Friday, October 24, 2008

Creating And Deleting Local Zones On Solaris 10 Unix

Hey There,

Today's post is the final post in our quick series on dealing with local zones on Solaris 10. If you want to check the previous entries out, finish this paragraph. If you don't (or already have), just skip past this one :) The previous posts in this series have dealt with already-created local zones and how to create new file systems in a local zone on Solaris 10, modify filesystems in existing local zones and remove file systems in a local zone.

Today's "how to" is going to cover the bookends of this mini-series; creating local zones in Solaris 10 and destroying them.

NOTE: This notation is fairly obvious in this post (it was more appropriate in the following three), but I'll include it for completeness' sake. You have to be in the global zone to create or destroy a new local zone. See what I mean? ;) Also, resource/storage pools, etc, are outside the scope of this series of posts. If you're curious to learn a bit more about that aspect, check out our older series of posts dealing with using storage pools in Solaris 10. The link is to the final post, but all the preceding posts are linked to on that page; much like they are on this one.

Now, we'll go, step by step, through creating a local zone (up through the final "installation" phase) and, subsequently, undoing all of our hard work by destroying it ;)

1. First of all, fire up your old friend zonecfg and we'll get the party started. For our examples, we'll call our new local zone "DING" to maintain consistency with our other posts and we'll call our pool "CLOCK" (ding dong, yeah, it's sappy ;) You'll notice that you define the zone name when you invoke zonecfg, although just doing that doesn't actually "create" it, like so:

host # zonecfg -z DING <-- This is going to give you an error, but you can safely ignore it. Basically, the error just indicates that you're trying to configure a zone that hasn't been created yet. That's o.k., because we're just about to :)
zonecfg:DING> create

2. Next, we'll set up all of the minimally necessary parts of this local zone (note that we've already checked that enough resources (disk, IP, etc) exist in order for us to be able to install our new zone):

zonecfg:DING> set zonepath=/zones/DING/
zonecfg:DING> set autoboot=true
<-- I would recommend leaving this as "false" until you know you're good, but the worst that can happen isn't really all that bad, since a local zone caught in an auto-boot-loop won't cause you the same headache a straight-up box with the same issue would.
zonecfg:DING> add net <-- Notice how this puts you in a sub-menu, which shows up in the prompt. This happens for most device configuration and is pretty helpful if you have to walk away from your build for a while and come back to a screen where someone's hit enter 500 times ;)
zonecfg:DING:net> set address=
zonecfg:DING:net> set physical=bge0
zonecfg:DING:net> end
<-- and this, universally, takes us back down (or up, depending on how you look at it) a menu, so we end up back at

3. Then, with the process just about completed, we'll assign the zone to the "CLOCK" storage pool (outside the scope of these posts, but you can checkout our older 4-part post on working with storage pools). Once that's complete, we'll verify our zone and commit the configuration, like this:

zonecfg:DING> set pool=CLOCK
zonecfg:DING> verify
zonecfg:DING> commit
<-- This writes the configuration, which, up until this point, is held in-memory.
zonecfg:DING> exit (or ^D [Ctrl d])

4. The last step in creating a zone isn't entirely obvious. The first time I did this, I thought I was done when I completed step three. The zone was created, I'd assigned it all of the resources it required (and tweaked all of those) and then verified and committed the zone. Alas, I was wrong, there was still one last thing left to do.

The final act, in creating and enabling your new local zone is to "install" the zone with the zoneadm command. This will not only re-verify all of your zone's resources, check and see if your new zone will run on your system (or any other, for that matter), but also installs all the necessary files in the local zone's root filesystem and creates all mount points as necessary. It's very simple to run and very easy to deal with (Although it may take a little bit more time, even if your setup is good :) - Just run it, simply, like this:

host # zoneadm -z DING install
Preparing to install zone email-zone
Zone DING is initialized.

And that's, basically, all you need to do to set up a local zone :) Of course, you should run "zoneadm -z DING boot," zlogin, etc, to boot the zone up, login and run your own tests, just to be sure everything is the way you like it. If you need to make any adjustments, you can still use zonecfg to modify your zone's configuration (theoretically ad infinitum).

Now let's get to work ruining it all, by destroying our local zone ;) It's actually very simple and only includes one "real" step. We'll do the first part, just do to be polite, and shutdown the zone before we destroy it, like so:

host # zoneadm -z DING halt <-- Totally unnecessary if you're going to utterly destroy your zone anyway

Then, all we need to do is run one command to end it all:

host # zonecfg -z DING delete <-- You can also use the -F flag if it won't go away. Note, also, that no commit is necessary, as it was when we created the local zone.

And there we have it; the poignant story a local zone from birth to death ;)


, Mike

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