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Creating and Using Oracle® Solaris Kernel Zones

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Updated: August 2021

About Kernel Zone Evacuation

Kernel zone evacuation is the process of live migrating all the running kernel zones off a system at once, and optionally returning them to the system later. By live migrating all kernel zones from a host system onto other systems temporarily, you can perform maintenance on the host system without having to halt applications that are running in those kernel zones. You can optionally evacuate all zones, including kernel zones that are not running solaris zones in the installed state.

Evacuation uses the Remote Administration Daemon (RAD) to coordinate and execute the migration of zones to their destinations, so RAD services must be running on source hosts and target hosts. For more information about RAD, see the rad(8) man page.

Kernel Zone Evacuation Steps

    The overall process for kernel zone evacuation is:

  1. Ensure the requirements are met for the source and target hosts.

    Go to Requirements for Kernel Zone Evacuation.

  2. Set a destination host for each of the migrating kernel zones by setting an SMF service property.

    Go to Setting the Target Host for Kernel Zone Evacuation.

  3. Place the source host in maintenance mode to prevent non-running zones from attaching, booting, or migrating in.

    Go to Setting Maintenance Mode to Prepare for Kernel Zone Evacuation.

  4. Run the evacuate command to migrate the running kernel zones to their preset destination.

    Go to Evacuating Kernel Zones.

  5. Perform the system maintenance on the source host and reboot.

  6. End the maintenance mode on the source host system.

    Go to Ending Maintenance Mode After Kernel Zone Evacuation.

  7. Return the evacuated zones to the source host, if desired. Evacuation can also be used to permanently migrate zones to a new host.

    Go to Returning Evacuated Kernel Zones to the Original System.

sysadm Utility and Oracle Solaris Kernel Zones

    The sysadm utility enables you to perform all evacuation tasks.

  • Use the sysadm maintain command to prepare for migration by placing the system in a maintenance mode that prevents zones from being attached, booted, or migrating in.

  • Use the sysadm evacuate command to perform the actual migration of zones in an evacuation operation.

See the sysadm(8) man page for complete information.

sysadm maintain Command

The sysadm maintain command accepts the following options:


End maintenance mode.


List the current status of maintenance mode.

–m "message-text"

Message you can specify to indicate reason for maintenance, for example.


Start maintenance mode to prevent new zones from running on the source host.

Maintenance state persists across system reboots and applies to all boot environments, so you must explicitly end the maintenance mode with the sysadm maintain -e command.

sysadm evacuate Command

The sysadm evacuate command accepts the following options:


All zones, both non-running and running, are evacuated.


Non-executing dry run of the evacuation to show how the evacuation would be performed.


Quiet output, showing only errors.


Return the evacuated zones to the source host.


Verbose output, showing progress of the evacuation.


Overwrite zone configurations of all zones on the destination host with the respective configurations from the source host. This option is mutually exclusive with the –n option.