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Performing Network Solaris Installations Without a Local Boot Server

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In some instances, it might be necessary or advantageous to boot an installation client from local boot media, such as a CD or DVD, but have the Solaris product installed from a JumpStart (or installation) server. This article describes the system startup and installation processes for the Solaris Operating System and explains how to modify them to change the location from which the Solaris product is installed.
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In some instances, it might be necessary or advantageous to boot an installation client from local boot media, such as a CD or DVD, but have the Solaris™ Operating System (Solaris OS) distribution installed from a JumpStart™ (or installation) server. However, the rcS startup script found on the Solaris OS installation media is written such that the Solaris product is installed from the boot media. For example, if the installation client is booted off the network, the Solaris OS product directory is nfs mounted. If the installation client is booted from a CD-ROM, the Solaris OS product directory is mounted from the CD.

This article explains how to change the boot media rcS script to circumvent this behavior. This requires you to create a bootable CD using the customized startup script. You can use the procedure described in this article to perform a Solaris OS installation from a remote (network-based) install server without the use of a local boot or DHCP server.

This article describes the system startup and installation processes and explains how to modify them to change the location from which the Solaris product is installed. (On the installation CD or DVD, the directory Solaris_9/Product contains the Solaris product on slice 1.) This article assumes that you are familiar with the concepts of a JumpStart installation and contains the following sections:

  • "High-Level Overview of the System Startup Process" on page 2

  • "Overview of JumpStart Server Components" on page 3

  • "Modifying the Installation Startup Script" on page 4

  • "Using the Modified System Startup Procedure" on page 5

NOTE

The techniques presented in this article are not supported and can be used to produce configurations that are not supported by Sun Enterprise™ Services. However, this should not detract from their value.

High-Level Overview of the System Startup Process

The system startup process is a series of shell scripts executed by init. The purpose of the process is to bring the system to a state that can be used for installation, maintenance, or multiuser system use. The system boot is initiated from the OpenBoot™ PROM (OBP), and any boot command parameters or arguments are passed to the kernel. Because the kernel only processes arguments it recognizes, any non-kernel arguments are ignored by the kernel and passed along to init. To prevent confusion, kernel switches and arguments are separated by a lone dash, which is why the space following the minus character (-) is crucial in the command boot net - install.

In turn, init passes all arguments to the scripts that it calls. FIGURE 1 shows an overview of the startup process.

Figure 1FIGURE 1 Overview of the Startup Process




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