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Solaris documentation use the term “partition” differently than the common use. Unix has a related concept called slices. Unix systems can detect primary partitions (Solaris calls these FDISK partitions) but not extended or logical partitions. Each disk is only expected to contain a single Solaris FDISK partition. If any of the other primary partitions contain DOS (FAT32) partitions they can be mounted (FS type=“pcfs”) and used, otherwise they are ignored. “Up until Solaris 7 you could newfs a non-Solaris FDISK partition and have a ufs filesystem on it. The command line parsing of mkfs_ufs broke in Solaris 8, and hasn’t worked since — you can’t feed the necessary parameters in even though the manpage says you should be able to do so.” — Andrew Gabriel, comp.unix.solaris post on 11/27/07. A Solaris partition in turn can be divided into (up to) eight “slices” using a data structure called “VTOC” (virtual table of contents). Slices are not the same as traditional partitions. Each has a traditional purpose, and slices can overlap others—it is up to the admin to make sure the filesystems in each slice do not overlap! The partitions were originally lettered ‘a’ through ‘h’, but more modern systems number them 0-7. Slice 2 by default is reserved to refer to the whole Solaris partition (again, usually this is the whole disk). Annoyingly, many Unix documents and man pages mix the terms partition and slice. You have been warned! By convention (and assumed by some disk management utilities) some of these slices are reserved for special uses. On any bootable partition/disk, the root (“/”) file system should be slice ‘0’. slice ‘1’ is used for swap, ‘2’ refers to the whole partition/disk and can be used for backups. Slice ‘3’ may be used to hold a bootable OS image for clients with a different architecture). Today slice 3 often contains a copy of the root filesystem, used for live upgrade when you don’t have mirrored disks. Slice ‘7’ for /home (/export/home). This leaves slices 4 and 5 available for your own ideas. And ‘5’ is usually used for /opt. Slice 7 is usually /export or /export/home. Solaris is intended as a server, so users are expected to use NFS to auto-mount their “real” home directory on /home when they login on any host. If this machine is not the one containing the
Slice 8 is used in the booting process. and allocate many UFS file systems from that. format can’t manipulate the slices above #7 very well. so a boot partition is normally created. Only create /home directly if host is not networked and you don’t want to use an auto-mounter. often called a metaDB replica (size: 32MB is fine). If you plan to use live upgrade. SVM should need an additional slice (#7) reserved to hold meta (or virtual) device data. If you use mirrored disks there is no problem.actual home directories. There are differences in Solaris disk use for x86 and for Sparc. but they can be with the fmthard command. You can use an un-named slice to hold a ZFS pool. For x86 systems (at least) you can create on Solaris FDISK partition to hold the VTOC slices. while SPARC boot blocks can be contained within the root slice. SVM is currently recommended unless you have an entire nonboot disk for the zpool. Since ZFS is still not usable for many purposes. Although this space is unused on non-boot drives. For example. HP-UX. a commercial LVM solution available for Solaris. it is almost always left in place. Zone roots also can’t use ZFS. On x86 hardware. ZFS can’t (yet!) be used for some uses. and others. you break the mirror use LU on one disk. you must duplicate all paths to files added by the installer/patch manager. such as the root filesystem (or currently. but that can’t be used on a boot disk. These can only be mixed in restricted ways. an /export/home is auto-mounted on /home only if NFS isn’t used. the x86 boot stuff (grub) is bigger. ‘9’ is used to map out bad disk blocks. x86 VTOC has 16. Or. any filesystem holding files created by an installer). Besides VTOC another type of partition is an EFI/GPT which has completely different slices. sometimes) instead. from which you can allocate many ZFS file systems easily. and another FDISK partition (of type “OTHER OS”) for a ZFS pool. But on a single disk you must either keep all system . Modern Solaris includes many features that complicate planning your disk map. Solaris uses 16 slices (0-9 are usable. See also VxVM (Veritas VM). reboot that.) SPARC VTOC has 8 slices. you can use Solaris Volume Management (SVM) for a slice. and sync then remirror the other disk.
or duplicate both / (root). Other disks can be used for additional filesystems as needed.standard paths on the root partition. ZFS will be usable for a boot slice which will greatly simplify everything. and make those separate partitions. the most flexible disk map will reserve one slice for SVM to create additional filesystems. If you only have one disk (possibly because you’re using hardware RAID). and so on. best advice is to not sub-partition any standard paths in /var or /usr. Hopefully in the future. Thus. The best advice today is to keep the boot disk small and simple. using a standard layout. /var. And maybe extended and logical partitions will be recognized and mountable too! . It is OK to create new directories such as /website.