Solaris 10 8/07 Installation Guide: Planning for Installation and Upgrade

Chapter 4 System Requirements, Guidelines, and Upgrade (Planning)

This chapter describes system requirements to install or upgrade to the Solaris OS. General guidelines for planning the disk space and default swap space allocation are also provided. This chapter contains the following sections:

System Requirements and Recommendations

Table 4–1 Memory, Swap, and Processor Recommendations

Requirement Type 


Memory to install or upgrade 

  • SPARC: 512 MB is the recommended size. 128 MB is the minimum size.

  • x86: 512 MB is the recommended size. 384 MB is the minimum size.

Note –

Some optional installation features are enabled only when sufficient memory is present. For example, if your system has insufficient memory and you install from a DVD, you install through the Solaris installation program 's text installer, not through the GUI. For more information about these memory requirements, see Table 4–2.

Swap area 

512 MB is the default size. 

Note –

You might need to customize the swap space. Swap space is based on the size of the system's hard disk.

Processor requirements 

  • SPARC: 200–MHz or faster processor is required.

  • x86: 120–MHz or faster processor is recommended. Hardware floating-point support is required.

You can choose to install the software with a GUI or with or without a windowing environment. If there is sufficient memory, the GUI is displayed by default. Other environments are displayed by default if memory is insufficient for the GUI. You can override defaults with the nowin or text boot options. But, you are limited by the amount of memory in your system or by installing remotely. Also if the Solaris installation program does not detect a video adapter, it automatically displays in a console-based environment. Table 4–2 describes these environments and lists minimal memory requirements for displaying them.

Table 4–2 Memory Requirements for Display Options


Type of Installation 


  • SPARC: 64–511 MB

  • x86: 384–511 MB


Contains no graphics, but provides a window and the ability to open other windows.  

If you install by using the text boot option and the system has enough memory, you are installing in a windowing environment. If you are installing remotely through a tip line or using the nowin boot option, you are limited to the console-based installation.

  • SPARC: 512 MB or greater

  • x86: 512 MB


Provides windows, pull-down menus, buttons, scrollbars, and iconic images. 

Allocating Disk and Swap Space

Before you install the Solaris software, you can determine if your system has enough disk space by doing some high-level planning.

General Disk Space Planning and Recommendations

Planning disk space is different for everyone. Consider allocating space for the following conditions, depending on your needs.

Table 4–3 General Disk Space and Swap Space Planning

Conditions for Space Allocations 


File systems 

For each file system that you create, allocate an additional 30 percent more disk space than you need to enable you to upgrade to future Solaris versions.  

By default, the Solaris installation methods create only root (/) and /swap. When space is allocated for OS services, the /export directory is also created. If you are upgrading to a major Solaris release, you might need to reslice your system or allocate double the space that you need at installation time. If you are upgrading to an update, you could prevent having to reslice your system by allocating extra disk space for future upgrades. A Solaris update release needs approximately 10 percent more disk space than the previous release. You can allocate an additional 30 percent of disk space for each file system to allow space for several Solaris updates.

The /var file system

If you intend to use the crash dump feature savecore(1M), allocate double the amount of your physical memory in the /var file system.


The Solaris installation program allocates a default swap area of 512 MB under the following conditions: 

  • If you use the installation program's automatic layout of disk slices

  • If you avoid manually changing the size of the swap slice

By default, the Solaris installation programs allocate swap space by placing swap so that it starts at the first available disk cylinder (typically cylinder 0 on SPARC based systems). This placement provides maximum space for the root (/) file system during the default disk layout and enables the growth of the root (/) file system during an upgrade.

If you think you might need to expand the swap area in the future, you can place the swap slice so that it starts at another disk cylinder by using one of the following methods.  

For an overview of the swap space, see Chapter 20, Configuring Additional Swap Space (Tasks), in System Administration Guide: Devices and File Systems.

A server that is providing home directory file systems 

By default, home directories are usually located in the /export file system.

The Solaris software group you are installing 

A software group is a grouping of software packages. When you are planning disk space, remember that you can add or remove individual software packages from the software group that you select. For information about software groups, see Disk Space Recommendations for Software Groups.


Language support 

For example, Chinese, Japanese, or Korean. If you plan to install a single language, allocate approximately 0.7 GB of additional disk space for the language. If you plan to install all language supports, you need to allocate up to approximately 2.5 GB of additional disk space for the language supports, depending on the software group you install. 

Printing or mail support 

Allocate additional space. 

Additional software or third-party software 

Allocate additional space. 

Disk Space Recommendations for Software Groups

The Solaris software groups are collections of Solaris packages. Each software group includes support for different functions and hardware drivers.

