SUMMARY: Cloning Solaris-Installations

From: Jan-Olaf Droese (
Date: Tue Jun 08 1999 - 03:30:22 CDT

What I asked for (cloning a Solaris installation to another machine,
see original question below) seems to be a common problem. I never
received so many replies to a post on sun-managers before (about 30).

Here are the suggestions:

1) use dd if=/dev/rdsk/c0t0d0s2 of=/dev/rdsk/cXtXd0s2 to make 1:1 copy
   of the master-bootdisk. Since s2 is the whole disk, there is no need
   to partition the clone disk before or to use installboot.

   Many of you pointed out that dd is only a good idea if (and only if)
   the machines are identical in any way. If the disk drives differ in
   geometry or if there are different add-on cards installed (or the cards
   are installed in different slots) you are better off using another

   Someone wrote that dd-ing will also clone the defect-list of the
   master disk. This does not seem to be a good idea, but he uses
   this method anyway.

2) If the machines are `almost' identical but have disks with different
   geometries, one should first partition the clone disk and then use
   ufsdump/ufsrestore to copy the contents of the master disk. After
   copying, one has to install the bootblock on the clone disk with
   installboot /usr/platform/`uname -i`/lib/fs/ufs/bootblk /dev/rdsk/cXtXd0s0

3) A more general way of setting up many machines with synced configurations
   is Sun's jumpstart. Many of you suggested using it because it will work
   even when the hardware-platforms are different. Also, it not only sets
   up new machines with identical configurations but it can also be used
   to distribute changes in the setup to many machines.

4) On reply I received suggested creating a mirror of the bootdisk with
   Disksuite an then braking up the mirror which leaves to bootable

5) Michael Wang <> has written a program called
   copyroot which can be found at

In my special case I will probably go with 1) since I expect my six
machines to be identical in every respect. For the future, I will try
to set up a jumpstart-server since this seems to be a good tool for
keeping all my machines (about 30) current.

Thanks for all your replies, far to many to list them all individually.


Original question:

Dear Sun-Managers,
the short question is: What is the best way to "clone" a solaris 2.6
installation to another machine?
Long story:
I need to set up six ultra60 which differ only in their hostnames. I have
just completed the first machine and am now looking for an easy way to
copy the whole system-disk to the other machines so that I don't have
to install them all manually.
How should this be done? Partitioning all the disks and the dd-ing the
contents from the master-disk? Will the disks still be bootable after
dd-ing the contents? Is there a tool which just copies the whole disk
(including partion-table) to another disk?
I have no problem connecting the bootdisks to the master-machine since
they are all installed in removable drive carriers, if that influences
your answers.

Jan-Olaf Droese         | Lahmeyer International GmbH | #include
email:     | Friedberger Straße 173      |   <stddisclaim.h>
phone: +49-6101-55-1611 | 61118 Bad Vilbel            |
fax:   +49-6101-55-1623 | Germany                     |

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Fri Sep 28 2001 - 23:13:20 CDT