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Solaris Express Installation Guide: Solaris Flash Archives (Creation and Installation)
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Planning Your Solaris Flash Installation

Before you create and install a Solaris Flash archive, you must make some decisions about how you want to install the Solaris OS on your systems. The first time that you install a system, you install with a full archive that is an initial installation. After a system has been installed with an archive, the system can be updated with a differential archive. The differential archive installs only the differences between two archives.

Designing an Initial Installation of the Master System

The first task in the Solaris Flash installation process is to install a system, the master system, with the configuration that you want each of the clone systems to have. You can use any of the Solaris installation methods to install an archive on the master system. The installation can be a subset or a complete installation of the Solaris OS. After you complete the installation, you can add or remove software or modify any configuration files. Some limitations to installing the master system are the following:

  • The master system and the clone systems must have the same kernel architectures. For example, you can only use an archive that was created from a master system that has a sun4u architecture to install clones with a sun4u architecture.

  • You must install the master system with the exact configuration that you want on each of the clone systems. The decisions that you make when you design the installation of the master system depend on the following:

    • The software that you want to install on the clone systems

    • Peripheral devices that are connected to the master system and the clone systems

    • The architecture of the master system and the clone systems


Note - If you already have installed clone systems and want to update these systems with a new configuration, see Planning to Create the Solaris Flash Differential Archive for an Update.


Customizing the Solaris Installation on the Master System

After you install the Solaris OS on the master system by using any of the Solaris installation methods, you can add or delete software and modify system configuration information as necessary. To customize the master system's software, you can do the following:

  • Delete software. You can remove software that you determine is not necessary to install on the clone systems. To see a list of software that is installed on the master system, use the Product Registry. For detailed instructions, refer to System Administration Guide: Basic Administration.

  • Add software. You can install software that is included in the Solaris release. You can also add software that is not delivered as part of the Solaris OS. All of the software that you install on the master system is included in the Solaris Flash archive and is installed on the clone systems.

  • Modify configuration files. You can alter configuration files on the master system. For example, you can modify the /etc/inet/inetd.conf file to restrict the daemons that the system runs. All of the modifications that you make are saved as part of the Solaris Flash archive and are installed on the clone systems.

  • Further customization can be done when creating the archive. For example, you can exclude large data files that you might not want in the archive. For an overview, see Customizing an Archive's Files and Directories.

Creating Archives for SPARC and x86 Systems

If you want to install Solaris software by using a Solaris Flash archive on both SPARC and x86 systems, you must create a separate Solaris Flash archive for each platform. Use the Solaris Flash archive that was created from the SPARC master system to install SPARC systems. Use the Solaris Flash archive that was created from the x86 master system to install x86 systems.

SPARC: Supporting Peripheral Devices Not Found on the Master System

Choosing the drivers to install on the master system has the following dependencies.

  • The type of peripheral devices attached to both the master system and the clone system.

  • The type of software group installed.

The Entire Plus OEM Software Group installs all drivers regardless of the hardware that is present on the system. Other software groups provide limited support. If you install another software group and the clone systems have different peripheral devices than the master system, you need to install the appropriate drivers on the master system before you create the archive.

How to Get the Support for Peripherals That You Need

You can install support for peripherals on clone systems that are different from the master system in by installing the Entire Plus OEM Software Group or installing selected packages.

Type of Installation

Description

Install the Entire Plus OEM Software Group

The Entire Plus OEM Software Group is the largest Software Group available. This group contains every package that is found in the Solaris OS. The Entire Plus OEM Software Group installs all drivers regardless of the hardware that is present on the system. A Solaris Flash archive that is created with the Entire Plus OEM Software Group works on any clone system that has peripheral devices supported by the installed release of the Solaris OS.

Installing master systems with the Entire Plus OEM Software Group guarantees compatibility with other peripheral configurations. However, the Entire Plus OEM Software Group requires at least 2.9 Gbytes of disk space. The clone systems might not have the space that is required to install the Entire Plus OEM Software Group.

Install other software groups

If you install the master system with the following software groups, you are limiting the support for peripherals. The master system supports only the peripheral devices that are attached to the master system at the time of installation.

  • Reduced Networking Software Group

  • Core Software Group

  • End User Software Group

  • Developer Software Group

  • Entire Software Group

Installing these software groups could result in your clone systems failing to have all the drivers needed. For example, if you install the Entire Software Group on a master system that has a GX CG6 frame buffer, only the GX CG6 frame buffer driver is installed. This situation is not a problem if all the clone systems that you want to install have the GX CG6 frame buffer or no frame buffer.

Install selected packages

When you install the master system, you can install only the packages that you need for the master system and the clone systems. By selecting specific packages, you can install only support for the peripherals that you know exist on the master system or clone systems.