When you are installing the Solaris software, you can choose to add or remove packages from the Solaris software group that you selected. When you are selecting which packages to add or remove, you need to know about software dependencies and how the Solaris software is packaged.

The following figure shows the grouping of software packages. Reduced Network Support contains the minimal number of packages and Entire Solaris Software Group Plus OEM Support contains all the packages.

Figure 4–1 Solaris Software Groups

The context describes the illustration.

Table 4–4 lists the Solaris software groups and the recommended amount of disk space that you need to install each group.

Note –

The disk space recommendations in Table 4–4 include space for the following items.

You might find that the software groups require less disk space than the amount that is listed in this table.

Table 4–4 Disk Space Recommendations for Software Groups

Software Group 


Recommended Disk Space 

Entire Solaris Software Group Plus OEM Support 

Contains the packages for the Entire Solaris Software Group plus additional hardware drivers, including drivers for hardware that is not on the system at the time of installation. 

6.8 GB 

Entire Solaris Software Group 

Contains the packages for the Developer Solaris Software Group and additional software that is needed for servers. 

6.7 GB 

Developer Solaris Software Group 

Contains the packages for the End User Solaris Software Group plus additional support for software development. The additional software development support includes libraries, include files, man pages, and programming tools. Compilers are not included. 

6.6 GB 

End User Solaris Software Group 

Contains the packages that provide the minimum code that is required to boot and run a networked Solaris system and the Common Desktop Environment. 

5.3 GB 

Core System Support Software Group 

Contains the packages that provide the minimum code that is required to boot and run a networked Solaris system. 

2.0 GB 

Reduced Network Support Software Group 

Contains the packages that provide the minimum code that is required to boot and run a Solaris system with limited network service support. The Reduced Network Support Software Group provides a multiuser text-based console and system administration utilities. This software group also enables the system to recognize network interfaces, but does not activate network services. 

2.0 GB 

Upgrade Planning

You can upgrade a system by using one of three different upgrade methods: Solaris Live Upgrade, the Solaris installation program, and custom JumpStart.

Table 4–5 Solaris Upgrade Methods

Current Solaris OS 

Solaris Upgrade Methods 

Solaris 8, Solaris 9, Solaris 10 

  • Solaris Live Upgrade – Upgrades a system by creating and upgrading a copy of the running system

  • The Solaris installation program – Provides an interactive upgrade with a graphical user interface or command-line interface

  • Custom JumpStart method – Provides an automated upgrade

Upgrade Limitations

The following table lists limitations when you upgrade a system under some conditions.



Upgrading to a different software group 

You cannot upgrade your system to a software group that is not installed on the system. For example, if you previously installed the End User Solaris Software Group on your system, you cannot use the upgrade option to upgrade to the Developer Solaris Software Group. However, during the upgrade you can add software to the system that is not part of the currently installed software group. 

Upgrading when non-global zones are installed 

You can upgrade a system that has non-global zones installed with the Solaris installation program, Solaris Live Upgrade or JumpStart. The following limitations apply: 

  • Solaris Live Upgrade is the recommend program to upgrade or patch a system. Other upgrade programs might require extensive upgrade time, because the time required to complete the upgrade increases linearly with the number of installed non-global zones. If you are patching a system with Solaris Live Upgrade, you do not have to take the system to single-user mode and you can maximize your system's uptime.

  • When you use a Solaris Flash archive to install, an archive that contains non-global zones is not properly installed on your system.

Upgrading with Veritas file systems 

The Solaris interactive installation and custom JumpStart programs do not present you with the opportunity to upgrade a system when you are using Veritas VxVM file systems under these conditions: 

  • If the root file system to be upgraded is under Veritas control. For example, if the root (/) file system is mounted on a /dev/vx/... device.

  • If any Solaris software is installed on any file system that is under Veritas control. For example, if the /usr file system is mounted on a /dev/vx/... device.

To upgrade when Veritas VxVM is configured, use one of the following methods:  

Upgrade Programs

You can perform a standard interactive upgrade with the Solaris installation program or an unattended upgrade with the custom JumpStart installation method. Solaris Live Upgrade enables you to upgrade a running system.

Upgrade Program 


For More Information 

Solaris Live Upgrade 

Enables you to create a copy of the currently running system. The copy can be upgraded and then a reboot switches the upgraded copy to become the currently running system. Using Solaris Live Upgrade reduces the downtime that is required to upgrade the Solaris OS. Also, Solaris Live Upgrade can prevent problems with upgrading. An example is the ability to recover from an upgrade if the power fails, because the copy being upgraded is not the currently running system.  

