I almost forgot to mention that snacks are provided and they are amazing–made by Mary Jo herself!

The boat costs break down like this:

  • $70 for the boat trip (weights are not included)
  • plus $20 for two tanks of air ($90 total)
  • or $30 for 2 tanks of Nitrox ($100 total)

The charter doesn’t offer gear rental, so we’ll have to pick that up separately. I previously rented from Glenn’s Aquarius 2 which is located pretty close to the harbor and opens at 7am for morning pickup. Their pricing for rental are:

  • Weights only: $8
  • Wetsuit, hood, gloves: $21
  • Full gear (BCD, reg, exposure suit, etc.): $65

We’re less than 1 month away (I just found out I was going to be able to attend last week), so let me know ASAP if you’re interested in diving with us. Once you contact me, I’ll send you the signup instructions. I’m releasing the remaining open seats on 29-May, but there may still be open spots after that, so contact me (comment below, or email) if you’re interested.

As a special treat, Stanley will be joining us for his first scuba dive as well!