Home > Articles > Operating Systems, Server > Solaris

Preparing for Solaris 9 Installation

There are two basic considerations before installing Solaris. First, make sure that you can run Solaris before you try the installation and fail. Second, think about how you want to organize your disks and how to integrate your machine into your network. This sample chapter introduces these issues, including some background on how Solaris, disks, memory, and networking slot together.
This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

In This Chapter

  • Verifying your hardware environment

  • Verifying disk space

  • Preparing network information

It's no good leaping into an installation before thinking about exactly how you are going to set the machine beforehand. Although Solaris is almost as easy to install as Windows or Mac OS, it does require a little bit more planning up front. I know it's tempting to rip the cellophane off those disks and start plugging away. However, the planning and preparation you do now will save you time both during the installation and after the installation has completed.

There are two basic considerations. First, you must make sure that you can run Solaris before you try the installation and fail. Second, you need to think about how you want to organize your disks and how to integrate your machine into your network (if you have one).

In this chapter, I'll introduce these issues, including some background on how Solaris, disks, memory, and networking slot together.

Supported Hardware

The first thing you should do is ensure that your machine is actually capable of running Solaris in the first place. Solaris supports two basic computer systems—those based on the SPARC chip, which include all the machines available from Sun themselves, and an Intel (or x86) version which runs on most Pentium-based IBM compatible PCs. With some exceptions and caveats, any PC capable of running Windows is also capable of running Solaris.


Scalable Processor Architecture (SPARC)—it's basically a range of processors similar to Intel's x86 range (which includes everything from the humble 8086 to the most recent Pentium 4) and the PowerPC chip used in the Apple Mac series of machines. SPARC is actually a group of interested organizations who agree and develop the SPARC standard and includes Sun Microsystems and Fujitsu to name but a few.

SPARC Platforms

It's actually easier to say which systems from Sun are not supported rather than listing all of those that are. In essence, Solaris 8 and 9 both support any Sun platform based on either the SuperSPARC and HyperSPARC CPU (sun4m) or UltraSPARC (sun4u) architectures—the old sun4c architecture is not supported. That explicitly excludes the following machines:

  • 600MP systems

  • SPARCstation Voyager

  • SPARCstation 1/1+2/IPC/IPX/ELC/SLC

That means that at the very low end you will need a SPARCclassic or a SPARCstation 4, 5, 10, or 20. Or for a slightly better experience, use one of the machines based on an UltraSPARC processor, such as an Ultra 1 or 2 or any of the Enterprise machines, right up to and including the top-of-the-range Sun Fire 15K server.

In the new workstation range, the new Ultra 5, 10, 30, and 60 workstations, or the even-better Sun Blade 100 workstation, are also good alternatives. The new range of Ultra workstations is based on the same PCI architecture used by PCs and also uses similar IDE disks and other low-end components to make owning such a machine relatively inexpensive. The price of a Sun Blade 100 workstation is about the same as the cost of a high-end PC, although in raw performance there is probably not a lot of difference between the two platforms.

A Postcard From ...

It may seem strange—especially if you come from the PC world—to consider running Solaris on machines like the SPARCclassic, which has a CPU speed of less than 100MHz. In fact, even the top-of-the-range UltraSPARC processors have not made the 1GHz barrier, broken by PCs some time ago.

In reality, the SPARC range of processors is significantly more powerful than the Intel range of processors, MHz for MHz, and the motherboard and other design considerations that go into a SPARC-based machine make it significantly faster than a GHz PC for raw processing tasks.

In all other respects, any device which you will find fitted as standard to a SPARC machine is supported automatically by Solaris—there would be no reason for Sun not to support an element of their own hardware within their own operating system!

Third party devices will generally require a separate driver of some kind—but you shouldn't need to make use of this until after you have installed the system in the first place.

Intel Platforms

Specifying which machines are supported on the Intel platform is of course significantly more difficult. The Sun servers are a fairly small collection of machines developed by just one company. The modern PC has different motherboards, processors (if you include Intel, AMD, and other Intel compatibles), and other core components such as graphics cards, SCSI and IDE interfaces, and more.

Sun Screen

As mentioned elsewhere in this book, Solaris 9 Intel was dropped by Sun early in January 2002, not long after the first, relatively stable, early-access beta for the platform had been released. Solaris 8 still works and is available for the Intel platform (in fact, I use it on my own network and have for about 18 months now). The guidelines given here should apply to either Solaris 8 or 9 for Intel, whether or not Solaris 9 is ever fully released.

Although Sun has tried very hard to support as wide a range of platforms as possible, it's impossible to explicitly say whether your system will be 100 percent compatible. To help you make that decision, you must check out the Sun Hardware Compatibility List (HCL), which you can find at the Sun Solaris web page (http://www.sun.com/solaris).

If you are using a mainstream motherboard from one of the major manufacturers, including EpoX, Abit, Microstar, Asus, and others, or you are using an Original Equipment Manu-facturer (OEM) machine provided by a company such as Dell, Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, or IBM, then it's highly likely that your machine will support Solaris. Solaris is also able to support multi-processor boards from most of these manufacturers.

For other components of your system, use the following rough guide:

  • Graphics cards: Most of the popular graphics cards are supported, including those from ATI, NVidia, Matrox, Hercules, and others, including variations of the core chipsets (for example, the NVidia TNT2 chipset is used in a number of cards from many different manufacturers—Solaris supports the chipset, not the card).

  • Monitors: Any multisync monitor should work fine, and fixed rate monitors should work okay, provided your graphics card supports the resolution offered by your monitor.

  • Solingo

    A multisync monitor is one that can adjust to different horizontal and vertical frequencies in order to run at different resolutions. Most modern monitors are multisync, because they suit and work with more machines that way. Older monitors (anything older than about five years) may be fixed sync, meaning that they work either at a single resolution, or at a very reduced range of resolutions and refresh rates.

  • Mice: Most PS/2 and serial mice should work, although be warned that the advanced features such as scroll wheels and additional buttons (beyond the standard two) offered by mice such as the Microsoft Intellimouse or the Logitech Wheel-mouse will not be supported.

  • SCSI adaptors: The main SCSI, SCSI-2, Fast SCSI, and SCSI-3 solutions from Adaptec, Compaq, DPT, Intel, and QLogic are supported natively. You may need drivers for some models of SCSI-3 adaptors, particularly the 39160 from Adaptec.

  • Solingo

    Small Computer Systems Interconnect (SCSI), is a connection standard that allows multiple devices—hard disks, CD-ROM drives, scanners, and so on—to be connected to a single machine over a single cable. Similar to USB, although SCSI supports faster transfer rates, and Firewire (IEEE1394/i.Link), SCSI is still the interconnect standard of choice for high-speed, high- availability machines.

  • Network adaptors: The more popular makes and chipsets from 3Com, Compaq, DEC, D-Link, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Kingston, Linksys, and SMC are supported natively at both 10Mbit and 100Mbit speeds. For Gigabit models, support may be provided natively, but check the HCL.

If you are in any doubt at all, check the HCL for more details, and even if that doesn't include your precise configuration, you may find that your machine is still supported. If it's any consolation in this respect, my motherboard is not officially supported according to the HCL, but has been running Solaris 8 for 18 months without one single failure in that time!

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020