The following sections and Chapter 7, Managing Diskless Clients (Tasks) describe how to manage diskless client support in the Oracle Solaris OS.
A diskless client is a system that depends on an OS server for its operating system, software, and storage. A diskless client mounts its root (/), /usr, and other file systems from its OS server. A diskless client has its own CPU and physical memory and can process data locally. However, a diskless client cannot operate if it is detached from its network or if its OS server malfunctions. A diskless client generates significant network traffic because of its continual need to function across the network.
Starting with the Solaris 9 release, the diskless client commands, smosservice and smdiskless, enable you to manage OS services and diskless client support. In the Solaris 8 release, diskless clients were managed with the Solstice GUI management tools.
Caution - Attempts to add diskless client support using an OS client-server configuration where one system implements the new boot architecture, but the other system does not, can result in major incompatibilities. New boot (GRUB) was implemented on the x86 platform, starting with the Solaris 10 1/06 release and on the SPARC platform, starting with the Solaris 10 10/8 release. Note that adding diskless support on systems that are running a Solaris release that is more recent than that which is running on the OS server is also an unsupported configuration. To avoid potential problems, it is recommended that you install the latest Solaris release before adding diskless client support.
The Solaris releases and architecture types that are supported by the smosservice and smdiskless commands include the following:
SPARC based servers: Supported in the Solaris 8, Solaris 9, and Solaris 10 releases
SPARC based clients: Supported in the Solaris 8, Solaris 9, and Solaris 10 releases
x86 based servers: Supported in the Solaris 9, and Solaris 10 releases
x86 based clients: Supported in the Solaris 9, and Solaris 10 releases
The following table shows the x86 OS client-server configurations that are supported by the smosservice and smdiskless commands. This information applies to the Solaris 9 and the Oracle Solaris 10 FCS (3/05) release.
If you are running at least the Solaris 10 1/06 release, it is recommended that you install or upgrade to the same release before adding diskless client support.
Table 6-3 x86 OS Client-Server Support
The following table shows the SPARC OS client-server configurations that are supported by the smosservice and smdiskless commands. This information applies to the Solaris 8 and Solaris 9 releases, and the Oracle Solaris OS, up through the 10 5/08 OS.
If you are running at least the Solaris 10 10/08 release, it is recommended that you install or upgrade to the same release before adding diskless client support.
Table 6-4 SPARC OS Client-Server Support
You can use the smosservice and smdiskless commands to add and maintain diskless client support on a network. By using a name service, you can manage system information in a centralized manner so that important system information, such as host names, do not have to be duplicated for every system on the network.
You can perform the following tasks with the smosservice and smdiskless commands:
Add and modify diskless client support
Add and remove OS services
Manage diskless client information in the LDAP, NIS, NIS+, or files name service environment
If you are performing a GRUB based boot on an x86 system, you need to manually set up the DHCP configuration. See x86: How to Prepare for Adding Diskless Clients in a GRUB Based Boot Environment for more information.
Note - You can only use the diskless client commands to set up diskless client booting. You cannot use these commands to set up other services, such as remote installation or profile services. Set up remote installation services by including diskless client specifications in the sysidcfg file. For more information, see Oracle Solaris 10 9/10 Installation Guide: Custom JumpStart and Advanced Installations.
By writing your own shell scripts and using the commands shown in the following table, you can easily set up and manage your diskless client environment.
Table 6-5 Diskless Client Commands
You can obtain help on these commands in two ways:
Use the -h option when you type the command, subcommand, and required options, as shown in the following example.
% /usr/sadm/bin/smdiskless add -p my-password -u my-user-name -- -h
You can use the smosservice and smdiskless commands as superuser. If you are using role-based access control (RBAC), you can use either a subset of or all of the diskless client commands, according to the RBAC rights to which they are assigned. The following table lists the RBAC rights that are required to use the diskless client commands.
Table 6-6 Required RBAC Rights for Diskless Client Management
An Oracle Solaris OS server is a server that provides operating system (OS) services to support diskless client systems. You can add support for an OS server or convert a stand-alone system to an OS server by using the smosservice command.
For each platform group and Oracle Solaris release that you want to support, you must add the particular OS service to the OS server. For example, if you want to support SPARC sun-4u systems running Oracle Solaris , you must add sun-4u/Oracle Solaris 10 OS services to the OS server. For each diskless client that you support, you must add the OS service for that client to the OS server. For example, you would need to add OS services to support SPARC sun-4m systems or x86 based systems that run Oracle Solaris 10 or the Solaris 9 release, because they are different platform groups.
You must have access to the appropriate Oracle Solaris software CD, DVD, or disk image to add OS services.
When adding OS services to an OS server, you might see an error message stating that you have inconsistent versions of the OS running on the server and the OS that you are trying to add. This error message occurs when the installed version of the OS has packages that were previously patched, and the OS services being added do not have those packages patched, because the patches have been integrated into the packages.
For example, you might have a server that is running the current Solaris release or the Oracle Solaris OS. You might also have additional OS services loaded on this server, including the Solaris 9 SPARC sun-4m OS services that have been patched. If you try to add the Solaris 8 SPARC sun-4u OS services from a CD-ROM to this server, you could get the following error message:
Error: inconsistent revision, installed package appears to have been patched resulting in it being different than the package on your media. You will need to backout all patches that patch this package before retrying the add OS service option.
Before you set up your diskless client environment, ensure that you have the required disk space available for each diskless client directory.
In previous Solaris releases, you were prompted about diskless client support during the installation process. Starting with the Solaris 9 release, you must manually allocate an /export file system either during installation or create it after installation. See the following table for specific disk space requirements.
Table 6-7 Disk Space Recommendations for Solaris OS Servers and Diskless Clients
Note - Disk space recommendations can vary, depending on the Oracle Solaris release that is installed. For specific information about the disk space recommendations in the current Solaris release, see Disk Space Recommendations for Software Groups in Oracle Solaris 10 9/10 Installation Guide: Planning for Installation and Upgrade.