UNIX Consulting and Expertise
Golden Apple Enterprises Ltd. » Page 'Installing OpenSolaris with the Automated Installer'

Installing OpenSolaris with the Automated Installer

One of the new features of OpenSolaris is AI – the Automated Installer. If you were hoping to use your existing Jumpstart setup to install OpenSolaris over the network, get ready for some disappointment – it won’t work.

AI replaces Jumpstart for network installs. If you’re deploying OpenSolaris from scratch, this is fine – build one machine manually, set it up as an AI server, and roll out the rest. If you’ve got an existing Solaris infrastructure, however, this becomes a pain of a pain. An additional issue to take into account is that AI can only deploy OpenSolaris to SPARC machines which support WANBoot – so you’ll need to check your OBP versions.

This is the current matrix of what can be installed and how:

OS Install methods OS that can be installed
Solaris Jumpstart
Jumpstart + JET
Solaris SPARC
Solaris x86
OpenSolaris AI
Jumpstart + JET (4.7)
Solaris SPARC
Solars x86
OpenSolaris SPARC
OpenSolaris x86

I’m sure lots of people are in no hurry to migrate their Jumpstart server to OpenSolaris – especially as it’s probably a SPARC box.

The big advantage of AI is that it’s very easy to get going. I’m going to work through deploying AI to demonstrate how simple it is. In this environment, the OpenSolaris machine that will be used as an AI server is also my workstation. I’ve got a Netra T1 running a complex Jumpstart + JET setup with lots of customisations – I don’t want to replace that, but I do want to use it’s DHCP server.

AI is managed via the installadm tool. It’s probably not installed on your OpenSolaris machine by default, so you’ll need to add it:

pfexec pkg install SUNWinstalladm-tools

Once you’ve got the tools in place, you need to setup the install server. Download an OpenSolaris image – but be careful! The Live CD ISO cannot be used to setup an AI server, you have to download the AI version of the ISO.

Head on over to http://hub.opensolaris.org/bin/view/Main/downloads to grab the relevant ISO.

Once you’ve got the ISO, you can setup the install server. It works based on services – each OS release for each platform is treated as a different service. The you add clients, and tell the client which service it will use to boot from.

I’m going to be sticking AI under /export – the traditional place in Solaris for shared filesystems. I just want to create one install service for OpenSolaris 06/09 x86, which I’ll call 0609×86.

The full command line is:

installadm create-service -n (service_name) \
	-s (source_AI_ISO) (AI_service_data_directory)

Here’s the full command line along with the output:

root@grond:/export# /usr/sbin/installadm create-service -n 0609x86 \
	-s /export/torrents/osol-0906-ai-x86.iso \ 
Setting up the target image at /export/aiserver/osol-0906-ai-x86 ...
Registering the service 0609x86._OSInstall._tcp.local

Detected that DHCP is not set up on this server.
If not already configured, please create a DHCP macro
named dhcp_macro_0609x86 with:
   Boot server IP (BootSrvA) :
   Boot file      (BootFile) : 0609x86
   GRUB Menu      (GrubMenu) : menu.lst.0609x86
If you are running Sun's DHCP server, use the following
command to add the DHCP macro, dhcp_macro_0609x86:
   /usr/sbin/dhtadm -g -A -m dhcp_macro_0609x86 -d :BootSrvA= \

Additionally, if the site specific symbol GrubMenu
is not present, please add it as follows:
   /usr/sbin/dhtadm -g -A -s GrubMenu -d Site,150,ASCII,1,0

Note: Be sure to assign client IP address(es) if needed
(e.g., if running Sun's DHCP server, run pntadm(1M)).
Service discovery fallback mechanism set up

Helpfully, installadm tells us what commands to run on our DHCP server. First we’ll need to add the GrubMenu symbol (it won’t exist by default) and then we can add in the DHCP macro for the service. Just copy and paste the two commands on your Jumpstart server.

With that out of the way, we can now setup a client. In this case, I have a Sun v20z with a MAC address of 00:09:3d:12:ff:80 on bge0.

We need to run installadm to create the client, giving it the MAC address and telling it which install service to use. The command line is:

installadm create-client -e (MAC_address) -n (AI_service_name_to_use) \
	-t (AI_service_data_directory)

Here’s the full command line with the output:

root@grond:/export# /usr/sbin/installadm create-client \
	-e 00:09:3d:12:ff:80 -n 0609x86 \
	-t /export/aiserver/osol-0906-ai-x86
Setting up X86 client...
Service discovery fallback mechanism set up

Detected that DHCP is not set up on this server.
If not already configured, please create a DHCP macro
named 0100093D12FF80 with:
   Boot server IP (BootSrvA) :
   Boot file      (BootFile) : 0100093D12FF80
If you are running Sun's DHCP server, use the following
command to add the DHCP macro, 0100093D12FF80:
   /usr/sbin/dhtadm -g -A -m 0100093D12FF80 -d :BootSrvA= \

Note: Be sure to assign client IP address(es) if needed
(e.g., if running Sun's DHCP server, run pntadm(1M)).

Once again installadm will helpfully tell us what commands we need to run on our DHCP server to add the macros for this client.

Over on the Jumpstart server, here’s the output of dhtadm showing us the configured macros on the Sun DHCP server (with some line breaks to make it a bit more readable):

bash-3.00# dhtadm -P
Name                    Type            Value
dhcp_macro_0609x86      Macro           :BootSrvA= \
0100093D12FF80          Macro           :BootSrvA= \
v20z                    Macro           :BootFile=0100093D12FF80: \
GrubMenu                Symbol          Site,150,ASCII,1,0

I’ve removed all of the other stuff that Jumpstart puts in there to clearly show the AI macros that have been added.

At this stage, we can just SSH into the V20z’s ILOM, power on the chassis, and go into the BIOS to change the boot order. PXEboot will then send out a DHCP request, and we’ll then see the OpenSolaris grub menu.

From that point onwards it’s a hands-off install. For more details on the entire process, have a read through the OpenSolaris Automated Installer Guide.

Having played around with AI for a bit now, I’m not that impressed to be honest. I can see that it could be easier for new users who’ve never touched Solaris before – as you can see, it doesn’t take much to setup an install server and configure clients.

However, there’s a big installed base of Solaris users out there, and they’ve all got Jumpstart. AI lacks the features, flexibility and power of Jumpstart – it’s not ready as a replacement just yet. So being forced to use it to be able to deploy OpenSolaris just means many existing Solaris shops won’t bother – integration with Jumpstart for OpenSolaris could well speed up it’s acceptance and adoption.

With so many Solaris users out there I think that OpenSolaris needs a lot of work to become a credible upgrade or migration path. Both AI and the new IPS packaging system show promise, but they’re a long way from being usable replacements to existing Solaris technologies.

Like this post? Spread the word!
delicious digg google
stumbleupon technorati Yahoo!

Comments are closed.

Top of page / Subscribe to new Entries (RSS)