Solaris Volume Manager uses virtual disks to manage physical disks and their associated data. In Solaris Volume Manager, a virtual disk is called a volume. For historical reasons, some command-line utilities also refer to a volume as a metadevice.
From the perspective of an application or a file system, a volume is functionally identical to a physical disk. Solaris Volume Manager converts I/O requests directed at a volume into I/O requests to the underlying member disks.
Solaris Volume Manager volumes are built from disk slices or from other Solaris Volume Manager volumes. An easy way to build volumes is to use the graphical user interface (GUI) that is built into the Solaris Management Console. The Enhanced Storage tool within the Solaris Management Console presents you with a view of all the existing volumes. By following the steps in wizards, you can easily build any kind of Solaris Volume Manager volume or component. You can also build and modify volumes by using Solaris Volume Manager command-line utilities.
For example, if you need more storage capacity as a single volume, you could use Solaris Volume Manager to make the system treat a collection of slices as one larger volume. After you create a volume from these slices, you can immediately begin using the volume just as you would use any “real” slice or device.
For a more detailed discussion of volumes, see Overview of Volumes.
Solaris Volume Manager can increase the reliability and availability of data by using RAID-1 (mirror) volumes and RAID-5 volumes. Solaris Volume Manager hot spares can provide another level of data availability for mirrors and RAID-5 volumes.
Once you have set up your configuration, you can use the Enhanced Storage tool within the Solaris Management Console to report on its operation.