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Overview

The definitive Sun Microsystems guide to the internals of the Solaris kernel.

This book focuses on the core kernel functions, major data structures and algorithms. Its practical approach makes it an essential resource for anyone responsible for kernel, driver or application software. Anyone doing development, debugging, maintenance, performance tuning, capacity planning, or application tuning will also benefit from Mauro and McDougall's in-depth coverage of the Solaris kernel.

This authoritative and comprehensive guide covers the key components that comprise the Solaris kernel. The modular architecture of the kernel is discussed and each major subsystem is fully explored. Topics covered include:

  • Scheduler implementation and behavior
  • The Solaris multi-threaded architecture
  • Multi-threaded synchronization primitives
  • The Solaris Virtual Memory implementation, including tools for memory measurement and analysis
  • The Virtual File System framework
  • Techniques for analyzing kernel behavior and structures with sar, vmstat, crash, and adb

Solaris Internals is an indispensable reference for kernel developers and is full of useful information for monitoring and optimizing Solaris systems. Whether you're a software developer, systems architect, system administrator, or performance analyst, you'll rely on it constantly.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Focuses on core kernal functions, major data structures, and algorithms, for those responsible for kernal, driver, or application software. Covers key components that comprise the Solaris kernal, discussing the modular architecture of the kernal and each major subsystem. Topics covered include scheduler implementation and behavior, the Solaris multi-threaded architecture, and techniques for analyzing kernal behavior. Mauro has 20 years of experience with UNIX systems. McDougall is an engineer at Sun Microsystems. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780130224965
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall
  • Publication date: 10/6/2000
  • Series: Solaris Series
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 704
  • Product dimensions: 6.69 (w) x 9.05 (h) x 1.81 (d)

Meet the Author

JIM MAURO has 20 years of industry experience with UNIX systems. Jim is a senior engineer in the Performance Applications Engineering group at Sun Microsystems. When Jim is not wrestling with his two sons, his house, or his yard, he works on systems and applications availability and resource management-related projects for Sun.

RICHARD McDOUGALL is a senior engineer in the Performance Applications Engineering group at Sun Microsystems, focusing on enterprise systems architecture, large system performance, and OS technology. He has been known to have some knowledge of operating system architecture and internals. When Richard isn't tinkering with cars or racing karts, he is usually found analyzing system performance, contributing to Solaris development, and developing tools for measurement, monitoring, tracing, and sizing UNIX systems.

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Read an Excerpt

PREFACE

The internals of the UNIX kernel are fairly well-documented, most notably by Goodheart and Cox 10, Bach 1, McKusick et al. 19, and Vahalia 39. These texts have become a common source of reference information for those who want to better understand the internals of UNIX. However little has been written about the specifics of the Solaris kernel.

The paucity of Solaris specific information led us to create our own reference material. As we published information through white papers, magazine columns, and tutorials, the number of folks expressing interest motivated us to produce a complete work that discussed Solaris exclusively.

About This Book

This book is about the internals of Sun's Solaris Operating Environment. The rapid growth of Solaris has created a large number of users, software developers, systems administrators, performance analysts, and other members of the technical community, all of whom require in-depth knowledge about the environment in which they work.

Since the focus of this book is the internals of the Solaris kernel, the book provides a great deal of information on the architecture of the kernel and the major data structures and algorithms implemented in the operating system. However, rather than approach the subject matter from a purely academic point of view, we wrote the book with an eye on the practical application of the information contained herein. Thus, we have emphasized the methods and tools that can be used on a Solaris system to extract information that otherwise is not easily accessible with the standard bundled commands and utilities. We want to illustrate how you can apply this knowledge in a meaningful way, as your job or interest dictates.

To maximize the usefulness of the text, we included specific information on Solaris versions 2.5.1, 2.6, and Solaris 7. We cover the major Solaris subsystems, including memory management, process management, threads, files, and file systems. We do not cover details of low-level I/O, device drivers, STREAMS, and networking. For reference material on these topics, see "Writing Device Drivers" 28, the "STREAMS Programming Guide" 29, and "UNIX Network Programming" 32.

