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 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
Install the Entire Plus OEM Software Group
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
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.
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:
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:
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.
Options That Exclude
Options That Include
name of the directory or file
Use a file that contains
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
The first section contains a cookie that identifies the file as a Solaris
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.