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Understanding the Solaris Flash Install and Live Upgrade Features

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Janice Winsor details the two new installation configurations of the Solaris 9 release.
This chapter is from the book

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The Solaris 9 release provides two new installation configurations.

  • Flash installation. With Flash installation, you can create a base configuration and install it on a master system. This base installation includes the Solaris Operating Environment and can install other, third-party, software. You then use the master system to create a Flash archive that you can use to replicate the configuration as an initial installation on clone systems. You can create as many Flash archives as you need to accommodate any number of standard configurations for your site.

  • Solaris Live Upgrade. With Solaris Live Upgrade, you create a duplicate boot environment. You can perform JumpStart installs, install and remove patches, and perform regular suninstall installations and upgrades on an inactive boot environment. You can also install Flash archives on the inactive boot environment. When you are ready, you activate the duplicate boot environment. At the next reboot, it becomes the active boot environment. If a failure occurs, you can recover your original boot environment with a simple activate and reboot.

As a security enhancement, starting with the Solaris 9 Operating Environment, the base installation package has been divided into smaller packages so that you can install commands, such as telnet, as an individual package. This division provides finer granularity and enables system administrators to create a base installation and deselect some packages. With this new arrangement, you can create more secure installations.

Note

NOTE. Refer to Sun’s Solaris 9 Installation Guide for instructions on performing installations with suninstall, JumpStart, and WebStart.

Flash Installation

With Flash installation, you can create a single reference installation of the Solaris Operating Environment on one system, called the master system. You then can replicate that installation as a new installation on any number of systems, called clone systems, that have the same architecture as the master system.

The process of installing clone systems with Flash installation has three parts.

  1. Install the master system. Select a system and use any of the Solaris installation methods to install the Solaris Operating Environment and any additional software packages.

  2. Create the Flash archive. This archive contains a copy of all of the files on the master system.

  3. Install the Flash archive on clone systems. All the files in the archive are copied to that system to create a system that has the same installation configuration as the original master system.

You can use Flash archives with either WebStart or JumpStart to perform initial installations. The Flash archive snapshot contains the Solaris Operating Environment as well as all software, including third-party software, that you want to install on the new systems. You stream the entire archive to the boot disk. Flash installation would make reinstalling a machine much faster.

Note

NOTE. You cannot use the Flash installation to upgrade a system that is running the Solaris Operating Environment. You can use Flash installation only for initial installation.

Designing the Master System Installation

The first step in the Flash installation process is to install the master system with the configuration that you want to replicate on each of the clone systems. You can use any of the Solaris installation methods to install a subset or a complete installation of the Solaris Operating Environment on the master system.

Note

NOTE. The master system and the clone systems must have the same kernel architecture. If you have a site with systems that have multiple architectures, you can create a Flash installation archive for each architecture and use that archive for installation on clone systems with the same architecture. However, under Solaris 7, 8, and 9, all models of the UltraSPARC chip have the same sun4u kernel architecture.

Decide what configuration you want to make available to the clone systems. Consider the following elements.

  • The software 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.

After you install the Solaris Operating Environment on the master system, you can delete software that is not needed on the clone systems. You can install Solaris packages or third-party software. Any software you install on the master system is included in the Flash archive and is installed on the clone systems. You can modify 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.

After you install the Flash archive on a clone system, the installation program uses the sys-unconfig(1M) command and the sysidtool(1M) programs to delete and re-create the host-specific network configuration files. These files include /etc/hosts, /etc/defaultrouter, and /etc/defaultdomain.

Be sure to consider what peripheral devices on the clone systems might need drivers that are not needed on the master system. For example, if you install the Entire Software Group on a master system with a cg6 frame buffer, the installation contains support for only the cg6 frame buffer. You can use this archive file to install on clone systems that have either the cg6 frame buffer or no frame buffer. If you use this archive to install a clone system with an Elite 3D frame buffer, the Elite 3D is unusable because the required drivers were not installed.

You can install support for different peripherals in one of the following ways.

  • Install the Entire Plus OEM Software Group. This software group contains every package found in the Solaris Operating Environment and thus contains all of the drivers installed with the Solaris release. A Flash archive that is created from a master system with this installation works on any clone system that has peripheral devices that are supported by the installed release of the Solaris Operating Environment.

  • Install selected packages that install support only for the peripherals that you know exist on the master system or clone systems.

Refer to the Solaris 9 Installation Guide for complete information on designing a master system for use with Flash Installation.

Creating a Flash Archive

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

  • Solaris 9 DVD.

  • Solaris 9 Software 1 of 2 CD.

  • An image of the Solaris 9 Software and the Solaris 9 Language CDs.

    Create the archive when the system is in as static a state as possible.

You run the flarcreate(1M) command to create the archive. The flarcreate command requires the -n name option and a file name for the archive. The command also has options for the following actions.

  • Compressing (-c).

  • Listing directories and sizes (-R root, -S, -H).

  • Excluding files and directories (-x exclude).

  • Enabling user-defined sections (-u section, -d dir).

  • Using with tape archives (-t, -p posn).

  • Specifying block size (-b blocksize).

  • Specifying files (-f file_list, -F).

  • Identifying archive (-U key-val, -i date, -m master, -e descr, -E descr_file, -a author, -T type).

Refer to the flarcreate(1M) manual page for a more detailed description of these options.

