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Patching in Solaris 10


To minimize risk, Solaris Live Upgrade allows you to create an alternate boot environment that is a copy of the current boot environment. You can then upgrade or patch the newly created boot environment while the production boot partition is still active. After the copy is updated, it can be activated as the boot environment.

Figure 3 - Patching
Phase 1: Patching and Upgrading Best Practices

Solaris Live Upgrade, which can be used with Solaris 8, 9, or 10 releases, provides these benefits:

  • Less downtime when patching or upgrading. The only required downtime is the time to boot between the currently running boot environment and the newly upgraded or patched boot environment. The system can remain in production until the time is suitable for booting to the newly upgraded or patched boot environment.

  • Ability to fall back to the original boot environment. If a problem occurs, you can roll back to the original boot environment.

Without Solaris Live Upgrade, it is usually necessary to boot the system in single-user mode and then upgrade the OS or install patches using the patchadd command.
Alternatively, Solaris Live Upgrade patches an inactive copy of the boot environment, so the system can continue in production until it is convenient to activate the patched boot partition. See the Live Upgrade Survival Guide for invaluable tips and tricks.

There are a few notable enhancements with Solaris 10 OS patching:

  • For a limited number of Solaris 10 kernel patches, deferred-activation patching is available to patch an active boot partition. See the Patch Corner blog entry on this functionality.

  • To accelerate patching of multiple non-global zones, the Solaris 10 OS supports a zones parallel patching feature, which is described in this Patch Corner blog entry. This feature saves time since multiple non-global zones can be patched concurrently.

  • The Solaris 10 10/09 release supports turbo packaging, which is described in this Patch Corner blog entry and which helps to improve performance of install, upgrade, Solaris Live Upgrade, and zone creation processes. Turbo packaging uses a daemon to streamline access to /var/sadm/install/contents, preventing I/O to this file from becoming a bottleneck during OS modifications. As a result, installation processes typically take less time.

Visit the BigAdmin Patching Center for the latest information on best practices and resources related to patch management.

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