Solaris 8 2/04 What's New Supplement

Chapter 3 What's New for System Administrators

This chapter highlights new system administration features that have been added to the Solaris 8 Update releases.

Note –

For the most current man pages, use the man command. The Solaris 8 Update release man pages include new feature information not found in the Solaris 8 Reference Manual Collection.


Feature Description 

Release Date 

Sun RPC Library Extensions

The RPC library extensions project extends the Sun ONC+TM RPC library with an asynchronous protocol. Programming interfaces have been added to the Transport Independent Remote Procedure Calls to provide one-way asynchronous messaging and non-blocking I/O.

Sun's Telco Platform users can use the RPC library extensions to help with significant semantic changes to the RPC interface. The extensions are useful to customers who require both synchronous and asynchronous protocols that require a single vendor solution. The library extensions provide a level of functionality and availability that Sun's Network Equipment Provider customers demand. 

Further information is provided in the ONC+ Developer's Guide in the Solaris 9 Software Developer Collection. For instructions on how to access Solaris 9 documentation, see Early Access in this document.


Solaris PPP 4.0

Solaris PPP 4.0 enables a system in one location to communicate over telephone lines or leased communications media with a system at a remote location. This implementation of Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) is based on the widely used Australian National University (ANU) PPP, and is entirely new for the Solaris operating environment. PPP 4.0 is easily configured through a set of files. It supports both asynchronous and synchronous communications and offers Password Authentication Protocol (PAP) and Challenge-Handshake Authentication Protocol (CHAP) authentication. Because Solaris PPP 4.0 is highly configurable, customers can easily tailor PPP to fit their remote communications needs. 

The Solaris 8 10/01 release includes the PPP over Ethernet (PPPoE) addition to Solaris PPP 4.0. PPPoE enables the user to "tunnel" a PPP session over an Ethernet, thus providing a virtual private network. Networks with PPPoE in place can support multiple users who are connecting to a provider over a single DSL device. 

For further information on PPP, see the pppd(1m), chat(1m), and pppstats(1m) man pages.

For further information on PPPoE, see the pppoed(1m), pppoec(1m), sppptun(1m), and snoop(1m) man pages.

Further information is also provided in the System Administration Guide: Resource Management and Network Services in the Solaris 9 System Administration Collection. For instructions on how to access Solaris 9 documentation, see Early Access in this document.

For information on licensing terms, refer to the incorporated material at the following locations: 





Updated 10/01 

Solaris Network Cache and Accelerator (NCA)

The Solaris Network Cache and Accelerator (NCA) has been improved with the addition of a sockets interface to NCA through which any web server can communicate with NCA with minimal modifications. Web servers such as Apache, iPlanetTM Web Server, and Zeus are able to make use of NCA performance by using standard socket library functions.

For more information about NCA, see “Solaris Network Cache and Accelerator (NCA)” in the System Administration Guide, Volume 3.


Berkeley Internet Name Domain (BIND)

Berkeley Internet Name Domain (BIND) version 8.2.2 new functionality includes:

  • Configuration options for in.named – See the conf(4) man page.

  • Extensions to the resolver (3RESOLV) interface that are safe to use in multithreaded applications.

  • The addition of the ndc(1M) command, which is used to start or stop reconfigure in.named, and the dnskeygen(1M) command, which is used to create TSIG and DNSSEC keys.

Further information is provided in “Administering DNS (Tasks)” in the System Administration Guide: Naming and Directory Services in the Solaris 9 System Administrator Collection. For instructions on how to access Solaris 9 documentation, see Early Access in this document.


Enhancements to sendmail

Enhancements to sendmail version 8.10 include new command-line options, new and revised configuration file options, new defined macros, new and revised m4 configuration macros, new and modified compile flags, new delivery agent flags, new equates for delivery agents, new queue features, new uses for LDAP, new rule set features, new file locations, and a new built-in mailer feature.

For more information, see “Mail Services” in the Solaris 8 System Administration Supplement. “Mail Services” also describes changes to mail.local, changes to mailstats, and changes to makemap.


