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Perform System Boot and Shutdown Procedures

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The following objectives for the Solaris System Administrator Exam are covered in this chapter:

Explain boot PROM fundamentals, including OpenBoot Architecture Standard, boot PROM, NVRAM, POST, Abort Sequence, and displaying POST to serial port on SPARC systems.

Explain the BIOS settings for booting, abort sequence, and displaying POST.

Execute basic boot PROM commands for a SPARC system.

Perform system boot and shutdown procedures, including identifying the system's boot device, creating and removing custom device aliases, viewing and changing NVRAM parameters, and interrupting an unresponsive system.

Explain the Service Management Facility and the phases of the boot process.

Use Service Management Facility or legacy commands and scripts to control both the boot and shutdown procedures.

  • You need to understand the primary functions of the OpenBoot environment, which includes the programmable read-only memory (PROM). You need to have a complete understanding of how to use many of the OpenBoot commands and how to set and modify all the configuration parameters that control system bootup and hardware behavior.
  • You must understand the entire boot process, from the proper power-on sequence to the steps you perform to bring the system into multiuser mode.
  • You must be able to identify the devices connected to a system and recognize the various special files for each device.
  • Occasionally, conventional shutdown methods might not work on an unresponsive system or on a system that has crashed. This chapter introduces when and how to use these alternative shutdown methods to bring the system down safely.
  • You must understand how the Service Management Facility (SMF) controls which processes and services are started at various stages of the boot process. You need to understand how to use SMF or legacy commands and scripts to control both the boot and shutdown procedures.


  • Introduction
  • Booting a System
    • Powering On the System
    • The Boot PROM and Program Phases
  • The OpenBoot Environment
    • Entry-Level to High-End Systems
    • Accessing the OpenBoot Environment
    • System Control Switch
    • OpenBoot Firmware Tasks
  • The OpenBoot Architecture
  • The OpenBoot Interface
  • Getting Help in OpenBoot
  • PROM Device Tree (Full Device Pathnames)
    • OpenBoot Device Aliases
  • OpenBoot NVRAM
    • The nvedit Line Editor
  • OpenBoot Security
  • OpenBoot Diagnostics
    • Input and Output Control
  • OpenBoot PROM Versions
  • Booting a System
    • The boot Command
  • The Kernel
  • The init Phase
    • The Solaris Management Facility (SMF) Service
      • Service Dependencies
      • SMF Command-line Administration Utilities
      • Starting and Stopping Services Using SMF
      • Starting Services During Boot
      • SMF Message Logging
      • Creating New Service Scripts
      • Legacy Services
    • Using the Run Control Scripts to Stop or Start Services
      • Adding Scripts to the Run Control Directories
  • System Shutdown
    • Commands to Shut Down the System
      • The /usr/sbin/shutdown Command
      • The /sbin/init Command
      • The /usr/sbin/halt Command
      • The /usr/sbin/reboot Command
      • The /usr/sbin/poweroff Command
    • Stopping the System for Recovery Purposes
    • Turning Off the Power to the Hardware
  • Summary

Study Strategies

The following study strategies will help you prepare for the exam:

  • When studying this chapter, you should practice on a Sun system each step-by-step process that is outlined. In addition to practicing the processes, you should practice the various options described for booting the system.
  • You should display the hardware configuration of your Sun system by using the various OpenBoot commands presented in this chapter. You need to familiarize yourself with all the devices associated with your system. You should be able to identify each hardware component by its device pathname.
  • You should practice creating both temporary and permanent device aliases. In addition, you should practice setting the various OpenBoot system parameters that are described in this chapter.
  • You should practice booting the system by using the various methods described. You need to understand how to boot into single-user and multiuser modes and how to specify an alternate kernel or system file during the boot process.
  • During the boot process, you should watch the system messages and familiarize yourself with every stage of the boot process. You should watch the system messages that are displayed at bootup. You need to understand each message displayed during the boot process from system power-on to bringing the system into multiuser mode.
  • You need to thoroughly understand the Service Management Facility (SMF), service states, and milestones. You'll need to understand how the scv.startd daemon uses information from the service configuration repository to determine required milestones and how it processes the manifests located in the /var/svc/manifest directory. In addition you must understand legacy run control scripts, run levels, and how they affect the system services.
  • You should practice shutting down the system. You should make sure you understand the advantages and disadvantages of each method presented.


System startup requires an understanding of the hardware and the operating system functions that are required to bring the system to a running state. This chapter discusses the operations that the system must perform from the time you power on the system until you receive a system logon prompt. In addition, it covers the steps required to properly shut down a system. After reading this chapter, you’ll understand how to boot the system from the OpenBoot programmable read-only memory (PROM) and what operations must take place to start up the kernel and Unix system processes.

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