Juergen Winkelmann

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  +41-44-632 10 11


Solaris 10 Installation on VMware ESX Server 2.5.x


  1. Download the following files (for login info please mail to
    1. For Solaris 10 GA (3/05):

-        sol-10-GA-x86-ESX.iso.gz_1

-        sol-10-GA-x86-ESX.iso.gz_2

-        sol-10-GA-x86-ESX.iso.gz_3

-        vmware-solaris-tools.iso.gz

-        iso.md5

    1. For Solaris 10 Update 1 (1/06):

-        sol-10-u1-ga-x86-ESX.iso.gz_1

-        sol-10-u1-ga-x86-ESX.iso.gz_2

-        sol-10-u1-ga-x86-ESX.iso.gz_3

-        vmware-solaris-tools.iso.gz

-        iso-u1.md5

  1. Unzip iso images:
    1. For Solaris 10 GA (3/05):

# cat sol-10-GA-x86-ESX.iso.gz_[1-3] > sol-10-GA-x86-ESX.iso.gz

# rm -f sol-10-GA-x86-ESX.iso.gz_[1-3]

# gunzip sol-10-GA-x86-ESX.iso.gz

# gunzip vmware-solaris-tools.iso.gz



    1. For Solaris 10 Update 1 (1/06):

# cat sol-10-u1-ga-x86-ESX.iso.gz_[1-3] > sol-10-u1-ga-x86-ESX.iso.gz

# rm -f sol-10-u1-ga-x86-ESX.iso.gz_[1-3]

# gunzip sol-10-u1-ga-x86-ESX.iso.gz

# gunzip vmware-solaris-tools.iso.gz



  1. Check integrity:
    1. For Solaris 10 GA (3/05):

# md5sum -c iso.md5

sol-10-GA-x86-ESX.iso: OK

vmware-solaris-tools.iso: OK



    1. For Solaris 10 Update 1 (1/06):

# md5sum -c iso-u1.md5

sol-10-u1-ga-x86-ESX.iso: OK

vmware-solaris-tools.iso: OK


If you have problems with the integrity of the install DVD ISOs and don't want you download everything again, you can use the following checksums to find out, which file is defective:

For Solaris 10 GA (3/05): chunks-GA.md5
For Solaris 10 Update 1 (1/06): chunks-u1.md5

  1. You now have the following files:

sol-10-GA-x86-ESX.iso or -->     ISO image of bootable Solaris install DVD

sol-10-u1-ga-x86-ESX.iso           for VMware ESX Server 2.5.x

vmware-solaris-tools.iso   -->     ISO image of VMware Tools (vmware-guestd

                                               and vmware-toolbox) installation CD

  1. Create a VM on your ESX Server:
  2. Power on the VM. The boot process needs some time, so be patient.

    The system will boot without any attention to the “Solaris Interactive” installation process and come up with the graphic installer. You can as usual interrupt before the installer comes up to define your preferred video, keyboard and mouse settings. The following settings work fine:



  1. Install Solaris as usual.
  2. If you installed Xorg and Xsun X-Windows support, on the first reboot after install the system will default to Xorg, which is not working very well. Just login using line mode, call kdmconfig to change it back to Xsun and use the same settings as during install. If kdmconfig then comes up at a later reboot, tell it not to check again and the X-Windows system will work perfect.
  3. Install VMware Tools:
  4.  Have fun with your Solaris 10 VM!


Some Remarks:


  1. Of course anything mentioned here is completely unsupported by VMware and Sun. So use at your own risk!
  2. Each virtual disk attached to a Solaris VM must have a corresponding entry in /kernel/drv/sd.conf of the form

    name="sd" parent="mpt" target=x lun=0

    where x is the SCSI target address of the disk. The sd.conf installed using the above procedure contains this entry for one disk at target address 0. You will be able to use additional disks only after adding the corresponding entries and doing a reconfigure reboot.