To plan for disk space allocation when using Solaris Live Upgrade, see Solaris Live Upgrade Requirements in Solaris 10 8/07 Installation Guide: Solaris Live Upgrade and Upgrade Planning.

The Solaris installation program  

Guides you through an upgrade with an interactive GUI.  

Chapter 2, Installing With the Solaris Installation Program (Tasks), in Solaris 10 8/07 Installation Guide: Basic Installations.

Custom JumpStart program 

Provides an automated upgrade. A profile file and optional preinstallation and postinstallation scripts provide the information required. When creating a custom JumpStart profile for an upgrade, specify install_type upgrade. You must test the custom JumpStart profile against the system's disk configuration and currently installed software before you upgrade. Use the pfinstall -D command on the system that you are upgrading to test the profile. You cannot test an upgrade profile by using a disk configuration file.

Installing a Solaris Flash Archive Instead of Upgrading

The Solaris Flash installation feature provides a method of creating a copy of the whole installation from a master system that can be replicated on many clone systems. This copy is called a Solaris Flash archive. You can install an archive by using any installation program.

Caution – Caution –

A Solaris Flash archive cannot be properly created when a non-global zone is installed. The Solaris Flash feature is not compatible with Solaris Zones partitioning technology. If you create a Solaris Flash archive, the resulting archive is not installed properly when the archive is deployed under these conditions:

Creating an Archive That Contains Large Files

The default copy method that is used when you create a Solaris Flash archive is the cpio utility. Individual file sizes cannot be greater than 4 Gbytes. If you have large individual files, the flarcreate command with the -L pax option uses the pax utility to create an archive without limitations on individual file sizes. Individual file sizes can be greater than 4 Gbytes.

For information about installing an archive, see the following table.

Installation Program 

For More Information 

Solaris Live Upgrade 

Installing Solaris Flash Archives on a Boot Environment in Solaris 10 8/07 Installation Guide: Solaris Live Upgrade and Upgrade Planning

Custom JumpStart 

To Prepare to Install a Solaris Flash Archive With a Custom JumpStart Installation in Solaris 10 8/07 Installation Guide: Custom JumpStart and Advanced Installations

Solaris interactive installation 

Chapter 4, Installing and Administering Solaris Flash Archives (Tasks), in Solaris 10 8/07 Installation Guide: Solaris Flash Archives (Creation and Installation)


Chapter 12, Installing With WAN Boot (Tasks), in Solaris 10 8/07 Installation Guide: Network-Based Installations

Upgrading With Disk Space Reallocation

The upgrade option in the Solaris installation program and the upgrade keyword in the custom JumpStart program provide the ability to reallocate disk space. This reallocation automatically changes the sizes of the disk slices. You can reallocate disk space if the current file systems do not have enough space for the upgrade. For example, file systems might need more space for the upgrade for the following reasons:

The auto-layout feature attempts to reallocate the disk space to accommodate the new size requirements of the file system. Initially, auto-layout attempts to reallocate space, based on a set of default constraints. If auto-layout cannot reallocate space, you must change the constraints on the file systems.

Note –

Auto-layout does not have the ability to “grow” file systems. Auto-layout reallocates space by the following process:

  1. Backing up required files on the file systems that need to change.

  2. Repartitioning the disks on the basis of the file system changes.

  3. Restoring the backup files before the upgrade happens.

Using the Patch Analyzer When Upgrading

The Patch Analyzer performs an analysis on your system if you want to upgrade to one of these releases that follow the initial Solaris 10 3/05 release.

If you are already running the Solaris OS and have installed individual patches, upgrading to a subsequent Solaris 10 release causes the following:

You can use the Patch Analyzer to determine which patches, if any, will be removed. For detailed instructions about using the Patch Analyzer, refer to Appendix C, Using the Patch Analyzer When Upgrading (Tasks), in Solaris 10 8/07 Installation Guide: Solaris Live Upgrade and Upgrade Planning.

Backing Up And Restarting Systems For an Upgrade

Backing up your existing file systems before you upgrade to the Solaris OS is highly recommended. If you copy file systems to removable media, such as tape, you can safeguard against data loss, damage, or corruption.

In previous releases, the restart mechanism enabled you to continue an upgrade after a loss of power or other similar problem. Starting with the Solaris 10 8/07 release, the restart mechanism is unreliable. If you have a problem, your upgrade might not restart.

Planning Network Security

Starting with the Solaris 10 11/06 release, you have the option during an initial installation to change the network security settings so that all network services, except Secure Shell, are disabled or restricted to respond to local requests only. This option minimizes the potential vulnerabilities a remote attacker might try to exploit. In addition, this option provides a base for customers to enable only the services they require. This security option is only available during an initial installation, not during an upgrade. An upgrade maintains any set services that were previously set. If necessary, you can restrict network services after an upgrade by using the netservices command.

