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How to have a backup boot when applying patches to Solaris 10?

Twice lately when applying Solaris 10 Kernel patches to our Sparc tech test server, the server would not boot.  Currently we cannot boot or backout the patch by booting to CD.  The boot disk are two mirrored disk with Solaris Volume Manager.  For future patches I want to apply the patches and if they fail to boot then have a backup prior to the patch to boot to.  It seems that one option used is to break the mirror prior to the patch.  If this is the best way I am not certain of all the steps.  I am seeking information on the best alternatives and the steps to recover should the patch fail.  I am an Oracle DBA responsible for Solaris with limited indepth knowledge.     -- dek49
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dek49
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dek49
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2 Solutions
 
gheistCommented:
zfs filesystem has such feature - it automatically saves snapshot of old boot environment for update
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arnoldCommented:
What hardware are you using?
When applying the updates, did you run the update while the server was booted in single mode or did you drop the server into single mode?
init 1?

Which updates were you applying? Recomended or where you applying an individual update for your Oracle Application?
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joules17Commented:
Hi,

splitting the mirror is always your best bet, as you will have the previous setup intact in another disk,
and it reduces your downtime as you can boot the server from the alternate disk and fix the problematic disk or resync it back to original state.

here are few steps to do the unmirroring,
http://docs.sun.com/app/docs/doc/816-4520/6manpiekh?a=view
let me know if you need any clarifications..
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nyaarCommented:
Or, if you have a spare disk you can use lucreate to make a copy of your boot environment...
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Brian UtterbackPrinciple Software EngineerCommented:
Definitely the supported method is to use Live Update; that is exactly what it was designed for. See the man page for "lu".
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dek49Author Commented:
All the responses are helpful and I will be researching each.
Arnold - We were single user "init S". I have determined I need to read more about the boot options to understand better the diff boot, init, shutdown. The tech server is an old Ultra 450 when I go to production it will be to a T2000.  I was applying Solaris patch 120011-14 as a prereq to 127127-11 as prereq to Oracle 10.2.0.4.    It looks like I will have to reload the tech server's OS to get the server back.  Sun Support did not have any help for getting it back.

Joules17 - This looks like confirmation of the steps I needed to have a mirror image for backup.  I was concerned about the steps resynchronization should I have to revert to the unpatched version of the mirror.  From what I am reading, I believe which disk I attach first to the mirror becomes the source to resync the mirror when the second disk is added.  Correct?

I will read more on Live Update.  I don't have spare internal disk on the production servers.
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nyaarCommented:
I suppose you install solaris from cdrom. If you had a jet/jumpstart server installed somewhere on your platform, you would can do flar images both to backup and restore your systems easily without having a spare disk.  That had saved my neck plenty of times.

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arnoldCommented:
The problem is that the 120011-14 patch has other requirements:
118833-36 118918-24 119042-09 119254-42 119574-02 119578-30 120272-12 120900-04 121133-02 121901-01 122640-05 125369-05 125503-02 125547-01 126419-01 126897-02 (or greater)
Did you check whether the system already had those patches installed?

Live Update or applying patch clusters to bring the system up-to-date is likely better, simpler since the patch cluster includes all the prerequisites for each patch and might be the one that will bring your system to the patch level you need.


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dek49Author Commented:
Arnold - I was using Solaris Upgrade Manager which told me that 127127-11 required 120011-14.  I made a bad assumption that it was checking prereq on 120011-14 like it did on 127127when it downloaded it.  I will be changing the way we do patches and ensure we have a backup mirror.  Can you point me to a good document outlining checking, adding, removing patches on Solaris while booted from CDROM?  I will try to apply all these patches to see if i can get the server back.  
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arnoldCommented:
The post http://forums.sun.com/thread.jspa?threadID=5355223&tstart=1 deals with a similar situation.

Did not think of it initially, but reviewing the above link, can you boot your system with boot -F failsafe?
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dek49Author Commented:
Thank you for being helpful on my first attempt at experts exchange.  Because of your assistance, I will keep my subscription.  Although I have been in IT for 38 years, I recently had to make a career change that requires some quick study in some new areas.  
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