    If you installed an Update 1 (1/06) system using an ISO image downloaded before Jan/25/2006, I strongly recommend removing all entries from /kernel/drv/lsimega.conf and /kernel/drv/st.conf, as these might cause unwanted effects on the SCSI bus. Later downloads already contain empty lsimega.conf and st.conf.
  3. The Solaris pcn driver for the PCnet Lance Ethernet interface has severe problems (lost packets, hangs) driving the virtual PCnet interface of VMware ESX. Installing Solaris 10 using the procedure above automatically replaces the pcn driver with the ae driver, which is available from Nexenta OS (OpenSolaris + GNU, This driver works stable under VMware ESX. Because of the replacement, your network interface is listed as ae0 instead of pcn0.
  4. The implementation of VMware Tools is done using the VMware Tools binaries for Linux through a modified version of the Linux emulation "lxrun". The vmware-guestd daemon for Linux uses the ifconfig command to get configuration information from the network interface. The interface name as well as the output format of ifconfig are different between Linux and Solaris, which is compensated with a simple script (/opt/vmware/linux/sbin/ifconfig) using the interface name ae0. If you are using a different interface, you need to replace ae0 in this script with the name of your virtual network interface (for example pcn0 or, on VMware WS, e1000g0).
  5. The CDROM image vmware-solaris-tools.iso corresponds to ESX Server 2.5.1. On newer ESX Versions you will probably get the “need upgrade” warning. This really doesn’t matter, because only a small part of VMware Tools functionality is usable on Solaris. But if you want, you can upgrade easily:
  1. Installation of VMware Tools provides partial vmware-guestd and vmware-toolbox functionality. vmware-guestd gets started automatically during boot through /etc/init.d/vmware-tools and the corresponding links in the /etc/rcX.d directories. To start vmware-toolbox just call it as usual by entering /usr/bin/vmware-toolbox&. The following functionality is available:

    - enter and leave console window without CTRL-ALT
    - Copy and paste to and from console window
    - Connect and disconnect removable devices through the “Devices” tab.

    Note: If you want to run vmware-toolbox to a remote X-Server tunneled through an ssh session, you need to make localhost known as in /opt/vmware/linux/etc/hosts or change lxrun_pathmap to map this to /etc/hosts.
  2. The implementation of VMware Tools through the Linux emulation lxrun also works for other VMware platforms (Workstation, Player, etc.). See for details.
  3. You can update Solaris 10 to a current level using a Sun Subscription. If you do so, you need to be be aware of the following facts:


  1. Solaris 10 Update 1 (1/06) and Solaris 10 GA (3/05) systems patched to level 118844-27 or higher use the GNU/grub boot loader instead of the old Configuration Assistant. Obviously VMware’s LBA support doesn’t work reliable together with Sun’s implementation of the grub based boot process:

    During shutdown processing Solaris automatically creates a new boot_archive (ramdisk) if there is the slightest chance that any of it’s contents might have changed since the last reboot. If you don’t use a boot partition and your virtual disk is big and full enough you’ve a good chance to end up with an unbootable system after a normal shutdown, because grub cannot address the newly created boot_archive any more.

    Although Sun doesn’t, I strongly recommend using a boot partition to circumvent this problem. Or, at least keep a working copy (test it!) of the boot_archive, that you can use, in case a newly created one isn’t addressable any more.



Jan/10/2006: Updates to the “Remarks” section due to publication of patch 118844-27 from Sun

Jan/12/2006: Added vmware-toolbox support to the VMware Tools ISO

Jan/12/2006: Added VMware Tools ISO for VMware Workstation 5.0.0 build-13124

Jan/14/2006: Added remark on VMware Tools dependancy on the network interface name ae0

Jan/15/2006: Added remark on pcn versus ae driver for the virtual PCnet Lance Ethernet interface

Jan/19/2006: Added support for Solaris 10 Update 1 (1/06)

Jan/23/2006: Added remark on sd.conf, st.conf and lsimega.conf
Jan/25/2006: Uploaded new Solaris 10 Update 1 (1/06) ISO with empty lsimega.conf and st.conf

Feb/10/2006: Added VMware Tools ISO for VMware Workstation 5.5.1 build-19175

Mar/06/2006: Moved information concerning VMware Tools for other VMware platforms (Workstation, etc.) to a separate website

Mar/10/2006: added checksum for each chunk of the install DVD ISOs

Mar/10/2006: added information on unsupported virtual SMP to the virtual machine definition instructions

May/08/2006: added support for mpt version 1.38 from Solaris 10 patch 119851-16