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Oracle Solaris 11 System Administration: Administering Storage Devices

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System administrators need to know how to specify device names when using commands to manage disks, file systems, and other devices. This chapter describes disk device management in detail. It also describes disk device naming conventions as well as adding, configuring, and displaying information about disk devices attached to your system.

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It’s important that you understand how Oracle Solaris views the disk drives and various other hardware components on your system. In particular, you need to understand how the storage devices are configured and named before you can create a file system on them or install the Oracle Solaris operating environment.

Device management in the Oracle Solaris 11 environment includes adding and removing from system peripheral devices such as tape drives, printers, and disk drives. Device management sometimes also involves adding a third-party device driver to support a device if the device driver is not available in Oracle’s distribution of the Oracle Solaris operating environment.

System administrators need to know how to specify device names when using commands to manage disks, file systems, and other devices. This chapter describes disk device management in detail. It also describes disk device naming conventions as well as adding, configuring, and displaying information about disk devices attached to your system.

Device Drivers

A computer typically uses a wide range of peripheral and mass-storage devices such as a serial attached SCSI disk drive, a keyboard, a mouse, and some kind of magnetic backup medium. Other commonly used devices include CD/DVD-ROM drives, printers, and various USB devices. Oracle Solaris communicates with peripheral devices through device files or drivers. A “device driver” is a low-level program that allows the kernel to communicate with a specific piece of hardware. The driver serves as the OS’s “interpreter” for that piece of hardware. Before Oracle Solaris can communicate with a device, the device must have a device driver.

When a system is started for the first time, the kernel creates a device hierarchy to represent all of the devices connected to the system. This is the autoconfiguration process, which is described later in this chapter. If a driver is not loaded for a particular peripheral device, that device is not functional. In Oracle Solaris, each disk device is described in three ways, using three distinct naming conventions:

  • Physical device name: Represents the full device pathname in the device information hierarchy
  • Instance name: Represents the kernel’s abbreviation name for every possible device on the system
  • Logical device name: Used by system administrators with most file system commands to refer to devices

System administrators need to understand these device names when using commands to manage disks and file systems. We discuss these device names throughout this chapter.

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