Depending on the installation program you are using, you can select to restrict network services or keep the services enabled by default:

Restricted Security Specifics

If you choose to restrict network security, numerous services are fully disabled. Other services are still enabled, but these services are restricted to local connections only. The Secure Shell remains fully enabled.

For example, the following table lists network services that, for the Solaris 10 11/06 release, are restricted to local connections.

Table 4–6 Solaris 10 11/06 SMF Restricted Services



















X server 












BSD print 



Revising Security Settings After Installation

With the restricted network security feature, all of the affected services are controlled by the Service Management Framework (SMF). Any individual network service can be enabled after an initial installation by using the svcadm and svccfg commands.

The restricted network access is achieved by invoking the netservices command from the SMF upgrade file found in /var/svc/profile. The netservices command can be used to switch the service startup behavior.

To disable network services manually, run the following command:

# netservices limited

This command can be used on upgraded systems, where no changes are made by default. This command can also be used to re-establish the restricted state after enabling individual services.

Similarly, default services can be enabled as they were in previous Solaris releases by running the following command:

# netservices open

For further information about revising security settings, see How to Create an SMF Profile in System Administration Guide: Basic Administration. See also the following man pages.

Locale Values

As a part of your installation, you can preconfigure the locale that you want the system to use. A locale determines how online information is displayed in a specific language and specific region. A language might also include more than one locale to accommodate regional differences, such as differences in the format of date and time, numeric and monetary conventions, and spelling.

You can preconfigure the system locale in a custom JumpStart profile or in the sysidcfg file.


For More Information 

Setting the locale in a profile 

Creating a Profile in Solaris 10 8/07 Installation Guide: Custom JumpStart and Advanced Installations

Setting the locale in the sysidcfg file

Preconfiguring With the sysidcfg File in Solaris 10 8/07 Installation Guide: Network-Based Installations

List of locale values 

International Language Environments Guide

Platform Names and Groups

When you are adding clients for a network installation, you must know your system architecture (platform group). If you are writing a custom JumpStart installation rules file, you need to know the platform name.

Some examples of platform names and groups follow. For a full list of SPARC based systems, see Solaris Sun Hardware Platform Guide at

Table 4–7 Example of Platform Names and Groups


Platform Name 

Platform Group 

Sun Fire 



Sun BladeTM



x86 based 



Note –

On a running system, you can also use the uname -i command to determine a system's platform name or the uname -m command to determine a system's platform group.

x86: Partitioning Recommendations

When using the Solaris OS on x86 based systems, follow these guidelines for partitioning your system.

The Solaris installation program uses a default boot-disk partition layout. These partitions are called fdisk partitions. An fdisk partition is a logical partition of a disk drive that is dedicated to a particular operating system on x86 based systems. To install the Solaris software, you must set up at least one Solaris fdisk partition on an x86 based system. x86 based systems allow up to four different fdisk partitions on a disk. These partitions can be used to hold individual operating systems. Each operating system must be located on a unique fdisk partition. A system can only have one Solaris fdisk partition per disk.

Table 4–8 x86: Default Partitions


Partition Name 

Partition Size 

First partition (on some systems) 

Diagnostic or Service partition 

Existing size on system. 

Second partition (on some systems) 

x86 boot partition  

  • If you are performing an initial installation, this partition is not created.

  • If you upgrade and your system does not have an existing x86 boot partition, this partition is not created.

  • If you upgrade and your system has an x86 boot partition:

    • If the partition is required to bootstrap from one boot device to another, the x86 boot partition is preserved on the system.

    • If the partition is not required to boot additional boot devices, the x86 boot partition is removed. The contents of the partition are moved to the root partition.

Third partition 

Solaris OS partition 

Remaining space on the boot disk. 

Default Boot-Disk Partition Layout Preserves the Service Partition

The Solaris installation program uses a default boot-disk partition layout to accommodate the diagnostic or Service partition. If your system currently includes a diagnostic or Service partition, the default boot-disk partition layout enables you to preserve this partition.

Note –

If you install the Solaris OS on an x86 based system that does not currently include a diagnostic or Service partition, the installation program does not create a new diagnostic or Service partition by default. If you want to create a diagnostic or Service partition on your system, see your hardware documentation.

How to Find the Version of the Solaris OS That Your System Is Running

To see the version of Solaris software that is running on your system, type either of the following commands.

$ uname -a

The cat command provides more detailed information.

$ cat /etc/release