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Booting and Shutting Down Oracle Solaris on SPARC Platforms     Oracle Solaris 11 Information Library
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Document Information


1.  Booting and Shutting Down a SPARC Based System (Overview)

What's New in Booting and Shutting Down a System

Administratively Provided driver.conf Files

Fast Reboot on SPARC Platforms

Booting and Shutting Down a SPARC Based System (Topic Map)

Guidelines for Booting a System

Reasons to Boot a System

Service Management Facility and Booting

Changes in Behavior When Using SMF

How Run Levels Work

What Happens When a System Is Booted to a Multiuser State (Run Level 3)

When to Use Run Levels or Milestones

Overview of the Oracle Solaris Boot Architecture

Description of the SPARC Boot Process

SPARC Boot Phases

2.  Booting a SPARC Based System to a Specified State (Tasks)

3.  Shutting Down a System (Tasks)

4.  Rebooting a SPARC Based System (Tasks)

5.  Booting a SPARC Based System From the Network (Tasks)

6.  Modifying Boot Parameters on a SPARC Based System (Tasks)

7.  Creating, Administering, and Booting From ZFS Boot Environments on SPARC Platforms (Tasks)

8.  Keeping a SPARC Based System Bootable (Tasks)

9.  Troubleshooting Booting a SPARC Based System (Tasks)


Overview of the Oracle Solaris Boot Architecture

The Oracle Solaris SPARC boot architecture includes the following fundamental characteristics:

Description of the SPARC Boot Process

This section describes the basic boot process on Oracle Solaris SPARC platforms. For more information about boot processes on specific hardware types, including systems that have service processors and system that have multiple physical domains, see the product documentation for your specific hardware at

The process of loading and executing a stand-alone program is called bootstrapping. Typically, the stand-alone program is the operating system kernel. However, any stand-alone program can be booted instead of the kernel.

On SPARC platforms, the bootstrap process consists of the following basic phases:

The network booting process is as follows:

For more information about booting a SPARC based system from the network, see Chapter 5, Booting a SPARC Based System From the Network (Tasks).

SPARC Boot Phases

Starting with the Oracle Solaris 10 release, boot processes on SPARC platforms have been modified and enhanced to increase commonality with x86 platforms.

The following four boot phases are now independent of each other:

  1. Open Boot PROM phase

    The Open Boot PROM (OBP) phase of the boot process on SPARC platforms is unchanged.

    For disk devices, the firmware driver usually uses the OBP label package's load method, which parses the VTOC label at the beginning of the disk to locate the specified partition. Sectors 1–15 of the partition are then read into the system's memory. This area is commonly called the boot block and usually contains a file system reader.

  2. Booter phase

    During this phase the boot archive is read and executed. Note that this is the only phase of the boot process that requires knowledge of the boot file system format. Protocols that are used for the transfer of the boot loader and the boot archive include local disk access, NFS, and HTTP.

  3. Ramdisk phase

    The ramdisk is a boot archive that is comprised of kernel modules and any other components that are required to boot an instance of Oracle Solaris.

  4. Kernel phase

    The kernel phase is the final stage of the boot process. During this phase, Oracle Solaris is initialized and a minimal root file system is mounted on the ramdisk that was constructed from the boot archive. In some environments, such as an installation, the ramdisk is used as the root file system and remains mounted. The ramdisk contains a set of kernel files and drivers that is sufficient to mount the root file system on the specified root device.

    The kernel then extracts the remaining primary modules from the boot archive, initializes itself, mounts the real root file system, then discards the boot archive.