Oracle® Solaris 11.2 Release Notes

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Updated: May 2015

Issues When Replacing or Using New Advanced Format Disk Drives on Oracle Solaris Systems

Disk manufacturers now provide larger capacity disks, also known as advanced format (AF) disks. An AF disk is a hard disk drive whose physical block size exceeds 512 bytes. AF disks use block sizes that are greater than 512 bytes, usually 4096 bytes, but their sizes can vary as follows:

  • 4 KB native disk (4kn) – Uses a physical and logical block size of 4 KB

  • 512-byte emulation (512e) – Uses a physical block size of 4 KB but reports a logical block size of 512 bytes

Review the following issues if you are considering the purchase of AF disks as new or replacement devices on your Oracle Solaris 11.2 system.

Lack of a Power Safe Feature on Certain Models of Advanced Format 512e Disk Drives Can Result in Data Loss

The failure of certain 512e disk drives to provide a power-safe feature can result in data loss if a power failure occurs during a read-modify-write (rmw) operation.

Workaround: Choose one of the following workarounds:

  • Confirm with the disk manufacturer that their 512e devices provide a power-safe feature.

    No consistent power-safe identification appears on such drives, but they tend to be SATA drives. An indication that they are AF drives does not necessarily mean that they support 512 emulation (512e).

  • Do not use these drives on an Oracle Solaris system.

Installation and Boot Support on 4kn Disks on SPARC Systems Requires a Specific PROM Version

Installing and booting Oracle Solaris 11.2 on a 4kn disk on a SPARC system requires a volume table of contents (VTOC) label and PROM version 4.34.0.

Workaround: Choose one of the following workarounds:

  • If you want to install and boot Oracle Solaris 11.2 from a 4kn disk, then apply a VTOC label and confirm that your system is running this version.

    For example:

    # prtconf -pv | grep OBP
      version: 'OBP 4.34.0 ... '
  • Request a firmware upgrade from Oracle support.

For more information about using advanced format disks in Oracle Solaris 11.2, see Managing Devices in Oracle Solaris 11.2.