Planning the Creation of a Solaris Flash Archive

You can create an archive from the master system for an initial installation. Or, if you have already installed an archive on clone systems, you can create a differential archive from two system images. The differential archive installs only the differences between the two images.

Planning to Create the Solaris Flash Archive for an Initial Installation

After you install the master system, the next task in the Solaris Flash installation process is to create a Solaris Flash archive. Files on the master system are copied to a Solaris Flash archive along with various pieces of identification information. You can create a Solaris Flash archive while the master system is running in multiuser mode or single-user mode. You can also create a Solaris Flash archive after you boot from one of the following:

  • Solaris Operating System DVD

  • Solaris Software - 1 CD

  • An image of the Solaris Software CDs and the Solaris Languages CDs


Caution - A Solaris Flash archive cannot be properly created when a non-global zone is installed. The Solaris Flash feature is not compatible with the Solaris Zones partitioning technology. If you create a Solaris Flash archive, the resulting archive is not installed properly when the archive is deployed under these conditions:

  • The archive is created in a non-global zone

  • The archive is created in a global zone that has non-global zones installed


Creating Solaris Flash Archives With RAID-1 Volumes

You can create a Solaris Flash archive when you have aSolaris Volume Manager RAID-1 volumes configured. The Solaris Flash creation software removes all RAID-1 volume information from the archive to keep the integrity of the clone system. With custom JumpStart you can rebuild the RAID-1 volumes by using a JumpStart profile. With Solaris Live Upgrade, you create a boot environment with RAID-1 volumes configured and install the archive. The Solaris installation program cannot be used to install RAID-1 volumes with a Solaris Flash archive.


Note - Veritas VxVM stores configuration information in areas not available to Solaris Flash. If Veritas VxVm file systems have been configured, you should not create a Solaris Flash archive. Also, Solaris install, including JumpStart and Solaris Live Upgrade do not support rebuilding VxVM volumes at installation time. Therefore, if you are planning to deploy Veritas VxVM software using a Solaris Flash archive, the archive must be created prior to configuring the VxVM file systems. The clone systems must be then configured individually after the archive has been applied and the system rebooted.


Creating an Archive That Contains Large Files

The default copy method that is used when you create a Solaris Flash archive is the pax utility. The flarcreate command uses the pax utility to create an archive without size limitations on individual files. Individual file sizes can be greater than 4 Gbytes.

Planning to Create the Solaris Flash Differential Archive for an Update

If you have a clone system that is already installed with an archive and want to update it, you can create a differential archive that contains only the differences between two images, the unchanged master image and an updated master image. The differences between these two images is the differential archive.

  • One image is running on the master system that was the original software installed on the clone system. This image might need be installed on the master system if it was saved in a directory for future use.

  • Another image is to be accessed and used for comparison. This image contains the new additions or deletions that will be installed on the clone systems.

After you update a clone system with a differential archive, only the files that are in the differential archive are changed on the clone system. Scripts can be used to customize the archive before or after installation, which is especially helpful for reconfiguration.

You can install a Solaris Flash differential archive with the custom JumpStart installation method. Or, you can use Solaris Live Upgrade to install a differential archive on an inactive boot environment.

An unchanged master image should be saved after the initial installation so this image can be accessed by any of the following methods.

For step-by-step instructions, see To Create a Solaris Flash Differential Archive With an Updated Master Image.

Customizing an Archive's Files and Directories

When you create a Solaris Flash archive, some files and directories that are to be copied from the master system can be excluded. If you have excluded a directory, you can also restore specified files or subdirectories under that directory. For example, you could create an archive that excludes all files and directories in /a/aa/bb/c. The content of the bb subdirectory could be included. The only content would then be in the bb subdirectory.


Caution - Use the flarcreate file-exclusion options with caution. If you exclude some directories, others that you were unaware of might be left in the archive, such as system configuration files. The system would then be inconsistent and the installation would not work. Excluding directories and files is best used with data that can easily be removed without disrupting the system, such as large data files.


The following table lists the flarcreate command options that can exclude files and directories and restore files and subdirectories.

How Specified?

Options That Exclude

Options That Include

Specify the name of the directory or file

-x exclude_dir/filename

-y include_dir/filename

Use a file that contains a list

-X list_filename

-z list_filename

-f list_filename

-z list_filename

For descriptions of these options, see Table 5-7.

For examples of customizing an archive, see Creating a Solaris Flash Archive and Customizing Files (Examples).

Customizing an Archive With Scripts

After the software is installed on the master system, special scripts can be run during creation, installation, postinstallation and first reboot. These scripts enable you to do the following:

  • Configure applications on clone systems. You can use a custom JumpStart script for some uncomplicated configurations. For more complicated configurations, special configuration-file processing might be necessary on the master system or before or after installation on the clone system.

