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Manually Installing an Oracle® Solaris 11.4 System

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Updated: August 2021

Partitioning Your System

The text installer can install Oracle Solaris on an entire disk or on a partition.

This section provides partitioning guidelines. You can perform the partition before installing, or during the installation process itself through the installer's interactive installation option.

About Partitioning for Installing Multiple Operating Systems

Partitioning used to be a solution to make a system accommodate multiple operating systems. Each partition would contain an operating system, and you can boot the system from the partition that runs your preferred OS.

Advances in virtualization technology offer alternatives to partitioning for this purpose. With virtualization, a single system acts as a host on which you configure guests or virtual machines. You can configure these guests to use different versions of Oracle Solaris or other supported operating systems. The software manages the resources, including disk space, that you allot for these guests, and you do not need to manually create partitions yourself.

For example, through Oracle Solaris zones, a system running Oracle Solaris 11 functions as the global zone on which you can create local zones and kernel zones. See the Oracle Solaris zones documentation in the library of your operating system's version at https://docs.oracle.com/en/operating-systems/solaris.html

Oracle's VirtualBox is another feature rich virtualization product applicable for use at home or in an enterprise environment. VirtualBox runs on Oracle Solaris, Linux, OS X, and Windows. Thus, VirtualBox can make your system accommodate multiple operating systems. See https://www.virtualbox.org.

For more information about Oracle's virtualization offerings, see https://docs.oracle.com/en/virtualization/.

Partitioning a System Prior To Installation

If you want to manually partition your system's disks, use the guidelines in this section. The text installer can perform partitions, but you can also use commercial products or open-source tools. Remember to back up your system prior to partitioning the hard drive.

When installing Oracle Solaris from the text installer image, you can use the entire disk or a partition for the operating system.

Note - If you create Linux-swap partitions, note that Linux-swap uses the same partition ID that Oracle Solaris uses. During the installation, in the disk partitioning step, you can change the Linux-swap partition to an Oracle Solaris partition.

Partitioning a System During an Interactive Installation

On an x86 based system, you can select, create, or modify partitions during a text installation. The installer uses GPT formatting when installing onto a whole disk or an unformatted disk.

Existing GPT partitions or DOS partitions are retained by default and displayed by the installer. Thus, you can select to use an existing partition instead of creating new ones. Logical partitions are displayed in the disk layout order within the extended partition on which they are created.

Note - See SPARC: GPT Labeled Disk Support in Oracle Solaris 11.4 Release Notes for more information about applying GPT-aware firmware on supported SPARC based systems.

You can install Oracle Solaris only on an Oracle Solaris partition. That installation partition can either be a physical partition or a logical partition within an extended partition.

Only one partition is used. If multiple Oracle Solaris GPT partitions are on the disk, then the installer by default chooses the first suitable Oracle Solaris GPT partition as the installation target.

You can specify partitions to be performed during installation. During that process, the entire disk layout is overwritten if any of the following is true:

  • The disk table cannot be read.

    In this case, proposed partitioning information is displayed.

  • The disk was not previously partitioned.

  • You select the entire disk for the installation.

By default, the installation process overwrites only the target Oracle Solaris partition. Other existing partitions remain unchanged provided that you did not specify them to be modified.

x86: Setting Up Partitions During an Interactive Installation

On x86 platforms, screen entries enable you to specify partition instructions. The screens might also provide the minimum and recommended minimum sizes for installing the software.

The following partition-related options are available:

Action to Perform
Use the existing Oracle Solaris partition.
Installs Oracle Solaris on the existing partition using its current size.
Select the Partition a Disk option. No other changes are required.
Create an Oracle Solaris partition.
Creates a partition if it does not exist. This modification erases the existing partition contents.
Select a primary partition or a logical partition and then change its type to Oracle Solaris.
Increase the space that is allocated to an Oracle Solaris partition and install on that partition.
Increases the size alloted to a partition before installing the software, provided that enough disk space exists.
The available space contains any contiguous unused space before or after the selected partition. If you enlarge the partition, unused space after the partition is used first. Then, unused space before the partition is used, which changes the starting cylinder of the selected partition.
Select a new size for the target installation partition.
Install the operating system on a different Oracle Solaris partition.
Installs the OS on a different partition. The contents of this partition are erased during the installation process.
If the system has existing DOS partitions, only one Oracle Solaris partition is allowed. You must first change the existing Oracle Solaris partition type to Unused before you create its Oracle Solaris replacement.
Select a partition and change its type to Oracle Solaris.
Create a new Oracle Solaris partition within an extended partition.
Creates a new partition within an extended partition. You can resize the extended partition and then change one of the logical partitions in the extended partition to an Solaris partition. Also, you can enlarge the logical partition up to the size of the extended partition that contains that logical partition.
If the system has existing DOS partitions, only one Oracle Solaris partition is allowed. You must first change the existing Oracle Solaris partition type to Unused before you create a new one within an extended partition.
Select the Partition a Disk option. Change the partition type to Extended.
Delete an existing partition.
Deletes an existing partition. During an installation, the partition is destroyed and its space is made available to resize adjacent partitions.
Select the partition and change its type to Unused.

Setting Up VTOC Slices During a Text Installation

For text installations on the SPARC platform, you can modify VTOC slices during the installation. For text installations on the x86 platform, you can modify a slice within a partition if that partition has not already been modified during the installation.

    When setting up VTOC slices, keep the following in mind:

  • The installer displays the existing slices. The slices are displayed in the order in which they are laid out. The current size and maximum available size for each slice are also displayed.

  • Oracle Solaris must be installed in a ZFS root pool. By default, the slice that contains the root pool is labeled rpool by the installer. If you want to install the operating system on a slice that does not contain the root pool, change the type for that slice to rpool in the installer. During the installation, a ZFS root pool will be created on that slice.

    Note - Because only one ZFS pool can be named rpool, if a pool named rpool is already on the device, the installer will name any new pool using the format rpool#.
  • The size of a slice can be increased up to the maximum available size. To make more space available, you can change the type of an adjoining slice to Unused, thereby making its space available to adjacent slices.

  • If the slice is not explicitly altered, the content of the slice is preserved during the installation.

The following table describes the options for modifying slices during a text installation.

Table 1  Options for Modifying VTOC Slices During a Text Installation
Description and User Action (if required)
Use an existing slice
This option installs the Oracle Solaris operating system on an existing VTOC slice using its current size. Select the target slice, then change its type to rpool.
Resize a slice
You can change the size only of a newly created rpool slice. Type the new size in the field.
Create a new slice
Select an unused slice and change its type. For example, change Unused to rpool.
Delete an existing slice
Change the slice type to Unused. During the installation, the slice is destroyed and its space is made available for resizing adjacent slices.