The material included in this book is not necessarily presented at an introductory level, although whenever possible we begin discussing a topic with some conceptual background information. We assume that you have some familiarity with operating systems concepts and have used a UNIX-based operating system. Some knowledge of the C programming language is useful but not required.

Because of the variety of hardware platforms on which Solaris runs, it is not practical to discuss the low-level details of all the different processors and architectures, so our hardware focus, when detail is required, is admittedly UltraSPARC-centric. This approach makes the most sense since it represents the current technology and addresses the largest installed base. In general, the concepts put forth when detail is required apply to other processors and platforms supported. The differences are in the specific implementation details, such as per-processor hardware registers.

Throughout the book we refer to specific kernel functions by name as we describe the flow of various code segments. These routines are internal to the operating system and should not be construed as, or confused with, the public interfaces that ship as part of the Solaris product line-the systems calls and library interfaces. The functions referenced throughout the text, unless explicitly noted, are private to the kernel and not callable or in any way usable by application programs.

Intended Audience

We hope that this book will serve as a useful reference for a variety of technical staff members working with the Solaris Operating Environment.

  • Application developers can find information in this book about how Solaris implements functions behind the application programming interfaces. This information helps developers understand performance, scalability, and implementation specifics of each interface when they develop Solaris applications. The system overview section and sections on scheduling, interprocess communication, and file system behavior should be the most useful sections.
  • Device driver and kernel module developers of drivers, STREAMS modules, loadable system calls, etc., can find herein the general architecture and implementation theory of the Solaris Operating Environment. The Solaris kernel framework and facilities portions of the book (especially the locking and synchronization primitives chapters) are particularly relevant.
  • Systems administrators, systems analysts, database administrators, and ERP managers responsible for performance tuning and capacity planning can learn about the behavioral characteristics of the major Solaris subsystems. The file system caching and memory management chapters provide a great deal of information about how Solaris behaves in real-world environments. The algorithms behind Solaris tunable parameters (which are detailed in Appendix A) are covered in depth throughout the book.
  • Technical support staff responsible for the diagnosis, debugging, and support of Solaris will find a wealth of information about implementation details of Solaris. Major data structures and data flow diagrams are provided in each chapter to aid debugging and navigation of Solaris Systems.
  • System users who just want to know more about how the Solaris kernel works will find high-level overviews at the start of each chapter.

In addition to the various technical staff members listed above, we also believe that members of the academic community will find the book of value in studying how a volume, production kernel implements major subsystems and solves the problems inherent in operating systems development.

How This Book Is Organized

We organized Solaras Internals into several logical parts, each part grouping several chapters containing related information. Our goal was to provide a building block approach to the material, where later sections build on information provided in earlier chapters. However, for readers familiar with particular aspects of operating systems design and implementation, the individual parts and chapters can stand on their own in terms of the subject matter they cover.

  • Part One: Introduction to Solaris Internals
    • Chapter 1 — An Introduction to Solaris
    • Chapter 2 — Kernel Services
    • Chapter 3 — Kernel Synchronization Primitives
    • Chapter 4 — Kernel Bootstrap and Initialization
  • Part Two: The Solaris Memory System
    • Chapter 5 — Solaris Memory Architecture
    • Chapter 6 — Kernel Memory
    • Chapter 7 — Memory Monitoring
  • Part Three: Threads, Processes, and IPC
    • Chapter 8 — The Solaris Multithreaded Process Architecture
    • Chapter 9 — The Solaris Kernel Dispatcher
    • Chapter 10 — Interprocess Communication
  • Part Four: Files and File Systems
    • Chapter 11 — Solaris Files and File I/O
    • Chapter 12 — File System Overview
    • Chapter 13 — File System Framework
    • Chapter 14 — The UNIX File System
    • Chapter 15 — Solaris File System Cache
Solaris Source Code

In February 2000, Sun announced the availability of Solaris source. This book provides the essential companion to the Solaris source and can be used as a guide to the Solaris kernel framework and architecture.

It should also be noted that the source available from Sun is the Solaris 8 source. Although this book covers Solaris versions up to and including Solaris 7, almost all of the material is relevant to Solaris 8.

