Playing with Solaris 11 Express

Installed a VirtualBox machine tonight, on the labserver (which runs Ubuntu 10.10 as a headless server), a VM running Oracle Solaris 11 Express. Since I used to run our SunRay clients on OpenSolaris, but switched to Ubuntu, this is basically a test to see what’s happened with Solaris since my last “visit”.

First of all, I had to log in with an OTN user at Oracle to get hold of the Solaris Express ISO needed, which was irritating. More irritating was the requirement for me to get an export license to download Sun Ray Server Software, but that’s a different rant. 🙂

I downloaded the LiveCD from this page (note that the first few downloads listed are for text installs, and you definitely want the Live one. I tested both).

Following a guide (in Swedish, actually) on how to run VirtualBox installations on headless servers, I logged on to my labserver and did the following:

Created a new virtual machine named “solaris-server” (this isn’t the hostname, just the machine name):
$> VBoxManage createvm -name "solaris-server" -register

Set the RAM of the new machine to be 756 MB (there’s a total of 2GB on the labserver), and gave it a boot drive (a virtual dvd reader).
$> VBoxManage modifyvm "solaris-server" -memory "756MB" -acpi on -boot1 dvd

Created a bridged network interface.
$> VBoxManage modifyvm "solaris-server" -nic1 bridged -bridgeadapter1 eth0

Set PAE to be active.
$> VBoxManage modifyvm 'solaris-server' -pae on

Created a new harddrive for the server. This expands to the given maximum as needed (10000 == 10GB).
$> VBoxManage createvdi -filename "solaris-server.vdi" -size 10000 -register

Connect the new harddrive to the virtual machine.
$> VBoxManage modifyvm "solaris-server" -hda "solaris-server.vdi"

Register a diskimage that you want the new virtual machine to boot from.
$> VBoxManage registerimage dvd /mnt/download/Solaris/sol-11-exp-201011-live-x86.iso

Connect the diskimage to your new VM.
$> VBoxManage modifyvm "solaris-server" -dvd /mnt/download/sol-11-exp-201011-live-x86.iso

Now! Time to boot the installation!
$> VBoxHeadless -startvm "solaris-server"

To see the boot, just hook up an rdesktop session (from a different host, i.e a normal desktop or something)
$> rdesktop -a 16

To make management of the VirtualBox VM’s easier, I proceeded to install VBoxTool.
$> wget
$> unzip
$> cd script/
$> sudo mv vboxtool /usr/local/bin
$> sudo chmod +x /usr/local/bin/vboxtool
$> sudo mv vboxtoolinit /etc/init.d
$> sudo chmod +x /etc/init.d/vboxtoolinit
$> sudo update-rc.d vboxtoolinit defaults 99 10
$> sudo mkdir /etc/vboxtool
$> sudo nano /etc/vboxtool/machines.conf

Put the following in the config file:


$> sudo nano /etc/vboxtool/vboxtool.conf

Put the following in this config file (mavar is my username, replace with your own):
$> vbox_user='mavar'

This gives access to much better tools for managing the VM’s.
Running a server is now done by:
$> vboxtool start "servername"
Stopping the same server is done by:
$> vboxtool stop "servername"

The installation of Solaris Express took quite some time, especially the start of the 170 services. Once done, I shutdown the VM (it’s running Gnome, so I felt quite at home), and started installing the VBoxGuestAdditions.

$> VBoxManage modifyvm "solaris-server" -dvd /usr/share/virtualbox/VBoxGuestAdditions.iso

Then, just start the machine again and install via the “” script seen on the VBoxGuestAdditions disc that’s automatically mounted.
$> vboxtool start solaris-server

Once done, shutdown the VM and unmount the VBoxGuestAdditions.
$> VBoxManage modifyvm "solaris-server" -dvd none

When I then restarted the VM, I noted that the boot procedure seemed to go faster, but can’t be sure. I think it needs more memory than I gave it to be running smoothly. However, this was basically just a test to see what Solaris looked like these days, not a serious attempt at installing it for usage.


About magvar

Technical guy, worked with computers since I was twelve, complete nerd, but managed to get married and am now the happy father of three kids.
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