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Solaris on VMware: Custom JumpStart  

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A standard PC is fine to run Solaris in a virtual machine. My Athlon 64 3200+ has 3.2 GB of RAM and is able to run a virtual Solaris 10 without any problem. The preconfigured VMware guest has 1024 MB RAM, so the host should have at least 1.5 GB.

Operating System

Linux: No special requirements. I am using Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 with kernel 2.6.26.
Windows: Vista SP2 has been tested successfully.


The Solaris JumpStart has been tested with VMware Workstation 7.0.1 on Linux and Windows. It probably runs fine on VMware Server 2 and even on VMware Player 2. In the latter case you must either use real media or you must adjust the vm config file to use an ISO image instead of the real DVD player.

Solaris x86

You can buy a Solaris DVD Media Kit or you may download Solaris 10 Intel Platform Edition directly from Oracle. In particular: "Solaris 10 Update 8 (10/09) DVD". I recommend to use ISO images rather than real media.


For running the Solaris JumpStart for VMware you have to download two zip files: One virtual machine and one configuration floppy disk.

Virtual Machine

First of all you must download the virtual machine template.

  • vmjs0.25_vm.zipVirtual Machine for VMware Workstation 6/7 or VMware Server 2 or VMware Player 2/3

You can build a machine by yourself if you want. Create one virtual hard disk with a capacity of at least 12 GB and connect it as master to the first IDE (32 Bit Host) or SCSI (64 Bit Host) channel. In the BIOS, make sure the machine is not booting from floppy even if a disk is inserted to the virtual drive. Insert the configuration floppy disk image (see below) into the floppy drive before starting the VM. The machine listed above has one system disk with 32 Gigabytes capacity.

Configuration Floppy Disk

In order for the JumpStart to work the virtual machine must be feed with a configuration floppy disk, which holds the JumpStart information (network identity, hard disk layout, etc). Of course there are a lot of possible scenarios. For some of them I have prepared floppy disk images for download. In Linux you can mount the floppy loop back to see or to modify the settings. If you are new to Solaris, you probably should stay with my settings for now.

Download one of the following floppy disk images:

  • vmjs0.25_flp_sol10fenny.zipJumpstart image for Solaris 10 10/09. Network identity: Hostname: fenny. German keyboard. Root password: vmware. (For my personal use.)

You don't need to copy the floppy image to a real medium, as it will be inserted in the guest directly as an image file. See below for more detailed information about the floppy images.

Setting Up the Virtual Machine

Now you have two files: One virtual machine and one floppy disk image. First you should unpack the desired computer. A directory called solaris/ will be created:

linux$ cd $HOME/vmware/
linux$ unzip
   creating: solaris/
 extracting: solaris/solaris.vmsd    
  inflating: solaris/solaris.nvram   
  inflating: solaris/solaris.vmdk    
  inflating: solaris/solaris.vmx      

In Windows XP double clicking the file should be fine. The machine may be moved to your favorite directory for virtual machines, in my case this is ~/vmware/ in Linux and My Documents\My Virtual Machines\ in Windows XP. The only missing file is the corresponding floppy image holding the JumpStart information. Simply unpack it in the same directory. Make sure the file solaris/solaris.flp is located in the same directory as the virtual machine itself.

linux$ unzip 
  inflating: solaris/solaris.flp 



JumpStart Configuration Details

Here is a detailed description of the floppy disk images:

  • Operating system: Solaris 10
  • Identity / network configuration: DHCP (via VMware NAT) or fixed
  • Root passwort: vmware
  • Time zone: CET (Central Europe)
  • End script:
    • An init-script is created which will add dynamically a dummy domain name (localdomain) and a loghost entry to the file /etc/hosts. This will suppress error messages from syslog and sendmail (/etc/init.d/set-fqdn)
    • The CMOS time is changed to UTC (/etc/rtc_config)
    • Creation of a standard user (name: vmware, no passwort supplied)
    • NFSv4 domain: none
  • X window system: 1024x768 pixels, 24 bit color depth, keyboard layout: US-English or German
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