Updates and Related Material

To complement this book, we created a Web site where we will place updated material, tools we refer to, and links to related material on the topics covered. The Web site is available at http://www.solarisinternals.com.

A Note from the Authors

We certainly hope that you get as much out of reading Solaris Internals as we did from writing it. We welcome comments, suggestions, and questions from readers.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

I. 1 INTRODUCTION TO SOLARIS INTERNALS.

1. An Introduction to Solaris.

A Brief History. Key Differentiators. Kernel Overview. Processes, Threads, and Scheduling. Interprocess Communication. Signals. Memory Management. Files and File Systems. I/O Architecture.

2. Kernel Services.

Access to Kernel Services. Entering Kernel Mode. Context. Execution Context. Virtual Memory. Interrupts. System Calls. The Kernel Callout Table. The System Clock.

3. Kernel Synchronization Primitives.

Synchronization. Parallel Systems Architectures. Hardware Considerations for Locks and Synchronization. Introduction to Synchronization Objects. Mutex Locks. Reader/Writer Locks. Turnstiles and Priority Inheritance. Dispatcher Locks. Kernel Semaphores.

4. Kernel Bootstrap and Initialization.

Kernel Directory Hierarchy. Kernel Bootstrap and Initialization. Kernel Module Loading and Linking.

II. 123 THE SOLARIS MEMORY SYSTEM.

5. Solaris Memory Architecture.

Why Have a Virtual Memory System? Modular Implementation. Virtual Address Spaces. Memory Segments. Anonymous Memory. Virtual Memory Watchpoints. Global Page Management. The Page Scanner. The Hardware Address Translation Layer. Large Pages.

6. Kernel Memory.

Kernel Virtual Memory Layout. Kernel Memory Allocation.

7. Memory Monitoring.

A Quick Introduction to Memory Monitoring. Memory Monitoring Tools. The vmstat Command. MemTool: Unbundled Memory Tools. Other Memory Tools.

III. THREADS, PROCESSES, AND IPC.

8. The Solaris Multithreaded Process Architecture.

Introduction to Solaris Processes. Process Structures. The Kernel Process Table. Process Creation. Process Termination. Procfs - The Process File System. Signals. Sessions and Process Groups.

9. The Solaris Kernel Dispatcher.

Overview. The Kernel Dispatcher. The Kernel Sleep/Wakeup Facility. Scheduler Activations. Kernel Processor Control and Processor Sets.

10. Interprocess Communication.

Generic System V IPC Support. System V Shared Memory. System V Semaphores. System V Message Queues. POSIX IPC. Solaris Doors.

PART IV. FILES AND FILE SYSTEMS

11. Solaris Files and File I/O.

Files in Solaris. File Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). System File I/O. Asynchronous I/O. Memory Mapped File I/O. 64-bit Files in Solaris. 64-bit Device Support in Solaris.

12. File System Overview.

Why Have a File System? Support for Multiple File System Types. Regular (On-Disk) File Systems. File Systems Logging (Journaling). Expanding and Shrinking File Systems. Direct I/O.

13. File System Framework.

Solaris File System Framework. The vnode. The vfs Object. File System I/O. Path-Name Management. The File System Flush Daemon.

14. The UNIX File System.

UFS Development History. UFS On-Disk Format. UFS Implementation.

15. Solaris File System Cache.

Introduction to File Caching. Page Cache and Virtual Memory System. Is All That Paging Bad for My System? Paging Parameters That Affect File System Performance. Bypassing the Page Cache with Direct I/O. Directory Name Cache. Inode Caches.

Appendix A: Kernel Tunables, Switches, and Limits.

Appendix B: Kernel Virtual Address Maps.

Appendix C: A Sample Procfs Utility.

Bibliography.

Index.

Read More Show Less

Preface

PREFACE

The internals of the UNIX kernel are fairly well-documented, most notably by Goodheart and Cox 10, Bach 1, McKusick et al. 19, and Vahalia 39. These texts have become a common source of reference information for those who want to better understand the internals of UNIX. However little has been written about the specifics of the Solaris kernel.

The paucity of Solaris specific information led us to create our own reference material. As we published information through white papers, magazine columns, and tutorials, the number of folks expressing interest motivated us to produce a complete work that discussed Solaris exclusively.

