Managing Devices (Tasks)
This chapter provides overview information and step-by-step instructions for managing peripheral devices, such as disks, CD-ROMs, and tape devices, in the Solaris environment.
This is a list of the step-by-step instructions in this chapter.
This is a list of the overview information in this chapter.
For information about accessing peripheral devices, see Chapter 29, Accessing Devices (Overview).
Device management in the Solaris environment usually involves adding and removing peripheral devices from systems, possibly adding a third-party device driver to support a device, and displaying system configuration information.
What's New in Device Management?
This section provides information about new device management features.
You can use the new Reconfiguration Coordination Manager (RCM) script feature to write your own scripts to shut down your applications, or to cleanly release the devices from your applications during dynamic reconfiguration.
For more information, see "Reconfiguration Coordination Manager (RCM) Script Overview".
New Dynamic Reconfiguration Error Messages
The dynamic reconfiguration software has been enhanced to improve the troubleshooting of dynamic reconfiguration problems.
For more information, see "SPARC: Troubleshooting SCSI Configuration Problems".
Where to Find Device Management Tasks
The following table describes where to find step-by-step instructions for hot-plugging devices and adding serial devices, such as printers and modems, and peripheral devices, such as a disk, CD-ROM, or tape devices.
Table 26-1 Where to Find Instructions for Adding a Device
Device Management Task
For More Information
Adding a disk that is not hot-pluggable
Hot-plugging a SCSI or PCI device
Hot-plugging a USB device
Adding a CD-ROM or tape device
Adding a modem
"Managing Terminals and Modems (Overview)" in System Administration Guide: Advanced Administration
Adding a printer
"Managing Printing Services (Overview)" in System Administration Guide: Advanced Administration
About Device Drivers
A computer typically uses a wide range of peripheral and mass-storage devices. Your system, for example, probably has a disk drive, a keyboard and a mouse, and some kind of magnetic backup medium. Other commonly used devices include CD-ROM drives, printers and plotters, light pens, touch-sensitive screens, digitizers, and tablet-and-stylus pairs.
The Solaris software does not directly communicate with all these devices. Each type of device requires different data formats, protocols, and transmission rates.
A device driver is a low-level program that allows the operating system to communicate with a specific piece of hardware. The driver serves as the operating system's "interpreter" for that piece of hardware.
Automatic Configuration of Devices
The kernel, consisting of a small generic core with a platform-specific component and a set of modules, is configured automatically in the Solaris environment.
A kernel module is a hardware or software component that is used to perform a specific task on the system. An example of a loadable kernel module is a device driver that is loaded when the device is accessed.
The platform-independent kernel is /kernel/genunix. The platform-specific component is /platform/`uname -m`/kernel/unix.
The kernel modules are described in the following table.
Table 26-2 Description of Kernel Modules
Platform-specific kernel components
Kernel components common to all platforms that are needed for booting the system
Kernel components common to all platforms within a particular instruction set
The system determines what devices are attached to it at boot time. Then, the kernel configures itself dynamically, loading needed modules into memory. At this time, device drivers are loaded when devices, such as disk and tape devices, are accessed. This process is called autoconfiguration because all kernel modules are loaded automatically when they are needed.
You can customize the way in which kernel modules are loaded by modifying the /etc/system file. For instructions on modifying this file, see system(4).
Features and Benefits of Autoconfiguration
The benefits of autoconfiguration are as follows:
Main memory is used more efficiently because modules are loaded when needed.
There is no need to reconfigure the kernel when new devices are added to the system.
Drivers can be loaded and tested without having to rebuild the kernel and reboot the system.
You will use autoconfiguration is used by a system administrator when you add a new device (and driver) to the system. At this time, you will perform a reconfiguration boot so that the system will recognize the new device.