The Solaris Flash installation feature allows you to install many systems, based on a configuration that you install on a master system. After you install and configure the master system, you create a Solaris Flash archive from the master system. You can create as many Solaris Flash archives as you need. You choose which Solaris Flash archive to install on each different system. This installation method enables you to efficiently install many systems with the same software and configuration.
When you use any of the Solaris installation methods and you do not select to install a Solaris Flash archive, the installation method installs each Solaris package individually. The package-based installation method is time consuming because the installation method must update the package map for each package. Solaris Flash archives install on your system much faster than when you install each of the individual Solaris packages.
Each of the Solaris installation methods enables you to replicate an initial installation of a Solaris Flash archive. The Solaris Web Start installation method and the Solaris suninstall program prompt you to select the Solaris Flash archive that you want to install. If you are performing a custom JumpStart installation, you specify the Solaris Flash archive that you want to install in the profile file. If you are performing a Solaris Live Upgrade, you specify the Solaris Flash archive that you want to install on the inactive boot environment.
If you want to update a previously installed clone system, you can install changes with a differential archive. With the custom Jumpstart installation method, the differential archive can install archives that contain only the differences between two system images.
If you have many different configurations that you want to install on your systems, you need a Solaris Flash archive for each system. Solaris Flash archives are large files and require a significant amount of disk space. Also, after you create a Solaris Flash archive, you cannot change the archive. If you have many different installation configurations or if you want the flexibility to change your installation configuration, you might consider using the custom JumpStart installation method. Alternatively, you can accomplish system-specific customizations by using a JumpStart finish script or an embedded Flash postdeployment script.
For an overview of Solaris Flash installation feature including installing an archive with an initial installation or an update, and using scripts, see Chapter 17, Solaris Flash (Overview and Planning).
For detailed instructions on installing an archive with custom JumpStart, see To Prepare to Install a Solaris Flash Archive With a Custom JumpStart Installation.