About This Book

This book is about the internals of Sun's Solaris Operating Environment. The rapid growth of Solaris has created a large number of users, software developers, systems administrators, performance analysts, and other members of the technical community, all of whom require in-depth knowledge about the environment in which they work.

Since the focus of this book is the internals of the Solaris kernel, the book provides a great deal of information on the architecture of the kernel and the major data structures and algorithms implemented in the operating system. However, rather than approach the subject matter from a purely academic point of view, we wrote the book with an eye on the practical application of the information contained herein. Thus, we have emphasized the methods and tools that can be used on a Solaris system to extract information that otherwise is not easily accessible with the standard bundled commands and utilities. We want to illustrate how you can apply this knowledge in a meaningful way, as your job or interest dictates.

To maximize the usefulness of the text, we included specific information on Solaris versions 2.5.1, 2.6, and Solaris 7. We cover the major Solaris subsystems, including memory management, process management, threads, files, and file systems. We do not cover details of low-level I/O, device drivers, STREAMS, and networking. For reference material on these topics, see "Writing Device Drivers" 28, the "STREAMS Programming Guide" 29, and "UNIX Network Programming" 32.

The material included in this book is not necessarily presented at an introductory level, although whenever possible we begin discussing a topic with some conceptual background information. We assume that you have some familiarity with operating systems concepts and have used a UNIX-based operating system. Some knowledge of the C programming language is useful but not required.

Because of the variety of hardware platforms on which Solaris runs, it is not practical to discuss the low-level details of all the different processors and architectures, so our hardware focus, when detail is required, is admittedly UltraSPARC-centric. This approach makes the most sense since it represents the current technology and addresses the largest installed base. In general, the concepts put forth when detail is required apply to other processors and platforms supported. The differences are in the specific implementation details, such as per-processor hardware registers.

Throughout the book we refer to specific kernel functions by name as we describe the flow of various code segments. These routines are internal to the operating system and should not be construed as, or confused with, the public interfaces that ship as part of the Solaris product line-the systems calls and library interfaces. The functions referenced throughout the text, unless explicitly noted, are private to the kernel and not callable or in any way usable by application programs.

Intended Audience

We hope that this book will serve as a useful reference for a variety of technical staff members working with the Solaris Operating Environment.

  • Application developers can find information in this book about how Solaris implements functions behind the application programming interfaces. This information helps developers understand performance, scalability, and implementation specifics of each interface when they develop Solaris applications. The system overview section and sections on scheduling, interprocess communication, and file system behavior should be the most useful sections.
  • Device driver and kernel module developers of drivers, STREAMS modules, loadable system calls, etc., can find herein the general architecture and implementation theory of the Solaris Operating Environment. The Solaris kernel framework and facilities portions of the book (especially the locking and synchronization primitives chapters) are particularly relevant.
  • Systems administrators, systems analysts, database administrators, and ERP managers responsible for performance tuning and capacity planning can learn about the behavioral characteristics of the major Solaris subsystems. The file system caching and memory management chapters provide a great deal of information about how Solaris behaves in real-world environments. The algorithms behind Solaris tunable parameters (which are detailed in Appendix A) are covered in depth throughout the book.
  • Technical support staff responsible for the diagnosis, debugging, and support of Solaris will find a wealth of information about implementation details of Solaris. Major data structures and data flow diagrams are provided in each chapter to aid debugging and navigation of Solaris Systems.
  • System users who just want to know more about how the Solaris kernel works will find high-level overviews at the start of each chapter.

In addition to the various technical staff members listed above, we also believe that members of the academic community will find the book of value in studying how a volume, production kernel implements major subsystems and solves the problems inherent in operating systems development.

How This Book Is Organized

We organized Solaras Internals into several logical parts, each part grouping several chapters containing related information. Our goal was to provide a building block approach to the material, where later sections build on information provided in earlier chapters. However, for readers familiar with particular aspects of operating systems design and implementation, the individual parts and chapters can stand on their own in terms of the subject matter they cover.

