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Creating and Using Oracle® Solaris Kernel Zones

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Updated: November 2021

Requirements for Native Zones in Kernel Zones

A kernel zone is the only type of zone that can serve as the global zone to non-global zones, specifically solaris zones. You can create, install, and boot solaris branded non-global zones inside a kernel zone. You cannot create a kernel zone inside another kernel zone. Zones that run in kernel zones are sometimes called nested zones or hierarchical zones.

A solaris zone that runs in a kernel zone must meet the following requirements:

Operating System

The kernel zone and its non-global zones must run at least Oracle Solaris 11.2.

Existing solaris zones running Oracle Solaris 11 or Oracle Solaris 11.1 must be updated to at least Oracle Solaris 11.2 before they can run in a kernel zone. See Chapter 3, Installing and Updating Software Packages in Updating Systems and Adding Software in Oracle Solaris 11.4 for information about updating system software packages.

Network Configuration

A solaris zone that runs in a kernel zone must use exclusive-IP networking, so you must configure the kernel zone to allow for additional MAC addresses as shown in How to Add Multiple MAC Addresses to a Kernel Zone.

System Resources

Zones running in the kernel zone can only use system resources that are available to the kernel zone. These resources include virtual disks and iSCSI disks.


If you clone a kernel zone that contains non-global zones, only the outside kernel zone will be cloned. The zones inside the kernel zone are not cloned during the zone cloning process. See Cloning a Kernel Zone.