Dibbler's Net

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Solaris adds Failsafe boot option for Sparc

Sun has added a much needed feature to the Solaris Sparc baseline and ass usual no one even knows it really exists. You can find the documentation here regarding Failsafe boot. This was something that I ran into while first using Opensolaris on X86. Just after they first started adding in ZFS support I ran into issues. Since the X86 side of solaris usually uses a GRUB startup they had the ability to put in place a failsafe or “safe mode” boot. This replaced the old method of booting from a cdrom in single user mode.

This feature recently made it to the Sparc side of Solaris. I am not sure the exact patch level that added it but it wasn’t too long ago that I found that I can now run a “ok>boot -F failsafe”  or “reboot—-F failsafe” command on sparc machines. This gives you the base functionality of booting a system, mounting the local drives, fix problems and then boot normally. This is of greay use as booting from CDROM was difficult as bootable CDROMS tend to get lost, and the process is very slooooow. This also works well as most critcal Solaris commands like patchadd and other kernel tweaking items usually have a -R option to specify that your root mount is not on /. The two problems I still have with failsafe are basic issues. First as far as I have looked it is still not documented in the man page for boot. Second, I really would like a flag to tell it if I want networking or not. Right now the failsafe boot checks every ethernet interface and attempts to dhcp the thing. That does delay the bootup a bit even for disconnected interfaces. This can become annoying when all you need to do is edit a vfstab file.

Glad to once again see good features make it from opensolaris to the main solaris distro. Now the big question is why Apple dropped ZFS from the next mac os ? FreeBSD figured out how to get ZFS working how come Apple couldn’t ? And don’t tell me it’s because ZFS is no good. I have yet to find one thing about it that I don’t like compared to the other filesystems out there today.


Posted by derrick in • BloggingNewsUnix
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