Updated 7/01 

IP Network Multipathing

IP network multipathing provides your system with recovery from single-point failures with network adapters and increased traffic throughput. In the 10/00 release, if a failure occurs in the network adapter, and if you have an alternate adapter connected to the same IP link, the system switches all the network accesses automatically from the failed adapter to the alternate adapter. This process ensures uninterrupted access to the network. Also, when you have multiple network adapters connected to the same IP link, you achieve increased traffic throughput by spreading the traffic across multiple network adapters. 

In the 4/01 release, dynamic reconfiguration (DR) uses IP network multipathing to decommission a specific network device, with no impact on existing IP users.  

The 7/01 release introduces the new IPMP Reboot Safe feature. When a failed NIC is removed from the system by using dynamic reconfiguration, and a reboot occurs prior to reinsertion of a functioning NIC, the system attempts, but fails, to plumb an interface for the missing NIC. Rather than losing the IP address, the IPMP Reboot Safe feature transfers the IP address to another NIC in the IPMP interface group. 

For more information, see the IP Network Multipathing Administration Guide.


Updated 4/01 and 7/01 

Mobile Internet Protocol (IP)

Mobile Internet Protocol (IP) enables the transfer of information to and from mobile computers, such as laptop and wireless communications. In the 6/00 release, the mobile computer can change its location to a foreign network and still access and communicate with and through the mobile computer's home network. The Solaris implementation of Mobile IP supports only IPv4.  

In the 4/01 release, Mobile IP enables system administrators to set up reverse tunnels. By setting up a reverse tunnel from the mobile node's care-of address to the home agent, you ensure a topologically correct source address for the IP data packet. By using reverse tunnels, system administrators can also assign private addresses to mobile nodes. 

For more information, see the Mobile IP Administration Guide.


Updated 4/01 


SPARC: Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP)

Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) is now supported in the iPlanet Web Server directory server. To set up the iPlanet directory server to support Solaris clients, see the LDAP Setup and Configuration Guide.


XServer Features

Feature Description 

Release Date 

Using Xsun Server as a Display-Only Device

Two new options enable the Xsun server to run as a display-only device. With these options, users can run the Solaris window manager in display-only mode without the need for a keyboard or a mouse.  

You can now use the Xsun server in the following ways:

  • As a display-only device

  • As a display with alternative input devices other than a mouse or a keyboard

  • Without a display to drive a frame buffer for hardware-accelerated offscreen rendering

See the Xsun man page for further information.


System Performance Enhancements

Feature Description 

Release Date 

Performance Improvement for Servers

Enhancements have been made to the algorithm that controls virtual or physical pages and how they are cached. These enhancements deliver increased system performance of around 10% for general user loads in servers. 


Dynamic Intimate Shared Memory (DISM)

Dynamic Intimate Shared Memory (DISM) allows a database to dynamically extend or reduce the size of the shared data segment, eliminating the misconfiguration problem and denial-of-service security vulnerability present with Intimate Shared Memory (ISM). 

The ISM is a shared memory segment that consists of large locked memory pages. The ISM number of locked pages remains constant (cannot be changed). Dynamic ISM (DISM) is pageable ISM shared memory, where the number of locked pages is variable (can be changed). Therefore, the DISM supports the release or addition of more physical memory to the system during dynamic reconfiguration. The size of the DISM can span available physical memory plus disk swap. 

For further information on shared memory control operations, see the shmop(2) man page.


DNLC Improvements

The enhanced directory name look-up cache (DNLC) improves performance when you access files in large directories.  

For information on how to use this feature, see “DNLC Improvements” in the Solaris 8 System Administration Supplement.


Updates to the Solaris Tunable Parameters Reference Manual

The Solaris Tunable Parameters Reference Manual has been updated. Information on the semsys:seminfo_semmnu parameter has been added to this book.


This book has also been updated in the Solaris 8 7/01 release to describe a new parameter, logevent_max_q_sz, first available in the Solaris 8 1/01 release, and corrections to the tcp_slow_start_initial and tmpfs:tmpfs_minfree parameters.

For further information, see the Solaris Tunable Parameters Reference Manual.


Updated 7/01 

System Administration Tools

Feature Description 

Release Date 

Dynamic Reconfiguration (DR) 3.0

Dynamic Reconfiguration (DR) 3.0 replaces DR 2.0. DR model 3.0 uses the domain configuration server, dcs(1M), to control DR operations on the domain. You use the automated dynamic reconfiguration (ADR) commands to perform DR operations. DR lets users reconfigure resources on their servers while the servers continue to operate.