  • Protect local customizations on clone systems. Local preinstallation and postinstallation scripts reside on the clone. These scripts protect local customizations from being overwritten by the Solaris Flash software.

  • Identify nonclonable, host-dependent data that enables you to make the archive host independent. Host independence is enabled by modifying such data or excluding it from the archive. An example of host-dependent data is a log file.

  • Validate software integrity in the archive during creation.

  • Validate the installation on the clone system.

Guidelines for Creating a Custom Script

When creating scripts other than the reboot script, following these guidelines to assure the script does not corrupt the OS or otherwise disrupt the system. These guidelines enable the use of Solaris Live Upgrade, which creates a new boot environment for installation of the OS. The new boot environment can be installed with an archive while the current system is running.


Note - These guidelines are not for reboot scripts that are allowed to run daemons or make other types of modification to the root (/) file system.


  • Scripts must not affect the currently running system. The currently running OS might not be the one running when the Solaris Flash archive is installed.

  • Scripts must not start or stop any daemon processes.

  • Scripts must not depend on the output of commands such as ps, truss, or uname, which are dependent on the OS. These commands report information about the currently running system.

  • Scripts must not send any signals or otherwise affect any currently running processes.

  • Scripts can use standard UNIX commands that facilitate shell scripting such as expr, cp, and ls.

For an overview of Solaris Live Upgrade, see Chapter 2, Solaris Live Upgrade (Overview), in Solaris Express Installation Guide: Solaris Live Upgrade and Upgrade Planning.

Solaris Flash Archive Sections

Solaris Flash archives contain the following sections. Some sections can be used by you to identify and customize the archive and view status information on the installation. For a further description of each section, see Chapter 5, Solaris Flash (Reference).

Table 2-1 Flash Archive Sections

Section Name

Informational Only

Description

Archive cookie

X

The first section contains a cookie that identifies the file as a Solaris Flash archive.

Archive identification

The second section contains keywords with values that provide identification information about the archive. Some identification information is supplied by the archive software. Other specific identification information can be added by you with options to the flarcreate command.

User-defined

This section follows the archive identification section. You can define and insert these sections to customize the archive. The Solaris Flash archive does not process any sections that you insert. For example, a section could contain a description of the archive or perhaps a script to check the integrity of an application.

Manifest

X

This section is produced for a Solaris Flash differential archive and is used for validating a clone system. The manifest section lists the files on a system to be retained, added to, or deleted from the clone system. This section is informational only, lists the files in an internal format, and cannot be used for scripting.

Predeployment, Postdeployment, Reboot

X

This section contains internal information that the flash software uses before and after installing an OS image. Any scripts that you have provided are included in this section.

Summary

This section contains messages about the archive creation. The section also records the activities of predeployment and postdeployment scripts. You can view the success of the installation in this section by writing a script to send output to this section.

Archive files

X

The archive files section contains the files that have been gathered from the master system.

When to Create the Archive for an Initial Installation

Create the archive when the system is in as static a state as possible. Create the archive after software is installed on the master system and before software is configured.

Where to Store the Solaris Flash Archive

After you create the Solaris Flash archive, you can save the archive on the hard disk of the master system or on a tape. After you save the archive, you can copy this archive to any file system or media that you choose.

  • Network File System (NFS) server

  • HTTP or HTTPS server

  • FTP server

  • Tape

  • CD, DVD

  • Diskette

  • Local drive of clone system that you want to install

Compressing the Archive

When you create the Solaris Flash archive, you can specify that the archive be saved as a compressed file by using the compress(1) utility. An archive that is compressed requires less disk storage space and creates less congestion when you install the archive over a network.

Planning the Installation of Solaris Flash Archives

The final task in the Solaris Flash installation process is to install Solaris Flash archives on clone systems. You can use any of the Solaris installation methods to install Solaris Flash archives on clone systems.

Installation Program

Archives Storable on This Media

For Step-by-Step Instructions

Solaris installation program

  • NFS server

  • HTTP server

  • FTP server

  • Local tape

  • Local device, including DVD or CD

  • Local file

Installing a Solaris Flash Archive With the Solaris Installation Program

Custom JumpStart installation program

  • NFS server

  • HTTP or HTTPS server

  • FTP server

  • Local tape

  • Local device, including DVD or CD

  • Local file

To Prepare to Install a Solaris Flash Archive With a Custom JumpStart Installation in Solaris Express Installation Guide: Custom JumpStart and Advanced Installations

Solaris Live Upgrade

  • NFS server

  • HTTP server

  • FTP server

  • Local tape

  • Local device, including DVD or CD

  • Local file

Installing Solaris Flash Archives on a Boot Environment in Solaris Express Installation Guide: Solaris Live Upgrade and Upgrade Planning

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  Published under the terms fo the Public Documentation License Version 1.01. Design by Interspire