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Solaris 9 System Startup and Shutdown

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This sample 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.
This chapter is from the book


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

Explain how to execute boot PROM commands to

  • Identify the system's boot PROM version

  • Boot the system; access detailed information

  • List, change, and restore default NVRAM parameters

  • Display devices connected to the bus

  • Identify the system's boot device

  • Create and remove custom device aliases

  • View and change NVRAM parameters from the shell

  • Interrupt a hung system

  • Given a scenario involving a hung system, troubleshoot problems and deduce resolutions.

  • Explain how to perform a system boot, control boot processes, and complete a system shutdown, using associated directories, scripts, and commands.

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 system run levels define which processes and services are started at various stages of the boot process. You need to understand all the run levels that are available in Solaris.

You need to understand how to add and modify run control scripts to customize the startup of processes and services on Solaris systems. You need to have a detailed understanding of the programs and configuration files involved at the various run levels.



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
  • OpenBoot Firmware Tasks

The OpenBoot Architecture

The OpenBoot Interface

  • The Restricted Monitor
  • The Forth Monitor

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

System Run States

  • swapper
  • The init Phase
  • rc Scripts
  • 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


Apply Your Knowledge

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 all the system run states, including when and where to use each of them. In addition, you must understand run control scripts and how they affect the system services. You should practice adding your own run control scripts.

  • 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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