Dynamic Reconfiguration 3.0 has a framework that offers enhanced integration with applications. DR model 3.0 works with the Reconfiguration Coordination Manager (RCM), which enables you to coordinate DR operations with other applications that are running on the domain such as database, clustering, and volume management software. Such applications can register to receive notification of DR operations and coordinate their software activities with DR. 

DR 3.0 also supports multipathing with the use of IPMP. 

For further information, see the Sun Enterprise 10000 Dynamic Reconfiguration User Guide. The DR user guide is intended for Sun EnterpriseTM 10000 system administrators who are familiar with the Solaris operating environment.


Solaris Management Console

SolarisTM Management Console 2.0 software is a GUI-based "umbrella application" that serves as the launching point for a variety of management tools. The console comes complete with a default toolbox that contains the following tools:

  • Processes – Suspend, resume, monitor, and control processes.

  • Users – Set up and maintain user accounts, user templates, groups, mailing lists, and administrative roles and rights. Grant or deny rights to users and to administrative roles—to control the specific applications each can work with and which tasks each user can perform.

  • Scheduled Jobs – Schedule, start, and manage jobs.

  • Mounts and Shares – View and manage mounts, shares, and usage information.

  • Disks – Create and view disk partitions.

  • Serial Ports – Configure and manage existing serial ports.

  • Log Viewer – View application and command-line messages and manage log files.

You can also manage diskless clients, but with commands only, not through the GUI. 

You can add or delete tools from the default toolbox or create a new toolbox to manage a different set of tools by using the Solaris Management Console Toolbox Editor.  

For more information about using the command-line interface, see “Solaris Management Console Overview” in the Solaris 8 System Administration Supplement. For information on how to start the console, see “Starting Solaris Management Console” in the Solaris 8 System Administration Supplement. Also, see the help that is associated with each tool.


Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM)

Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM) includes standards for web-based management of systems, networks, and devices on multiple platforms. This standardization enables system administrators to manage desktops, devices, and networks.  

In the 10/00 Update release, additions include a description of the system properties that the CIM Object Manager uses and descriptions of the new Solaris_Printer and other printing definition classes.

In the 1/01 Update release, additions include:  

  • Updated description of init.wbem command, which now starts the Solaris Management Console server as well as the CIM Object Manager

  • Added section that describes how to upgrade the CIM Object Manager repository

  • Updated Security chapter refers the user to Solaris Management Console for implementing role-based access control (RBAC)

  • Solaris Management Console Log Viewer replaced the wbemlogviewer application for viewing log file information

  • Added description of new Solaris_Network1.0.mof file and Solaris_Users1.0.mof file

In the 4/01 Update release, additions include:  

  • Sun WBEM SDK 2.4 – Prior to this update, Sun WBEM SDK had been delivered as a component of the Solaris Management SDK CD.

    Sun WBEM SDK 2.4 implements the CIM Event model.

    The documentation for the Sun WBEM SDK includes man pages, context-sensitive online help for CIM Workshop, Javadoc reference pages for the WBEM application programming interfaces, and an AnswerBookTM version of the Sun WBEM SDK Developer's Guide.

  • New providers:

    • SNMP Provider

    • Product Registry Provider

    • Performance Provider

    The providers are documented with HTML pages derived from the related MOF files at /usr/sadm/lib/wbem/doc.

  • MOF Compiler (mofcomp), which contains enhancements to support standalone mode and conversion of MOF files to XML. Two arguments have been added to the mofcomp command:

    -x converts CIM classes that are defined in the MOF file to XML documents.

    -o dirname sets the MOF Compiler to run in standalone mode, without a CIM Object Manager.

For further information, see the Solaris WBEM Services Administrator's Guide.


Updated 1/01 and 4/01 

Device Management

Feature Description 

Release Date 

USB Dual Framework

The Solaris 8 2/04 release features a dual USB framework. This dual framework, USBA 1.0, is more evolved than the original framework. It supports high speed USB 2.0 devices, and operates devices connected to the computer's USB 2.0 ports. The original framework is also provided for compatibility with all preexisting USB drivers. 