  • Part One: Introduction to Solaris Internals
    • Chapter 1 — An Introduction to Solaris
    • Chapter 2 — Kernel Services
    • Chapter 3 — Kernel Synchronization Primitives
    • Chapter 4 — Kernel Bootstrap and Initialization
  • Part Two: The Solaris Memory System
    • Chapter 5 — Solaris Memory Architecture
    • Chapter 6 — Kernel Memory
    • Chapter 7 — Memory Monitoring
  • Part Three: Threads, Processes, and IPC
    • Chapter 8 — The Solaris Multithreaded Process Architecture
    • Chapter 9 — The Solaris Kernel Dispatcher
    • Chapter 10 — Interprocess Communication
  • Part Four: Files and File Systems
    • Chapter 11 — Solaris Files and File I/O
    • Chapter 12 — File System Overview
    • Chapter 13 — File System Framework
    • Chapter 14 — The UNIX File System
    • Chapter 15 — Solaris File System Cache

Solaris Source Code

In February 2000, Sun announced the availability of Solaris source. This book provides the essential companion to the Solaris source and can be used as a guide to the Solaris kernel framework and architecture.

It should also be noted that the source available from Sun is the Solaris 8 source. Although this book covers Solaris versions up to and including Solaris 7, almost all of the material is relevant to Solaris 8.

Updates and Related Material

To complement this book, we created a Web site where we will place updated material, tools we refer to, and links to related material on the topics covered. The Web site is available at http://www.solarisinternals.com.

A Note from the Authors

We certainly hope that you get as much out of reading Solaris Internals as we did from writing it. We welcome comments, suggestions, and questions from readers.

Read More Show Less

Introduction

PREFACE

The internals of the UNIX kernel are fairly well-documented, most notably by Goodheart and Cox 10, Bach 1, McKusick et al. 19, and Vahalia 39. These texts have become a common source of reference information for those who want to better understand the internals of UNIX. However little has been written about the specifics of the Solaris kernel.

The paucity of Solaris specific information led us to create our own reference material. As we published information through white papers, magazine columns, and tutorials, the number of folks expressing interest motivated us to produce a complete work that discussed Solaris exclusively.

About This Book

This book is about the internals of Sun's Solaris Operating Environment. The rapid growth of Solaris has created a large number of users, software developers, systems administrators, performance analysts, and other members of the technical community, all of whom require in-depth knowledge about the environment in which they work.

Since the focus of this book is the internals of the Solaris kernel, the book provides a great deal of information on the architecture of the kernel and the major data structures and algorithms implemented in the operating system. However, rather than approach the subject matter from a purely academic point of view, we wrote the book with an eye on the practical application of the information contained herein. Thus, we have emphasized the methods and tools that can be used on a Solaris system to extract information that otherwise is not easily accessible with the standard bundled commands and utilities. We want to illustrate how you can apply this knowledgein a meaningful way, as your job or interest dictates.

To maximize the usefulness of the text, we included specific information on Solaris versions 2.5.1, 2.6, and Solaris 7. We cover the major Solaris subsystems, including memory management, process management, threads, files, and file systems. We do not cover details of low-level I/O, device drivers, STREAMS, and networking. For reference material on these topics, see "Writing Device Drivers" 28, the "STREAMS Programming Guide" 29, and "UNIX Network Programming" 32.

The material included in this book is not necessarily presented at an introductory level, although whenever possible we begin discussing a topic with some conceptual background information. We assume that you have some familiarity with operating systems concepts and have used a UNIX-based operating system. Some knowledge of the C programming language is useful but not required.

Because of the variety of hardware platforms on which Solaris runs, it is not practical to discuss the low-level details of all the different processors and architectures, so our hardware focus, when detail is required, is admittedly UltraSPARC-centric. This approach makes the most sense since it represents the current technology and addresses the largest installed base. In general, the concepts put forth when detail is required apply to other processors and platforms supported. The differences are in the specific implementation details, such as per-processor hardware registers.

Throughout the book we refer to specific kernel functions by name as we describe the flow of various code segments. These routines are internal to the operating system and should not be construed as, or confused with, the public interfaces that ship as part of the Solaris product line-the systems calls and library interfaces. The functions referenced throughout the text, unless explicitly noted, are private to the kernel and not callable or in any way usable by application programs.