You can create layered Flash archives by creating partial Flash archives that you install in a variety of combinations. For example, you can create one archive that contains the Solaris Operating Environment files, a second archive that contains the files for a Web server, and a third archive that contains the files for an NFS server. You would then install the first and second archives to create a Web server and install the first and third archives on another system to create an NFS server.

You can save the archive on the hard disk of the master system or on a tape. After you save the archive, you copy it to any file system or medium.

You can use the flar(1M) command to administer archives. You can use the flar command to extract information from an archive, split archives into sections, and combine archives from individual sections.

Use the following steps to create a Flash archive.

  1. Boot the master system and run it either in single-user mode or in multiuser mode in as inactive a state as possible.

  2. If in multiuser mode, become superuser.

  3. Type flarcreate -n name options path/archivename and press Return.

    When the archive creation is successful, flarcreate returns an exit code of 0. If archive creation fails, the command returns a non-zero exit code.

The following example creates an archive for the master system named mopoke, running in multiuser mode, with a name of mopokearchive and an archive name of mopokearchive in the current directory, specifies the name of the master system, and compresses the archive.

# flarcreate -n mopokearchive -c -m mopoke mopokearchive
   Determining which filesystems will be included in the archive...
   Determining the size of the archive...
   The archive will be approximately 1.05GB.
   Creating the archive...
   3979899 blocks
   Archive creation complete.
   #
   

Choosing a Flash Archive Installation Method

You can use any of the following Solaris installation methods to install Flash archives on clone systems.

With the Solaris WebStart program on the Solaris 9 DVD or Solaris 9 Installation CD, you can install Flash archives that are stored on any of the following media.

  • Disc (DVD or CD).

  • NFS server.

  • HTTP server.

  • FTP server.

  • Local tape.

With the Solaris suninstall program on the Solaris 9 Software 1 of 2 CD, you can install Flash archives that are stored on the following media.

  • Local device, including CD.

  • NFS server.

  • HTTP server.

  • FTP server.

  • Local tape.

  • Local file.

With the custom JumpStart installation program, you can install Flash archives that are stored on any of the following media.

  • Local device, including DVD or CD.

  • NFS server.

  • HTTP server.

  • FTP server.

  • Local tape.

  • Local file.

With Solaris Live Upgrade, you can install Flash archives that are stored on any of the following media.

  • Local device, including DVD or CD.

  • NFS server.

  • HTTP server.

  • FTP server.

  • Local tape.

  • Local file.

See "Solaris Live Upgrade" on page 108 for more information about Solaris Live Upgrade.

Installing a Flash Archive with the Solaris WebStart Program

The following steps describe the process for installing a Flash archive with the Solaris WebStart program.

  1. At the OpenBoot PROM, insert the Solaris 9 Installation CD or DVD in the drive and boot from the disc.

  2. Specify the language and locale.

  3. Specify the configuration information for this system.

  4. On the Specify Media panel, select the location of the Flash archive.

    The Solaris WebStart program prompts you to proceed, depending on the media you selected.

  5. Type the information required.

    • For DVD or CD, insert the disc containing the Flash archive(s).

    • For Network File System, specify the path to the network file system where the Flash Archive is located. You can also specify the archive file name.

    • For HTTP, specify the URL and proxy information that is needed to access the Flash archive.

    • For FTP, specify the FTP server and the path to the Flash archive. Specify the user and password information that enables you to access the FTP server. Specify any proxy information that is needed to access the FTP server.

    • For local tape, specify the local tape device and the position on the tape where the Flash archive is located.

  6. For archives stored on a disc or an NFS server, on the Select Flash Archives pane, select one or more Flash archives to install.

  7. On the Flash Archives Summary panel, confirm the selected archives and click Next.

  8. On the additional Flash Archives panel, you can select to install layered Flash archives by specifying the medium where another archive is located. If you do not want to install additional archives, select None and click Next to continue the installation.

Installing a Flash Archive with the suninstall Program

The following steps describe the process for installing a Flash archive with the Solaris suninstall program.

  1. Insert the Solaris 9 Software 1 of 2 CD or DVD in the drive.

  2. Specify the language and install the miniroot.

  3. Specify the configuration information for this system.

  4. Press F4 to choose Initial Install for a Flash archive installation.

    Press F4 to choose Flash installation.

  5. On the Flash Archive Retrieval Method screen, select the type of medium that contains the Flash archive.

    The suninstall program prompts you to proceed, depending on the medium you selected.

  6. Type the information required.

    • For DVD or CD, insert the disc containing the Flash archive(s).

    • For Network file system, specify the path to the network file system where the Flash archive is located. You can also specify the archive file name.

    • For HTTP, specify the URL and proxy information that is needed to access the Flash archive.

    • For FTP, specify the FTP server and the path to the Flash archive. Specify the user and password information that enables you to access the FTP server. Specify any proxy information that is needed to access the FTP server.

    • For local tape, specify the local tape device and the position on the tape where the Flash archive is located.

  7. For archives stored on a disc or an NFS server, on the Select Flash Archives pane, select one or more Flash archives to install.

  8. On the Flash Archives Summary panel, confirm the selected archives and click Next.

  9. On the additional Flash Archives panel, you can select to install layered Flash archives by specifying the medium where another archive is located. If you do not want to install additional archives, select None and click Next to continue the installation.

Refer to the Solaris 9 Installation Guide for instructions on custom JumpStart installation.

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