Archive for October, 2007

Setting up a Sun Enterprise 250 (E250)

Recently I needed to install Solaris 10 on an old creaky Sun Enterprise 250 (E250) and 450 (E450) box. This quick how-to documents what I did to get the machine up and running, and answers a few of the questions it took me a while to figure out along the way! Most of it is pretty applicable to a modern Sun too.

Getting to ok

The first thing you have to do is get to the OK prompt. On most boxes I have used in the past, getting to ok is easy, just power on the machine and it stops at the ok prompt, waiting for someone to type boot, however this machine was different – it just booted straight away, without an ok in sight!

To get the ok prompt, wait for the system to initialise the memory and devices and either press STOP-A (if you are using a VVT220, it will probably have a STOP key) or ctrl-break repeatedly.

Now that you have got the OK prompt, you probably want to stop the machine auto-booting until you have it working the way you want it. To stop auto-booting, enter the following commands at the ok prompt:


ok setenv auto-boot-on-error? false
ok setenv auto-boot? false

Now power off the machine and let it restart (apparently you need to do this, as STOP-a or ctrl-break stops the machine initialising some things, so its best to restart to be sure you don’t hit problems later).

Installing Solaris 10

Installing Solaris 10 is pretty simple at this point – pop the DVD in the drive and enter:


ok boot cdrom

The installer will kick off, asking you a bunch of questions along the way – make sure and have your hostname, domain, network and DNS settings to hand.

Before the OS actually installs, you need to layout your disk. How you set this up is totally up to you – I usually create a parition for each of /, /usr, /export/home, /opt, /tmp and /var/crash on the primary disk. Sizes will very much depend on your setup and requirements.

Getting Rid of the Desktop and Login Server

By default, Solaris 10 attempts to run the desktop environment on boot. If, like me, you want to use this machine as a server and have no need for a desktop, then save yourself some RAM and disable it:


# svcadm disable svc:/application/graphical-login/cde-login:default
# /usr/dt/bin/dtconfig -d

(Thanks to this site for that tip!)

ZFS Rocks

I knew in the back of my mind that Solaris 10 had a fancy new filesystem called ZFS, but I didn’t know what that meant until I came across this article. If you have a sever with more than one disk, or you are not sure what sizes each of your mountpoints should be, or you need striping, mirroring or RAID, then go read up on ZFS. It just might make disk management as pleasurable as writing Ruby!

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October 8, 2007 at 9:22 pm Leave a comment


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