For further information about the USB dual framework, see “USB Dual Framework” in the Solaris 8 2/04 Release Notes Supplement for Sun Hardware.


USB Support and USB Audio Support

The USB technology and the USB audio support in Solaris provide a low-cost way to add keyboards, mouse devices, printers, and audio devices to a system. Support for USB Audio devices that are USB Audio 1.0 compliant has been integrated for both SPARC and Intel platforms. Recommended devices are listed on The USB Audio driver is based on the new audio mixer(7I) architecture.

For further information, see the USB Administration Guide. Solaris system administrators who intend to administer new Sun hardware with USB support should review this book to become familiar with the USB technology and features.


USB Devices

The Solaris 8 1/01, Solaris 8 4/01, Solaris 8 7/01, Solaris 8 10/01 and Solaris 8 2/02 releases include support for USB devices such as keyboards, mouse devices, audio devices, and printers on some SPARC systems and IA systems. 

Sun Microsystems support for USB devices includes the following: 

  • Sun BladeTM 100 and Sun Blade 1000 systems that run the Solaris 8 10/00, Solaris 8 1/01, Solaris 8 4/01, Solaris 8 7/01, Solaris 8 10/01 and Solaris 8 2/02 releases provide USB device support.

  • Sun RayTM systems also support USB devices.

See the man page scsa2usb(7D) for further information. See also the USB Administration Guide.


USB Printer Support

You can use Solaris Print Manager to set up a Universal Serial Bus (USB) printer that is attached to a SPARC system with USB ports. For more information, see “USB Printer Support” in the Solaris 8 System Administration Supplement.

For an overview of USB, see “Overview of USB Devices” in the Solaris 8 System Administration Supplement.


Updated 1/01 and 4/01 

Reconfiguration Coordination Manager (RCM)

The Reconfiguration Coordination Manager (RCM) is the framework that manages the dynamic removal of system components. 

Dynamic reconfiguration of system resources enables you to reconfigure system components while the system is still running. This feature has been available with the cfgadm command since the Solaris 8 1/01 release.

By using the Reconfiguration Coordination Manager, you can register and release system resources in an orderly manner. You can use the new RCM script feature to write your own scripts to shut down your applications, or to cleanly release the devices from your applications during dynamic reconfiguration.  

The RCM framework launches a script automatically in response to a reconfiguration request, if the request impacts the resources that are registered by the script. Previously, you had to release resources from applications manually before you could dynamically remove the resource. Or, you could use the cfgadm command with the -f option to force a reconfiguration operation, but this option might leave your applications in an unknown state. Also, the manual release of resources from applications commonly causes errors.

See the Solaris 8 System Administration Supplement and the rcmscript(4) man page for further information.

1/01 (SPARC) 

Updated 4/01 (IA)  

Sun Gigaswift Ethernet Driver

The Solaris 7/01 release adds support for the Sun Gigaswift 1000Base-T Ethernet driver. This product provides enhanced performance of a 1-Gbit, twisted-pair copper Ethernet link. 

For further information, see the ce(7D) man page.


mp Program Enhancement

In the mp program enhancement, the mp(1) command is modified to work as an X Print Server client. With a properly configured X Print Server running in the host machine, Rmp(1) can print output in any Print Description Language that the X Print Server supports. The newly introduced options, -D and -P, can be used for making mp(1) work as an X Print Server client.

For more information, see “Print Filter Enhancement mp(1)” in the Solaris 8 Software Developer Supplement.


Improved Dynamic Reconfiguration Error Messages

Improved dynamic reconfiguration error messages are intended to help system administrators troubleshoot problems when they remove a system resource, such as a configured swap area or a dedicated dump device.  

For more information on dynamic reconfiguration, see “New Dynamic Reconfiguration Error Messages” in the Solaris 8 System Administration Supplement.


Server and Client Management

Feature Description 

Release Date 

Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)

The Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) service enables host systems to receive IP addresses and network configuration information at boot time from a network server. The Solaris DHCP service has been enhanced in several ways to enable it to support larger numbers of clients:

  • The Solaris DHCP server now uses multithreading to serve multiple clients simultaneously.

