Archive for the ‘Solaris’ Category

How to create self-contained Solaris 10 x86 Jumpstart kit

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

I was required to create a self-contained, single DVD to automate the installation of Solaris 10 on x86_64. I could not find any up-to-date straight forward guide which can explain how to do it, so I do it here. This is not an explanation for dummies, so you must know (to some degree, of course) what you’re doing.

I will describe the procedure in whole, and will explain in greater details below, if I see fit. A section which will be explained later will be marked with (*) at the end of the line.

  • Install Solaris 10 x86 on a machine. Many actions will happen on this little server…
  • Setup your Solaris installation according to your likings. Make sure you have your beloved users, your passwords, your configurations. Don’t mind much about networking configurations (IP, Netmask, etc) – as they will be unconfigured for the image.
  • Create a Flash Image (flar) of the system (*)
  • Copy the contents of the installation DVD to a directory inside your system. Let’s call it /tmp/dvd
  • Remove /tmp/dvd/Solaris_10/Product directory. You will not need it.
  • Extract the contents of /tmp/dvd/x86.miniroot to /tmp/miniroot (*)
  • Perform several actions with the extracted miniroot (*)
  • Re-archive the contents of the x86.miniroot and place them instead of /tmp/dvd/boot/x86.miniroot
  • Place the flar file inside /tmp/dvd/flash
  • Edit your jumpstart files inside /tmp/dvd/.install_config (*)
  • Edit /tmp/dvd/boot/grub/menu.lst boot loader to add an entry for your installation (*)
  • Create an ISO from the DVD directory (*)
  • Burn the DVD and try to use it

And now for the drill-down

Creating a flash image

Use the command flarcreate to create your own flash image:

flarcreate -n sol10_automation -c -x /tmp /tmp/sol10_auto.flar

This should do the work. Remember – /tmp will not be persistent across reboots! Make sure your files are not there before you reboot the system!

Extracting/Archiving the x86.miniroot

To do so, you need to run the command /boot/solaris/bin/root_archive

Extracting the image can be done like this:

/boot/solaris/boot/root_archive unpack /tmp/dvd/boot/x86.miniroot /tmp/miniroot

Archiving the image can be done like this:

/boot/solaris/boot/root_archive pack /tmp/dvd/boot/x86.miniroot /tmp/miniroot

Actions to perform on the extracted miniroot

Three actions are to be performed on the extracted miniroot. In our example, it resides on /mnt/miniroot.

First, you need to remove the default sysidcfg (which is a symbolic link)

rm /mnt/miniroot/etc/sysidcfg

Now, you have to place your custom sysidcfg in there, instead.

This is an example of my own sysidcfg file:

network_interface=nge0 {primary hostname=sol10
protocol_ipv6=no }

The root password is encrypted. Take it from your own /etc/shadow file. For more information about sysidcfg file, check out Sun site.

Following that, you need to edit a specific file in the miniroot. Edit /tmp/miniroot/usr/sbin/install.d/profind and search for the cdrom() function. Search the line

if [ -f /tmp/.preinstall ]; then

and hash (remark) it. Don’t forget to remark the closing “fi” below.

Jumpstart contents

This has to be inside /tmp/dvd/.install_config . Edit the file /tmp/dvd/.install_config/rules and make sure it has only one line (in our example. If you know what you’re doing with Jumpstart, go ahead!)

any –   x86-begin any_machine  x86-end

This line will match any hardware, run x86-begin script (from that same directory) on it prior to running the installation itself, and run x86-end script on it after the installation phase. It allows up further customisation during installs (verify what type of RAID, check memory, whatever). The installation profile itself is the file any_machine.

You will need to run “check” on the file to build the rules.ok file

cd /tmp/dvd/.install_conf


Lets look at my any_machine file:

install_type    flash_install
archive_location local_file /cdrom/flash/sol10_auto.flar
partitioning    explicit
filesys         any 8196 swap
filesys         any 10240 /
filesys         any free /storage

Notice that the installation type is “flash_install” and that the location of the file is local, inside /cdrom (where the bootable dvd will be mounted) inside a directory called flash. Partitioning is defined here, explicitly.

For more information about Jumpstart, search in Sun site. They have plenty of information.

Edit Grub

Add the following entry to your /tmp/dvd/boot/grub/menu.lst file

title Solaris10 Jumpstart
kernel /boot/multiboot kernel/unix – install -B
module /boot/x86.miniroot

Make sure it is the default option for grub.

Creating DVD ISO from the directory

We’re almost done. To create a DVD iso file from the directory, perform the following actions:

cd /tmp/dvd

mkisofs -b boot/grub/stage2_eltorito -c .catalog -no-emul-boot -boot-load-size 4 -boot-info-table -relaxed-filenames -l -ldots -r -N -d -D -V SOL_10_1008_X86 -o /tmp/sodvd.iso .

Don’t ignore the “.” at the end!

(This specific line was tested on Linux, but there is no reason for it not to work on any modern Solaris system)


You would like to keep your /tmp/dvd directory somewhere else, or you will lose it on your next reboot.

This sums it up. Let me know if the procedure is broken somehow.

Solaris SSH weird behaviour

Thursday, July 3rd, 2008

Sun likes IPv6. They like it so badly that they strive to use it in all cases.

Solaris 9 and 10 SSH daemon is bounded to IPv6, which leads to a problem when trying to forward X. Editing the config file /etc/ssh/sshd_conf and assigning the SSH daemon to IPv4 address (bind to address is not enough. You need to make sure that the sshd process is started with the “-4” flag. In Solaris 10, it means editing /lib/svc/method/sshd and appending “-4” to the sshd start command.

I wonder what will happen after an upgrade or a patch…