Solaris 11 hints

Since Solaris 11 is now Officially released, I have started tinkering with it. This will be a container for my notes on it. Sections that grow too large may be split out into their own page eventually


Solaris 11 differences
Solaris 11 gripes
PXE installation of Solaris 11 x86
Separate pages:
WANBOOT installation of Solaris 11 sparc
Solaris 11 pkg cheatsheet
Solaris 11.1 upgrade help
Solaris 10 in Solaris 11 zone
Setting up Solaris 11 as NIS client

Solaris 11 differences

(I'm adding to this as I find things) Also of note: The official oracle EOF list and
What new list (PDF! Arrg)! ( gcache may or may not work for you)

Generally speaking, Oracle seems to be standardizing on a lot of "*adm" commands now. That's probably a good thing.

What follows is a very high level, "first impressions" list of differences in Solaris 11.


Random gripes as I try out Solaris 11.

PXE installation of Solaris 11 x86

Oracle seems to give lovely automated setup instructions for Solaris x86, which presumably work great for setting up a new Solaris 11 system over PXE... just so long as you

already have a Solaris 11 system installed

If you're like me, this is not such a wonderful thing.

This would have been a lot easier, if it wasnt for the fact that oracle ships BROKEN "menu.lst" files in its x86 install media, so I was much confuzzled, until I patched together multiple pieces of information from different sources.

So here I share a few hours research in how to get this thing bootstrapped by hand, if you already have a PXE server set up, but no pre-existing solaris 11 servers running.

If you already have a PXE install server set up, you hopefully are already familiar with PXE based grub, "menu.lst", and your /tftpboot directory. If not, please read up on them. I am going to detail the Differences between the normal solaris 10 pxe, not the whole thing, at this time.
The good news is, if you are familiar with the old method, it is *somewhat* similar.

  1. First, obtain one of the oracle iso images; for example, sol-11-1111-ai-x86.iso
    Do the usual thing of lofiadm, and mount the iso. Then either copy, or persistantly loopback mount it, to a place on your install server that is available via HTTP

  2. Copy the "new" pxegrub binary (if you like) from {TOP}/boot/grub/pxegrub, to your standard tftpboot location. Or, if you like, manually override the "filename" DHCP line for your desired install clients

  3. Copy over the kernel and initial ramdisk, to your tftp directories. Please note that the unix kernel must have the SAME relative pathname as on the cdrom.
    However, you can put platform/i86pc/amd64/boot_archive pretty much anywhere in your tftp tree.

  4. Set up new appropriate entries in boot/grub/menu.lst Note that it is ALMOST the same as the old format. The big differernce being that it supports an install_media transport of http now. This is becuase the expected "install media" consists of only a handful of files, rather than the thousands of separate pkg files in earlier media.
    For the curious, the handful of files are:
        solaris.zlib      (contains /usr)
        solarismisc.zlib  (contains /mnt/misc, which becomes /)
        (sparc also looks for install.conf. x86 does not.)

    Sadly, while they could have theoretically allowed nfs transport as well.. they decided to chop it out. You MUST use http now.

    Sample grub menu.lst entries

    title Solaris11 NetBoot, shell or interactive install
    kernel /platform/i86pc/kernel/unix -B install_media=
    module /platform/i86pc/amd64/boot_archive
    title Solaris11 hands-off Net Install
    kernel /platform/i86pc/kernel/unix -B install_media=,install=true,aimanifest=prompt
    module /platform/i86pc/amd64/boot_archive
    Note that in the second example, it will "prompt you for a manifest location". I havent figured out how/where to set one up yet. However, if you have figured out what a manifest looks like and where to put it, by all means put in the proper location instead

Login Information for net boot

Important info that you may find useful, while booted from the net image;

After initial initial bootstrapping; before it gets access to the "solaris.zlib" overlays, etc. the root password is "jack".

However, once it gets more fully loaded, it changes to be "solaris".

These are rather important to know if you want to be able to read install logs and statuses!!

What's missing?

So, the good news is, I have accomplished a "manual install", with the above tricks. Unfortunately, I have yet to be successful in setting up Automated installs.

If you attempt to use the "install=true" bit, it's now complaining about "svc:/application/manifest-locator:default is unavailable"

Apparenlty, there is a hidden way to specify the install "manifest" in grub. Otherwise, it uses "mDNS" (multicast DNS??!!?) to look for one.
Arrrg. LAME. Be consistent, Oracle; use DHCP!!

Additionally, it seems like there is a bug in /lib/svc/method/manifest-locator

It seems like conceptually, you should be able to set a location in grub,of aimanifest=location-here.

However, in reading the code, I dont think that will actually *WORK*. But I have yet to test that out.

Judging by parameters in the sol 11 sparc "system.conf" file, I think the required parameter is "install_svc_address"
[Yup, after finding a sol11 AI grub menu, that would seem to be the case. You may or may not also need to define "install_service=(subdir of tftpdir that contains the two solaris*.zlib files)" ]

Additional new resource:
Oracle Discussion Forum: Solaris 11 for SysAdmins (requires oracle login)

Written by:Philip Brown
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