Intended Audience

We hope that this book will serve as a useful reference for a variety of technical staff members working with the Solaris Operating Environment.

  • Application developers can find information in this book about how Solaris implements functions behind the application programming interfaces. This information helps developers understand performance, scalability, and implementation specifics of each interface when they develop Solaris applications. The system overview section and sections on scheduling, interprocess communication, and file system behavior should be the most useful sections.
  • Device driver and kernel module developers of drivers, STREAMS modules, loadable system calls, etc., can find herein the general architecture and implementation theory of the Solaris Operating Environment. The Solaris kernel framework and facilities portions of the book (especially the locking and synchronization primitives chapters) are particularly relevant.
  • Systems administrators, systems analysts, database administrators, and ERP managers responsible for performance tuning and capacity planning can learn about the behavioral characteristics of the major Solaris subsystems. The file system caching and memory management chapters provide a great deal of information about how Solaris behaves in real-world environments. The algorithms behind Solaris tunable parameters (which are detailed in Appendix A) are covered in depth throughout the book.
  • Technical support staff responsible for the diagnosis, debugging, and support of Solaris will find a wealth of information about implementation details of Solaris. Major data structures and data flow diagrams are provided in each chapter to aid debugging and navigation of Solaris Systems.
  • System users who just want to know more about how the Solaris kernel works will find high-level overviews at the start of each chapter.

In addition to the various technical staff members listed above, we also believe that members of the academic community will find the book of value in studying how a volume, production kernel implements major subsystems and solves the problems inherent in operating systems development.

How This Book Is Organized

We organized Solaras Internals into several logical parts, each part grouping several chapters containing related information. Our goal was to provide a building block approach to the material, where later sections build on information provided in earlier chapters. However, for readers familiar with particular aspects of operating systems design and implementation, the individual parts and chapters can stand on their own in terms of the subject matter they cover.

  • Part One: Introduction to Solaris Internals
    • Chapter 1 — An Introduction to Solaris
    • Chapter 2 — Kernel Services
    • Chapter 3 — Kernel Synchronization Primitives
    • Chapter 4 — Kernel Bootstrap and Initialization
  • Part Two: The Solaris Memory System
    • Chapter 5 — Solaris Memory Architecture
    • Chapter 6 — Kernel Memory
    • Chapter 7 — Memory Monitoring
  • Part Three: Threads, Processes, and IPC
    • Chapter 8 — The Solaris Multithreaded Process Architecture
    • Chapter 9 — The Solaris Kernel Dispatcher
    • Chapter 10 — Interprocess Communication
  • Part Four: Files and File Systems
    • Chapter 11 — Solaris Files and File I/O
    • Chapter 12 — File System Overview
    • Chapter 13 — File System Framework
    • Chapter 14 — The UNIX File System
    • Chapter 15 — Solaris File System Cache

Solaris Source Code

In February 2000, Sun announced the availability of Solaris source. This book provides the essential companion to the Solaris source and can be used as a guide to the Solaris kernel framework and architecture.

It should also be noted that the source available from Sun is the Solaris 8 source. Although this book covers Solaris versions up to and including Solaris 7, almost all of the material is relevant to Solaris 8.

Updates and Related Material

To complement this book, we created a Web site where we will place updated material, tools we refer to, and links to related material on the topics covered.

Read More Show Less

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2005

    Out of date...

    Bible for older versions of Solaris, 8 through to ten is not covered - if you are managing older installations only and want to understand more, and want a supplement to Adrian Cockcroft's Sun Performance and Tuning then this is an excellent reference.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2001

    Print quality insufficient

    While this book contains a lot of material regarding Solaris 7¿s multi-threaded architecture, it is printed/manufactured poorly. I got two copies of this book and both show weak printing on several pages. I just expect a much better printing quality from this publisher. The book is outdated. It does not contain information on Solaris 8 that added important optimizations to the internals of this operating system. An update to include Solaris 8 is necessary. I do not understand why PH is only selling a hardcover version of it. Since those books have a usefulness of just a few years, hardcover is a waste and not worth the extra money.

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