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Chapter 3: Installing the Solaris 8 Operating EnvironmentSome of the most fundamental skills a systems administrator needs are related to installing and maintaining the system and associated software. Systems that are improperly installed and improperly patched will suffer from instability, which will result in long downtimes. Systems without the necessary software or with improperly configured software will not be useful to the user community.
The deeper the system administrator's understanding of these topics, the more effective that administrator can be. A system installation can be a confusing nightmare of installation options and configurations. An administrator with a solid understanding of the installation process can quickly and effectively get a system up and running. Installing software can be a very tedious and time-consuming process, especially if the software must be installed on multiple machines throughout the enterprise. An administrator who understands how software is handled in the Solaris 8 operating environment will be able to make the process completely automatic, saving time and reducing mistakes.
This chapter deals with the three main areas of installing and maintaining a system: the initial operating system installation, additional software installation, and operating system patches. Since hands-on experience with the Solaris 8 operating environment is essential to passing the Solaris certification exam, this chapter is one of the most important in this book.
Certification Objective 3.01
Installing the Solaris 8 Operating Environment
This section deals with the information and processes necessary to install the Solaris
8 operating environment. It covers the various versions of Solaris 8, the options for
installing Solaris 8, and the hardware requirements. It also covers the function of
software packages, clusters, and groups. Finally, it details preinstallation planning
and the Solaris 8 operating environment installation.
Software on a Networked Standalone System
Versions of Solaris 8Solaris 8 comes in several different versions. These versions are based on the platform on which you intend to install, your geographic location, and the age of the hardware you need to support. All versions of Solaris 8 contain the following disks:
- Solaris 8 Installation CD
- Solaris 8 Software CD 1 of 2
- Solaris 8 Software CD 2 of 2
- Solaris 8 Documentation CD
Platform EditionsSolaris 8 supports two platforms, the Scalable Processor Architecture (SPARC) platform and the Intel/X86 platform. Both editions are available from Sun, generally for the cost of the media and shipping. This chapter deals almost exclusively with the SPARC platform. Both editions are built from the same source tree, so knowledge of one should impart knowledge of the other. Many people preparing for the Solaris certification exam find it useful to be able to load the Intel version on commodity hardware that they already have at home.
International EditionSolaris 8 is available in two "regional" versions: the English Edition and the International Edition. The International Edition contains a multilingual version of the Solaris 8 Installation CD as well as a Solaris 8 Languages CD, to support languages other than English. The International Edition also contains a two-CD set of Solaris 8 documentation, one for European languages (English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Swedish), and one for Asian languages (Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Japanese, and Korean).
Hardware ReleasesFrom time to time, generally about once a quarter, Sun Microsystems comes out with new hardware releases. These hardware releases are labeled "MM/YY," such as Solaris 8 Hardware 01/01 for the hardware release from January 2001. These updated editions provide drivers for newly released hardware as well as generally bundling more patches with the environment. The patches are not integrated into the release; they are separate to make it easier to maintain consistency and keep patching easy between systems running the same environment but different hardware releases.
Installation OptionsSolaris 8 provides five installation options. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages. Some of them provide easy, graphical user interface (GUI) driven installation for a single system. Others provide a way of automating the installation of large numbers of systems for rapid deployment. Some provide a completely automatic, hands-free installation of a single system.
Interactive InstallationThe interactive installation is a GUI-driven option. It guides you through all the steps required for the installation of Solaris 8. It does not allow you to install any additional software, only that software that is part of Solaris 8. You can install any other software you want after the interactive installation is completed.
Solaris Web Start 3.0Solaris Web Start provides the installation process with a Java-powered GUI. It guides you step by step through the installation of Solaris 8, starting with the Solaris 8 installation CD. It also allows you to install other packaged software (see "Software Packages, Clusters, and Groups" later in this chapter), some of which comes bundled with Solaris. The installation can use a local or a remote CD-ROM drive.
In order to fully prepare for the certification exam, you should make sure that you are comfortable with all installation options. The best way to do this is to install the Solaris 8 operating environment several times using all the different options.
Network InstallationA Solaris network installation allows you to install a large number of systems without using a local CD-ROM. The Solaris 8 software is copied onto a network-accessible installation server and then installed across the network to the local clients. This method allows multiple machines to be built in parallel and removes the need to insert the CD-ROMs into each system.
Default JumpStartThe default JumpStart installation allows a new system (only) to be installed, completely "hands-off." When you boot the system with Software Disk 1 installed, JumpStart starts automatically and installs a default setup. Based on the model and disk size of the system, JumpStart determines the software components that need to be installed.