  • A new data store that stores data in binary files can support larger numbers of clients with faster access than with the ASCII files and NIS+ data stores.

  • Access to files and NIS+ data stores has been redesigned to support server multithreading.

  • Data access architecture has been changed to enable third parties to write code modules to enable the DHCP server to use any data service to store DHCP data.

In addition, the Solaris DHCP server now supports dynamic DNS updates. You can enable the DHCP service to update the DNS service with the host names of DHCP clients that request a specific host name. 

The Solaris DHCP client can now be configured to request a specific host name. 

For more information, see the Solaris DHCP Administration Guide.


Diskless Client Management

Diskless Client Management is available through the command line. You can manage diskless clients, list OS services for diskless clients, and manage patches on all existing diskless clients.  

For information on diskless client management, see “Managing Diskless Clients” in the Solaris 8 System Administration Supplement.


Security Enhancements

Feature Description 

Release Date 

Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)

The role-based access control (RBAC) databases can be managed through the Solaris Management Console graphical interface. Rights can contain other rights. Rights can now be assigned by default in the policy.conf file.

For more information, see “Role-Based Access Control” in the Solaris 8 System Administration Supplement.


SPARC: Smart Cards Administration

SPARC: The Solaris Smart Cards Administration Guide has been updated for the Solaris 8 1/01 release. Information on setting up internal card readers has been added. Step-by-step instructions for setting up smart-card support have been streamlined to make setting up smart cards easier.

In the 4/01 release, previous technical inaccuracies have been corrected. Also, a new chapter describes the tasks that you need to perform for smart-card setup. Another new chapter describes additional configuration tasks that you might need to perform if the default smart-card properties are not sufficient for your security environment. 

To view this book, see the Solaris Smart Cards Administration Guide.


Updated 4/01 

Generic Security Services Application Programming Interface (GSS-API)

The Generic Security Services Application Programming Interface (GSS-API) is a security framework that enables applications to protect the data they transmit. The GSS-API provides authentication, integrity, and confidentiality services to applications. The interface permits those applications to be entirely generic with respect to security. That is, they do not have to know the underlying platform (such as the Solaris platform) or security mechanism (such as Kerberos) being used. This means that applications that use the GSS-API can be highly portable.  

For more information, see the GSS-API Programming Guide.


File System Enhancements

Feature Description 

Release Date 

Improved UFS Direct I/O Concurrency

The performance of direct I/O, which is used by database applications to access unbuffered filesystem data, has been improved by allowing concurrent read access and write access to regular UFS files.  

For more information on direct I/O concurrency, see “Improved UFS Direct I/O Concurrency” in the Solaris 8 System Administration Supplement.


UFS Snapshots (fssnap)

UFS Snapshots provides the new fssnap command for backing up a file system while the file system is mounted. A snapshot is a temporary image of a file system, intended for backup operations. Previously, the documentation recommended that, when you use the ufsdump command, you bring the system to single-user mode to keep the file system inactive during a backup.

For more information on UFS Snapshots, see “Creating UFS Snapshots” in the Solaris 8 System Administration Supplement.


Updated mkfs Command

The mkfs command has been updated to improve performance when you create file systems. Improved mkfs performance is often 10 times faster than in previous Solaris releases. Performance improvements are seen on systems when you create both large and small file systems. However, the biggest mkfs performance improvements occur on systems with high-capacity or high-speed disks.

Further information is provided in the System Administration Guide: Basic Administration in the Solaris 9 System Administrator Collection. For instructions on how to access Solaris 9 documentation, see Early Access in this document.


Removable Media Management

Feature Description 

Release Date 

Improved Removable Media Management

Removable media management now fully supports removable media such as DVD-ROMs, Zip drives, Jaz drives, CD-ROMs, and diskettes. For information on how to use this feature, see “Managing Removable Media” in the Solaris 8 System Administration Supplement.


Updated 10/00 

System Resources Enhancements


Release Date 

Extended Accounting

Extended accounting introduces a new variable-length, general-purpose accounting file format that represents general groups of accounting data. Also included is the ability to configure resource utilization that was recorded by the kernel in the various accounting files.  

For information on how to use this feature, see “Extended Accounting Features” in the Solaris 8 System Administration Supplement.