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Solaris Express Installation Guide: Network-Based Installations
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What Is WAN Boot?

The WAN boot installation method enables you to boot and install software over a wide area network (WAN) by using HTTP. By using WAN boot, you can install the Solaris OS on SPARC based systems over a large public network where the network infrastructure might be untrustworthy. You can use WAN boot with security features to protect data confidentiality and installation image integrity.

The WAN boot installation method enables you to transmit an encrypted Solaris Flash archive over a public network to a remote SPARC based client. The WAN boot programs then install the client system by performing a custom JumpStart installation. To protect the integrity of the installation, you can use private keys to authenticate and encrypt data. You can also transmit your installation data and files over a secure HTTP connection by configuring your systems to use digital certificates.

To perform a WAN boot installation, you install a SPARC based system by downloading the following information from a web server over a HTTP or secure HTTP connection.

  • wanboot program – The wanboot program is the second level boot program that loads the WAN boot miniroot, client configuration files, and installation files. The wanboot program performs tasks similar to those that are performed by the ufsboot or inetboot second level boot programs.

  • WAN boot file system – WAN boot uses several different files to configure the client and retrieve data to install the client system. These files are located in the /etc/netboot directory of the web server. The wanboot-cgi program transmits these files to the client as a file system, called the WAN boot file system.

  • WAN boot miniroot – The WAN boot miniroot is a version of the Solaris miniroot that has been modified to perform a WAN boot installation. The WAN boot miniroot, like the Solaris miniroot, contains a kernel and just enough software to install the Solaris environment. The WAN boot miniroot contains a subset of the software in the Solaris miniroot.

  • Custom JumpStart configuration files – To install the system, WAN boot transmits sysidcfg, rules.ok, and profile files to the client. WAN boot then uses these files to perform a custom JumpStart installation on the client system.

  • Solaris Flash archive – A Solaris Flash archive is a collection of files that you copy from a master system. You can then use this archive to install a client system. WAN boot uses the custom JumpStart installation method to install a Solaris Flash archive on the client system. After you install an archive on a client system, the system contains the exact configuration of the master system.


    Note - The flarcreate command no longer has size limitations on individual files. You can create a Solaris Flash archive that contains individual files over 4 Gbytes.

    For more information, see Creating an Archive That Contains Large Files in Solaris Express Installation Guide: Solaris Flash Archives (Creation and Installation).


You then install the archive on the client by using the custom JumpStart installation method.

You can protect the transfer of the previously listed information by using keys and digital certificates.

For a more detailed description of the sequence of events in a WAN boot installation, see How WAN Boot Works (Overview).

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